Supply Chain Now Radio Episode 152
Supply Chain Now Radio, Episode 152
“ Transportation Trailblazer: A Conversation with Kristen Forecki of Convoy”
The #SupplyChainCity Series on Supply Chain Now Radio
Hosted by Vector Global Logistics
Learn More: www.VectorGL.com
Kristen Forecki serves as Vice President of Supply at Convoy. Kristen joined Convoy in 2015 and has run a diverse set of teams throughout the rapid growth of the business, including Operations, Legal, PR, Marketing, and Finance. She currently focuses on the Supply side of the business, including Convoy’s industry-leading Quality & Compliance team. Kristen is experienced in finance, product management, strategy, and operations, with prior experience at industry leaders General Mills, Amazon, the Boston Consulting Group, and Rover.com. As a strong supporter of technological innovation, Kristen serves on the Board of the Washington Technology Industry Association. She was also named a Top Woman to Watch in 2019 by Women in Trucking. Kristen earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in finance and marketing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Learn more about Convoy here: https://convoy.com/
Will Haraway is Founder & Lead Evangelist at Backbeat Marketing. Will has 20 years of executive experience in B2B Technology Marketing. Will is a certified analyst relations practitioner by the Knowledge Capital Group and has helped companies including Manhattan Associates, Aptos, Atlantix Global Systems, American Software and Rubicon Global improve their brand reputations with marketing results that help increase sales. Will also serves as a member of the APICS Atlanta Executive Advisory Board. The Backbeat team includes lead generation, digital marketing, media relations and content marketing specialists with a combined 50 years of experience in their chosen disciplines. Learn more about Backbeat Marketing here: www.backbeatmarketing.com
Ben Harris is Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia. Learn more about the Metro Atlanta Chamber here: www.metroatlantachamber.com
Scott W. Luton is the founder of Supply Chain Now Radio. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was recently named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and serves on the advisory board for the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. He also serves as an advisor with TalentStream, a leading recruiting & staffing firm based in the Southeast. Connect with Scott Luton on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter at @ScottWLuton.
The #SupplyChainCity team of Scott Luton, Ben Harris, and Will Haraway welcome Kristen Forecki, VP of Supply from Convoy. They discuss her career and the way Convoy is changing the transportation industry.
[00:00:00] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio Broadcasting live from the Supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia Supply chain. Now radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people, the technology’s the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
[00:00:29] All right. Good afternoon. Scott Luton here with you live on Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. We’re coming to you today from Vector Global Logistics, a company that’s providing world class Logistics services all while deeply investing into the communities that they serve, based right here in Atlanta. But with an international reach. This company is on the move. You can learn more at Vector GSL dot com. So on today’s episode, we’re gonna be continuing our Supply chain City series, which spotlight stories really across the vibrant end in Supply chain community right here in metro Atlanta. But regardless of where you live, work and play, there’s gonna be plenty of best practices and industry insights for all great guests here today as well. On a quick programming note. Like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find our replays on a wide variety of channels Apple podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify and wherever else you find your podcast. As always, we love to have you subscribe, so don’t miss anything. Supply Chain Now Radio was also brought to you by a variety of sponsors, including the effective syndicate talent stream, Verusen, Supply chain, real estate dot com and several other leading organizations. So be sure to check out the grown ups to learn more about our valuable sponsors. Okay, so let’s welcome in my co-host today. Once again, the Supply chain city crew will hear way founder and chief evangelist with Bat Beat Marketing. Will, how you doing? Hey, man. Great to have you back. Thanks. Good to be here. A great show last week. Yeah. Was or was that week for last whenever we did one each week. So, yes, we’re on working hard on the cardinals.
[00:01:59] That’s right. So things have changed so quick. That’s right. That’s right.
[00:02:03] Good to have you back. And of course, Ben Harris, director of Supply chain Ecosystem Expansion with the Metro Atlanta Chamber. How you doing, Ben?
[00:02:09] I’m doing well. Good afternoon, Scott.
[00:02:12] Great to have you back as well. All right. So let’s welcome our featured guest today. Great guests. I think our audience really got to enjoy some of Chris Barnes perspective here. Kristin Forecki, vice president of supply with the rapidly growing convoy team. Hey, don’t, Kristin. I’m great. Thanks so much for having me. Great to have you here. I’ve been enjoying in our warm up conversations, learning all about the Seattle area and some of your your Milwaukee stories as well. And now we’re going to shift gears. We’re taught work or talk supply chain. So looking forward to that with you here. Just right after we tackle some of the things to know, some of top things, notes such now as we kind of pick Wil and Ben’s brains. But Kristen, thanks for being here. Thank you so much. OK, so we’ll start with you. What’s online? What’s on your radar here lately?
[00:02:57] Yeah. Well, there’s something that I’ve been following really all summer, but it’s really a trend that you can start to see.
[00:03:03] We’re just starting to see it more and more is that you are seeing a vast amount of narcotics being seized on ocean containers.
[00:03:13] Okay. So they’re obviously trying to smuggle smuggle in, you know, within the within the cargo.
[00:03:23] And what you’re seeing just in the past, at the beginning of August, ports in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain and Greece have all seized a historic amount of narcotics. Each ship originated from Latin America, either Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and most of the cargo was destined for Antwerp, Belgium. That was at the port of Antwerp, remains a top destination for drug exports, especially for those coming out of Latin American and Caribbean. Due to the sheer volume of containers that that the port goes the ships out of it every single day. So that just happened in August. If you go back here and here in the U.S. back in June, there was a major seizure, another historic seizure in Philadelphia, a container ship. It’s the HMS MSE gain owned by a Swiss Mediterranean shipping company. They were boarded and seized. Gosh, an estimated value of one point three billion dollars of cocaine or the Yankees payroll. All right. Then again, right there.
