KLU Talks Business … with Robert Dohrendorf, Graphmasters

Actively avoiding traffic congestion is the promise made by successful routing company Graphmasters which made a guest appearance at KLU’s Startup Day in 2020. Their route planning service is based on NUNAV, a swarm-intelligent navigation app. The technology ensures that all vehicles are optimally distributed across the existing infrastructure which, in turn, enables a better flow of traffic. We discuss why this makes sense both economically and regarding sustainability in an interview with CEO Robert Dohrendorf.

For years now, Graphmasters have been driving innovation in the field of traffic and transport logistics. What types of innovations are we dealing with and which services does your company offer logistics providers?

Robert Dohrendorf: Our collaborative routing technology is designed to optimize the use of the existing road infrastructure. On the one hand, we’re trying to solve the issue of ‘selfish routing’. This is when all road users selfishly opt for the apparently best route. Of course, when everyone is applying the same solution, this generates congestion. On the other hand, we’re aiming to ease economic, environmental, and social burdens by enabling a better flow of traffic. By using our routing service NUNAV Courier, logistics service providers can make a positive contribution to this cause.

With this value proposition we’re appealing to traditional business instincts. By taking advantage of what we are offering, providers can improve the competitiveness and quality of their services. One of our main objectives is to integrate human competence with the advantages of our ‘intelligent’ software. Besides, we are providing strong support in finding and implementing individual solutions since every supply chain is different.

In which ways do Graphmasters’ products and services promote environmental sustainability? How important is the subject of sustainability to you, both as a businessperson and in your private life?

Robert Dohrendorf: Sustainability is a fundamental principle of Graphmasters including – for us – environmental, economic and social aspects. Of course, the real challenge is rising above just paying it lip service and actually developing a clear, measurable vision. Let’s take climate neutrality as an example. Imagine we’re trying to help a customer increase their efficiency (km driven/delivery on the last mile) by 30% and, at the same time, improve their productivity (deliveries/vehicle) by 20%, but all under the same conditions. Do you think we’d be helping this customer in becoming climate neutral? The answer is probably no.

As a company and for myself as a private individual we’re faced with a similar dilemma. Is it enough for us to compensate for the CO2 emissions caused by our traveling, use the search engine Ecosia, and almost never drive while we continue to fly around the world, trying to get people excited about collaborative routing? Is it acceptable if our suppliers, e.g. data centers, data suppliers, hardware manufacturers, carry on business as usual?

It’s exciting to see how the discussion around sustainability is progressing. Our company and I personally would certainly welcome it if the political and economic framework changed providing significantly more incentives for taking sustainable actions.

Solving the travelling salesman problem in parcel delivery - NUNAV Courier (Video by Graphmasters)

In September 2020, KLU opened the Research Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains (CSLS). In your opinion, where is the most urgent work to be done in the cooperation between universities and companies regarding climate neutrality?

Robert Dohrendorf: The influence transport service providers have on the economy, the environment, and, in general, on social aspects should be made much more transparent, visible, and understandable across multiple levels. From an economic perspective, it would be interesting to see under which conditions a balance in climate neutrality might be found and which technological approaches would encourage this development.

KLU is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020. As a gift, we are asking for people to give us a motto we can use. Do you have one on hand for us?

Robert Dohrendorf: Ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” KLU’s programs give their graduates a very good idea as to where the puck is going to be, and this most certainly gives them an advantage when starting out on their careers.

Thanks for your time!

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