There were many amazing entries at Startup Weekend Vancouver in 2012, but the winner was clear – Marc Kuo had something that would change the way local businesses would run.
Kuo’s company, Routific – a logistics platform that empowers local delivery businesses to run more efficiently – was born after Kuo completed a thesis on route optimization algorithms several years prior to his starting the company with his wife Suzanne Ma.
In finding the shortest, most fuel-efficient path for a multi-stop route, he found he could cut waste in the transportation and logistics space. That’s when he knew he was onto something.
“We started Routific to help eliminate waste in last-mile logistics,” said Kuo. “We were shocked to learn that only very clumsy and expensive route planning software was available to businesses that desperately needed a better solution.”
Kuo made it his mission to bring route optimization technology to every local delivery business by creating software that’s affordable, intuitive and easy to use.
Routific helps local delivery businesses plan routes more quickly and efficiently, saving them up to 40 per cent on driving time and fuel.
Technology has changed procurement, logistics and distribution, Kuo said.
“We meet with businesses every day that are still relying on manual processes – pen and paper, spreadsheets, dispatchers, and human route planners – to help them figure out rather complicated logistics,” he said. “It’s an epic waste of time and resources. But we’re also watching many businesses transform very quickly after they start adopting technology.
“The first thing we usually hear about are the savings – hours of time saved every day, fuel savings of up to 37 percent, and in some cases, companies have slashed operational costs by nearly 30 percent. All this gives businesses more time to focus on growth and the happiness of their own customers,” he said.
Later, businesses who have continued to leverage technology to help streamline their operations have reported exponential growth – some doubling or even tripling their fleets in less than a year, Kuo said. This, he added, is “thanks to a number of initiatives, chief among them the adoption of software.”
Routific team members also use software and technology to make their own jobs easier.
“We use services like live chat software or shared inboxes to help us provide exemplary customer service,” he said. “And we love using ZenHub, a project management tool inside of GitHub that keeps our engineers in close communication with our marketing and sales teams, allowing us to carry out ambitious sprints with brilliant synergy.”
According to Kuo, exciting things are ahead for logistics and distribution.
“The logistics ecosystem has always lagged behind on the adoption curve,” he said. “Only now are businesses modernizing with technologies, so I believe that plenty of innovation is to be had in the short term.”
In the long term, Kuo predicts that there will be a proliferation of driverless, autonomous cars.
“As this kind of technology becomes more mainstream, we’re going to see more reliance on smart algorithms that will drive efficiencies, help eliminate human error, and make the roads much safer for everyone.”
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