Matt Waller, a renowned authority on supply chain management and industry trends, has joined FreightWaves in an advisory capacity.
Waller is the dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and a supply chain management professor at the University of Arkansas. He was the 2020 recipient of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ Distinguished Service Award. And he is no stranger to FreightWaves, having appeared on a number of programs, including Freightonomics, and spoken at events such as last summer’s 3PL Summit.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Waller is joining the FreightWaves team in this advisory role,” President George Abernathy said. “His supply chain, logistics and transportation strategic skill set is a great fit with FreightWaves, and we expect Matt to make a substantial contribution to our SaaS and media ecosystem.”
Waller called Abernathy and FreightWaves founder and CEO Craig Fuller “really innovative players in the supply chain and logistics space.”
“I’ve been really intrigued by FreightWaves — before I even met Craig. I absolutely love FreightWaves media. When I met Craig, we clicked. I already knew George because he used to work at J.B. Hunt and Transplace in northwest Arkansas,” Waller said.
Waller said as a company adviser, he will be helping FreightWaves with “strategic direction and strategic opportunities.”
“One of the things that was really fascinating to me was SONAR — software as a service. FreightWaves has developed this incredible media company around that. What it reminded me of was Bloomberg terminals. Bloomberg combines media with software as a service. I mentioned that to Craig” during a dinner in Bentonville, Waller recalled. “He looked at me and said, ‘That’s what we think.’
“It made me realize that there are all kinds of opportunities for FreightWaves. I’m going to be able to help them with some of the thinking around that,” he said.
“If you look at it, freight markets right now are in a transition. Most of the transition is due to digitization. And so SONAR as a software-as-a-service kind of model provides all sorts of information that helps people make better decisions,” Waller continued. “In addition to that, FreightWaves has all kinds of content that helps decision-makers in this area. One of my areas of expertise is logistics and supply chain management, particularly around decision-making. So some of my advisory will be in that area — what are some areas that FreightWaves could go into to further their strength to help people make better decisions in freight markets?
“If you really look at what FreightWaves is doing, it all has to do with information,” he said. “Information and tools like SONAR can help you make better decisions. You can overcome the inherent tradeoffs in logistics costs.”
Waller said he can help FreightWaves empower supply chain decision-makers to operate more efficiently and effectively.
“If we didn’t have the volatility, if we didn’t have the uncertainty in regulations that we have and we didn’t have the disruptive technologies that are coming about, if we didn’t have all that, it would be easier to actually figure out how to do that. But with all of the disruptions that we have, the volatility, this kind of analytics and information become more important. No firm out there really has made more progress in this direction than FreightWaves. And so my role essentially is to help them from a strategic perspective so they can maintain this competitive advantage in the marketplace,” he said.
In addition to his work at the University of Arkansas, Waller will continue to serve on a number of boards, including those of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and the private equity firm Natural Capital.
The co-author of “Purple on the Inside: How J.B. Hunt Transport Set Itself Apart in a Field Full of Brown Cows” and “Integrating Blockchain into Supply Chain Management” could contribute written commentary to FreightWaves or conduct on-air interviews for the expanding array of programming.
Perhaps Waller could supply FreightWaves with his University of Arkansas students in a formal internship program. Nothing is off the table, he said.
Waller believes the opportunities for FreightWaves — and ways for him to contribute — are boundless.