Juan Guillermo Galán, general manager of Satlock, a Colombia-based company dedicated to electronic cargo control, said he was completely satisfied with the alliance with M2M DataGlobal, for which it develops solutions for risk management in the transportation and distribution of goods.
"The partnership has been spectacular. M2M DataGlobal is a tremendous company, with excellent executives. But, more than that, they are tremendous people, they are very good-hearted men. Doing business with them is easy, because they always seek to meet the interests of both parties, we always reach a win-win situation and that's easy".
How do you evaluate the work with M2M DataGlobal?
They are excellent business partners. We have a very high research and development component, we are always looking for topics to discuss. They are extremely creative, which has also allowed them to grow. M2M DataGlobal supports us and accompanies us in our madness, it is a great company, with excellent service, always ready to serve and do the best business.
What are the pillars that support Satlock's work?
There are three components, the first of which is web technology, because we developed an IoT platform, specialized in logistics security. We also developed equipment, which are electronic satellite devices that are installed in the doors of the containers and vans, which are sensors that detect any situation that occurs along the way. Finally, we developed a service model. Since our customer is the generator of the cargo, at the end of the day he has the biggest problem, because he needs to know where it is and what is happening to it.
In addition, specializing in the control of transportation and distribution management opens very interesting doors for us, because in Latin America, almost 90% of the distribution of goods will be outsourced, which generates greater uncertainty. So, normally the owner of the cargo does not know who is transporting his merchandise. The vehicle's GPS can belong to any operator: in Colombia there are more than 400 operators. A transport company that provides the service to this cargo generator and wants to know where it is in its truck no longer has to look at 10, 15 or 20 internet pages to see where the vehicle is.
A study conducted by Maersk lands the problem of cargo worldwide, which has three major complexities: the risk of theft or looting; the danger of contamination with dollars, weapons, drugs or other illicit substances, and the low visibility of the generator of the cargo in transportation and distribution. All this costs more than US$100 billion a year globally, which is equivalent to one third of Colombia's GDP, not counting the reputational costs for all the actors in the chain. Every year, 20 million trucks are stolen and in Latin America the average value of each robbery amounts to US$100,000.
One of the great risks that large cargo generators have, especially the legal representatives of the company and foreign trade managers, who sign international documents. The first to be investigated in a contamination process is the same company that is exporting. Since 2015, the World Customs Organization (WCO) has developed processes to fight smuggling and this type of activities, generating a regional certification of "authorized economic operators", that is, companies endorsed by local customs that, according to their standards and processes, allows you to be certified as a high customs user. By being certified, you can access a number of benefits. If you are involved in such a situation, you may lose your certification. Our solution allows you to armor yourself against such an event. We move between 80,000 and 100,000 containers in Colombia, and between 50,000 and 60,000 as exports. In the last three years, we have only had two contaminations, which we detected and notified our customers and the authorities. In addition, we were able to prove to the authorities that our client was never involved because he implemented the technology. We were able to show them at all times where it was, what happened and where it was opened. When we developed the solution to the final destination with equipment that also gives us traceability, coverage and door opening and closing alarm anywhere in the world. Customers are shielded until the final destination, so it is out of the judicial investigation, it does not lose its certification nor the cargo.
Our monitoring is 24/7 and is sufficient to be able to detect any anomaly in the operation. With the other solution to the final destination with disposable devices, which is how our relationship with M2M DataGlobal was born, we can serve the operation not only from the plant to the port, but anywhere in the world.
How do they do it when it comes to air cargo?
We have an air solution. In fact, one of our big customers in Colombia is Falabella. We control the containers they bring from China, as well as the operations here for import and distribution to stores. If the transport is by air, we install a special device that automatically turns off at a certain altitude so that it does not affect the plane's communications, and when it is landing, it turns on again and works as a decoy.
What was Satlock's founding milestone in Colombia in 2011, first client or first intervention, and how did you plan and develop your internationalization from then on?
