- How he grew up with 3PL (Third-party Logistics) in his DNA
- A deep-dive into the importance of eCommerce logistics
- How TMX is changing the game in delivery, supply chain, logistics, and warehousing
- Practical applications of the most cutting-edge technologies – real use cases for metaverse technologies
- The significance of engaging all stakeholders and non-technical team members
Some other titles we considered for this episode:
Read the best-effort transcript
Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):
Michael Waitze 0:10
Okay, we’re on. Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome to a special edition of the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we are joined by Carl Hemus, the Chief Operating Officer for Asia at TMX Global. Carl, I cannot thank you enough for doing this today. How are you, by the way?
Carl Hemus 0:26
All good. Look, thank you for the invite. We’ve been trying to do this for a while.
Michael Waitze 0:31
I was thinking the same thing.
Carl Hemus 0:33
It’s great to get together. I mean, the year started out as the year finished, I guess, which is very lucky for us. We’re very busy. Yeah. Lots of clients around the place. Lots of activity in the business. So yeah, really good. Really good. Thank you.
Michael Waitze 0:46
Awesome. Awesome. I love talking to people that are happy and in a great mood. And before we get to the central part of our conversation, I want to get some of your background for some context for this.
Carl Hemus 0:56
Yeah….Often when I sort of get introduced to people, they’re like, you’ve got a really odd background. And I think it’s, I got referred to as a unicorn last year, right, which I’m like, I’m not sure that’s a good thing at my age, right. That’s probably the wrong place to be right. Now. Look, I I grew up in three PL right. My parents, two sets of uncles and grandparents are all in the industry. So it was kind of a DNA thing for me. Oh, well. I tried lots of things to stay away from it, but ended up with me, and I love it. It clearly is genetic. I grew up inside big organizations like Kuehne + Nagel. And DHL was very lucky to get taught and schooled and taken on board and mentored as a whole conversation, you know how I came through that industry. But I got disenfranchised with it because it wasn’t following what was happening in the world. And I got asked to help and set up and run DHL ecommerce for Asia, right. And we saw the opportunity early, yeah, to go upstream. And DHL didn’t want to go there, which is the only reason I left right was because I could see that. And these are all my opinions, obviously, but the three PL world is getting left behind. So those big traditional freight moving companies are getting attacked from all sides. And they didn’t want to move. So I dropped out of the traditional environment. And I actually went into startups for a while. Yeah, and was bobbing around in tech in logistics, which is a really taboo subject with all traditional three PL people because they just don’t want to talk about it. It’s like, don’t tell me about tech.
Michael Waitze 2:34
But I really want to understand why. Because you look at companies like DHL carrier logistics, like all these companies, they were so good and so efficient at taking, let’s just say a pallet, yeah, off the ship, and getting it to where it meant to go and to and it’s super efficiently. And that ship could have come all the way from, you know, Singapore to LA. And it ended up getting out to getting to the store where it needed to get towards the distribution center and stuff. But then splitting that pallet into its component parts of like one piece going to, you know, Main Street, another piece going to Turkey Meadow Road, I lived on that street, I didn’t make that up. Got to be really hard. But what was the opposition to them dealing with tech in the context of logistics?
Carl Hemus 3:14
Sorry, it’s a great question, right? And for me, it comes in two parts, right? So the freight world grew up by, it was a little bit like the movie, where they traveled down the yellow brick road, and they find the wizard, and the wizard happens to be a small old man behind the curtain pulleys and levers. That is the story of the freight world. They hit everybody away from it and said, don’t ask us it’s too difficult. It’s very complicated. We’ll do it for you, right? Ecommerce came along, which is where they started to have them break pallets and do these funny little box deliveries to doors and, and suddenly the world understood a little bit more about what they did. And they actually, if you’re organized, isn’t that complex, right? And then technology started to poke even further holes in what they were doing. So there was a big sort of generic turn away from it that said, Actually, we’re going to stay over here and use this thing called ecommerce, it’s still boxes, it’s still pallets, it’s still containers, what you do with it, when we deliver it to you hands off, it’s not us, right. And that was the my intro to how I got here is why I left because you can’t You’re missing the biggest part of the market. And they still don’t want to do it. And they’re still very reluctant to adopt what we refer to as technology in terms of this.
