The perks of being digital first

In this interview, technology enthusiast Vaishnav Shetty, ECU Worldwides’s Chief Digital Officer, talks to us about new-age tools and technologies, the pace of digital transformation, its impact on the logistics sector, and more. A hard-core believer in the power of technology, Vaishnav has been instrumental in leading the organization’s digital play and development of proprietary tech-tools like ECU360. In his current role, he is also involved in overseeing digitalization and technology adoption at Allcargo and Gati-KWE and exploring opportunities to integrate their digital tools to enable seamless, convenient experiences for customers around the globe. Having completed his graduation in Economics from Emory University in the USA, honing his on-ground work experience through an internship in Singapore-based OOCL, Dacheng Law and Stanford Law, as well as gaining extensive knowledge in valuations, mergers and acquisitions at the London based Blackstone Group, Vaishnav also significantly contributes to supporting the group’s vision and implementation of key business strategies.

As the Chief Digital Officer of ECU Worldwide, what according to you is the significance of digitalization in today’s world?

I have always felt that the purpose of technology is to simplify processes to enhance the quality of living. Be it using AI and machine learning in medical science to diagnose terminal disease or for the world’s leading libraries to collaborate and make available to researchers and students various manuscripts which they would otherwise not have physical access to – technology is making the world an easier place to collaborate in. The most sophisticated technologies are at work everywhere around us. Take the predictive text option on your phone or mail, that’s AI for you right there. And as we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has not just accelerated digitalization but also enhanced its significance. If markets haven’t crashed and various sectors are still managing to survive, it’s because they most likely went digital. I would say today, it’s technology that makes the world go round.

How do you see technology changing logistics?

Technology is already changing the way we do logistics. Tools such as ECU360 are enabling customers to ship cargo across the world, with complete visibility of the cargo movements at every step of the stage. It is revolutionizing the way we manage supply chains. Businesses can use the tool to plan their entire supply chain from point of origin to destination with the instant quotes, booking, and track and trace features. The superior interface powered by modern UI/UX drastically simplifies cargo movement to 180 countries and even enables door-to-door deliveries in 52 global markets.

Cloud-based software, secure API/EDI integration can allow systems to interact, streamline data, share information in a secure manner and draw from each other to enhance transparency and resilience.

How has ECU Worldwide transitioned into a technology-first company offering logistics services?

As an organization, ECU Worldwide has always had an inclination towards technology. Coming from a sector that has been traditionally slow to embrace technology, we were cognizant of the power of technology to transform this sector and we wanted to be at the forefront of this effort. Consequently, we launched ECU360 our digital tool to empower small and mid-level freight forwarders with instant quotes to achieve scale and speed. What’s particularly exciting is that ECU360 is creating a level playing field the world over and democratizing technology. Our focus and approach has always been to power initiatives that help digitalize the logistics ecosystem as a whole.

What is the road ahead for ECU360?

Technology becomes obsolete if it’s not regularly upgraded, that’s why so many tech startups are here today gone tomorrow. To offer our customers the best digital experience, we believe it’s important to listen to them, integrate enhancements and keep going back to them for feedback. We have added new upgrades like VOC for customer scoring, more clarity in quote charges, enhanced security and also conducted a customer satisfaction survey to make sure we stay on-track to meet their expectations. That’s what will define the way forward for us.

How do you see digitalization impacting the future of logistics?

There’s going to be a huge impact of digitalization on the logistics industry. AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) will form cornerstone technologies that will further transform logistics. B2Cs will need to adapt to contact-less fulfilment to ensure the execution of touch-less delivery process and B2B service providers will have to gear up as technology reduces the layers between customers, B2Cs and B2Bs. While definitely not easy to navigate, the future promises to be exciting and we, at ECU Worldwide are more than ready to ace it with an agile, flexible and future-ready perspective to both technology and business.