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Megan UithovenMegan UithovenSenior Director, Community & Product Operations, FourKites

The cornerstone of a visibility platform like FourKites is its network – its community of shippers, carriers, brokers and 3PLs that bring the whole ecosystem to life and add collective value to all participants. Without that network, we’d be just another supply chain tool. But having amassed the world’s largest supply chain visibility network, we’re now positioned to illuminate and solve problems that other players haven’t been able to, in a way that benefits all parties.

That, in a nutshell, is why we created the FourKites Community – an online forum for our customers to share ideas, encourage innovation and collaboration, and altogether better serve our ultimate mission of making our customers heroes within their organizations. It’s a place where we’re able to uncover new use cases for our technology that no one’s thought of before, and work hand in hand with our users to optimize our product offerings. And finally, it’s a place where customers and companies at different stages of their FourKites journey can compare notes and workshop solutions for  their most pressing challenges.

Facilitating Strategic Discussions

You can almost think of the FourKites Community as a social media platform for the supply chain visibility space. It functions symbiotically with FourKites’ existing Knowledge Base – our repository of support materials for users. Whereas the KB answers technical questions and provides product support materials, the Community exists so that users can interact to address broader, more strategic questions, share best practices, and surface suggestions for product enhancements that improve the capabilities of our platform for all stakeholders.

We never imagined the Community would be so well-received. 

We first rolled out the Community in October, and just last week we released our very first Community-inspired product enhancement! It was suggested by a manager of logistics systems at Exide Technologies, a global provider of stored electrical energy solutions. Several weeks ago, this user asked – via the FourKites Community – whether more details could be included in FourKites’ lane analysis tool, Lane Connect, so that shippers can make more informed decisions before sending an invite to another shipper. A FourKites product manager saw the note, added it to our product roadmap, and less than 30 days later, the feature was live on the platform and available for all to use.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Over the coming quarter, our product managers plan to deliver 28% of the 60+ ideas and suggestions that have already been generated by customers through the FourKites Community. That’s nearly 20 brand-new, never-before-seen features and product enhancements scheduled to go live over the next three months – and every one of them was suggested by one of our customers!

Over the coming quarter, our product managers plan to deliver 28% of the 60+ ideas and suggestions that have already been generated by customers through the FourKites Community.

A Culture of Collaboration

The genesis of this customer-centric approach is hardly a new one for us as a company. Since the very beginning, our platform has been built with the direct feedback of our customers, who have always been willing to help us tailor our solutions to solve their most pressing needs. A couple years ago, this collaborative thinking crystallized into our very first Customer Advisory Board, where we brought together a number of customers to discuss what was working for them, what wasn’t, and where we could make the product even better. 

Until then, customer feedback had always been carried out one on one, between the customer and a FourKites representative. By having so many people in the same room, we were able to build on each other’s feedback and consider other perspectives that ultimately yielded some of our most impactful solutions. 

Over time, that small group has grown, but the spirit of co-innovation and teamwork has remained. This past September, we welcomed customers and industry practitioners to our first-ever Innovation Workshop for a lightning round of brainstorming, problem-solving and new product creation. With the FourKites Community, we’re raising the bar even higher, inviting all of our users to participate in the kind of real-time ideation that has helped us get to this point.

Raising the Bar, Together

Just a couple of weeks ago I saw an amazing Community exchange between several customers. One wanted to know how other companies were using FourKites to measure on-time pickup of their loads (or whether they measured it at all). A little while later, another customer jumped in to describe why his company had chosen to prioritize on-time delivery over on-time pickup, while a third user explained how her company approached on-time pickup, and offered to connect offline to dig deeper. That’s the kind of cross-pollination that you could never achieve in a vacuum, and we’re excited to see it continue to grow over time.

As we grow as a company, it won’t always be possible for us to hold one-on-one conversations for every issue. It will ALWAYS be important to us, however, to continue to listen and respond to the voice and needs of our customers. The FourKites Community is a way for us to keep our ear to the ground, build trust into every level of our technology, and continue to develop the solutions our customers need to achieve their goals.

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