Michael Waitze 4:37
I mean, you and I cannot be that far apart in age, but I think if people look at us from you know, 10 or 20 meters away they’ll think those guys have no idea what tech is.
Carl Hemus 4:45
Yeah, totally. I love it. I love the
Michael Waitze 4:47
I love being underestimated. It’s I’ve been underestimated my entire life and outperform. But here’s the thing I want to ask. Right and you said the logistics of your parents, your grandparents, your great grandparents were all in the logistics. and three failed business. But I can’t believe that grandpa was using tech to do this. Where does the tech interest come from for you? And why? Because that has to be the big separating point for you between leaving a corporate and doing what you’re doing today is the tech piece. Yeah. Because the tech gives you scale and leverage that you couldn’t get otherwise. Where does your tech interest come from?
Carl Hemus 5:19
I think it’s down to a couple of things. Right. Here’s one, I left the traditional three PL space very early. And that was just by coming to Asia. You know, I left Europe, I landed in Hong Kong, and it was like, What on earth is going on? And then in the mid 90s, I got sent over the border into Shen’s in the Pearl River Delta open. So that’s your Sage egg and Guangzhou arranged into those areas. And I was like, who knows about this? That’s like a different world. And China was, like, 10 years ahead of the rest of the world. At that point, it just wasn’t telling anyone, you know, they were using QR code to pay for stuff in the late 90s. Right. And that’s, you know, most people in Europe still can’t spell QR.
Michael Waitze 5:59
Even if you’ve spotted them the Q and the R, yeah.
Carl Hemus 6:03
What do you mean, doesn’t work? I can’t do it, right. So my exposure to that came very early. And then because of having the opportunity in DHL ecommerce, I got exposed to Alibaba and Lazada, eBay to some extent. And then I was around for the formation of Amazon fulfillment. So I was actually sat in a meeting room in Seattle when they figured out how to do it. And I came out of that meeting with four of my colleagues from DHL, and we were like, We’ve just lost our jobs. Yeah, because Amazon have now figured out what fulfillment is. And now we’re in trouble. And, and you’ve seen the story go from Amazon ever since. Right? So my exposure was really early to this. And I think it’s also I’ve always been quite inquisitive, you know, my parents will tell you that I was the kid that used to take things apart and could never get them back together. Again, you’d be left with a little bag of nuts and bolts that wouldn’t fit back to where they were supposed to go. So for me, technology is my ability to do that without actually breaking anything. Because you can play around with it, you can experiment on your technical words like sandboxing, and things will start to appear. Right. But in layman’s terms, for me, technology is the ability to experiment and test and play without actually touching anything and breaking it. And for me, that was a blessing, right? Because I break stuff a lot. So it was the ability really to stretch it. And then because of working around some of these really interesting companies, it pulls you along. And you just get into that mindset of yeah, we can we can have a go at that. Or yeah, why wouldn’t we do it? Or, and again, this is where the hearts and minds of some of the big logistics players just are not there. They’re there. They’re too big now in some of these companies are half a billion. Sorry, yeah, half a million people just in certain countries. I mean, you’ve got I think DHL is 600,000 people worldwide ups are nearly a million people worldwide. Right. I was talking to Accenture the other week, they just crossed 700,000 people as well. Right. So it’s like the too big to shift. These are traditional companies who truly are now oil tankers that he takes two years to move, right. And unfortunately, e commerce space doesn’t wait that long.
