We’ve been talking about the “future of on-time delivery” since the founding of FourKites back in 2014. As a matter of fact, those words are still prominently featured on our website (and will continue to be, because we’re always working with our customers to create the future). And yet, not even halfway into 2019, it feels like some key aspects of that future that we’ve been talking about for so long are starting to materialize before our eyes.
To be clear, we’re still early in this game. But to say we’re at the beginning doesn’t feel quite accurate anymore. Just consider some of the recent big leaps forward that we’ve made as a community:
- In February, we rolled out a new DynamicETA algorithm that predicts shipment times with far greater accuracy than anything the industry had before, based on analyzing more than 150 data points associated with a single load (e.g., shipper, carrier, lane, rest patterns, load, traffic and weather.) The algorithm learns continuously from the millions of monthly shipments across our network to give shippers and carriers the most precise arrival times available.
- Earlier this month, we introduced Recommendation Engine, which uses a combination of historical data (like average dwell at origin facility and all intermediate stops) and real-time transit conditions (e.g., traffic and weather) to make proactive recommendations that mitigate potential problems before they unfold. In short, true predictive intelligence that delivers hard ROI to supply chain and transportation leaders.
- Most recently, we began offering Network Visibility, which gives users the ability – for the very first time – to see and manage 100% of their loads in one place, including their own freight and that managed by their vendors and customers.
It’s been a busy and fruitful start to the year. In an incredibly short time period, we’ve gone from “Where’s my truck?” to “Where are ALL of my trucks?” to “When will my trucks be there?” and now to “What can I do to get my trucks where they need to be, when they need to be there?”. It’s an important evolution from reactive to proactive, to predictive and now finally prescriptive – all based on the best intelligence and the broadest network the industry has ever seen.
We’re still early in the game, for sure, but the first couple innings are definitely over. And we expect the game to start moving faster and faster. Why?
The Power of Collaboration and Network Effects
The FourKites platform now includes more than 250 of the world’s leading shippers and their carrier networks and partners. That network is getting bigger every day, which inevitably builds greater “network effects”, or rather the increasing value any given network delivers as more users come onboard and engage with the platform. You see this in today’s social networks, online marketplaces and, of course, supply chain visibility platforms. In other words, as the FourKites network grows, so does the value of the platform for all of our users.
The network effect is how we can provide the most accurate shipment times on the market. It enables us to provide predictive recommendations – based on real-time data – that tell a customer the best course of action to take to get a load to its destination on time. It’s how we give our customers visibility into their managed and vendor-managed loads. The growth of the FourKites network and the enthusiastic participation of its members are what make all of this cool stuff possible.
None of these innovations would have been possible without a visionary group of users eager to collaborate and innovate to find more opportunities to increase efficiencies. I can draw a straight line from our many customer advisory boards and feedback sessions to the breakthrough capabilities I’ve touched on here (and the more than 4,000 product enhancements we’ve rolled out since launching five years ago).
Constant innovation and continuous improvement are core values at FourKites, and our close collaboration with customers is the linchpin to our mutual success. That won’t change, no matter how big this incredible and unparalleled network gets. With customer-driven innovation and the world’s largest supply chain network as a foundation, the sky is the limit. Keep looking here for the future of supply chain visibility.