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Sarah Barnes-HumphreyLet’s Talk Supply Chain

The supply chain industry has undoubtedly faced some of its toughest challenges in the past 18 months, and there’s a lot of talk that the industry has been transformed forever. But that, at least in part, is not necessarily a bad thing.

Innovation in supply chain is at an all-time high, as big brands and entrepreneurs alike get creative to develop new solutions to old problems and innovate fresh ways to push the industry into the future.

Our friends over at FourKites, the world’s premier real-time supply chain visibility platform, are once again leading the way. After months of hard work, FourKites recently announced that it’s been awarded a groundbreaking US Patent for its Smart Forecasted Arrival (SFA) capabilities, which provide companies with highly frequent and accurate ETAs for freight in transit — even when that truck lacks any technology to transmit location data. That’s a game-changer, right?

Visibility is the word on everyone’s lips right now as businesses across the industry continue to recognize its potential for helping to transform pretty much every part of the supply chain. Still, a major obstacle to realizing visibility’s maximum potential is legacy IT systems and equipment. As a result, even as companies worldwide accelerate their investments in real-time transportation visibility platforms to better track and manage their freight in transit, they’ve repeatedly been hindered by the loads that still couldn’t be tracked.

FourKites’ SFA solution solves this huge issue by applying cutting-edge artificial neural networking and machine learning technologies to the industry’s largest supply chain data network. This, in turn, allows it to interpolate the location of freight in transit based on other data from within the network, ultimately providing ETAs on 97% of untracked loads with 85% accuracy, and correctly predicting late loads more than 90% of the time. Now that just blows my mind and, having worked for many years in 3PL’s and now in the maritime space, I can’t overstate just how beneficial this is going to be, industry-wide.

But innovation isn’t just about the tech. For me, innovation is just as much about culture and mindset. As FourKites’ new SFA platform shows, you can’t hope to pioneer new developments and achieve meaningful breakthroughs with a siloed approach or dated mentality. Collaboration, and all of the wonderful things it brings along with it, from creative thinking and problem-solving opportunities to access to data and diverse expertise, is what creates the environment that nurtures innovation.

FourKites is no stranger to the collaborative side of innovation, either. In addition to their new patent announcement, they’ve also announced a new strategic partnership with DAT Freight & Analytics, North America’s largest marketplace for truckload freight.

Access to real-time visibility data has proven to lower organizations’ operating costs, improve on-time performance and enable stronger customer relationships, and DAT plans to capitalize on this, through their new collaboration, to bring a host of benefits to their brokers and customers.

The partnership will provide valuable new insight into the status of loads from dock to dock, predictive ETAs and wait time information, improved customer service, strengthened relationships with carriers, quick integration of tracking apps and so much more.

DAT President and CEO, Claude Pumilia, said they chose to partner with FourKites because of their “market-leading data quality and proven ability to break down barriers to data-sharing and collaboration” and those really are the magic words. Back in the day, this kind of data-sharing and collaboration was unheard of – it was a negative, in fact. Businesses worked hard to achieve what was theirs, and they wanted to protect it, building high walls around it. If you have that kind of attitude in 2021 and beyond, it’s guaranteed to be the death of your business.

Matt Elenjickal, FourKites founder and CEO says that their “goal is to empower every broker and carrier with high-quality visibility data so they can enhance equipment utilization, increase productivity and run an efficient, sustainable freight network,” and I truly can’t think of a better goal for individual businesses, nor for the industry as a whole.

Find out more about FourKites’ recent funding success and why Gartner named them a leader in its latest Magic Quadrant report.

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