[00:04:27] And MSCI. Was that a what? What flag was that ship? Was that a U.S. flagged vessel? No, no. It was coming. It was it was Swiss based. But that that came in to the field. And and again, that was destined to come through Philadelphia and then head back to that same port of Antwerp that just happened to catch it here.
[00:04:48] So this is something, obviously, that that shippers, ocean shippers are going to have to stay focused on, because what’s happening is crews are getting paid. If you know and they’re trying to figure out where the entry points are happening and and just to be more vigilant, but it’s something that you’re going to see a lot more in the news, especially on the heels of these seizures just in the beginning of August. And it’s just something to follow. You know, the drug trade continues to evolve. And that’s just a new sort of interesting way that that combines supply chain and some of our worldwide ports.
[00:05:26] Well, imagine being a part of the crew or part of the ship, you know, and being completely innocent. Like, how are they going to know if you’re in on this or not? I mean, it’s definitely it’s tough. It’s got to. It’s gonna be a and not a fun conversation to have for some of those folks.
[00:05:42] So Will, as you meant, fifteen thousand five hundred eighty two bricks of cocaine. Yeah, that’s kind of tough to miss. Yeah, I don’t know. Mark Cuban. I don’t know. There’s a lot of stuff on those ships, I think. Oh, yeah, that’s right. We’ve all seen Breaking Bad. That’s just it. That’s just in a check. That’s right.
[00:05:57] If you’re seeing contraband, the good that literally that’s what the entire movie is about is, is them smuggling drugs on a vessel, on a settlement.
[00:06:04] Yes. Check it out. You like Mark Wahlberg? Yeah. Yeah. Martin and Mark and the Funky Marky Mark. Yeah. Netflix, maybe. I don’t know. Contraband. Weird. You see it. I saw in the theater. Excellent old movie. Okay. All right. Go.
[00:06:17] There’s some. There’s a move. That’s a movie tip section. We just started this this week. Two and a half stars.
[00:06:22] Ben says now it’s better than the kid. Want to make Hollywood mad?
[00:06:29] All right. So let’s talk Ben. You’ve got an interesting trend to track and supply chain. What’s going on? Algo capital.
[00:06:36] I’m trying to figure out a good Segway between narcotics and block chain right now. But, you know, let let’s talk about actually being able to track something, whereas we can’t track contraband necessarily. Sometimes a block chain aims to actually to do just that. So well done, sir. There, you guys. I did it. I did it. So Algo Capital is a financial institution that’s focused exclusively on powering Algo Rand’s borderless economy. So they develop financial products to accelerate access, adoption and liquidity of the algo, which is a digital native currency of algorithm block chain. So you’re thinking, what the hell is algorithm? You’re right in my mind. It’s the first pure proof of stake. You’re going to see that P P OS not to be confused with point of sale, right? Yeah. The first pure proof stake block chain platform. That’s an open sourced public block chain based on a again pure proof stake. Consensus protocol that supports the scalability and transition finality for billions of transactions. So really interesting concept there. And they presented this morning at ARS Grow Leadership Council at the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
[00:07:45] Really interesting company. It’s actually three guys who who started this venture capital fund. Basically, it it’s actually two over two hundred million dollar block Cheng focused venture capital fund. That’s gonna be based here in Atlanta, actually. So it seems it’s extremely exciting for lots of companies. Are you crying or you’re right. You’re asking why would they pick Atlanta? Oddly enough, Algo Capital is based in Boston originally, but they wanted to put the fund down here because of the large community that we have here around payments and also around financial technology or otherwise known as fintech. So big win for Atlanta having it here in the area that we’re going to see a lot of companies benefiting from this. A lot of capital being poured into those companies. So we’re super excited about algo capital making this investment. Atlanta. So you’re gonna see a lot of news on that coming in. And I know it sounds like a very abstract thing right now, but it’s going to be it’s really big for Atlanta. So we’re excited about big win wins.
[00:08:43] Keep coming. Fascinating. And, you know, fintech, of course, huge infrastructure here. I want to say what 70 percent of all debit credit card transactions in the country are processed by a company based here in Georgia? That’s correct. That’s correct. And you know, it’s not we’re talking at this last show a thing. You know, it’s great to see the freight tech industry really blossom because we’re gonna go to leverage that here in the state. Right. Infrastructure to really make more more investments and get more business here.
[00:09:13] Absolutely. I mean, you talk about the supply chain. That’s where we really wanted to. That’s where it’s exciting to see a fintech focused V.C. like this around block chain, because as we see in Supply chain, there’s so much application to transportation, supply chain, so many different hands that are touching, you know, each transaction out there. So really, I think it’s it’s interesting to have Atlanta really at the forefront of fintech and supply chain right now. It’s a great nexus to be at right now.
[00:09:38] You know, convoy’s a founding member of the BLOCK Chain and Transportation Alliance. And of course, we’re thinking about all the ways that we could apply block chain just as another great solution as we’re trying to figure out what are the what are the ways you can solve problems for shippers and carriers. So looking at what’s the record keeping that we do today, you know, things like bills of waiting, for example, is. There are way that we could do away with these pieces of paper that everyone has to hold on to and and write things on manually, you know, is there a way we could employ block chain? So I think there’s I think there’s a lot of innovation to come.
[00:10:08] Yeah, most assuredly. Well, you know, it’s really neat to have Kristen Forecki, vice president of supply with convoy here, because Convoy has had a exciting new chapter in their company with the team they’ve established right here in metro Atlanta, which we’re all excited about. And then Kristen asked you about that as well. But before we talk about convoy and in which I’ll do all the really neat stories and wins you all had. Let’s talk more about Kristen Forecki. Let’s listen. Tell us more about yourself kind of in the lead up to what your role is now.
