German logistics startup Synfioo is part of the SAP Startup Accelerator program in Berlin. Together with SAP, the company developed a monitor for real-time arrival forecasts that has now been integrated into the SAP Transportation Management application.
For the solution, making it to the finals of the Smart Supply Chain Awards for outstanding supply chain solutions is also a success out of the SAP Startup Accelerator program.
When it comes to transporting products and goods, the last mile is notorious for harboring unpleasant surprises. How can a company respond, for example, if a booked ferry can’t cross the English Channel due to raging storms? Enhancing SAP Transportation Management with the Synfioo solution means that alternative routes can be calculated in real time by accessing a wide variety of sources for weather and traffic data. And if, for example, the Channel Tunnel train is overbooked, which means the driver has to wait until the next day, the solution can tell him or her that a guarded parking space is available just a few kilometers away from the ferry terminal.
With their jointly developed solution for real-time arrival forecasting, SAP and Synfioo made it to the final round of the Smart Supply Chain Awards for outstanding supply chain solutions, which were bestowed for the first time on November 21 in Frankfurt am Main, as part of the Hypermotion fair.
Eva Zauke, vice president for Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing at SAP and head of the SAP Startup Accelerator program in Berlin, praised the Synfioo and SAP solution as an example of the successful business and technical integration of a startup solution in the standard SAP portfolio.
“SAP Startup Accelerator has won awards before, such as the Best Accelerator 2018 Award from Capital Magazine, for the way we work and our unique approach” explains Zauke. “The fact that one of our solutions made it to the final round of the Smart Supply Chain Awards is a huge confirmation for us. It honors the program’s achievements in integrating product-specific solutions from startups with the standard SAP product portfolio, to generate more value for our customers.”
Customers Benefit from Startup Collaboration
The SAP Startup Accelerator program launched in December 2016, a time when many large companies had already discovered the German capital’s potential as a location for innovation labs, incubators, and accelerators. “We heard ‘you guys are really late to the party’ a lot back then,” remembers Zauke. That’s why it was important to set the program apart.
“To define the accelerator’s business model, we spoke with the startups,” says Zauke. “We asked them what would really help them in their collaboration with SAP. And we discovered that their primary concern was scaling with their customer base. And that was confirmed. Every startup wants to see customers use their solutions, add value, and scale up. No startup ever asked us for funding.”
The SAP Startup Accelerator initiative opens up completely new possibilities for startups. They have the opportunity to become SAP partners and gain access to the company’s customer base for the respective product. SAP employees who collaborate with the startups also contribute expertise in technology and sales, to the startups’ benefit.
For customers, the program means the SAP products they use can be enhanced by the startup solutions. They can generate more value for their business processes, which they wouldn’t have without SAP’s collaboration with startups. The initiative has also made a major contribution to SAP’s image as an innovative company, gained in recent years.
“Customers now have a contact person that connects them with Berlin’s startup scene, along with a specific starting point,” says Zauke. “We’re part of the Berlin Innovation Tour, for example.”
Innovation with SAP Leonardo in the Digital Supply Chain
To be accepted to the SAP Startup Accelerator program, a startup must have developed a solution in the area of digital supply chain, manufacturing, or Industry 4.0. Zauke explains: “We check whether it is a competing solution or one that can complement an SAP product.” If the latter is true, the startup can apply for admission to the accelerator program.
“The supply chain has become cool again,” Zauke declares. “That’s what we hear from analysts like Gartner and that’s what we’re seeing ourselves. It’s one of the areas that is reaping huge benefits from innovative technologies arising from SAP Leonardo. And the program captures the whole spectrum — from IoT sensor data and smart analytics to machine learning and blockchain as a service, and even SAP Cloud Platform.”
The supply chain, the end-to-end value chain spanning the planning, production, delivery, and commissioning of a product, is undergoing a radical transformation. As a market leader in the supply chain with double-digit annual growth, SAP has recognized its innovation potential and partnered with startups to support its customers even better in implementing their strategies.
“Customer-centricity is really important,” says Zauke. “We have to serve our customers with their highly individualized products and, in turn, highly individualized supply chains. The second trend is total visibility; that is, giving customers an overview of their inventories and the progress of their deliveries in real time. Thirdly, we currently have two innovation models. One aims to improve efficiency, product quality, and customer satisfaction while the other involves a transformation on the customer side. Customers no longer buy products, but instead service-based modules — that is, the result of work.”
In response to these myriad challenges, SAP offers the design-to-operate business process in the supply chain as a component of the Intelligent Enterprise. Potential startups come into play in the different process steps between product design, planning, production, delivery, and operations — by complementing and enhancing individual process steps with their solutions, like Synfioo has done with SAP Transportation Management, or by providing new insights or enabling new business models.
Synfioo is one of more than 30 startups that has taken part in the SAP Startup Accelerator program since late 2016.
“Of course, our own team was also involved in the developments along with the startups,” says Zauke. “We’re continuing to improve at meeting startups’ needs and advancing the scalability of the solutions they create. In particular, we’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to agility – and we can see the results in things like the integration of Synfioo with SAP Transportation Management.”