Michael Waitze 8:10
It doesn’t at all. It’s it’s in a hurry. And it’s moving really fast. I feel like we’re at an inflection point, not just for three PL, but for almost every industry that has accumulated anywhere between 500,000 to let’s just say 1.2 million employees. And I think that all the aggregation that’s gone on over the past, I don’t know, called 50 years, is now about to be disintermediate disintermediated, by smaller, independent companies that are doing things with technology. Does that make sense?
Carl Hemus 8:42
I and this was the other thing that interested me about moving into the space and away into these smaller, agile customer driven companies, is you can go pick off work from some very, very big organizations without too much trouble, right? Because you just say, Yes, it was difficult. You go yeah, we’ll do that. Then you come back to the office and you go figure it out. Yeah. You don’t need 52 spreadsheets and 14 people in a meeting room to figure this stuff out right now. And I think that’s where you’re absolutely right, this growth of mid market superheroes is going to continue to grow. And I love it. I think these companies have got all the smarts. I think they’ve been given a bad rep by the media predominantly chatting about VCs, given the money, they don’t know what to do with PE is coming in and not understanding what they’re investing in. To my mind. That’s rubbish. These people are trying to help, right? And maybe they’ve made some bad investments, or maybe they’ve poured a bit too much cash in. I don’t think that’s anything to do with the companies that are investing in. That’s just the global environment we’re in right there. Which is for me, investing is worse than the lottery, right? You need a lucky rabbit’s foot, a crystal ball and some dice and then you might start to have a chance. Yeah, so I think it’s a really interesting spice.
Michael Waitze 9:59
Yeah, You and I can spend, I think a ton of time talking about how the at least how the VC world is broken. But I think that’s a conversation for another time.
Carl Hemus 10:08
Yeah, long conversation.
Michael Waitze 10:10
I was on a call yesterday or the day before with somebody who’s building something in the artificial intelligence space, you’ll see where this is related in the second. And he said, I want to be clear about this. We’re not building tech for tech stick, right? Because I think like you can just have technology and show off technology, you can see what Facebook is doing renaming themselves from, you know, Facebook to meta trying to, I don’t know, convince people that the metaverse as they see it is a thing. Frankly, I think it’s a misdirection of focus, right? In the sense that you can build whiz bang technology. But if you’re not using it for like regular day to day things, here’s the thing. I learned pretty quickly that tech technology connectivity, when I was at Morgan Stanley, and then a Goldman Sachs allowed me to be factors more productive. I mean, really, exponentially more productive, so much. So that like someone actually said to me, is that magic? Like, how did you do that? So I think this like real world application of cool tech changes the way people do business. I want to know how what you’re doing in the context of the metaphors because you run the risk of getting lost in this idea of is it just like that when it’s not? So tell me how it’s not and how it’s like a real world application?
Carl Hemus 11:21
Yeah, awesome. I was smiling as you were saying that because the metaverse is dead. Right? And immediately, I was like, what, what are we, what we’ve invested in something and he’s gone. What’s going on what basically the article was positioned in exactly the way you’ve just explained why the world went crazy. They saw this Metaverse thing. They saw Facebook changes, and everybody ran and followed it. And it’s gonna change the world. Right? And it hasn’t. I mean, everyone’s Oh, it’s rubbish. It’s gone. And it’s when did our reaction time become point three of a second? Yeah, exactly. Is the metaverse has been in existence. I think in reality, less than less than two years. Right.