[00:10:38] Sure. I’ll give you sort of the Reader’s Digest version of the career and then feel free to ask any follow up questions you want. So I started my career in finance and manufacturing back in the Midwest. I’m from Wisconsin originally, so I went to school there and I worked in Minneapolis with General Mills. And then I got my MBA from Harvard and started thinking about what did I want to do differently and and got into strategy work with Boston Consulting Group. Life circumstances took me to Seattle and I unexpectedly started working for Amazon, which was, I think, my first real introduction to how much technology could revolutionize an industry seeing what Amazon was doing with retail. And I took a role as a product manager with them, which at the time was a very new kind of role about a decade ago in terms of, you know, schools didn’t have programs specifically for that. They do now. But it was really interesting to learn just how do you build technology solutions to solve business problems? So I spent some time with Amazon, also got to run a marketplace with them, which was a great introduction to Marketplace businesses, which are obviously growing tremendously in the U.S. over the past decade because of the robust technology infrastructure and the the community in Seattle. I got bit by the startup bug, so I went to a company called Rover Dot.com. I it’s a it’s a marketplace for dog sitters, pet owners, dog walkers, things like that. I love Rover. It I’m. Oh, great. Do you use it? Do your dog.
[00:12:05] I literally have it on my phone right now. We have two dogs, actually, Berlin. And they had dogs. Yeah. So Charlie and finally, Charlie is a a cream golden doodle and family is kind of a boxer pit bull mix.
[00:12:17] Sounds great. And I miss them. Yes. Do you have an item right now? They’re not related. Like Charlie Findley, like the old owner of the Oakland A’s. They are. Are they subscribers at Supply Chain Now Radio? You know, I don’t know if they’ve listened. Yeah, it’s gotten you the strap on some more funds to them. So it’s running.
[00:12:35] Bartlett is Bartlett’s with his sitter right now. My my little happenings guy. Oh, yeah. Bartlett. Bartlett. Yeah. Stick man. Yeah. All my dogs know. Yeah. So overcome with Rover four for several years and did operations and supply side for them as well. So started a lot of different kinds of operations teams, their customer service teams, trust and safety teams, fraud teams, things like that. And then it moved over to run their supply side of the business. So SIDA recruiting and training and it really took all of those different experiences to prepare me to then be part of this crazy roller coaster that’s been convoy and the rapid growth that we’ve had. So I started at convoy when we were just a dozen people. As you can imagine, did a lot of different things for them early on. You know, there was a time I was running our finance team and legal and PR. And luckily we have professionals that run all of those things now. But I’ve always run operations teams and supply teams as part of that, sometimes together, sometimes focusing on one or the other. In my current role, I’m focused primarily on the supply side of convoy, which means our carriers and our drivers and thinking about how do we make sure we always have carriers in the right place at the right time to give our customers a great experience, but also thinking about how do we give our drivers and our carriers a great experience too, because they’re obviously critical to the success of our business.
[00:13:57] And we’re gonna touch on that in a second. So talk more about for folks at that for that for all seven people in the country that have not heard of com or tell it, tell them more about what you’ll do.
[00:14:08] Sure. So Convoy is a nationwide digital freight network. We partner with the best shippers and carriers in the country to move millions of truck loads. But we are also looking at solving fundamental freight problems and thinking about how can we work with our shippers and customers and our carriers to solve problems better than they’ve ever been solved before.
[00:14:30] We’ve always thought about how should this industry work and then adapted to what’s happening today and figured out how to get that bridge from what’s happening today to the way that we really could could operate in a way that was more efficient for everybody. You know that that helped shippers think about the most efficient ways to run their supply chain function over form right there.
[00:14:51] Yeah. Was speaking to that. One of the problems that you kind of have solved over the years, at least some of the hot buttons for you guys is that. Only empty miles. Tell us more about what you’re doing there.
[00:15:00] Yeah. So, you know, if you just look at the convoy app, if you’re a driver and you wanted to keep your truck full, you know, you can find all the kinds of work that you want to run on the convoy up. And our our economics department just put out a paper about just how many miles I run empty today. It’s I mean, it’s a huge amount. Anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of the time, you’re seeing a truck on the freeway. It’s running empty. And so a big part of that is because they can’t find the right kind of work that they want to do on the lanes that they like to run. So using the convoy app, you can instantly book the jobs that you want. And we also we make it easy for you to request loads on places where you normally want to run or if you know you’ve got a gap in your schedule. Makes it easy to fill that. But we’re also starting to get smarter and smarter about how that works. So we’re we’re we’ve just released something called automated reloads.
[00:15:53] And so this is rather than relying on you, the carrier or driver or, you know, your dispatcher to put together that schedule for you.
[00:16:01] We’re leveraging the power of technology to say, let me look at thousands and thousands of loads and put together a great schedule for you that says I can take you from A to B and back or I can take you from A to B to C to D back to a mile. And so we’re offering those now as bundles to drivers that help them keep their trucks full longer and really maximize those dollars per hour that they’re spending. You know, they’re as they’re working in their truck. But it’s not just about the empty miles, too. I would say, you know, our our mission is to eliminate waste. And so, you know, we want to transport the world with endless capacity and zero waste. And so, you know, we think also about all the ways that we can eliminate waste for drivers like waiting around at facilities as well. So we’ve invented programs like Convoy Go as well that that help address concerns like that.
[00:16:54] Yep. And that’s one I was particularly interested in, because what that service is, if correct me if I’m wrong. Right. Is that you or you have have made it so that you can come and pick up as a trucker, you can come and pick up a full trailer and take that and take that load where it needs to go. And that’s right. So do you guys own those trailers?
