The modern supply chain is constantly evolving and consequently uncovering new organizational needs. What these needs are is (generally) an easy enough question to answer; but how to solve for those needs is often much more difficult to come by. 

As a Customer Success Manager at FourKites, my role is clear: Partner with my clients to equip them with tools and best practices to deliver that “how”. FourKites is a customer-centric company that treats our clients like partners. We are passionate about our platform, but we know that the absolute best practices come from our customers themselves. 

Last week, 18 of our customers, a carrier partner and a small group of FourKiters headed to Nashville to share best practices, collaborate on pain points and experience the country music scene at our second Customer Roundtable. Hosted by one of our generous customers, all of the sessions at our two-day event were led by customers; FourKites’ primary role was to observe and understand how we can enhance our product to support our customers in their primary business objectives. 

The energy in the room was high, as attendees eagerly shared experiences, tips and fresh perspectives to deepen their engagement with FourKites and collaborate with their own supply chain partners.

Internal Team Collaboration & End-user Adoption: Gap Inc. 

End-user adoption is one of the key drivers of success with FourKites. Gap, for instance, has mastered the ability to scale the FourKites platform across multiple teams in their organization, resulting in highly active users across the board. A bottler customer shared their process of advocating for dedicated visibility resources, sharing the mentality that “one 100% dedicated individual costs less than 40 5% dedicated individuals.” 

Rolling out to end- users can be a challenge, especially in an organization with a complex hierarchy. To solve for this, an industrial/manufacturing shipper led an in-person rollout of FourKites to their customer care team, and developed an internal Sharepoint site for those users to share feedback, ask questions and easily access resources to set them up for success. This initiative led to a 3x increase in daily active users on FourKites!

Read more user engagement best practices from our customers here!

Shipper-Carrier Partnership: Exide Technologies & PAM Transport

Another important element of supply chain visibility is a strong shipper-carrier partnership. How best to accomplish this? Exide, along with a number of other customers in attendance, includes a requirement to track with a visibility provider in their carrier bid processes and contracts. And, as do our most successful customers, Exide utilizes FourKites’ tracking, consistency and on-time performance metrics in their carrier scorecards. This reinforces the importance of an active and engaged visibility partnership. Similarly, PAM Transport elevates their partnership with shippers by setting tracking compliance standards for the carriers they select to haul for FourKites customers. 

Operationalizing FourKites: Smithfield

As customer number one, Smithfield is well-positioned to speak about their experiences operationalizing our platform over time. At last week’s roundtable, Smithfield shared their journey with FourKites, from early carrier onboarding practices to their current focus on multimodal end-to-end visibility and detention validation. Smithfield’s ability to scale FourKites internally contributed to a drastic reduction in customer support response times. And recently, Smithfield’s commitment to social responsibility drove them to roll out the platform out to their loss prevention unit, giving them the ability to divert loads to food banks. 

We concluded the roundtable by breaking out into small groups to discuss topics that are most relevant to our customers. These topics included ocean tracking, operationalizing through leadership, carrier partnership, data analytics and international tracking. Each group was paired with a subject matter expert from FourKites to hear trends from the group and to field questions, as necessary. 

But what struck me most about this experience was the realization of how far we have come with our customers. Three years ago, an event like this would have been led completely by FourKites, driven heavily by tutorials, product demos and case studies. Today, however, it’s a completely different story. Our customers, wholeheartedly engaged in our platform and excited about the business outcomes they are seeing, are doing the talking for us. They are helping each other with best practices, and speaking from personal experience to help like-minded colleagues get the most out of FourKites. This is truly the sign of a mature customer organization, and I’m honored to work with partners who share our vision of a truly transparent and collaborative supply chain.

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