Sinisa Palic, General Manager of Satwork: Modern “Smart” Solutions in Transport and Logistics to Set New Standards
Sinisa Palic (Photo: Satwork doo)
For nearly two decades, the company Satwork from Banjaluka has been creating, developing and providing services based on the GPS technology. They develop local products, which can be adapted to the clients’ individual demands at any moment.
They have expanded their operations to the region as well, and we talked to Sinisa Palic, the owner and founder of the company, about the company’s development path, the services it offers to its clients, but also the importance of environmental protection.
Our interviewee also revealed to us his view of the development of the sector that his company operates in, but also the plans for the upcoming period.
Satwork has more than 17 years of experience in the field of satellite tracking of vehicles. What is different in 2022 compared to 2005?
– Things are a lot different now compared to our beginnings, starting with the fact that today there is almost nobody who doesn’t know what satellite following of vehicles is and what the main advantages of this service are, and by that I don’t mean just those who are active in transport and logistics. Back then, in 2005, when Satwork appeared in the market offering this service, we encountered the widest variety of situations in the field and there are numerous anecdotes from that period that we retell at some internal gatherings, company anniversaries and similar events and it’s all entertaining now, but it took an enormous amount of faith in what we did, in the project itself, to overcome some obstacles that we used to encounter on a daily basis back then.
We literally had to create the market for the service we offer, we had to educate our potential clients, to, so to say, create a need for them for the service we planned and wanted to sell them and I can tell you that it was a very difficult job, but we did manage to overcome those initial problems and we are now where we are.
In these 17 years, we have witnessed how modern technologies affect the market, our clients are becoming technologically educated, they recognize their problems and needs, they constantly have new requests, they push us forward in various ways. Somehow, the circle has become complete and now our clients educate us too with their requests, just like we educate them by offering new solutions and new services, implementing advanced technologies. We are satisfied with our results, but we are moving on, we are constantly taking on new challenges.
What we always emphasize is the fact that our company Satwork was among the first ones in the region to offer services of this type and we are especially proud of the fact that, with local know-how, a team of engineers, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning, we have developed our own system SatIRS, which has, with time, grown into a platform through which we now provide a truly wide range of various solutions and services to the end of upgrading business processes. We have also received some acknowledgments for our work and contribution to the development of the market, so, as a company, we got the international acknowledgment “Creators for Centuries” for our contribution to the development of entrepreneurship in the market of southeast Europe for 2019, then, for 2021, the acknowledgment that the Chamber of Commerce of Republika Srpska awards to those most successful in the economy for a recognizable quality and the development of a local product for our SatIRS platform. We are glad that our efforts are recognized and valued this way as well.
Which products or services are the most demanded and why? Have the unstable fuel prices led to a higher demand for the service which enables the control of consumption?
– It is difficult to identify the most demanded service, but we could perhaps say that it is the tracking of the consumption of fuel and not just in the context of the current events and unstable fuel prices. In general, the control of the consumption of fuel, the measuring of the level of fuel in the tank, which entails the registering of sudden pouring and letting out of fuel, primarily to the end of reducing the costs, are the problems that the owners of big fleets inevitably face. One of the main functions of our system is cost management, that is, cost reduction and optimization.
The services we mentioned show very quickly if there are unjustified costs, the reaction of the clients in the sense of regulating the detected flaws in the business process is almost immediate and, of course, the result is inevitable. However, the organization and management of business processes and cost optimization are also influenced by other services that we also offer on our platform, such as, for example, the Travel Order Service, Digital Tachograph Remote Reading Service, My Locations Service, Routing Service, Economical Ride Service etc.
Each of the services is adapted to the specific needs of individual clients and is modified to a certain extent in line with the specific demands.
Satwork is a certified company. Why is this important and what kind of a message does this send to the clients?
– Satwork has the certificates for management quality ISO 9001, as well as the certificate for information safety ISO 27001. Information safety is something that is crucial when it comes to the core activity of Satwork, and clients very often insist on it, especially when it comes to contracts with big companies, whose business processes largely depend on transferring data and information through our SatIRS platform.
To try to explain this in more detail, through our platform, our clients have information about certain positions and parameters in real time, and we, for example, have tens of thousands of tracked objects in the system, and that is a truly enormous amount of data that is momentarily collected and transferred from the field to the platform. On our servers, the collected data are processed through various services and delivered to the client in the form of various reports.
Our responsibility toward the client is enormous, and so is the trust that the client gives us. In order for the whole process of first collecting the data and then transferring them, processing them and then later delivering the report to function flawlessly, it is necessary to take certain measures of organization and protection etc. To our client, one of the guidelines in choosing a partner is certainly that certificate of the information safety standard that we own.
