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November 30, 2016

Wise Systems: Last Mile Delivery and Logistics Made Smarter

Tracks and optimizes delivery fleets through real time and historical data

Daniel de Wolff

In this postmodern world we as consumers want things faster. In fact, we want things, everything, right now. It follows that logistics and delivery systems must adapt to suit these demands. One man, Chazz Sims, CEO and co-founder of Wise Systems, is working to make that happen. According to Sims, in a culture of immediacy that includes when and how companies distribute and deliver their goods, flexible systems that respond efficiently are a necessity. At present, that is where Wise Systems is putting much of their focus: “How do we make sure our system is flexible and fast enough to do the computations necessary to make it easy for the driver to get on board with schedule changes, in order to make sure people can get what they want when they want it.”

Chazz Sims
Wise Systems
Sims received his B.S. in computer science at MIT, before completing his Masters of Engineering at the MIT Media Lab. It was here, at the Media Lab, in a course called Development Ventures, that the founding members of Wise Systems first met. Sims and his partners were challenged to think about problems that affect people not just in the United States, but in a global context. This inspired Sims to better understand cities and logistics, and how both will evolve over time. He recognized that “at the heart of every city is last-mile delivery and logistics.”

The startup ecosystem at MIT functioned not only to catalyze his thoughts around last-mile delivery systems but also to provide the necessary resources and infrastructure for a fledgling team intent on designing a scalable platform that would be “elegant in its execution and flexible in its application.” In fact, it was during his participation with MIT’s highly-lauded GSFA accelerator program that he was able to interact with companies in this space, and began to practically apply his passion for utilizing data to make cities smarter. Enter Wise Systems.

Wise Systems provides enterprise software to help make businesses more efficient and deliveries more predictable. They do this by utilizing multiple data sources to track the movement of a company’s delivery fleet and analyzing real-time and historical data to optimize transportation operations. This includes data concerning the movement of drivers throughout our cities, how long it takes to complete deliveries once on-site, and variables such as customers not being present for said delivery, heavy foot traffic (think, a busy 7-11 where the intended customer can’t immediately accept a Slurpee delivery), or roadblocks related to construction.

“All of these different things seem random and unpredictable within the space,” says Sims. “So we’ve built a system that uses machine learning in order to take all of that data and build better plans for the future. Because last-mile is about planning and execution. And we believe it is about learning from those things as well.”

This forward-thinking model is what, at least in part, separates Wise Systems from the competition. Whereas other companies are spending the majority of their focus and time on the static planning of delivery logistics, under the stewardship of Sims and his cohorts, Wise's software approaches delivery logistics with a three-pronged plan of attack. First, Wise Systems helps companies automatically plan and schedule their daily deliveries under a variety of constrains. Next, they help companies execute that plan by monitoring and adjusting operations in real-time. And finally, Sims says, “We collect the data to improve the process over time…learning from what you [the client] did. Learning from historical data separates us from other companies and helps us build better technology.”

With Sims as CEO, Wise Systems has participated in a variety of startup accelerator and development programs, including Lamp Post Group’s inaugural Dynamo logistics accelerator and Techstars. They are also members of MIT’s E14 Fund, which was developed to support exceptional startups springing from the Media Lab. Sims points out the extraordinary value of participating in the MIT startup ecosystem, growing Wise System's relationships, and acquiring the necessary mentorship to help guide Wise as they connect with companies in the industry.

They’ve already worked with companies in a range of industries, including multiple global 500 companies. So far, customer response has been overwhelmingly positive, from the higher-ups, down to truck drivers on the ground. In fact, Sims and his co-founders have made a point of collecting and implementing feedback from drivers in an effort to create technology that works for everyone involved in the process—even going so far as to ride around in trucks on deliveries to get first-hand experience of what it means to use Wise Systems applications and get buy-in from the drivers. Overall, Wise makes lives easier for everyone involved in the delivery logistics process by optimizing and making the necessary adjustments.

And now, Wise Systems are newly-minted members of STEX25, which focuses on fostering collaboration between MIT-connected startups and member companies of MIT’s Industrial Liaison Program (ILP). “We’re excited to be part of the program,” Sims says. He recognizes that exposure to “…companies willing to take risks on innovation and having a network of companies excited to work with MIT…is incredibly valuable for us.”

For Chazz Sims, the future of logistics and delivery looks like a much better place, a place where goods arrive seamlessly and only when they are needed. He talks about the simple act of sitting down to eat at a restaurant, and imagines that in the not-so-distant future it will be his intelligent technology that simplifies a complicated process and plays an integral role in making sure the components of the sandwich on his (or our) plate arrived there on time and hassle free; the sandwich along with the plates, the napkins, and even the chairs. There are far reaching implications for the developing world, of course. At present, upwards of 80% of the world currently lacks access to reliable traffic data. However, with Sims as CEO, Wise looks to the future and works to make sure their platform will scale across different countries and regions. In other words, restaurant sandwiches are just a small aspect of a much bigger picture for Chazz Sims and Wise Systems.

About MIT Startup Exchange, STEX25, and MIT’s Industrial Liaison Program (ILP)
MIT Startup Exchange actively promotes collaboration and partnerships between MIT-connected startups and industry. Qualified startups are those founded and/or led by MIT faculty, staff, or alumni, or are based on MIT-licensed technology. Industry participants are principally members of MIT’s Industrial Liaison Program (ILP).

MIT Startup Exchange maintains a propriety database of over 1,500 MIT-connected startups with roots across MIT departments, labs and centers; it hosts a robust schedule of startup workshops and showcases, and facilitates networking and introductions between startups and corporate executives.

STEX25 is a startup accelerator within MIT Startup Exchange, featuring 25 “industry ready” startups that have proven to be exceptional with early use cases, clients, demos, or partnerships, and are poised for significant growth. STEX25 startups receive promotion, travel, and advisory support, and are prioritized for meetings with ILP’s 230 member companies.

MIT Startup Exchange and ILP are integrated programs of MIT Corporate Relations.