[00:17:14] Yep. Yep. So we we controlled the trailer pool, OK. And then we’ll put those at our customers. And then we have carriers who all they need is a power unit. Right. And they can go and move that freight. And so it’s the best kind of work because it’s as opposed to having to wait on average two hours. And usually, you know, usually you talk to a truck driver. Folks are talking about, you know, waiting three, four hours at facilities. You can go get your trailer in 15 minutes. And it only takes 15 minutes to drop it off at your destination as well. And so we’re seeing drivers can do maybe as much as five times as many loads in a single day. Right. If they’re not having to spend all of that time waiting, especially if you’ve got that great local freight. And so it’s a really cool program. You know, it’s something that the industry has not been able to do before. Again, going back to the how should this work? Because the only folks who were able to do this before were your asset base carriers, just guys with their own truck fleets. That’s right. And that’s such a small percentage of the overall population. You know that the the top 20 trucking companies only own 12 percent of the capacity. Right. And so you’ve got this long tail of capacity. Who but they didn’t have they didn’t have extra trailers sitting around. And even if they did, you know, you don’t just need a couple extra trailers. You need hundreds, thousands of trailers to be able to run a program like this. And so if you’re a small trucking company, this was not available to you before. And what we would hear from our from our customers, from these Fortune 500, 100 customers was that, you know, they wanted that capacity, but they wanted them to be able to work in this kind of drop trailer system. And so we brought that together to say, OK, we will take care of the trailer part. And now we’ve got the ability for drivers to just come in, hitch and go.
[00:18:54] So is this kind of you? Is this one of your first asset investments? It within trucking is is this trailer fleet for convoy? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. That’s that’s that’s really interesting. And what happened to the trailer once it’s dropped off? What do you do then you go get it or. Yeah. So this region fill it back up and do another load.
[00:19:10] This is another thing that makes what convoys doing so interesting is that because we have the single trailer pool with multiple customers around the country, the the more dense our network gets, we can reduce the empty miles that four trailer moves as well. And so we can move a trailer from one location to another and then just have a short distance away, have it get refilled to be able to move back. And so we have a fantastic network of facilities that are using these trailers. And so the average time that those trailers are running empty is also a lot less than the industry average, right?
[00:19:46] Yeah. That’s it. One more question I had on this. Just as you guys are looking forward and I know that a big part of what you guys do is trying to empower the owner operator. The. You know, the independent carrier. What about are you incorporating any of the obviously at the end of the year the EOD or are transferring from AOE VR D2 to finally, you know, that you’re gonna go straight to EOD and a lot of those guys are gonna if you don’t have if you have the right equipment, you’re gonna have to go out of service. So I’m just curious, is that something that you guys are looking at? It’s certainly when the hours of service become more transparent. Is that something you’re going to incorporate into your overall technology?
[00:20:25] I would say we are always looking at the best ways that we can solve problems for shippers and carriers. So nothing’s ever off the table. It’s it’s usually just a matter of when and not if. Oh, today we’re partnering with some of the elder providers looking at opportunities to integrate so that we can get make it the easiest as possible for carriers to do their job and get great work. We don’t today offer an elder capacity on the app, but again, something we can always consider. Sure. Mm hmm.
[00:20:54] All right. So speaking of aloha, you put that a second ago, how y’all look for the carriers and the drivers. You want to optimize your experience as much as you do your customers. That is a wonderful thing. Rule of thumb. So let’s talk more about the drivers. So to quote convoy’s Web site convoy dot com, you got in there a truck, quote, a truck driver is one of the top jobs in America. They’re the unsung heroes that make our economy work. And it convoy truck drivers make our business possible, end quote. I love that. So please expand a little bit more on how important it is in today’s Indian supply chain.
[00:21:33] Absolutely. It’s something I think about constantly is, you know, we don’t make a dime unless a carrier makes a dollar. And we have to make sure that they’re having a great experience. One of the things having talked to now hundreds of carriers in my time at convoy, one of the things I hear and feel so often is that carriers just don’t feel respected. Drivers don’t feel respected. And they should. This is an incredible thing that they do.
[00:21:59] I mean, you know, you look around this room, everything in this room, including the room in it, including everything we’re wearing, everything we have on the table here. It was on probably 12 trucks by the time it got to us. You know, if truck drivers weren’t doing what they do, none of us would be able to live our lives. And so I think it’s something that is invisible to a lot of people that that they don’t appreciate. And obviously, you know, everyone in this room really does. And it’s something that we we talk about all the time. So we’re always talking about what are the main problems that the drivers face and how can we solve them. So we come up with things like my favorite is our no hassles attention, for example.
[00:22:32] So detention, we talked we just talked about that wait time a little while ago. You know, truck drivers may end up sitting in a facility for hours and hours in their day. That’s wasted time for them. And they’re entitled to compensation because of that. They’re entitled to detention payment because of that. But as anyone who’s driven a truck knows, it’s usually a fight with the shipper to get that detention payment. And when we first started convoy, a lot of us thought that was crazy. And we said it’s yeah, it’s a fifteen hundred dollar load. Why are we haggling over 40 bucks? This is so obviously due to this guy who, you know, who’s on time, he was doing the right thing. And so, you know, we tried to standardize it with shippers and they really weren’t interested. And so what we did is we said, you know what? We’re just going to decouple the two and we will take care of the detention payment. We can see that you were on time. You don’t have to call us and argue for it. All you have to do is tap in your app that says, you know, I’ve been waiting, I’d like some detention payment. We will tell you instantly in the app that you’ve been approved for detention and then we’ll put it into your quick pay, which is which is a free service that we offer to carriers. If they use the app, they get paid next day. No fees. Yeah. And will include that detention payment in there as well. And we’ll pay even if the shipper doesn’t pay. And that to us is an example of showing the driver that respect and doing the right thing and assignment and time because.
[00:23:52] Yeah, I’ve heard that too. That is like their biggest pet peeve. Yeah. And and the reason is that somehow you can always blame the next person down the chain of like, well, this is why this is later.
[00:24:02] This is why this is that and this is why we don’t have you, you know, loaded up at you. We don’t have your trailer ready like we do in the dropping hook thing. So, yeah, I think that’s that’s a that’s a tremendous benefit to those guys.
