Business process innovation, automation and growing collaboration between suppliers and carriers will help create a greener and more competitive future for global trade, shipping giant Maersk said.
Known for its large fleet of ships transporting everything from raw materials to consumer goods, the Danish logistics company aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. Additionally, 30 percent of ocean travel will be powered by sustainable fuels within a decade. Maersk operates approximately 700 oceangoing vessels around the world.
“Decarbonising global trade is a team sport. Measuring and sharing information on how to reduce emissions across supply chains requires everyone to be involved.
“Technologies such as analytics, artificial intelligence, platform models and blockchain can help our industry understand and leverage this information,” said Paul Bray, Head of Technology Platforms (Finance and Tax) at Maersk.
On the SAP Euronews Next podcast, hosted by Jesper Schleimann, SAP Strategy and Innovation Officer, and Adrian Wolf, SAP Strategic Account Program, Bray discusses how financial automation and platform models play an important role in achieving strategic environmental and digital goals.
Above all, he said, it was an evolutionary process that required transparency, agility and human ingenuity.
create financial transparency
From the carbon emissions saved by ships, trucks and airfreight, to the environmental costs of production and packaging, the environmental damage of the logistics and transportation industry is evident.
Using real-time data to understand the role of finance in different stages of the supply chain and end-to-end business operations can help leaders better address these environmental challenges.
Bray believes that by uncovering trends and making investment, deal or supplier data more transparent, the right environmental and digital improvements can be made and time can be freed up for higher value tasks.
“By making data transparent, we can better understand which repetitive processes can be automated through technology platforms, or whether capital can be redeployed to find less carbon-intensive alternatives.”
For example, a platform model that encompasses technology and business units is replacing centralized IT departments and enabling large organizations like Merek to more rapidly develop and scale digital solutions, such as the electrification of fleets.
Service standardization becomes even more important as companies expand from ocean logistics to inland freight and related supply chain services.
“To become a global integrator in container logistics, we needed to create a standardized process to scale efficiently and let customers know what they were getting every time. Process standardization ensured that we could also accurately track our emissions targets.”
Once there is a clearer view of finance functions and processes, the next step is to integrate the right solutions. Software platforms help capture and understand financial data that supports decisions around suppliers or acquisitions.
The most important factor in this step, Bray says, is agility, because that’s what creates competitive advantage in an industry where pace is critical and the environment is constantly changing.
“Once we identify an opportunity, we make changes as quickly as possible until we have to make the next change, because the transition is never really complete. For example, the rate at which we invest in the electrification of trucks will have a greater impact on our decarbonization goals.” big impact,” Bray said.
As one of the largest shipping companies in the world, Maersk has created an open ESG knowledge hub for industry stakeholders so they too can participate and share this knowledge.
“No single company can decarbonize an industry alone, so by communicating with our customers, suppliers, and everyone involved in the supply chain in some way, we can measure carbon data collaboration across the supply chain. This is a arduous task”.
Insourcing and building a technical team with business capabilities is the next element in Maersk’s transformation journey. It’s also an economical way to improve the business and support other sectors in harnessing the power of data.
“We’re creating an end-to-end solution, including shipping, logistics, warehousing and other support systems, so sharing what we do and how we do it helps other parts of our business work towards the same goal.
“Building these capabilities where we build and scale our own products and services is something we’re proud of”.
Integrating the platform model, automation and building a diverse team will ultimately play a key role in creating a competitive and strong shipping company operating in a low carbon economy.
“We want to be a digital company that does transportation, and through a journey of constant innovation and passionate change, we’re getting there.”
• Click the media player to listen to the full podcast between Paul Bray, Head of Finance and Tax Technology Platform at Maersk, and Jesper Schleimann, SAP Strategy and Innovation Officer, and Adrian Wolf, SAP Strategic Account Program.