Michael Waitze 11:56
In its limitation. Yeah, for sure is that and
Carl Hemus 12:01
a little bit like the birth of the Internet. The all the people that I speak to around it are varying levels of either financial interface with it, or the actual technology development of it, or the actual writing of the code that supports it. I have no clue where this thing is going. Like we’ve we’ve sort of happened on it. Yeah, we’re doing things with it. And it’s now talking back to us. And we’re now looping in AI. We’re now looping in predictive, we’re playing with machine learning with and it keeps growing, right. And I think this is one of the things that drew me to to Amex. And and it’s kind of a serendipity thing, when you start to bump into people, we’re all have the same mindset, right? And this is about practical application. And you’re sort of analogy of it makes me x times more productive is exactly the way that we look at it. All right. And the metaverse is one tool. Alright, it’s a very big and very modern and very exciting one. But what we’re looking to do with it is follow our philosophy in this in terms of it’s a real life use case to solve a real life problem. And if a piece of technology doesn’t do those things, then it’s it might be clever, but it’s not for us write the history of, particularly again, I hate sort of promoting my industry, because I love it, and I spend so much time in it. But the logistics industry has a habit of going to the top right hand corner of the Gartner quadrant, and saying that’s where we should be. And you got to be able to why? And they’ll go well, because it’s up there it says, and you’re like, but if we looked at the use case, have we tried it? Have we brought them in to talk to us, we don’t need to Gartner did all of that. Those days, I think I’m really happy those days are going right this is now if it doesn’t help me fix a problem. If it doesn’t give clarity and purpose to an investment and either money, time or effort, don’t use it. And I think Asia and Southeast Asia in particular, is a really strong advocate of this where you know, we’ve got traditional labor rates that are incredibly low, that we’ve got huge amounts of available labor, or we did pre pandemic, and, you know, a 600 million strong base of people that are largely in their 25 to 40 age group, which means they’re available for work. So this is now starting to tip a little bit. And I think that’s that’s where we view the metaverse and other tools as really create an environment where we can collaboratively grow with the tech with the people and with the country itself.
Michael Waitze 14:27
I want to get to a couple of examples of some real world implementations to this because they’re probably super cool. But you mentioned the Gartner Magic Quadrant. And I also want to mention the Gartner hype cycle because I think it’s important just to frame this conversation. The hype cycle is actually really compressed now. Right? Like there’s always this technology trigger. It goes all the way up to this peak of inflated expectations. And I think we’re past that now. Like we’ve already gone into this like trough of disillusionment and coming up into this what they call the slope of the problem, right? Yeah. Yeah, sort of why because that drove this illusion for the Internet actually lasted for almost a decade. Yeah, absolutely right. But for the metaverse, it’s going to be much more compressed. And I want to talk about some of that compression with you. Because if you’re actually implementing this in real world examples, I’d love to know, like one or two of them, and then see how it’s changed the way whether it’s in the supply chain, or just in the ERP in the inside of a warehouse, right? This stuff has changed. Go for it.
Carl Hemus 15:27
For me, there’s there’s two standard sort of examples. And one of them is around stakeholder management. Okay. As we said, logistics and supply chain has done a really good job of making itself difficult and complex and hard to reach. And so it results in senior leaders of businesses. And I’ve been one of those, particularly as a CFO, in large organizations where CEO and CFO only ever want to talk to you when there’s a problem, right? And otherwise, investment or strategy just wasn’t a thing, right? Nobody understood it. And it was like 30 people in a warehouse go in and get alone. And when you wanted to push for investment into new facilities, or new technologies, this was really difficult because it’s expensive. It’s expensive. It’s misunderstood or not understood. Right. So we then sat literally two weeks ago with the chairman and his board of a very large organization in Malaysia going through a deep transformation. Okay, and then moving from traditional business to post pandemic demand from country from government and from people. I surround food securities. And it means them changing everything. So we’ve been around them for a while and looking at everything from strategy to methods to go to IPO and, and the guys then turned around and said, Well, what are we getting? A lot what you mean, what are we getting? And they were like, well, you sent us all the beautiful designs, and we can’t read the drawings. And you know, the blueprint isn’t a hat. Is it a brooch, you know, is what do we do? So yeah, there’s only a few people that understand that reference, right? The Uptown this was we said, You know what we’re going to call your food grading sortation and automation facility in the metaverse, we’re then going to bring you into it as a board. And you can come and say what you’re about to spend your money on. And we had 40 or 50% of the group called Loving, fantastic, but the other 50% of the group like we don’t think they’re going to understand what you’re doing. This is really technical. We went with it. And we put the chairman in the metaverse, he and his Oculus goggles on, sat behind his desk, and the guy was blown away. And he spent 40 minutes talking about it with his board and with us. And he pushed the investment case through, right. So bringing reality to very difficult to understand ideas and strategies, and giving people the chance to see exactly what it is they’re going to be investing in is a real use case. And so this is a chairman of a very traditional Malaysian company that just when I get it, I see what you’re doing. And that’s a huge help for us in this industry.
