Nearly 150 of the world’s largest shippers and other supply chain ecosystem leaders came together in Chicago today to collaborate with each other and with FourKites on the future of supply chain visibility. We were thrilled to host so many enthusiastic companies willing to share best practices, insights, challenges and opportunities.

Here’s a recap of Day One sessions:

FourKites founder and CEO Matt Elenjickal kicked off Visibility 2018 speaking to a full house of transportation leaders representing some of the world’s largest shippers, including Caterpillar, Cargill, Conagra Brands, Nestle, Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods, Unilever, and many, many more across a spectrum of industries.

Matt spoke at length about the power and value of the FourKites network, which includes the largest number of shippers in the world. “Every new customer makes the network more powerful and increases the value for every participant,” Matt said. “As more shippers join and use the platform, you all benefit from a richer data set for benchmarking, analysis and ultimately, insights to help you improve your KPIs.”

Matt and Chief Product Officer Priya Rajagopalan previewed a range upcoming new FourKites platform capabilities, built in response to customer feedback. With more than 4,000 product enhancements under FourKites’ belt since launching four years ago, constant innovation and continuous improvement are core values of the company. It’s all the result of close customer collaboration. “We’re nowhere without your feedback,” Matt told the shipper customer audience.

Supply Chain Visibility Is Mission Critical

The sessions included customer presentations that emphasized the growing importance of predictive supply chain data:

  • Tom France, Director of Global Transportation and Logistics at Caterpillar, talked about how supply chain visibility drives dealer and end-customer value through precise, proactive data on when goods will arrive.
  • Gartner analyst Bart De Muynck talked with the group about how transportation technologies are helping companies build resilience in a challenging market. “With rates up 20%, tighter trucking capacity, driver shortages and higher volumes of smaller shipments—technology is an important answer,” De Muynck said. He also shared that 63% of companies are increasing supply chain technology investments—with visibility being the top initiative for most—as more companies recognize the potential to drive competitive advantage through their supply chain tech investments.
  • Early FourKites customer Smithfield Foods shared with the audience how it is working to reduce supply chain complexity by consolidating distribution centers, simplifying manufacturing, and optimizing production and distribution locations.
  • Gartner analyst De Muynck came back on stage later in the afternoon to moderate a panel with Rob Lyall, VP of Transportation with Tyson Foods; Brian Stoufer, Senior Director of Transportation at Conagra Brands; and Terry Finnegan, Senior Director at Sysco. A common thread? End-customers expect real-time access to shipment location data, so a real-time visibility platform is essential

Going Global

Jeannie Frana, Global Process Owner for Transportation and Logistics at Cargill, and Shailesh Sultania, Lead Manager of Transportation and IT Innovation at Unilever, discussed using FourKites for global tracking. Frana presented Cargill’s journey with FourKites, from initial implementation in North America to its latest expansion into Brazil.

Sultania talked about Unilever’s plans to use predictive visibility across 36 countries in Europe, in addition to Turkey and South Africa. Unilever’s priorities are to gain visibility into real-time location and estimated time-of-arrivals; enhance proactive customer communications; improve order fill rate and material planning; and reduce detention costs and workloads.

It was a great and productive day one, full of insights and best practice sharing. Stay tuned tomorrow for a Day Two recap, and additional posts over the next few weeks!

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