[00:24:16] And it’s cool to work with shippers and get to show them this kind of data as well. It helps them understand the problem better. You know, one of the things convoy can bring to the shipper side is we can show them the kind of experience that they’re giving drivers because that influences the prices that they’re going to get charged. And so we can show them, you know, if you have a high wait time at your facility, not only are you going to have to pay attention, but you develop a reputation. And now carrier. Yes. You know, they’re not excited to go to your facility. And they’re gonna charge us 15 percent more on average than your neighbors a mile away because they know the reputation of your facility. That kind of information to shippers ends up being really valuable. And that’s the kind of thing that that convoy can provide, where others can’t provide or even just takes. Lane, to shippers, you know, our G.P.S. tracking, we always know where the truck is. It lets us show shippers. Do you realize you’ve got an hour and a half wait outside your facility, around the block, you know, you’re upset. You’re not wanting to compensate drivers for detention, say, because you’re saying, oh, you arrived late and I can show you their G.P.S. tracking and when they way to get around the block, huge any. And it gives everybody a better experience. Shippers now can can, you know, make changes at their facility that can improve things for them because they’re gonna get lower prices, more more supply, and carers are going to have a better experience as well, providing that visibility gives more accountability.
[00:25:32] Like we just said all along, those those different links in the chain that that result in those delays.
[00:25:38] Yeah, it’s amazing what you can do when you have the data, when you know what’s actually going on.
[00:25:43] So it’s not business as usual. You’re improving the industry, which is really neat to see. Before I ask you about some other just general supply chain trends, you know, being when you were part of the team with 12 team members way back when.
[00:25:57] Where does this move the needle? This make things better type of aspect come from? Is it was it just inherent to the team of leaders that got together to form the company?
[00:26:08] Yeah, I think it was we we from the beginning always talked about talked about how things should work. We we came in, we hired certainly people with industry experience, but several of us didn’t have industry experience. So we leaned on each other heavily so that we those of us who didn’t have industry experience but maybe had technology experience, we might have been thinking about, you know, more out of the box ideas. But then we would lean on our colleagues and who were from the technology industry to teach us about. Okay. But why does it work that way today? One of the values that is so special to convoy is we have a value called love problems, not solutions. And what this means is you think about what’s the problem you’re trying to solve and then you debate all the different ways you could solve it so frequently. The way people try to make decisions in business is somebody comes with an idea and they say, I think we should do X and then everybody talks about the reasons X won’t work. And you go back and forth, you know, and you kind of waste your time. But if someone says what’s the problem you’re trying to solve with that solution, you can then talk about the problem, agree why it’s important and you can think about what are all the different things that we could try and you can experiment with many different ways. I tell my team frequently you can solve problems with people, process product or policy like automated detention are no hassle. Detention system automating. That was something that was a little bit of everything. You know, it was a policy change decision for us. It was something that we put into our product. It changed our process. You know, and it was it was the best solution rather than going to the shippers and trying to negotiate with them. And so we we’ve really thought about that from the beginning. And I give our our founder, Dan Lewis, a lot of credit for that love problems, not solution.
[00:27:47] That’s right. That is the T-shirt slogan today. Maybe the episode title Love. That is such a you know, I’ve been going back to what you and the keynote at Atlanta Supply chain Awards, Kevin Heath, we’re talking about at the fireside chat and was very similar to that.
[00:28:06] Yes, it was as fall in love with the problem. Yeah, not the solution. So.
[00:28:10] So we’re kindred spirits there.
[00:28:12] Chris, perfect. You in your life? Yeah. It’s it’s helpful in your personal relationships. It’s helpful everywhere. Yeah.
[00:28:19] All right. So let’s talk about this. Can open the conversation little bit more up before we we get your business thoughts on a couple things. So first off, generally speaking, across and in Supply chain, what supply chain trends issues are hitting your radar more than others right now?
[00:28:34] Well, we’re obviously thinking about, you know, that the industry is going through a cycle. And so it’s a slower time for freight relative to especially the last two years, which were just record breaking in terms of their growth and the demand for trucks. So I always think about during these times, I think about the small carriers. You know, during those boom times, you don’t have to be a savvy to stay in business. And so you have a lot of folks starting new companies, growing their businesses. Rates are so high, there’s so much demand, it’s easy to succeed. But in a little bit of a slower time, you do have to be savvier to stay in business. We think about that quite a bit because small carriers are, you know, bread and butter. And we work we work with them. We build products for them. And so thinking about, again, how do we keep them full? How do we make sure that they’re not wasting time driving empty or that, you know, they’re they’re getting the most dollars per hour because especially again, especially when rates are a little bit lower like they are today. You don’t want people driving empty in and kind of minimizing the amount of, you know, take home pay that they have. That’s very true.
[00:29:37] Ben, I was just going to say, I mean, as far as trends and issues is one thing. But I mean, you’ve got a company that, you know, in less than five years, you know, convoys grown to, you know, over 500 employees, some employees. Do you have. By the way, Christine, just curious how we’re getting close to 800 now and close to 800. You’re right. You’ve raised, you know, 260. Five million plus, you know, and as far as as far as funding, then you’ve, you know, reached a valuation, more than a billion dollars in debt. Your investors include alphabets, you know, late stage venture arm, capital G. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and venture capital firm Greylock Partners. So pretty much the who’s who out there. And so it’d be easy to be like, you know, we’re awesome. It’s it’s hard to improve on what we’re doing. And I know we’ve touched on a lot of this already. But, you know, what are some of the top parties that, you know, you’re trying to keep, you know, front and center.