Michael Waitze 17:58
When it when he took the goggles off, did he feel like he’d come out of the future and right into the present? I really want to do you know what I mean? Because it’s so different than what he’s already experienced.
Carl Hemus 18:07
This was the conversation right? He’s a you went back in a second time. I need to explain this. And one of the unique things about the metaverse, which makes it different. And it was how we got to the use case of actually working with it is it’s collaborative nature. So whilst meta and decentral, all these guys are trying to get you to go into a space to spend money or byproduct, we’re in their driving collaboration, right? So we’ve actually got to the engineers that they met the chairman in his new facility. And basically we did a building tour in the metaverse, right. And this then snap back to Oh, yeah, here’s 200 slides or PowerPoints on my desk, but I can put this on. And I can see immediately what that 200 pages means, right? And that’s the connection that supply chain needs. Because we’re too technical. We’re too we’re not data driven enough, actually. But it’s the wrong data that we share. And there is very little link back to the real world when we’re pitching for some of these things. Right. Right. The thing in the pandemic that I still refer back to is nobody understood the importance of supply chain and why it was a major thing until toilet paper ran out on the shelf. And the whole world went mad and people were fighting over toilet paper in supermarkets. Right. Yeah, that was the moment that tipped. And if you watch the media around that point, you can track when they went to the toilet roll used to get here. But did it not just appear in the warehouse? Like we thought it was just like a tunnel that it came through? And it was here, right? So this
Michael Waitze 19:39
is a conversation that I used to have a lot and that was we take all of these and I’ll get back to the metaverse in a second. You’ll see where this is going. But we take all of these things that we live with for granted. But think about this. If I took away every piece of automation that you had, right, your phone, your television, your lights, your Are the buses, the airplanes he used to fly the boats and just said, Okay, now you have nothing, let’s rebuild this from scratch, we’d all die. Because we couldn’t even make our own food. Most people couldn’t even grow a tomato in their backyard much less make the toilet paper right, which we complete take for granted. The only way sorry that we have access to any of this stuff is through really sophisticated supply chain management. All right, but also watch this. Just imagine the situation and again, tell me where I’m wrong here, where somebody senior at the warehouse or as part of the supply chain is just on vacation. And something breaks down. Everything breaks down, right? It’s nobody’s fault. And now they have to go back from where they are to another country to go to the warehouse or go to the place where it’s broken and inspect it. But they don’t anymore, right? Because now they can literally go into the metaverse Exactly. And what and tell me again, is it a digital twin isn’t exactly the place where it is. Just reformat in the metaverse, so they can then go there and interdict and fix something in a way that was impossible before. No.
