When my partner Markus Lechner and I founded NIC-place in Germany in 2016, we were looking to solve a critical need in the market: better visibility across Europe’s supply chains. While Europe is comparable in size to North America, it is vastly more complex — a patchwork of countries and languages with wide-ranging policies, regulations, infrastructure and preferred modes of transportation. Establishing any level of visibility across the continent is no easy task.
With a background in temperature-recording devices and telematic systems for the transportation industry, I understood the importance of the data these devices create. But to truly unlock the potential of telematics and real-time visibility, the industry needed a hardware-agnostic software solution that could share data in various directions to various recipients.
That insight led to the creation of NIC-place. We saw a real opportunity to extend visibility across Europe in a different way — via software solutions designed specifically for transport companies, carriers and logistics service providers. Today, these cutting-edge technologies have established NIC-place as Europe’s market leader in supply chain visibility for carriers. We strive every day to provide carriers with a flexible and secure way to share supply chain data with customers, while retaining complete control of their business, their network and — most importantly — their data.
Now, as a FourKites company, we will extend the power of our platform even further by integrating with the largest supply chain visibility network in the world. Our growth and ability to innovate for customers will greatly accelerate, fueled by additional investment, research and development from FourKites.
From the very beginning, NIC-place has differentiated itself in the European market as a carrier-centric solution — one that is focused on the integrity of data coming from carriers toward shippers’ and partners requests. We take care to ensure that data sharing and data security are valued at the highest possible level.
The key to NIC-place’s success has been our knowledge of how carriers operate, especially here in Europe. European shippers have historically struggled with visibility, either due to privacy concerns or the fragmented carrier market, or both. And transportation is becoming increasingly data-driven — something that is very new for some carriers.
The NIC-place solution addresses those challenges. Our focus has always been on helping the carrier overcome knowledge gaps, understand the value of visibility tools, and reach the next level in their business. Our customers know they have a partner in NIC-place — one that fully understands their business at eye level. We look closely at how they use our tools, and we assist them on a daily basis to achieve maximum benefit.
NIC-place has a number of other important differentiators. We are the only rail visibility network in Europe with integrations with all the major rail infrastructure providers. Our robust carrier onboarding tool, available in more than 20 languages, has the ability to seamlessly onboard subcontractors across Europe. And our temperature monitoring business provides shippers with the highest quality control and documentation at the point of unloading; in fact, vaccine shipments handled by Kuehne+Nagel and Essers are tracked via NIC-place.
On its own, NIC-place has become a trusted provider across Europe. But together with FourKites, we are positioned to create the largest European-based multimodal carrier network, serving global shippers with the most comprehensive end-to-end global supply chain visibility platform. By adding comprehensive rail coverage in Europe via NIC-place, FourKites is now the only provider in Europe to track all modes on a single platform.
But the numbers aren’t everything. Just as important, NIC-place and FourKites share similar values and culture. At NIC-place, our customers trust us to deliver the very highest-quality visibility solutions, while ensuring the highest level of data protection. We are serious, straightforward and down-to-earth. We work hard every day to achieve the most we can for our customers. And it has become clear these past months that FourKites holds itself to these same standards.
This acquisition will help both of our companies take real-time visibility in Europe to the next level. It will help us spur the adoption of secure real-time visibility solutions specifically designed for carriers, while shortening the time to value for shippers with complex, multimodal carrier networks. It provides us with a broader customer base, greater marketing potential within Europe, and a higher level of professionalism and excellence in our approach to the market. It will accelerate our vision for a more connected Europe. Together, FourKites and NIC-place will create the security of a long-term solution for our customers — a solution that will stay with them, grow with them, and create a greater value proposition for their own clients.
This is only the beginning of what FourKites and NIC-place will accomplish together. I look forward to harnessing emerging technologies to bring our products to the next level, and to develop new, groundbreaking offerings. Moreover, I am thrilled to have found a partner that shares our culture of trust, respect and excellence — within our companies, among our partners and for every single one of our customers.
To our loyal NIC-place customers: We aren’t going anywhere. The NIC-place brand, location and leadership team remain the same. Our offerings are still yours to engage – only now, with the added power of FourKites network and market-leading R&D engine.
Thank you all for helping us realize a better way to see across this patchwork continent. Now, let’s get to work toward a more connected Europe, together.