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Photo of Matt ElenjickalMatt ElenjickalCEO & Founder, FourKites

It’s been just a few short months since thousands of the world’s preeminent supply chain leaders came together to chart the future of supply chain management at Visibility 2021. With a rallying cry of “Go Beyond,” we challenged ourselves to go faster, together — to push the boundaries of what’s possible when the supply chain ecosystem collaborates and innovates based on real-time supply chain visibility data.

 

Today, through our acquisition of European supply chain visibility provider NIC GmbH (NIC-place), we aren’t merely pushing at the boundaries of end-to-end supply chain visibility. We’re obliterating many of them entirely.

I’ll start with what makes NIC-place so special.

  • NIC-place is far-and-away the market leader in supply chain visibility software designed for transport companies, carriers and logistics service providers. It’s literally in the company’s DNA, as so many NIC-place employees hail from the carrier industry.
  • Its proprietary Data Control Center (DCC) sets the standard for the safe, secure and comprehensive monitoring of ALL telematics data from ALL transport service providers. That means data from every open visibility provider. Engine diagnostic data, including emissions data. Temperature data for high-value transports such as pharmaceuticals, fresh and frozen products, and electronic equipment. To put it simply, NIC-place boasts the most advanced temperature-tracking capabilities on the planet.
  • Everything is available from one intuitive interface. And transport companies, carriers and logistics service providers maintain complete control of their network and their data.
  • NIC-place tracks the largest rail network in Europe — an increasingly critical capability as many companies shift more shipments to rail in the face of ongoing ocean challenges and rail’s many inherent advantages in advancing sustainability goals.

Alone, FourKites and NIC-place have each distinguished themselves as pioneers and market leaders. Together, we’re a powerhouse.

  • By adding the largest European rail network, FourKites is now the only provider in Europe to track all modes on a single platform. The combined over-the-road, rail and ocean carrier networks of FourKites and NIC-place will create the largest multimodal carrier network in Europe, ready to serve global shippers with the most comprehensive end-to-end global supply chain visibility platform. This is more important than ever as shippers depend increasingly on multimodal transport and a different mix of modes to get shipments to their final destinations.
  • NIC-place will operate as a FourKites company, focused purely on carrier-specific solutions that keep carriers in control of their data. Now under the FourKites umbrella, NIC-place will leverage our leading shipper network, global scale and R&D engine to accelerate the pace of innovation. It’s a “let’s-invest-and-make-it-go-faster” philosophy.
  • NIC-place’s automated carrier onboarding technologies and processes are second-to-none, with the ability to easily add subcontractors — a critical feature that will accelerate supply chain visibility within Europe’s highly fragmented carrier network.

Europe is a vitally important cog in the complex machinery of global supply chains. The region’s requirements are distinct, as are the requirements of transport companies, carriers and LSPs. A two-pronged approach is clearly the right way forward, and that’s what makes this acquisition so consequential.

NIC-place will accelerate the build-out of the industry’s most robust and secure platform for carriers, while the shipper community gains true end-to-end, intermodal tracking in Europe; the ability to optimize the utilization of rail assets; the best temperature tracking solution in the world; and a highly engaged and growing carrier community that is confident in sharing data with trusted partners.

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I’ll close by noting that many companies acquire in order to gain new customers and “buy revenue”. It’s a bottom-line mentality that has little, if anything, to do with customer value. These types of acquisitions invariably carry the baggage of a host of thorny integration issues that can preoccupy the new entity for months or longer, leaving customers scratching their heads as to what it all means for them. FourKites’ philosophy is to acquire complementary companies that can quickly accelerate innovation and the rollout of differentiating platform capabilities.

In other words, we acquire for the purpose of increasing customer value. Viewed through this lens, the acquisition of NIC-place is a grand slam for customers: a “1 + 1 = 3” value proposition that changes the game for all.

We’ll be showcasing the NIC-place solution and the value it brings to both carriers and shippers in a live webinar taking place on Wednesday, February 16. Register here.

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