Monday, May 30, 2011

The Cloud and Logsitics

This is the cloud
One of the more interesting things about going into business is that you receive a great deal of advice from all sorts of people.  From the bartender you visit on occasion to your parents everyone seems to have an opinion about how you should run your business.  I smile and nod most of the time listening politely and attempting to sort out which nuggets of wisdom are worthwhile.  It isn’t easy.  My bartender seems to think that fixing a good drink translates into being a good administrative assistant.  I have also been told numerous times that starting a business in this environment borders on crazy. 

Advice comes and goes but one thing remains the same; I hear all the time is “So you are going to be a web company like Facebook?”  I smile and say “Sort of,” and go about my way.  E3 is a web logistics company on the cloud.  In other words, we help your warehouse or trucking company manage inventory and bills of lading without having to purchase software, servers, or developers.  Everything works over the cloud. 
Cloud computing has been around since the early days of the internet.  Anything that works over the web and doesn’t require software or hardware at your operation to run is running on the internet “cloud.”  E-mail could be considered the first “cloud based” application.  The term “cloud computing” came into vogue over the last three years as servers became more powerful and companies sprung up to lease server space to companies who didn’t have enough money for their own servers.  Nobody saw the importance of this except for developers’ at large companies who wanted to side step red tape and put together quick and dirty prototypes.
 It quickly became apparent to business leaders and accountants that the cloud was also a good way to save money because the cost of leasing a server on the “cloud” was less than the expense of purchasing a server, hiring a network person to maintain it, and the energy to cool it and keep it running.  Thus, the great cloud computing gold rush began as companies began to start leasing server space from these cloud computing providers.  According to the March 7th 2011 issue of Business Week there are three big players in this market.  Microsoft, Google and Amazon own roughly 75% of the market and they are slugging it out to become dominant players.
So for a guy trying to keep his warehouse running where do you fit in?  The cloud was designed for people like you.  You understand freight and logistics.  You don’t need to know servers, software, or how to hire people who do.   If you know how to use a web browser you know how to use cloud computers.  You can save your files remotely in a secure location.  You can track your inventory online with either a web browser or smart phone.  Finally, you can rest assured that it is safe because cloud server farms are designed to be up and running 24/7.
That is why I started E3 systems because too many trucking companies are using outdated systems or paperwork to manage the daily operation of their business.  Now, you don’t have to worry about purchasing new equipment or software because it runs on the “cloud.”  The cloud vendor is responsible for upgrading the equipment or software leaving you to run your business.  You are going to have modern up to date systems all the time.  This is going to give you a competitive advantage and if other people use our “cloud” based systems they can easily communicate with you.  This is mutually beneficial partnership which will make it easier for you to compete and more money. 
At the end of the day, that is why anybody goes into to business is to make more money and better service their clients.  So yes, I am a little crazy starting a business but with the power of “cloud computing” I think that I can help customers do more with less.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Onward and upward.

Not a bad week.  The site is working and in staging.  I have my Facebook Page, my Twitter Account, and LinkedIn Page.  Not a bad way to go into a holiday weekend. 

Coming soon a discussion of logistics and cloud computing.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Logistics is changing and you are going to need college grads...start now.

The future of logistics is graduating now.
Since I have joined Twitter, I have found it interesting to learn about other people and events taking place in my industry.  As fate would have it, I noticed two articles side by side that made me notice how things are changing in the logistics business. The first came from the Fast Lane Blog from the Department of Transportation and the other from Yahoo Finance about how young people thanks to the recession are becoming a lost generation. Both articles have a grim tone with a touch of optimism about the future. 

Yahoo Says:
About 60% of recent graduates have not been able to find a full-time job in their chosen profession, according to job placement firm Adecco.

It sounds oddly familiar to me because when I received my bachelor’s degree in 1990 a recession made finding work very difficult and a living wage next to impossible.  Fortunately, for this generation of college graduates there isn't a cover story on Time Magazine telling them they are lazy and worthless.   It seems like a tragic waste of talent that these people are having such a hard time finding work.    
This is where the Department of Transportation blog comes in:

Transportation is a great place to start when creating jobs.  Across all modes of transportation—from roads, bridges, and buses to airports, trains, and maritime—America will always need workers to maintain our transportation networks and build new ways to connect goods and people.
But it’s not enough to just create new jobs. With 50 percent of the current transportation workforce eligible for retirement in 2013, and significant technological changes affecting all modes of transportation, we must educate the next generation of workers.
In other words, many of the people in the trucking, shipping, and warehouse business are getting ready to retire.  There is also a lot of well qualified college grads out there that need work.  Supply meets demand.  What business doesn't want qualified workers who are driven and intelligent?  It is up to these companies to start hiring these people and training them before their work force retires and the institutional memory of their organization walks out the door. 

If these companies are going to hire these people then they are going have a few culture changes.  These new hires are not going to accept AS400 or green screen systems.  They are accustomed to web based or narrow client server systems.  They know how to Tweet, post information on Facebook, and use smart phones rather than fiddle with fax machines.  Finally, these new hires move information at the speed of the internet.  They are going to be a great addition to these companies. They are also going to demand new systems.  This is where E3 systems will help.  E3 has the products and experience companies need to get businesses to move at internet speed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Social Media Here I come

As the launch date of my company gets closer, I am attempting to stay on top of all the social media tools.
Let me go over the list:

Twitter, check
Facebook Company Account, working on
Blog, check
LinkedIn Company Page, working on

I know that in order to stay on top of all this, I am going to need to hire someone.  Of course, I think the first thing necessary is to get launched and start getting a few paying clients. 

Until next time.