Published on: March 6, 2019

Anyone involved with supply chain management today knows we are experiencing a digital revolution, the speed of which has no historical precedent. As a provider of specialized rail services for more than 40 years, Cando Rail Services helps industrial customers move bulk materials across their supply chains and recognized the need to go digital. The company has been working on a digital supply chain platform called Quasar for more than a year.

“Canada still has some catching up to do to power a digital supply chain that will bode well for our nation in the competitive global supply chain arena,” says Corrie Banks, Director of Logistics for Cando Rail Services. Banks, a supply chain costing and solution design expert with more than 22 years experience implementing technology and supply chain efficiency projects, has been leading a team of logistics and digital supply chain experts for Cando since early 2018.

Canada’s challenge in digital supply chain

Canada is a trading nation and the importance of ensuring the country’s supply chain can meet the demands of global trade in the digital space cannot be underestimated.

“Canada’s unique challenge is that we have a long supply chain network given the size of our country. It takes a train seven days to transport goods from one coast in Canada to another,” says Banks. “It is one of the longest supply chains in the world with many small businesses and great distances between mines, farms, forests and urban centres.”

According to Banks, these challenges mean that the risk of supply chain disruption is high. “Having a large number of business partners with no connection digitally can make getting fully integrated end-to-end digital supply chain management a challenge,” says Banks.

A focus on rail

In the rail industry in particular there are several factors restricting supply chain growth including a tight labour supply, lack of infrastructure, 1960s technology and missing data and analytics.

“The implementation of technology that automates, expedites and provides more accurate technology will solve several of the constraints to growth,” says Banks. “Better, faster, automated data will enable supply chain managers to do more with fewer labour resources, and studies are showing that advancing digitization is a solution to the labour issues currently facing supply chain today.

In addition, being able to better manage the constrained infrastructure across two major rail carriers will create capacity until major infrastructure projects can be developed,” says Banks.

Quasar: the future of supply chain management

“Digitization is changing the landscape, bringing down walls and creating completely integrated ecosystems that are fully transparent with all the players involved,” says Banks. “Those who move quickly to digitize their supply chain will gain efficiencies, develop new business models with corresponding revenue streams and create competitive advantage.”

Supply chain management has stepped into the new era of the digital economy and Canada’s supply chain processes must become digitized in order to thrive.

“In a complex, globalized, digital economy, the supply chain of yesterday is not up to the task of meeting shifting demand and increasingly complex digital supply chain networks,” Banks explains. “We need new solutions to position Canada in the digital supply chain of the future. We have a product that we believe will play a significant role in the future of the digital supply chain.”

According to Banks, Cando was uniquely positioned to develop a solution due to its operational efficiency, pool of transportation experts, industry knowledge, long-term relationships and large customer base.

“We’ve seen some big holes that needed to be filled to create a more integrated, more networked digital supply chain in Canada. Enter Quasar,” says Banks.

Quasar is secure, cloud-based, GPS technology that allows users to track the location and movement of their assets in real-time, visualize their supply chain from origin to destination and optimize network health and fleet utilization, reduce dwell time and monitor inventory. The full Quasar platform includes yard management and shipment visibility applications, along with components for car storage, activity-based costing, metrics and analytics and predictive and presumptive analytics.

“The platform has been tested in real working environments in the Canadian supply chain,” says Banks. “With Quasar, the future of supply chain management is here and we’re really excited to share it.”

Cando launched Quasar at the Cargo Logistics Canada Conference and Expo on February 7, 2019. For more information on Quasar, visit www.quasar.tt.