[00:30:29] You know, with your team, you know, during these big burst of growth, I think the number one is customer experience, again, for both shippers and carriers during during big periods of growth and offering new products. You’re trying to solve problems for folks and you want to be there for them when things are going wrong. You want to make sure that you’re providing them a great experience during the whole trip. And so, you know, back in the early days, again, when it was 12 people, I would take every single customer phone call myself. Sure. I obviously can’t do that anymore. So, you know, we hire really incredible people who are gonna give the kind of experience that that we want to our customers and who are going to think about them and prioritize their success. Because, again, you know, our success is making our our shippers and our and our carriers successful. So I think that’s that’s number one. And I you know, I mentioned hiring great people. That’s number two. You really can’t grow great company without great people. If I only did one thing right in my day, it was and it was hire great people that would. That would be enough to keep the business going. It’s you know, it’s sort of the most important thing that any of us can do is to hire great talent, which again, is one of the reasons we’re so excited about our Atlanta expansion because we found some great talent here. So those are some of the top things. And we just never lose that focus on love problems, not solutions, where we have a lot of really cool innovations coming up. You know, at the. As we got started four years ago, we thought a lot about how do we make the sort of fundamental experience a good one. And then we started introducing more data solutions. We started introducing new ways to run loads. We like, hon, we go. We’ve got more and more of those things coming. And now we’ve got these big customers who are forward thinking and they want to be part of that innovation. So I’m excited for that for that to keep coming.
[00:32:13] We are, too. You’re not wrestling the team, not resting on its laurels by any means? No. That’s probably another important component. Right. Which is fueling that growth from 12 people to almost a hundred team members. And some of the other accomplishments have been laid out. Very impressive. And of course, we’re tickled to have an office right here in metro Atlanta, Supply chain City. All right. So let’s shift gears. That’s a great Segway on hiring great people. So let’s talk about Supply chain talent. So as you’re talking there, as a team is talking, I’m sure like many organizations, everyone on the team is a recruiter, right? That’s right.
[00:32:51] Well, says ears. Yeah. Come work for us and bring your friends. Yeah. Really?
[00:32:55] So what are what does the team collectively hearing, do you think, from top candidates in terms of what type of organization they work in?
[00:33:03] The folks that that are a great fit with convoy are those people who they’ve got ideas and they want it. They want to bring those ideas to bear. They want to make things better. They don’t just want to show up and punch a clock and do what they’re told. They really want to think about how we can continue innovating and we want that from them to, you know, doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of college. We still want those those ideas that you might have about how things can be better. So many of our ideas come from folks on the frontlines who are talking to carriers and to shippers everyday who really understand their problems and who are going through it with them. They’re gonna give us some of the best ideas that we can get and then we’re going to implement those. No, has attention was was created that way was created from folks on the frontlines. And so we’re always looking for those kinds of ideas. And that’s what, you know, when when I’m looking for somebody and looking to add a member to the team, we want people who are really driven and who are going to continue to iterate on their own processes and who are going to have those kinds of new ideas for what combo can do next. Yeah.
[00:34:04] So it sounds like to me, you know, when you go in the manufacturing companies or some of the plant tours I’ve been on in my career, we always see an idea box that some folks can write and IBM and you drop it in there. And and of course, typically, generally speaking, a lot of those things are ignored. They’re never implemented. And the folks that submit those ideas, they’re never recognize or are circled back to. It sounds like to me that convoy is very intentionally farming new ideas and and put them in the place to see what works.
[00:34:36] That’s right. No one’s ever done this before. We’re always telling the team no one’s ever done this before. And so we need everyone’s collective brainpower to make it work. Mm hmm.
[00:34:45] All right. On that note, let’s talk about some of the roles that convoy is currently recruiting for. We know we have a lot of folks. We get a lot of LinkedIn notes and other things from social media, from folks that are there. Undergrads or maybe their early entrance into the Supply chain industry and so naturally are always curious what the movers and shakers in industry are looking for. Talk about some other roles you’re hiring for.
[00:35:07] So our Atlanta office today is primarily hiring operations and brokerage roles. So folks, folks with industry experience are fantastic. You’re gonna get up to speed really fast and probably have a lot of new ideas to bring right off the bat. And Bull also take folks that don’t necessarily have industry experience. Again, we want people to learn from each other. So we want a diversity of experience on the team. So, you know, if you’ve got customer service experience, you know, if you’re if you’ve if you’ve ever worked in a customer facing role before, you’re probably going to be a great fit for those teams. We’re looking for folks at every level from entry level, right out of school to managers to, you know, folks who, you know, are looking for a job that’s maybe hourly. So we’ve got all of those kinds of opportunities. I believe we’re also looking in the Atlanta office today for some tech support. So we’ve got all those kinds of jobs as well. And then, you know, our brokerage team said the folks who are doing the the sales to carriers and helping to recruit that carrier population and making sure we have a match for every single vote. Mm hmm.
[00:36:11] Well, you know, as we alluded to earlier, I’m sure the combo teams now find the wealth of tech talent we have in Atlanta, which is really neat. I mean, we we we are always ambassadors for Atlanta. We love. We love all that the markets across the world. Supply chain. But it’s just one of the special things that makes Atlanta such a neat place to do business in.
[00:36:31] And we’ve been so thrilled with the with the talent that we’ve found here. I mean, it really has matter, I would say exceeded our expectations. So for any of your listeners who are thinking about convoy, just go to convoy dot.com slash careers, can we do it?
[00:36:44] Can’t wait to get your application. And like I said, bring your friends and bring your ideas. Let’s bring your bring your idea is right.
[00:36:51] Ok. So let’s switch gears for a second here, because as we were as we were working on your LinkedIn profile before you got here, Kristen, we’re trying to get a little bit of a feel of your background and what you walked through earlier. And you’re really involved in industry, which doesn’t surprise me. You know, I think groups that are out there trying to change industry, naturally, they’re going to look outside the four walls of those relationships and get involved initiatives. So you’re in. You’re a board member with the Washington Technology Industry Association.
