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FourKites ‘sunsetting’ document management platform Haven, lays off some workers

Haven fails to live up to expectations after 2021 acquisition by FourKites

FourKites plans to shut down Haven and has laid off some employees. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Real-time visibility provider FourKites plans to shut down ocean shipping document management and tracking solution Haven by the end of this year, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. Founder and CEO Mathew Elenjickal says Haven has simply become part of a broader platform.

Separately, the company has conducted a number of layoffs, Elenjickal confirmed.

In April 2021, FourKites acquired Haven to integrate its document management capabilities into a new visibility product. That product is called Dynamic Ocean, and would give its global shippers one platform to manage their supply chain.

Related article: FourKites acquires Haven, creates end-to-end platform for international ocean shipping

According to an email sent by Elenjickal and acquired by FreightWaves, the board of the Chicago-based company has requested a full “product portfolio review to align with market realities.”

“Our analysis has revealed that Haven modules are one of our highly unprofitable product lines,” Elenjickal said in the email. “It is costing us almost $50/container to serve the documentation module and we are not seeing willingness by BCO’s to pay anywhere close to cover the costs. …With that said, we are sunsetting the Haven booking and documentation modules this year.”

In a response from FourKites on the matter, Elenjickal said, “the [Haven] modules are highly customized to those customers, and are simply not scalable or viewed as relevant to the market as a whole.

“The real value in acquisitions comes in having one singular global platform for all providers and all data. If you don’t integrate those systems, you wind up with a bunch of siloed platforms that don’t deliver much value for the customer. The real value for our customers comes from having one cohesive, user-friendly solution, so we’re very strategic about how we acquire and integrate. As is industry best practice, we sunset old acquired platforms after that integration is successful.”

Deconstruction of Haven

In an interview with FreightWaves in April 2021 after the announcement of the Haven acquisition, Elenjickal described Haven as the technology piece the company needed to build “an end-to-end platform [that] seamlessly manages ocean transportation.”

“Starting with supporting the booking process, it will help you communicate with steamship lines, create the bookings and change the bookings. It has a robust documentation platform and you can define the rules by the country of origin and country of discharge, and you can ask what are the documents needed for a seamless transfer, who is responsible for that, and at what point should I upload the documents.”

According to a source who uses the product and asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, Haven’s documentation management capabilities never came to fruition.

“I think what [FourKites] saw was that the track-and-trace capabilities were not really why [customers] purchased [Haven]. It was more for the documentation perspective,” said the source. “They were seeing that more customers were not necessarily interested in the [track-and-trace] application of the product. … We really only bought it for the documentation.”

Elenjickal confirmed this in his email, stating that because beneficial cargo owners weren’t willing to cover the costs that FourKites had failed to consider when making the acquisition, he “assumed this was reflective of the value (or lack thereof) of the documentation module to [FourKites] customers.”

According to the source, the lack of documentation management capabilities with Haven and its integrated solution Dynamic Ocean hurt sales. The source said FourKites representatives indicated that the company was only able to onboard four additional customers onto the product since it acquired Haven.

In response to FreightWaves’ request for comment, Elenjickal said: “Haven features have been folded into our core Dynamic Ocean platform, so there is no need to maintain Haven as an independent product. Dynamic Ocean remains a profitable product line for us; over the last 12 months, we have seen an increase of 240% more ocean shipments in our platform.”

In regard to his comments in the email, Elenjickal said he was referring to the Haven Freight Audit Module, not Dynamic Ocean as a whole.

Layoff reports

This week, according to other sources familiar with FourKites’ operations, the company has conducted a number of layoffs. It has terminated some employees in general sales. Other layoffs include those roles in its yard management software solutions, such as sales, sales engineering and implementation. The company also laid off an undisclosed number of people in product and engineer roles. The source believes FourKites will outsource some roles to India.

In response to FreightWaves’ request for comment, Elenjickal said, “Yes, we have made the difficult decision to let go of some of our colleagues. As is true for many other companies, with the current market conditions and ongoing economic uncertainty, we had to make some very difficult decisions to ensure the long-term profitability and sustainable growth of our business.

“Looking forward, we are continuing to drive product innovation and new partnerships, including our recent announcement with FedEx, and we remain focused on supporting our customers and helping them drive value throughout their end-to-end supply chain.”

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Watch now: FourKites Announces Visibility Collaboration with FedEX

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Grace Sharkey

Grace is an entrepreneur and former supply chain executive who has held positions in sales, operations, and consulting. She is passionate about the future of the industry and how technology can improve the experience for all supply chain members. She believes supply chain is the one industry that affects every human directly, and is looking forward to creating content that mirrors that sentiment. If you have a story to share, please contact me at [email protected]