Carl Hemus 21:03
And this is where I I get really excited about where we potentially can take this right. So I’ve had some background in ports and infrastructure projects and large scale difficult things, right. And digital twin is starting to answer some of those issues, right. And so being able to model an environment in parallel that says, Well, can I test so back to my I like to break things and test them? Yep, you can do that. The problem with digital twin still is it’s very removed from the operation because again, it’s quite mathematical. It’s driven by people that understand exactly what they’re doing with that tool. And it gets into a rabbit hole very, very quickly if you’re not careful. Okay. What we’re trying to do with met with the renders in the metaverse is make that again, something that’s more tangible, right. So right now when you go into a facility that we’ve designed in the metaverse, it’s and we call it a metal clone, because it’s a one to one render from either the actual business facility that’s there or the one they want to build. So we’re actually taking it from architectural drawings. Were using a middle way to move from traditional candles into the metaverse. And so if a beam is at 2.3 meters on your architectural drawing, it’s 2.3 meters in the metaverse. So if you’ve got a million square foot facility, which we’ve done for a client in the UK, it takes you a long while to walk around it because it’s really a million square feet of facility in the metaverse. And this was what blew away the chairman, when we showed him through because he can actually walk through the different parts of the building. So he walked past the grading machinery, he could see how it would sit in the building. He then walked through it physically walk through a door in the building that took him to the manual area where they would deal with things that were not quite right, he could go out to the dock doors and look at how the loading bays laid out and where the trucks would move through. So it’s very much reality in a virtual world if you like, yeah, where we’re trying to move to is that what you’ve just described is what we call simulation. So what’s not available at the moment, and we’re working quite hard with a couple of partners on this is to bring that virtual representation of an operation into the metaverse for an example if I can run a sorting machine, 1000 parcels an hour. What happens if I turn it up to 2000 parcels an hour, right? And what we want to be able to do is to physically see that happening. So you find your breaking points, you find your bottlenecks we’ve had, I’ll get to the second use case in a minute. But we’ve had some really interesting conversations with with non technical people about how this works.
Michael Waitze 23:37
But if you can run a simulation that goes from pressing 1000 parcels to 2000 parcels without putting anybody at risk, right? Because in the old days, you could turn off the machine. And you could go to 2000 parcels, somebody might lose their hand or or somebody might fall down or the equipment might break. But if you can simulate this, does it change the way you interact with insurance companies as well? I mean, I don’t know if you’ve thought about that. But you know what I mean?
Carl Hemus 23:59
No, it’s and again, this is why I love what we’re doing. So we were talking to somebody here in Thailand around. They used to they have a semi automated warehouse at the moment and you’re looking for some other things. And they said, Can you drive a forklift? In the metaverse, we were like, What do you mean? Well, we have problems with new drivers coming in and they bang into the new kit that we’ve got. They don’t know their way around. And so we sort of sat and went well, technically, yes. But one of the issues that Metaverse has is that it has no relation to physics. So you can’t emulate weight or speed or anything relative to real life, right? We haven’t invented physics in the metaverse yet I’m sure it will come to the world. But then we did a bit more digging and we engaged with a forklift company that’s working in VR. So they’ve created a VR format before the training which we think we can almost copy and paste into the metaverse. So then you’ve got a virtual training module for a forklift truck. But the warehouse that you’re driving and arranges The one that you’re going to be working in, right, so the forklift drivers know where to park them to charge them. They know where to go in terms of where the bathroom is, and where the canteen is all those kinds of things. The super interesting thing back to your point about insurances when we spoke to them, provider about this, they went, yeah, we’ve got all the insurance companies, they’re climbing around us about this, because the first 60 days of forklift driving is when the majority of accidents will happen naturally. And they’ve said, we’ve got an eight day oversight. And again, statistics drive me nuts, right. But they started to reel off a bunch of numbers and some pretty charts that said, look, it’s reducing it. And I’m like, Okay, forget all the numbers and all your statistics. I’m not really too stressed about that. But show me real time. How many people have you trained? And how many accidents have they had? No, no, yeah, we did 15 people. And they had no accidents, because they’d already understood how the forklift works, right? And they’d been around the kit, so they knew what to do, right? So this has got another layer of practicality to that when you start to talk about being able to do training. We’ve already started to work with simulating picker. And when you look at the two demonstration modules that we’ve got, there’s a pick and pack environment in there where, with a little about five minutes worth of training, you can learn to pick and pack a box into an aerator onto a pallet, and then moving out all in the metaverse right. Now you get into discussions around augmented reality, where you could probably further that experience even even more, right. So I think training and application to safety. And application to building operations is an area of this that will take its own direction at some point in the next couple of years.
Michael Waitze 26:35
I cannot wait until we solve the physics in the metaverse because you’re right once we can once we can understand wait speed, time and all the things that go into physics. Just the way it changes the way we do things is going to be insane.
