Much like conditions in the U.S., Japan is experiencing capacity tightening while undergoing an e-commerce boom. 

Studies have found over the past five years, e-commerce sales in Japan have an expected compound annual growth rate of 7.5% until 2024, due to increased mobile phone adoption and consumer confidence in online shopping. Combine this with an aging labor force, and the country expects to be short 240,000 drivers to complete deliveries of these goods.

To optimize available capacity and plan for this shortage, Japanese companies are turning to technology providers to automate delivery vehicle operations to maintain customer satisfaction.

On Wednesday, the automated dispatch and routing software company Wise Systems Inc. announced that it has entered into a partnership with Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. (MFTBC) to help the division of Daimler Trucks Asia improve the efficiency of Japan’s last-mile market.

“Japan has many unique things going on,” Chazz Sims, co-founder and CEO of Wise Systems, said in an interview.

“The culture puts a high value on customer service and customer experience. When you’re trying to combine that with an increasing volume of goods that need to be delivered with high expectations for service, but not a lot of staff to choose from, it really does become a challenge. It felt like a perfect place for us to be able to launch this business and partnership.”

(Photo: Wise Systems, Inc.)

Wise Systems offers a number of AI-driven tools to improve fleet operations, including delivery optimization solutions, real-time tracking, a driver task management application and analytics tools for dispatchers and managers that offer fleet performance insight.

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2021, Wise Systems’ product suite will be available as part of MFTBC’s digital aftermarket solutions for 170 markets the vehicle manufacturer services worldwide. Since these products do not require specific hardware, they will be available for every commercial vehicle model, including light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses.

Wise Systems currently operates around Level 3, working towards Level 4 dispatch and routing automation, meaning clients can dynamically manage these processes, while much of its exception management is handled autonomously.

Levels of autonomous dispatch and routing abilities (Photo: Wise Systems, Inc.)

While these solutions will improve the optimization of MFTBC’s vehicles, Sims noted the importance of the partnership for his company to learn more about issues that weaken the last leg of supply chains in order to improve the system’s level of automation.

“We’re excited to be able to get closer to the vehicle with our products in our system. Right now we connect with the order management, the ERP system to connect with the warehouse systems and then our platform to connect with the driver. This collaboration brings us closer to another source of data and another way to look at last-mile problems. By doing this, there’s going to be ways that we can better optimize [drivers] and increase the value that we’re providing to our customers to better fit within their workflows.”

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