We are now fresh off of our latest FourKites Visibility User Conference – our third annual event, and the largest yet by far. This year’s conference was virtual, of course, which afforded some significant benefits: We were able to welcome over 1,400 attendees from 27 different countries. That’s more than a 5x increase over last year’s Visibility attendance! It was an event that truly knew no boundaries.
In fact, I’d hazard to say that this year’s Visibility conference might even have been the most fun event we’ve had! Whether it was the buzzing activity of the conference group chat, the sparkling personalities of our 18 outstanding presenters, or just trying to land a successful hat trick on camera, the enthusiasm was evident in all aspects of the event. That’s because just as FourKites itself is more than just a technology company, Visibility 2020 was more than just a virtual conference. It was an assembly of the world’s preeminent supply chain minds and practitioners, all brought together by cutting-edge technology and the shared goal of moving the world forward.
As I had the privilege of emceeing this incredible event, I noticed a few things about the state of supply chains around the world. Here are a few of my thoughts…
Making Supply Chains More Adaptive
This is a year like we’ve never seen. Panic buying and empty shelves have become commonplace, and the dynamics of supply and demand that have governed the industry for the past several years are being turned on their heads. But that’s not the only thing we’ll remember after this year is over.
2020 has also been a year of hope and heroes, as supply chains have adapted and made themselves increasingly resilient to the challenges the world keeps throwing their way. This week happens to be National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as all around the world, unsung heroes are working late, driving long shifts and coming in during off-hours to keep goods flowing.
New technologies have certainly helped. As Gartner VP, Bart De Muynck, noted during his guest presentation, visibility is increasingly important to companies working to navigate the crises of recent months. Even so, I don’t think I’d be able to sleep at night if I tried to let FourKites take all the credit for keeping supply chains on their feet during these difficult times. That’s why before going any further, I’d like to offer a salute to all of the amazing individuals on the front lines who have made it possible to keep our economy moving, through global pandemics, hurricanes, wildfires and more.
Going Global, Staying Connected
FourKites’ vision is to build a single pane of glass to every supply chain around the world, providing global interconnectivity regardless of mode, geography and industry. This is something that’s never been done before, and we’ve made some pretty amazing progress toward achieving that goal in the past 12 months.
As our Chief Product Officer Priya Rajagopalan pointed out during her keynote, over the past year our team released 119 new products and features into the market. 119!!! Among them were several critical industry-firsts that have helped our customers adapt to these unprecedented times and achieve new heights.
For instance, last week, we announced the release of multimodal purchase order (PO) tracking for all freight in the FourKites system. In March, we introduced Dynamic Yard – a new software category that unites supply chain visibility not only on the road, but in the yard and warehouse, as well. In June we become the first company to provide highly accurate machine learning-driven ETAs for LTL freight. And during the height of the pandemic, we released a live Network Congestion Map to provide visibility into port and border crossing delays, as well as a host of new collaboration and paperless document processing capabilities to speed up shipments and processing in a touchless environment.
All of this work is in service of showing companies the big picture concerning their supply chain. No more data silos. No more time-consuming phone tag with carriers, drivers and customers. It seems so simple, just getting all your data in one place. But the amount of value you can unlock from something as simple as that is truly infinite, as so many customers attested during this conference.
“Visibility is about building a data foundation, providing end-to-end data-driven insights as a basis for smart decision-making at various levels of granularity and time horizons, combined with intelligence and automation.”
– Bart De Muynck | Research VP | Gartner
The Supply Chain Network to End All Supply Chain Networks
As a company, FourKites is operating at a “Netflix scale”. We’ve long since attained the kind of volume and network effects that lead to compounding value for everyone involved. Now serving more than 400 of the world’s top shippers and their broker and carrier partners – including 18 of the top-20 food and beverage companies and nine of the top-10 CPG companies – FourKites has the largest network of any real-time transportation visibility platform, and therefore the largest value to deliver to our customers.
As we grow, our network grows. As our network grows, the value of the service, the accuracy of the data, and our ability to do magical things with machine learning, AI, collaboration and more all grow, as well. In short, we are building the adaptive, global, interconnected supply chains of the future. Thank you to all the customers, partners, industry leaders and dedicated FourKites team members who have made this growth possible. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing each of you in person next year!