Also, as a company, we have copyrighted our product.
As a company, Satwork pays special attention to service quality and I can safely say that the quality, reliability and security that we provide to our clients have helped the fact that, despite all the challenges of the market and despite the competition, which is certainly present and is growing increasingly present, we are maintaining our leading position through all these years.
You are developing your operations in the region. Are there differences in the markets and the needs of the clients?
– Yes, we have been developing our operations in the region and, since 2012, we have had a company in Serbia, in Belgrade, and since 2013, in Montenegro, in Podgorica, as well, so we are very actively present in all these markets. We also operate and have clients in Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Austria, Romania and we hope that we will also have a little more of them in the EU market soon.
In general, there is not much difference when it comes to clients’ needs in different markets. All clients have the same goal, which is the optimization of business processes, along with cost reduction. What sets us apart from the majority of the competing companies in the area is the fact that we have developed our own system, that we have an organized in-house 24/7 user support, as well as development, which enables us to recognize and detect our clients’ needs on time and to react very quickly to the specific requests and needs and the potential problems of our clients.
You’re taking care of both sides – business optimization and environmental protection. To what extent is the role of modern logistics tools recognized in the sense of environmental preservation?
– I’m glad you’ve noticed that. Our SatECO service, or, as it is perhaps better known, Eco Drive (economic driving) is certainly a tool that combines business optimization and environmental protection. When we presented this service to the public through some articles and presentations way back when, among other advantages of the service, we also emphasized the fact that, through a careful management of the vehicle and the optimal driving style, one can directly influence the emission of harmful exhaust gases, among other things, and with that environmental protection as well. I believe that the role of modern logistics tools in environmental protection has not yet been recognized and that we are yet to deal with this kind of promotion and market positioning, because ecology is, without a doubt, the field that will increasingly dictate the trends of development and implementation of new technologies.
SatECO (Photo: Satwork doo)
How do you see the development of the sector you work in, including your operations in the future?
– There’s a lot to be said about this question, but, in essence, we can observe it from two aspects, in the sense of the development of segments of the ICT industry in general and the concrete development of our company.
As for development in general, unless there is a considerable impact of the current negative events in the world (the pandemic, wars, global trade disturbance…), we will witness an even more spectacular influence of ICT technologies on everyday life, including the fields of logistics, telematics and management of various business processes. The electrification of vehicles and road transport system, with the appearance of fully autonomous vehicles, will radically change the way the world looks in every aspect, including our segment of industry and services. For example, from the now dominant model of installing special-purpose GNSS devices, which enable an almost immediate transfer to the end user of the data on the position of the tracked object in time and space (with all the additional data of the telemetry and other optional sensors), to the fact that a special-purpose software app of a concrete TSP (Telematic Solution Provider), like us, will be simply installed in new electrified vehicles.
The influence of the development of IoT initiatives, with the expansion of 5G networks, will create many so-called “smart” solutions, where we have also already presented various services from the set of the so-called Smart City solutions, such as, for example, SatBUS for smart public transport, SatGARBAGE (working title) for the organization of waste collection and management and some others as well. I have to emphasize that our company presented similar solutions at some local communities back in 2008, whereby those local communities, with relatively modest investments, would acquire the status of very innovative and advanced communities, thereby attracting not just investors, but also young and educated people. Unfortunately, at the time, our ideas and solutions were not recognized by those local communities, and we can see that it is only in the past few years that there is more intensive discussion and efforts in the environment when it comes to certain “smart” solutions. I am sure that other ICT companies occasionally face similar problems, that they are somehow a step ahead of the needs expressed in the market.
In any case, the ICT industry, what is now popularly called Industry 4.0, will contribute to an unimaginable acceleration and improvement of everyday affairs, especially administrative ones, which will have a positive impact on the quality of life of a common person. In each segment of life and work, the business processes will accelerate and, in the upcoming transformation, we expect our operations to have a very important role too.
As for our operations in particular, I am sure that, based on our SatIRS platform, we will have the opportunity to provide, in addition to services of vehicle fleet organization and management, far more sophisticated services for organization in entirely new business segments, such as the Emergency Service, Fire Service, Waterworks, Power Distribution and all other possible services that require work in the field, which needs to be as fast as possible, while being done with less investments.
Of course, with the expansion of IoT services, many of them will find their role within our SatIRS platform. More precisely, we are already experimenting with many of them, but that could be a topic for another conversation.
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