Freight.Tech 25: Supply chain visibility and predictive freight analytics propel FourKites to #7

 Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

At the recently concluded MarketWaves18, FourKites, the predictive supply chain visibility platform, ranked #7 on Freight.Tech 25 – a list of the most innovative and disruptive companies in the freight space. That FourKites found its place at the top of the list was no surprise, as the company arguably is at the forefront of real-time visibility and predictive analytics solutions in the logistics industry, counting on a network of Fortune 500 companies and 3PLs as part of its clientele.

The freight space at the moment finds itself at the crossroads of a variety of market challenges – like the ‘Amazon effect’ that pushes end-users to expect an enhanced customer experience, capacity crunch and fuel price inconsistencies that is increasing market volatility, and the hassles faced by fleets to resuscitate the dwindling driver numbers.

However, within all these complexities does sprout many possibilities to tackle them, as the case with FourKites, that uses technology as a lever to provide visibility into shipments, and thereby improve customer service. “Instead of having to call on every load and see what the status is, shippers can actually manage by exception, as the platform will dynamically serve up at-risk shipments,” said Gina Hortatsos, VP of Marketing at FourKites.

“When that happens, the customer service team can proactively take action to remediate, so that they can either reschedule the delivery or work with the end user on a different plan. This would reduce detention costs and improve customer service, while also driving more efficiencies in the supply chain.”

The company recently announced new product features that could confront the issue of trucking deadhead miles by sharing capacity across shippers and carriers. FourKites had mentioned in a statement that its capacity sharing solution could reduce 15-20% of overall shipping costs by allowing shippers and carriers to access unused truck capacity via private networks, made possible through AI-based algorithms on its platform. Another lynchpin product to be launched this year is the Predictive Capacity Management (PCM) solution, that would be an industry first in dynamically identifying shipments to match available capacity.

“We are a company that prides itself on co-innovating with our customers. Expanding our core visibility platform, so that facilities managers and people along the supply chain value chain are able to get the benefits of visibility and holistic proactive exception management, continues to be our mission,” said Hortatsos. “PCM is an example of that. It is not necessarily traditional visibility per se, but is a way of helping our customers get more visibility into capacity in the lanes that they need coverage for.”

“This is the next big opportunity in supply chain and logistics,” said Matt Elenjickal, FourKites founder and CEO. “At a time when trucking capacity is at a record low, the search for carriers that make a good fit on certain lanes is increasingly intense. We’re enabling shippers to get products to market more quickly at lower overall operating costs. This level of collaboration and dynamic execution is only possible due to predictive tracking technology we created back in 2013.”

In April, FourKites launched a weather risk assessment tool called Predictive Weather Intelligence, which would help shippers and 3PLs plan their freight operations around disruptive weather conditions. Every year, global supply chains lose billions of dollars with freight caught up in the middle of natural disasters like hurricanes, forest fires, and floods. “We are applying cutting-edge data science on millions of shipments to forecast the impact of severe weather on ETAs, to help our customers improve on-time delivery,” said Elenjickal.

This aside, FourKites’ core solution also includes Insights and Benchmarking, a supply chain analytics suite that provides end-to-end transportation analysis tools, helping shippers analyze and visualize granular data, by filtering through different factors including carriers, lanes, and stops.

Earlier this year, the company raised its Series B funding of $35 million, and currently tracks more than one million loads a month for its customers from around the world. The depth of its product base and its global spread in the freight analytics space has propelled FourKites to being voted in as the #7 most innovative company in the Freight.Tech 25 list.

Show More

Vishnu Rajamanickam, Staff Writer

Vishnu writes editorial commentary on cutting-edge technology within the freight industry, profiles startups, and brings in perspective from industry frontrunners and thought leaders in the freight space. In his spare time, he writes neo-noir poetry, blogs about travel & living, and loves to debate about international politics. He hopes to settle down in a village and grow his own food at some point in time. But for now, he is happy to live with his wife in the middle of a German metropolitan.