Freightos: A Dragon’s Den View by Jon Hansen

Posted on January 17, 2014

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Editor’s Note: On January 14th, 2014 I had the opportunity to interview Year in the Life candidate Freightos, a New Wave company that combines a vision for the future of the freight industry with a passion for technology.  In the post-show commentary, our Dragon’s Den (or Shark Tank if you prefer) panel of experts provide their take on the interview and offer advice to the company.  In today’s review I will provide my take on Freightos;

Freightos

Even before we took to the virtual airwaves with Freightos CEO Zvi Schreiber, the company’s solution had to a certain extent captivated my imagination.

This enthusiasm was of course founded in my work in the late 90s with the Canadian Department of National Defence.  Specifically, addressing the obstacles that the international shipping of Indirect Materials re computer parts posed in terms of achieving the SLA requirements of a major contract.

While the obstacles were overcome – Indirect Material delivery performance went from a non-compliant 51% next day to 97.3% – it was the herculean effort leading up to that end result that still to this day stands out as one of my greatest challenges and fortunately, one of my greatest successes of what is now a long career.  Freightos’ ability to both simplify and streamline this process is what makes them a New Wave company to watch in 2014.

To start, and as you have (or will) hear in the interview, Freightos can instantly and reliably correlate a wide range of transport variables on a real-time basis in a matter of seconds.  This enables users to consistently select the best shipping options.  It is just that simple.

Of course the simplicity of the solution belies the fact that behind it is a series of complex algorithms that converts what in the past was literally binders of information relating to package weight and dimension, originating point of shipment, customs clearance etc.  For those of you who have shall we say also been around for some time, you will instantly understand what I am saying.

However, and as Schreiber rightfully pointed out during our discussion, simplicity in terms of shipping a spare part via FedEx today is commonplace.  This is the reason why Freightos has focused its energies on addressing the challenges of managing shipments within the framework of complex contracts.  In these instances, it still takes freight forwarding representatives a couple of days to provide a basic estimate for a multi-container shipment – emphasis on the word estimate.  The process becomes even more daunting when you look to introduce variables such as air versus sea.  It is in these situations in which the Freightos solution shines.

Once again, I will leave it to your discerning ear to listen to the interview for the specific details.  Your tuning in notwithstanding,  I want to emphasize the fact that in a global 7/24 marketplace in which just in time production strategies are the norm, having to wait 2 to 3 days to get a firm handle on shipping capabilities and costs won’t cut it.

My point here is that shipping, like high blood pressure, is a silent killer that erodes bottom line profitability.  While the majority of transactional elements of the acquisition process have become instantaneous, this key link in the supply chain was for far too long missing . . . that is until Freightos came on the scene.

The only suggestion that I would extend to Schreiber, is that he seriously considers expanding his focus to include the broader end-user market as opposed to limiting the solution to freight forwarders.  Even though as previously stated, companies such as FedEx and UPS have made the shipping process much easier for the majority of companies, there are still gaps in their service offerings in terms of true customization, carrier selection and control.

Be sure to check out our other Year in the Life Candidates as well as follow The Year in the Life 2014 Series on Twitter #YRiLife2014.

Editor’s Note: As an aside, here are the links to two PI Window on the World segments that will provide you with additional insight into just how complex (and challenging) the shipping process can be.  Included is my interview with Made-in-Transit Packaging creator Agata Jaworska who’s invention was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the top innovations of 2008.

November 30th, 2010: When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight but . . .

January 11th, 2011: Made-in-Transit Packaging is Innovative, but is it practical? Time Magazine thought so!

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