Carl Hemus 26:49
It does. Typical of I mean, we have some a lot of the guys that we’ve got working for us on developing this are all from the gaming industry. Yeah. And this has been the big separation in technology recently as well, which is there’s a huge crossover now in the languages and the tools that we use for development that meet exactly with gaming. So some of the guys we’ve got now we’re all gaming industry. I remember like we figured out you can fly in the metaverse, and I was like, What do you mean? Because there’s no reality to physics or space, you can literally just take off. And I was like, Have you done it? And they’re like, Yeah, but we all throw up. The body can’t deal with it, because it has nothing to latch
Michael Waitze 27:26
on is no frame of reference. People don’t understand, like how
Carl Hemus 27:29
you get immediate extreme motion sickness. And they said it’s not pretty. So we won’t be doing it again in the in the week. They call it the lab, but it’s the area of the business that we’ve got for them.
Michael Waitze 27:39
So you you brought up something that I hadn’t thought about before we started recording, when a company like TM X starts employing technology, right? You said this a little bit like we don’t know where we’re gonna go. We don’t know where it’s going. And we also don’t know who’s going to react and how they’re going to react to what we’re doing. Have you found in the time that you’ve been doing this the time to even be engaging partners, that using new technology that allows you to engage other partners that you hadn’t considered engaging before, like insurance companies. Because it just didn’t make any sense before. But now you’re like, it’s giving me such a larger scope to work with
Carl Hemus 28:14
100%. These are growing in probably two ways for us. But you and I have spoken before. Again, one of the reasons that I joined Tim, next is this idea of new ecosystems, right? Yeah. And there’s all kinds of analogies if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go bargain, you know, with of course, yeah. And I think that’s never truer than done with technology development, and particularly what we’re trying to do within the logistics and supply chain space, right? We can’t do it alone. We can run off into the future. And we can go build a Metaverse and stand on top of a hill and go look it up something clever on our own right. And it will be a very expensive venture. The idea of sort of holding on to other organizations and sharing and being open around what we’re doing, talking about issues talking about opportunities, has opened up a whole new world to us, right and this ability to walk from a meeting and go, Can I drive a forklift in the metaverse three days later? We had an answer that so yeah, you can, here’s how you do it. Right. Go back five years, you would not be able to do that in
Michael Waitze 29:20
aging with them. That’s my point. Right? You wouldn’t have been engaged with them because there was no reason to do it. Sorry. Go ahead. Yeah.
Carl Hemus 29:25
So you wouldn’t even know where to talk to right. So I think part of this, it’s opened up new platforms and new technology providers and new partners. But beyond that, it’s opened up a whole new world of use cases. So to your point, insurance companies, right, we’ve now had automation companies coming to us, saying how do we put our kids in your Metaverse so people can see it. So it’s changed the dynamic right? The other thing that I love is that because I mean that the Oculus sets will go anywhere and but they need a fairly ready internet connection at the moment and it takes a bit of practice with so is that Drawing customers to come see us. And as you know, from the logistics space, the only time you normally see a customer is if there’s a court case, there’s very little times they’ll come to the office right? Now having them come to us because they want to see what we’re doing. Yeah, we built the showroom in Bangkok. And it’s, it’s become its own thing. I’ve had to actually employ a couple of people to work with us now on our part time basis to almost do to us. Because, I mean, it looks I mean, we’ve done a great job, I’ll be honest, I’m very proud of what we’ve put together. But when you start to engage with people on what we’re doing, they look at you like, what, and then you show them it. And it’s, it’s a really satisfying experience. I haven’t gone through this with anyone yet that hasn’t come out the other end of it going. That’s amazing. How did you do it? Can I go again? And have you thought about this, this, this, this and this? Are everyone’s got thoughts about how it should work? And I think it’s because it’s this very tactile experience, right? This is not sitting in front of, you know, PowerPoints, this is not sitting in front of a computer screen. This is this is actually going somewhere on a journey. And it’s, I’ve started to liken it to that movie Inception now, because you can go through portals to go to somewhere else, then you go through a new portal to go somewhere else. You’re four or five layers into the metaverse before you know it. Yeah. So it’s like, how long is it going to be before we did somebody not come back? When I’m out of here, we lose, we lose a very senior customer some way to the rest of us. Right? So
