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.