Shenandoah Valley to Silicon Valley: NS partners with tech platform on supply chain

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
Plug and Play Tech Center

The railroad – one of the drivers of the first industrial revolution – is joining up with the engine of the latest technology revolution.

Norfolk Southern joined technology business accelerator Plug and Play’s Supply Chain & Logistics Innovation Platform to engage with startups focused on creating applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, the industrial Internet of things, and advanced analytics in supply chains.

“As we continually look for technology solutions to improve safety, better serve our customers, and improve railroad operations, this partnership will give us greater access to technology startup companies and the broader Silicon Valley ecosystem,” said Fred Ehlers, vice president information technology and chief information officer.

Plug and Play, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., “will identify and connect Norfolk Southern with startup companies marketing cutting-edge technology that aligns with the transportation company’s operational goals. This collaboration will further assist Norfolk Southern as it continues to develop innovative business strategies in specific focus areas, such as automation, drone inspections, internet of things-enabled asset tracking, blockchain for supply chain management, and predictive maintenance through data analytics.”

Plug and Play, with 20 locations worldwide, was one of the early investors in Google, PayPal and Dropbox, among other tech start-ups.

“We are very excited to have Norfolk Southern on board as our newest Supply Chain & Logistics partner,” said Mike Zayonc, founder of Plug and Play Supply Chain & Logistics. “They are a perfect fit for our ecosystem of industry-leading corporate partners from multiple industries such as ExxonMobil, ArcelorMittal, Lufthansa Cargo, BASF, Panasonic, Prologis, DHL, and the United States Postal Service.

“Partnering with Norfolk Southern will let us continue to drive digital transformation in the rail industry through our program.”


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