[00:37:19] So what is right? It’s an industry group that it’s a unified voice for the technology companies in Washington. And so that means that it can offer member services that help businesses thrive and get started so they can focus on innovation and the industry association can help them run their businesses. So they’ll offer things like for a 1 K plans, health plans, things like that. They also foster collaboration with the community. So they’ll take people from the tech industry, community leaders and nonprofits and put them in working groups together to help solve problems because you can otherwise have everyone’s running at a problem in a different way. But often if you have a coordinated effort, you can actually make a lot more progress. And so that’s one of the things that they work on. They also help people get careers in technology. So folks who might not have had that opportunity otherwise, underrepresented groups, women, minorities, things like that, and they partner with top tech companies who are looking to hire this kind of talent and really need this pipeline of people. And so they’ll help facilitate that to make it a stronger, a stronger pipeline within the state. And then they’re actually working nationwide on some of those programs as well to help build up that technology talent and get people into, you know, what is really the the the new thriving economy in the US. Mm hmm.
[00:38:37] That sounds a little similar to Technology Association of Georgia and our friends over there pine on the exact same services and so forth, but just similar as far as, you know, some of the things they can offer as far as resources to technology focused companies here. We should we should connect and for sure what we can learn from each other for sure. I like that. I was going to ask you now. I forgot to beforehand. Who is kind of you’re the person who’s kind of running your Atlanta office currently right now.
[00:39:01] So we we’ve just hired a new site leader named Jason Carter. And so he comes to us with background running Wal-Mart facilities and Amazon facilities. So he’s got a great Atlanta presence and network as a network. Yeah. But comes to us with a Amazon that technology experience. One of our one of our folks who was very early at Cowboy and has grown quite a bit with the company. Her name is Melanie Knapp. She’s an operations leader with convoy. And she helped launch the Atlanta office. And she really that was a she did the the the heavy lifting to get the office off the ground. So she deserves quite a bit of credit. And then Jason’s taking over from her just in a few months now.
[00:39:44] Yeah, I had the pleasure of meeting that, Melanie, actually. She was phenomenal. So hats off to her for getting things started. It sounds like Jason’s gonna do a phenomenal job taking over.
[00:39:51] We’re really lucky to have both of them. Can’t wait to have Melanie back in Seattle.
[00:39:55] Fantastic. So. Who goes to Jason? And you said Milly Neff, Melina. That’s right. Fantastic. All right. So let’s make sure our audience knows how to get in touch and learn more about convoys. So where can we send our folks to convoy dot coms?
[00:40:10] Gonna be your best resource. You can also see us on LinkedIn or Facebook, dot com slash convoy team. All good places to get information about us.
[00:40:18] Fantastic. And I was gonna point out earlier, you know, way back when in this conversation we’re talking empty, Miles and I came across a great blog article on the convoy blog about empty miles and trucking. Some of those statistics that you mentioned, that’s we all need to embrace that and wrap your head around that so you can check out the convoy, the blog, the convoy blog at convoy dot com and think you’ll our listeners will enjoy that content. OK. Well, a big thanks again to Kristin Forecki, vice president of Supply with Convoy. Who is it? Organization on the move. Congrats on all of the team’s success and really appreciate you taking some time out today in your visit into Atlanta. Thank you. My pleasure. You bet. Great to have you. All right. So, Ben and Will, we are going to walk through some of the things we’ve got on our radar coming up. We always like to invite our Supply Chain Now Radio audience to come check us out in person. We’ve got events coming up from North Charleston where we’re gonna be broadcasting live at the 2019, a A.G. SC AC Supply chain Equality Conference, all about the word of automotive. I think Kristen was talking about wit and bitter. Well, we love our acronym SUPPLY CHAIN. So AIG, the Automotive Industry Action Group, is partnering with the South Carolina Automotive Council to focus in on a great automotive conference. It really diving in deep on Supply chain Equality, where we’re broadcasting live their September 12th, the 13th in beautiful North Charleston, South Carolina, Christian Urban Charleston. Abby, it’s gorgeous. And it is. Hopefully I’ll be a little bit cooler in September. I’m not holding my breath, but we’re looking forward to being there.
[00:41:53] Sponsored by the effective syndicate. Unlikely. Well, I agree with you. All right.
[00:42:00] So we. After that, we get back to Atlanta, October 9th. Will Ben, y’all going to be at the Georgia Manufacturing Summit? Should be. Yes. Yes, of course. It’s amazing. I think we’ve been there three or four years in a row. We’ve got a great panel teed up for Trends Track and Supply chain. We’re gonna be featuring Tender Bellamy with U.P.S., one of our our favorite Supply chain practice leaders. We’re gonna feature Mitsubishi Electric Train has a manufacturing facility up in Gwinnett County, right? Well, that’s great. And then H empty X, which is a sustained, large, sustainable manufacture of furniture, our sustainable furniture making factor. And then we wrap it up with an innovation leader with Georgia Pacific, which we’re really excited about. So that’s October 9th. Are you the emcee for that panel? We’re going to be just pulling stuff out of their brains. So emcee or facilitator or just moving the microphone, whatever it whatever you did to make that happen. But it’s usually a great yearly panel excited about that October night. You can learn more. George Manufacturing Alliance dot com. All right. So we’ll then we’re gonna we’re gonna get PAC, our best Hollywood hair away shirts. We’re heading to Austin, Texas. That’s right. For the 2019 Logistics CIO Forum, which is hosted by our friends that we’re EFCA. Yeah. You have T Christopher our plugged into the folks e t after transport. Yeah.
[00:43:26] Although I j I don’t probably work with them as much on my day to day, but certainly other other very intelligent folks in our company. Mm hmm.
[00:43:34] I think all the folks that come away must be intelligent based on what we heard today, November 7th through the 8th, two thousand nineteen in Austin, Texas. Looking forward to the Logistics Forum where we’re going to broadcasting lab there and then you flip the calendar. It hard to believe it’ll be the holidays, but then we move into February. We’re gonna be in Vegas with the reverse Logistics Association and Conference and Moto X 2020 back here in Atlanta, which we’re excited about, which is also hosting our 2020 Atlanta Supply chain Awards, which we’ve got to get. Com boy and all the cool things you are doing involve the nominate and there. Definitely. All right. That’s that’s what’s on our calendar. Ben, will anything else you forget?