The first clients were always multinational companies and large load generators, such as Cadbury Adams, LG Electronics and Nestlé. We always work based on a strategic planning process that we review every four years and the only thing we have changed is the vision. Originally, we wanted to consolidate in Colombia and then try to work something in the Andean region, then become an exponent in Latin America and now we want to expand our borders in a more important way, with the opening of operations in Mexico and Ecuador. In the second half of the year, we expect to go to Argentina and Chile. These clients allow us to have regional agreements and that has helped us a lot to grow and expand.
One of their goals is to become the most important brand in Latin America by 2022. How close are they to achieving this?
I expect to be very close with the consolidation of operations at the regional level. Regionally we are already moving around 150,000 to 160,000 trips this year. Excluding Brazil, the whole region moves around 35 million containers. It is something important, but there is still a lot of work to do, a lot of tasks to be done, but we are on the right track.
How does it work and what are the technical challenges of Global Container?
It is a service that we dreamed of since 2017, with the objective of entering to compete regionally. We faced a very big technical problem, because initially we used normal devices, with which we serve internal operations, which are not disposable, so if there was an inspection of a container on the way we had no guarantee that they were going to put it back. When we were able to work out an agreement to be able to recover them, the logistics cost was also very high and did not make the business viable. We worked hard because it was clear to us that we needed to have a disposable device.
Global Container Tracking is a solution, with disposable equipment, to go out into the world for a low value of about $180 to anywhere in the world with everything included. The second challenge was communication. We did an intensive course of almost a year, looking for a solution that would allow us to have the global coverage we needed with a multicarrier system. Checking Russian chips, Mexican chips, Ukrainian chips... Until we met M2M DataGlobal and they saved our lives. Really, the communications solution they have is simply spectacular. We started to do the first tests and I was like when a child is born and starts to show its head: we were happy, because it worked, it communicated. We were in Vietnam and we made it, we were in China or Europe and we had communication. M2M DataGlobal was the solution to our problems, the answer to our prayers. It allowed us to develop the business because it solved the most important point. We could have had everything developed, but without communications it was impossible. In 2019, we launched the first international cargo control service with great success. Today we serve very interesting operations, with almost 600 containers per month, we have served 60 or 70 countries. We went to the Container Fair in Germany with tremendous success, because there really is no service as developed as the one we have.
How is the product different from the most advanced competitors?
We only found one similar, but with a do-it-yourself disposable device. Ours offers simulation of the container's journey, the ports where it will be, integrated opening and closing alarm, all through a web platform and a mobile application that is in seven languages. Something like this does not exist, apart from ours. As a result of that fair, we made a partnership with the Danish company GateHouse. Through a cooperation agreement, we have integrated 98% of the traceability of ships worldwide. Thus, the traceability we show our customers is perfect, both at sea and on land. The service is extremely innovative and we are now working on this same solution for refrigerated containers, but with temperature and humidity control.
What is the challenge in working with refrigerated containers?
Equipment and door control. The containers are ISO and so is our design, but not the reefers. We are developing equipment that can accommodate any closure of any of these containers. We are very far along in that process and hope to have the solution by the end of the second half of the year.
How do you follow the client's operational process and how does it translate into the loss ratio of your services? How do you quantify the positive impact of working with you?
We have a loss ratio of less than 0.01%. This information has already been presented to the insurance companies and for our clients there are significant savings in rates and premiums. We are proud to show this result, working in places with very high risks of looting, theft and contamination.
What do they mean when they talk about reducing the stand-by between 80% and 90%?
Increasing this type of technology in transportation operations is an excellent tool to improve logistics processes. A stand-by is a delay of the car due to non-compliance on the part of the warehouse or the port. This technology makes it possible to know when it is going to leave, if it is going to meet the deadlines and this will obviously improve the planning processes of the distribution centers.
With its service it is possible to act where the blockage is generated.
We have developed a couple of business intelligence tools because we have very good information. We seek meetings every month with our customers to provide them with process management indicators and show them how operations are performing, in order to generate action plans, avoid inefficiencies and make the best decisions.