Former Walmart alumnus brings AI to trucking, minimizing spoiled produce26 Nov 2020
The former Walmart executive Syed Aman has moved on in his logistics career and is now the cofounder and CEO of HWY Haul, a company that professes a goal of streamlining the business of delivering produce to retailers while also reducing food waste.
Produce spends nearly half its life in transit before it is delivered to the destination at which it is scheduled to be sold. The result of this drawn-out process is that it risks food spoilage and therefore requires retailers to manually check in on the status of deliveries while drivers are required to make periodic stops to check on temperature, all cutting down on efficiency.
Aman is aiming to automate this process end to end through the use of AI and machine learning. HWY Haul allows both stores and suppliers to schedule a driver that is vetted by Aman’s startup, determine trip cost, monitor routes in real-time through “smart” updates, and receive temperature check data directly from the freight hauler.
One of the results of this integrated tracking system for deliveries is that it renders the supply chain more efficient thereby reducing food that arrives at its destination already spoiled, only to be tossed in the dumpster. This system results in 40% of food in the United States going uneaten, which translates to Americans throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
What was already a supply chain issue has only been exacerbated by COVID-19. Hiccups in transportation and safety have only made the delivery of quality produce more important as delays have become commonplace. Aman told Forbes that despite the constant changes in transportation and truck and driver availability caused by the pandemic, the deliveries scheduled using HWY Haul’s AI, were on-time and delivered using reliable carriers 100% of the time.
This Bay Area startup is beginning to get the attention of produce distributors thanks to its reliability. In August, the startup landed a $1.8 million seed round, bringing its total funding to $3.3 million since its founding in 2018, according to Crunchbase data. Along with money, the company has landed some key accounts, working with Costco, H-E-B, Kroger, Safeway, Hello Fresh and Walmart. With transportation logistics continuing to be a cumbersome undertaking, it is likely that this enterprise is entering the beginning of its growth trajectory.
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