[00:44:17] See you CFP. Right. Well, that’s what we all looking for. Love, buddy. Go ahead. Yeah. And that’s when is it, Will?
[00:44:26] It is September the. I believe it starts in the 16th through the 18th. I’m pretty sure that’s right. So you CFP in Anaheim, California and beautiful, probably 70.
[00:44:37] Orange County have degrees. Let’s hope so. I’m looking forward to it. So. So you’re gonna be out there? Oh, I’ll be out there onsite meeting with the movers and maker. Yes. That’s a great conference. It was here in Atlanta. What, a couple of years ago it was.
[00:44:48] Yeah. Two or three. Yeah. The two. It’s in the cycle. Yeah. It’s come back to and I want to say next year. The following year.
[00:44:55] Yeah it does. I think it did. Nashville the year before that, it sometimes does, San Diego sometimes does Orlando, sometimes Chicago.
[00:45:01] Well, you know, we’re all big. You know, Dave Maddox, who’s who leads the CCP Atlanta roundtable, was here last week with us. Great organization. And it seems like they’re growing leaps and bounds as well. Yes. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:45:13] Speaking of. Yes. Me.
[00:45:15] I will share a current event that we’re doing with. I thought you’re about to say mother.
[00:45:18] May I? Mother May. Yes. You know, at City, the metro Atlanta Chamber are Supply chain Leadership Council. We’re doing kind of a joint event. It was actually a CSC Tempe, Atlanta roundtable event at the time. And they asked me to speak at it. And I said, well, can we just open it up to Leadership Council and let let everyone come to it? And they said, yeah, absolutely. So we’re hosting at the chamber September 11th, seven thirty in the morning till nine thirty in the morning. So you can you can go to that first. It’s. It’s titled What’s New in Supply chain City. We’ll have a panel discussion talking about the what’s the latest and greatest here in Atlanta around Supply chain, some the advancement, some of the new companies that are here. So I would like to extend a personal invitation to our folks at com where our local folks to come check that out, too. So Chris, I’ll I’ll be send that over to you. Great. Look forward to it. And maybe I’ll have you on the panel, too. We have to add you to it. Talking about what’s new. You guys are definitely what’s new.
[00:46:09] So let’s say let’s totally talk about that. Also new and proven. There you go. There you go. Now, on the same day, actually starting the same day is our smart city expo here in Atlanta. It’s the first time they’ve ever had a smart city event here in Atlanta. So we’re really excited. The National Smart City Expo that we’re having in Atlanta. So usually they do it on a on a more national and international scale, actually usually in Barcelona for this and that while they’ll still have that. This will be their sister event. So having that in Atlanta is a big deal that starts then on the 11th that will go till the 13th of September. And then actually the Georgia Port Authority, our state of the port address is on the 12th of September. So mark your calendars for that as well. That’ll be down in Savannah. Lovely. Savannah. Yes. I say our are our friends there to the south, to Atlanta would not be anything when it was without the port savannah. We we love them and we appreciate what they do for the state and actually for the entire nation.
[00:47:01] Yes, right. When the fast growing ports in North America. And so let me back up, because I did glance over at it, mean to do that for CSC and people’s will is going to be there at September 15th, the 18th and Anaheim. And if you would like to connect with Will, who’s gonna be on site?
[00:47:15] I interviewed or just rub elbows with my name, Hataway or LinkedIn or whatever it is, William at backbeat marketing dot com or just found me on LinkedIn and so mean that they’re perfect. Send me a text if you’ve got my number. I won’t give that out at the moment.
[00:47:32] Well, you know, trades trade show season is certainly upon us. Lots of great stuff to plug into in the weeks and months ahead. OK. Big thanks to our guests here today on Supply Chain Now Radio. Kristin Forecki, V.P. of supply with convoy. Thanks so much, Kristen. Safe travels back to beautiful Seattle. Thanks so much. We’ll have you back on the show when you come back into town. Anytime. Will and been a great show today. Yes, phenomenal. You know. I had certainly read up on convoy, did my homework before the show, but really that they. The story is bigger than what? My homework. You know, fascinating what you are doing it, cowboy. So thanks for taking time out. Thanks for what you do to make industry and business better come for dot com. But Ben will. Great show today.
[00:48:17] Yeah, I got to say. Back from a digital freight standpoint, it’s a hot, thriving industry. And we talk about there’s gonna be some winners and losers. I can say confidently Conaway is a winner now and will stay here and remain a winner. That’s why I like you, Ben.
[00:48:32] You’re cool. I’m so glad to have you here. Definitely.
[00:48:35] All right. To our listeners, be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays of our interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Again, you can find some Apple podcasts, SoundCloud, all leading sites where podcasts can be found. And be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss anything on behalf of the entire Supply Chain Now Radio team, including been here. And we’ll hear way. This is Scott Luton wishing you a wonderful week ahead and we’ll see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio.
Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Connect with Kristen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristen-forecki-2765057/
Connect with Will on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gswhite/
Connect with Ben on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/benjaminjharris1/
Connect with Scott on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottwindonluton/
2019 AIAG/SCAC Supply Chain & Quality Conference: https://myscma.com/scac-events/2019-supply-chain-quality/
Georgia Manufacturing Summit on October 9th: https://www.georgiamanufacturingalliance.com/annual-summit
eft Logistics CIO Forum in Austin, TX: https://tinyurl.com/y5po7tvw
Reverse Logistics Association Conference & Expo: https://rla.org/calendar/1
SCNR to Broadcast Live at MODEX 2020: https://www.modexshow.com/
SCNR on YouTube: https://tinyurl.com/scnr-youtube
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