Preparing for the Future of Freight
With the best technology empowering its service, Andes Logistics is gaining the advantage over its competitors in the South American logistics race.
“We have to jump in and walk fast because our competitors are doing the same,” says Werner Knust, founder and General Manager of Chile-based Andes Logistics. “We don’t just want to be on the same level. We have to work hard to be on top.”
Having spent over 30 years in the logistics industry, Knust knows what he’s talking about when he says the right technology makes all the difference. In 1981, he started a small freight forwarding and courier service operation with his brother, a company which partnered with and was later bought by a major global corporation. “I had a good position there, a good salary, good conditions. I was doing a lot of things,” Knust recalls.
But he admits that he worried over the large multinational’s hesitation towards adopting new technology. “I looked at my watch and I said ‘if I don’t do something now it will be too late.’ So I made the decision to start a new enterprise with the experience I had.”
Werner Knust originally founded Andes Logistics in 2008 in Santiago, Chile. Since then, the company has expanded to many offices across South America and is now moving into North America with the opening of an office in Miami, Florida. “We grew very fast,” Knust says. “We were not magicians. We were just people who knew the business. I believe customers appreciated our way of providing service. They preferred us, so they made the jump with us to this new experience.”
Andes Logistics moves imports and exports by air, sea, and other modes in and out of the region. “We are very strong here in Chile’s reefer business,” Knust says. “From the plant, to the ports, to some of the largest, main carriers we partner with, we coordinate everything from start to finish.”
Werner Knust knows that attracting such prestigious partners and customers would not have been possible without having a powerful technology platform driving its operations from day one. “We aim to offer the best technology locally,” he explains. “We looked through many systems, and we saw that WiseTech Global had that technology, to make us the company that’s always ahead.”
However, scaling to the level Knust wanted for the company was a challenge in Andes’ early days. It meant providing customers the same high-level visibility as the international giants. “In terms of information and visibility, once Andes Logistics started running WiseTech Global’s platform, we got to the same level as the international giants. We want to be well informed, instead of trying to predict what will happen.”
Mr. Knust is happy to emphasize not only the benefits his company gains, but the benefits his customers gain as well. “They don’t just get visibility over their business. It’s visibility over today’s business, today’s processes, what’s happening right now in every area. Commercial, operational, collections, and so on.
“The customer can go to just one place, look at all shipments, and use it like a library. All the documentation about a single operation, or all operations, is there. It’s also a place of self-service,” he adds. “They don’t need to continually ask for information. They can provide themselves with everything they need, when they need it.”
Thanks to its software solution, Andes Logistics is also equipped to overcome the challenge of communication between multiple offices. “Being connected to all of our offices is a very important step to take,” Knust says. “We have control over all of our offices, and we save a lot of time and a lot of work by not having to repeat tasks between them.”
Werner Knust strongly believes that technology will take Andes Logistics and its customers far ahead in the coming years. “The future is technology,” he says. “More than transportation. Sure, transportation changes the way it does what it does. Like drones. They’ll move things in the future more than we can understand now, but in the end, the customer will always want to be on top of it through technology. And this can only be achieved with systems like WiseTech Global’s that evolve with the changes.”
Knust is happy to speculate about those changes, and he has already been strategizing how Andes Logistics will meet the new demands in the ever-changing logistics industry. “In the future, we’ll probably have cameras inside containers so you can look to see the merchandise, monitor the temperature, and things like that. Everything is coming fast,” he says. “And for that, the base structure of technology has to be in place to get everything all at once.”