FourKites reported that it has tracked 170% more loads for retail customers year over year, marking strong growth under the company’s newly expanded suite of supply chain visibility solutions for the retail sector. In the past 12 months, FourKites’ retail customer base grew more than 20%, while carriers hauling freight for those retailers increased by 33%. Over the same period, the company has tracked more than 1.75 billion miles for its retail customers, representing 265% year-over-year growth.
As the pandemic continues to cause supply chain disruptions, including dramatic changes in buying preferences, top retailers such as Meijer, Michaels Stores, Walmart Canada and PetSmart increasingly rely on FourKites’ superior network of logistics tracking data and proprietary machine learning-powered technology to ensure faster and more efficient delivery of essential products. Real-time visibility becomes even more critical for retailers with the approach of the holiday season. Retail analysts expect holiday e-commerce sales to jump 25%, even as overall buying is expected to remain flat during the period. That puts even more pressure on already thin retailer margins.
Major media including Forbes and the Wall Street Journal have written about the imperative for visibility solutions that can help the entire logistics industry better manage operations amid various supply chain disruptions, with the latter quoting Gartner VP Bart De Muynck saying visibility technology “has become a necessity” in these unprecedented times.
To address these challenges, FourKites has introduced many industry-first innovations specifically designed for, and often in collaboration with, its retail customers. These include:
Purchase Order Tracking: Earlier this month, FourKites introduced multimodal purchase order tracking for all freight in its platform. The new feature greatly simplifies freight visibility for anyone in the supply chain – inbound logistics, track-and-trace, customer service, procurement/materials management, merchandising and others – who use PO numbers to track freight location.
“Visibility has been hugely valuable for us, and as a large retailer and shipper, adding PO lifecycle visibility means we can now identify critical orders faster, eliminate inefficiencies and make better decisions on lead times,” said Paul Thompson, Inbound Logistics Director, Meijer. “Meijer prides itself on being first to market in many categories, and we are thrilled to have co-innovated this product with the FourKites team, which will drive enhanced transparency throughout our entire supply chain.”
Dynamic Yard: In July, FourKites announced Dynamic Yard, creating a brand new category of software that gives enterprises the ability - for the first time - to proactively manage all of their facilities based on real-time in-transit and in-yard freight data and analytics. By connecting traditional, siloed yard management software with FourKites’ real-time supply chain data and predictive ETAs, enterprises can significantly reduce detention and demurrage costs, and optimize operations throughout their facilities company-wide.
Appointment Manager: FourKites launched a cloud-based appointment management solution - the first dedicated to the logistics space - to help facilities, carriers and 3PLs create, manage and collaborate efficiently on pickup and receiving location appointments. This portal makes scheduling easier than ever before, as it eliminates paper documents and yields actionable scheduling insights for shippers and carriers. With the ability to monitor carrier on-time performance and other performance trends, retailers can select the best possible carriers for their freight. Automated notifications alert carriers to any appointment updates, eliminating the need for email and phone scheduling. Other features include two-way WMS and TMS integration optimized for integration with FourKites’ Dynamic Yard.
Direct Store Delivery and Mobile App: FourKites’ mobile app covers the last mile for retailers. Thanks to FourKites unmatched visibility, store managers can track deliveries to just one store, or as many stores as they manage in a given region. The mobile app monitors both estimated times of arrival and truck locations on the map, as well as messaging to and from drivers. It also includes a tracking algorithm that increases accuracy for short-haul, multi-stop loads by pinging trucks every five minutes. Custom views for store managers, zone managers and merchandisers enable easy access to the right information at the right time.
“With FourKites, we now have visibility into the last mile of our supply chain - from our warehouses to our retailers - instead of relying on a printed route plan that does not update as delivery sequences change,” said Brett Frankenberg, SVP, Product Supply Planning & Bottle Sales at Coke Consolidated. “FourKites is creating visibility of the physical via digital, and facilitating better frontline decisions. This enables our merchandisers to service their stores with confidence, knowing the product in question has been delivered or is expected to be delivered based on real-time information. This reduces unproductive phone calls, texts and overall uncertainty.”
Reflecting on this last year of growth in the retail space, FourKites CEO Mathew Elenjickal stated, “The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has shaken retailers like nothing else in the last 75 years. A global recession, supply shocks, driver shortages, and dramatic changes in consumer and business buying habits have caused many businesses to fail. Real-time supply chain visibility has never been more important, and those retailers who are investing in this area have reduced dwell times, minimized paper record keeping and achieved other operational improvements.
FourKites will hold a webinar on Sept 30, featuring Meijer, to share best practices regarding how retailers and others can stay nimble in this difficult environment.https://pages.fourkites.com/webinar-agile-retail-supply-chain.html