Kobo360: driving efficency and affordability in supply chain
Obi Ozor is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kobo360, sits down with Business Chief to discuss supply chain industry predictions for 2020.
Could you tell me a little bit about your company and your role at the company?
I am Obi Ozor, co-founder and CEO of Kobo360, the digital technology platform that is building the Global Logistics Operating System to drive efficiency and affordability in supply chain. Our platform aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to connect cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, and cargo recipients in Africa.
I, alongside my co-founder Ife Oyedele, started Kobo360 in 2017 to tackle logistics in Africa. At the time, logistics on the continent were hampered by poor communication and lack of transparency between cargo owners and truck drivers, making it difficult to move goods from Point A to B.
At Kobo360, we use data and technology to match a users request with a selection of quality trucks of all categories, anytime with service delivery guaranteed. We are essentially fixing inherent inefficiencies and supply chain frictions which exist in the road-based logistics business, delivering huge values and positive experiences to SMEs and larger enterprise including Dangote Group, DHL and Lafarge.
As the company’s CEO, I manage all key aspects of Kobo360 including operations, investments, compliance risk management and product growth. In 2019, we’ve expanded our reach to Togo, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.
What are the current trends within your industry?
The logistics industry in Africa is about to explode. In July 2019, the African Free Trade Agreement [AfCFTA] came into effect; this trade agreement will transform the size of the logistics sector and heralds the creation of the largest free trade bloc in the world. Despite the issues surrounding border closures in some African nations, this is a great milestone for the continent as it will create a market of 1.2 billion people when all member states of the African Union sign.
The AfCFTA will change the way we do business in Africa by increasing the demand for the movement of goods as well as taking away many of the legislative roadblocks that have made it extremely difficult for goods to move across the continent. The agreement will address a lot of the challenges within our industry as well as give us greater scope to produce solutions.
However, there are still many concerns about the process of delivering goods to where they're meant to go. For instance, cargo owners want to have visibility of their goods as they are being moved across the continent.Technology plays a key role in easing that process, and we’ve provided an operating system that links all the key players in the delivery supply chain.
What makes your company competitive?
What sets Kobo360 apart is that we are at the forefront of logistics with the ability to deliver on promises. We have the ability to build, service and maintain a community of truck drivers and clients and, most importantly, the ability to move goods from A to B faster, safer and cheaper than before.
Additionally, job and wealth creation has always been a central tenet to what we wanted to achieve with Kobo360. We offer the 17,000 truck drivers on our platform access to working capital of up to $5,000 monthly, access to insurance products, discounted petrol, and comprehensive HMO packages as well as incentive-based education programs for drivers’ family. Via our platform, truck owners and drivers can take advantage of the reverse logistics of goods - meaning that they’d always have goods to transport back to their original destination. We are already seeing drivers running trips on the Kobo360 platform increase their monthly earnings by 40% as we work together to mobilize logistics across Africa.
What innovations has your company been developing during 2019?
Earlier this year, we launched a new app built to boost speed and efficiency in the transport market. The KoboApp was developed to ensure real time visibility on cargo and trucks, with a suite of unique product features including first-of-its-kind bidding tools for drivers and customers to assess the price of a trip before selection, and digitised waybills with automated invoices.
Moving from the app, we are building our own Global Logistics Operating System - G-LOS for short - that will power trade and commerce across Africa and Emerging Markets. This is a blockchain-enabled platform that leverages technology to combine all activities in the lifecycle of the supply chain ecosystem into one robust system; our operating system will transition Kobo360 into a supply chain service, ensuring we work harder, smarter and faster for all stakeholders on the Kobo360 platform.
What are your predictions for the industry in 2020?
For 2020, I believe there will be a lot more focus on making African integration a reality - and whether or not the continent can successfully implement the AfCFTA - which, if successful, will tear down barriers to trade and mobility in Africa. We will also see a lot of startups leveraging the pan-African agenda to drive digital trade in Africa. The agreement goes beyond effecting change in trade and value chains, it also includes free movement of African citizens across borders for both business and leisure travel.
Is there any exciting news you’d like to share with our readers at Business Chief USA?
Kobo360 turned 2 this month and I used this opportunity to look back at some of our achievements. As 2019 comes to an end and we look towards the New Year, we, at Kobo360 are actively exploring additional countries across the continent to expand into and remain focused in building Africa’s economy.
For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.