We recently enjoyed the honor of once again hosting the industry’s premier supply chain conference, FourKites’ Visibility 2022, live and in person after two years of virtual events. I, for one, am still buzzing from the excitement and euphoria generated by more than 850 global supply chain leaders collaborating, sharing best practices, networking and celebrating the remarkable accomplishments of this powerful community.
The people who gathered at Visibility are doing big things to keep our world moving forward. They transport millions of annual shipments — totaling half a trillion dollars in freight spend — and connect 50% of the Fortune 500 across more than 200 countries. They feed our families and provide critical supplies for our health and well-being. They ship the raw materials that keep our factories running, and move the countless products we look for on store shelves every day.
And they do it all in the face of an ongoing global pandemic, shifting consumer loyalties, geopolitical unrest and inflation — to name just some of the recent challenges these supply chain leaders have had to overcome. The stories we heard onstage at Visibility were about meeting these challenges head-on through greater connectivity, transparency and network collaboration. It’s a testament to the strength of our community, which is thriving and innovating as never before.
To that point, each year we close Visibility by recognizing best-in-class companies that are using the FourKites real-time visibility platform to achieve breakthrough results in five categories. We were thrilled this year to welcome all of our Golden Kite Award winners — Kimberly-Clark, Bayer, Land O’Lakes, ArrowStream and Cardinal Health — live onstage.
Each of these companies is an exemplar for the broader supply chain community, demonstrating the “art of the possible” by using real-time supply chain visibility data in novel ways that maximize value for their business, and improve collaboration with their suppliers and partners.
It’s that spirit of constant innovation that continues to drive meaningful change in the supply chain community at large, and our customers and partners continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to working closely with us to do just that. The FourKites community has grown by leaps-and-bounds — new customers are up nearly 80% since last year’s conference — and 90% of FourKites customers are active contributors to FourKites’ IdeaExchange, where community members regularly propose new features and product enhancements. IdeaExchange is just one of many FourKites programs created to foster “the art of the possible” with customers; as a matter of fact, to date, more than 200 capabilities in FourKites’ platform are the result of co-innovation with our community.
The output and quality of our co-innovation efforts will only multiply as we go forward. I’ve written from time-to-time about the idea of “network effects”. It’s a term that was invented with the first telephone networks as a way of describing how the value of a network grows with the number of participants — i.e., one telephone isn’t of much use, but two enable a conversation, and millions enable widespread communication and collaboration.
Similarly, we are seeing the fruits of our community’s network effects multiply, as more of the world’s leading shippers, carriers, 3PLs and brokers join forces to solve problems based on real-time supply chain visibility data. Newer customers who may be closer to the beginning of their real-time supply chain visibility journey can learn from companies that have been doing this for longer — who are leveraging technology to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders, suppliers, partners and customers to keep their global supply chains running smoothly.
No matter where any individual organization is on the journey, their path is illuminated by the efforts of their fellow community members. Together, we are working toward a future where visibility is pervasive throughout our complex supply chains and we can easily generate insights to optimize decision-making, automate workflows, and minimize the risk of the next big disruption.
I know I say this every year, but I’ve never been wrong, so I’ll say it again – our best years are in front of us! We just announced a $10 million strategic investment from Mitsui & Co. to expand our offerings throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and we will continue looking for opportunities to partner with industry leaders to bring the benefits of visibility to as many companies and regions as possible. This announcement follows the news of our recent strategic alliance with FedEx that will create a new end-to-end supply chain intelligence platform, FourKites X, to transform global supply chains with data-driven insights from both companies’ networks. Using machine learning and AI to analyze the largest supply chain dataset in the world — nothing else comes close — we will unlock deeper insights that will benefit FourKites and FedEx customers alike.
When it comes to the “art of the possible,” The FourKites community is just scratching the surface of what it can achieve. We look forward to another year of working together to provide visibility into everything, everywhere. See you next year in Chicago!