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Transporting a global supply chain to a sustainable future


Faster customer decision-making


Faster data pipelines

SOLUTION: Supply chain management
PLATFORM USE CASE: Delta Lake,Databricks SQL,ETL
CLOUD: Azure

"With the help of Databricks, we are making great headway to eliminate the complexities of ocean freight logistics through the timely sharing of actionable data insights between transport management systems."

— Matthew Wright, General Manager of Digital Technology, Kotahi

Moving cargo around the world is a daunting task when considering the complex web of exporters, importers and logistics partners involved. As Kotahi worked toward its vision of creating a sustainable, efficient supply chain for the future, it sought to address the challenges of mining business-critical insights from large data sets across a myriad of sources. In order to enable service transformation in the new age of shipping, Kotahi looked to Azure Databricks to implement a unified data analytics solution that will help unlock the potential of the company’s data to enhance the customer service experience by reducing waste in the supply chain and streamlining container movements.

Challenges in processing large volumes of data

As an organization that collaborates with over 50 New Zealand exporters, importers and transportation specialists, Kotahi manages a large quantity of data to support the distribution of goods in and out of New Zealand. The data sets used include customer orders, network optimization outputs and equipment assignment as well as the event data that provides insights into the delivery status of customers’ goods. These data sources were housed on independent core systems, which made reporting challenging due to irreconcilable data.

“For high-value cargoes such as chilled meat, it is important to ensure these arrive at their destination quickly and in excellent condition. Thus, there was a need to provide customers with timely data and issue tracking, so that they can make the right decision and mitigate operational risks that might arise through the delivery process,” said Matthew Wright, General Manager of Digital Technology at Kotahi. “Near real-time visibility was also needed for our logistics operations to generate insights into operational status, with options in terms of cost and equipment availability.”

Furthermore, the siloed data sources also meant that Kotahi required the ability to transfer data more effectively between core systems with the intent to improve process automation and reduce manual administration over time. This ranged from Kotahi’s cloud-based transport management system to its new operational systems.

They realized with a unified approach to data and analytics, they’ll be able to more efficiently process all their data and deliver insights to customers.

Consolidating data to harness near real-time insights

Kotahi turned to Databricks to provide a unified approach to data analytics to fully harness the value of their data, efficiently managing their data analytics lifecycle from data ingestion to downstream analytics.

The Databricks platform further supports the implementation of an automated architecture that allows their data lake to feed data into these new operational systems. What used to take nine hours to complete now took the team 20 minutes with Databricks and Delta Lake.

“Databricks acts as the grease between our applications and data. It is the tool that enables our teams to pull event data together in the right way and allows it to be extracted and presented in an easy-to-understand manner,” said Matthew.

Improving supply chain management efficiency by 2x

Leveraging the data expertise of Databricks has enabled Kotahi to streamline data integration and delivery, providing smarter and simpler supply chain solutions that benefit both internal users and customers.

“Business and digital teams work seamlessly together, thanks to the development of a core cloud data infrastructure. This has enabled different parts of the business, from operations to reporting and product development, to materially reduce the number of hours spent on administrative tasks,” said Matthew.

Databricks has been a key partner in helping Kotahi release three crucial new products and platforms this financial year. Of which, the creation of Chilled Produce Reporting for two key export customers in New Zealand and Australia allowed Kotahi to understand how best to respond to live in-transit issues that risk slowing the cargo delivery process. This has reduced the time for customer decision-making by more than 50 percent.

Looking ahead, Databricks will continue to serve as Kotahi’s core data analytics platform, as Databricks continues to create new products and platforms that will help Kotahi enhance the customer service experience.