Michael Waitze 31:36
whatever happened to Bob, does it change the way? And I know it’s early, right. But I’m curious, the way you think about this is to change the way you think about sales. And the way your sales force can think about it, because it’s just another completely like you said, the world is so tired of PowerPoint presentation, some guy was on a call with a couple of days ago, he was like, Should I bring up the PowerPoint? Or should I just tell you what I’m thinking I’m like, Please, just tired of it. Anyway, but it doesn’t change what you think about sales,
Carl Hemus 32:04
it does. Look, so I guess the other one of the other use cases and the genesis for, for actually getting into this thing in the first place was COVID, dislocated, a very important part of our business, which is design. So a lot of the warehouses were designed are very, very complex, and I’ve met in TX are the most talented automation specialists, Design Specialist and architects I’ve ever come across, not just in this industry, but in general, the trick that they have to pull off is that they make very difficult designs, engaging to the customer by being in the room with them. So there’s a lot of whiteboard sessions. There’s a lot of sharing of drawings and explaining things right. That’s very hard to do on teams. The actual design process is almost impossible remotely in its current state. Right. So the team figured out how to do this in the metaverse. So the collaborative nature of being a noob literally can stand around a table and looked down on the internal workings of a warehouse. And you can pick up a piece of racking and move it, you can pick up a I don’t even know how heavy an ASRS system is, it’s hundreds and 1000s of tons of metal that you can pick up shift and put down somewhere else. And you can do it whilst talking to each other and seeing it’s an avatar at the moment. They don’t represent us still. But you’re working together collaboratively, you can hear and see and work through things together. That design process will materially change what’s happening in design over the next years. I mean, it hasn’t it also material will change the way we engage with clients we’ve already had. So we had the team in Melbourne, we have the client sat with us in Bangkok, and his boss was in Korea. And we were all in his warehouse that he wanted to build in the metaverse talking to one another in real time.
Michael Waitze 33:51
It’s like design without disruption. Right? If I move this machine, literally three inches to the left, or if I make the warehouse, you know, four and a half percent bigger, or whatever it is, like you said, I can test without destroying, your parents will be happy about this, maybe they’ll get their TV set back from when you were a kid. But by being able to do this, you’re driving efficiency in a way you never could do before. And I know this because when I set up a studio in somebody else’s office, it literally took me all day because I physically had to move furniture from one part of their office to another part of their office rearranging the room, film it, see what the vantage points look like, look what the lighting situation was, if I could have done all of this and just been like with software. Yeah, it would have saved me 810 hours of a 15 hour day.
Carl Hemus 34:39
And this is exactly what we’re seeing now, as we engage people during the design process is we’ve been doing this with our anxieties Marks and Spencers in the UK or so we’ve won an enormous piece of work with them and we’re designing their new facilities with them in the metro. Well, exactly what you just said right there like let’s bring away Have skies in and see what they say right and they’ve sat down Yeah, you’ll never get around that corner, right or that racking needs to shift that by two feet, or Yeah, the disk is too high or too low. And they’re not looking at drawings. They’re not trying to imagine they’re actually moving things around. And even they can’t understand how they’re doing what they’re doing, but they’re loving the process, right? Yeah. So the material human need to engage on a personal level through these big decision making processes will drive the development.
Michael Waitze 35:31
I think that is the perfect way to end Carl Hemus, the Chief Operating Officer for Asia at TMX Global. That was awesome. Thank you so much for doing this.
Carl Hemus 35:40
Thank you so much for having me. It’s always a pleasure. I hope to see you soon.