Last week I attended FourKites Visibility 2022 in Chicago, IL. It was nice to be back at an in-person event, networking with peers, learning from subject matter experts, and taking in the sights and sounds of Chicago. As the tagline said, I was there to learn, connect, and be inspired. I’d say that the conference did not disappoint on any of those three points.
CEO Matt Elenjickal kicked off FourKites Visibility with his keynote. In his presentation, Matt discussed the future of supply chain optimization. He said that real-time visibility is the foundation for making supply chains efficient. Essentially, visibility everywhere; you need to know what is happening upstream and downstream. He used the term MAXIMIZE to drive home the message. You need to maximize the business impact of real time visibility across all stages of the customer journey. You need to maximize the business outcome through ecosystem innovation (partners and investors). And you need to maximize digital transformation innovations.
To make his point, he walked the audience through the five stages of visibility maturity, bringing customers on stage to share their stories and point of view. The five stages of visibility maturity are: react; see and respond; predict and prevent; connect and collaborate; and automate and optimize. Here is a quick breakdown of the phases as described by both Matt and Fab Brasca, EVP, Industry and Market Strategy.
REACT: identify a problem and know you need to act and take the next step. This is all about the alignment of metrics and objectives. This requires a quick deployment for visibility across all shipments.
SEE and RESPOND: the ability to get ahead of data, see the data and respond accordingly. The big piece here is you need to be able to break apart the data silos.
PREDICT and PREVENT: overcommunication with customers is the most important component. With so much data available, companies need to delight the customer and take advantage of all the predictable information that they have.
CONNECT and COLLABORATE: once you have visibility across all shipments, you look for blind spots. This can be outbound shipments from a supplier or inbound from a partner. Lack of visibility leads to increased costs and misuse of assets. This is where companies need to question how to connect and collaborate with customers and partners. The business impact at this stage is knowing where a truck is; if it is going to be late, you can change the production schedule, or bring in a standby driver as needed. It also means you can invoice suppliers earlier since they know the product has arrived.
AUTOMATE and OPTIMIZE: go from actual to optimal. Companies need to have openness as well as collaboration in and across the network. This is how you can knock down silos.
FourKites Visibility 2022: Product Roadmap
While I hope to write about a few customer case studies at a later date, one of the more interesting sessions was the product vision roadmap presented by Priya Rajagopalan, Chief Product Officer at FourKites. One of the aspects of the FourKites innovation roadmap that is compelling is that the company co-innovates with its customers. All enhancements and new functionality are vetted during a weekly customer feedback call. Priya outlined enhancements to/ each layer of the FourKites Visibility platform: network data, platform and data science, visibility applications, and advanced visibility application. These updates were numerous, so I will only focus on a few here.
One of the biggest announcements was around its partnership with FedEx, to develop a smart supply chain platform. FourKites will be using its machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities with data insights from the FedEx network to create a new end-to-end supply chain intelligence platform called FourKites X. This will give FourKites customers access to new capabilities, including Expected Delivery Date (EDD), Expected Delivery Time Window (EWD), confidence score for EDD and EWD, and probability to recover for delayed shipments.
FourKites Visibility 2022 was a great show, and highlights where the company is going to make supply chain visibility more granular and accurate. This extends beyond over the road shipments, as the company is investing heavily in ocean shipments. The result is a visibility platform that extends upstream and downstream to make visibility a key component of the overall supply chain. Fab summed up the vision at the end of his presentation: Think big and don’t settle.