A view from the top on supply chain process
FourKites real-time data to track when your truck will reach the destination
When a start-up is based out of Chennai and Chicago, you wonder what the connection is. When its platform connects over four million assets in North America, you take notice. And even if you did not pay attention to the company raising $13 million from Bain Capital, you would want to know their story when they are named the ‘Entrepreneurial Company of the Year’ by Frost & Sullivan.
The story of FourKites, the start-up founded in 2014, dates back to 1999 when Mathew Elenjickal and Arun Chandrasekaran joined College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai, to study mechanical engineering. The friends left to pursue their individual careers — Arun worked at Cognizant, Microsoft and at Groupon; Mathew completed an MS in Industrial Engineering and Management Science from Northwestern University and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management and worked at Oracle and i2 Technologies/JDA.
Mathew is based in Chicago and Arun in Chennai. They got together in 2014 to start FourKites. The pain-point they hoped to solve was answering the simple question – ‘when exactly will a truck arrive’? An everyday problem in commercial trucking, with no accurate answer.
from Ryder NaviShare.
While data help, a lot of intelligence is needed to ensure users do not drown in data by identifying exceptions. “There is lots of data from GPS, weather and other sources. The problem is that, it is daunting to find out which ones are abnormal and affect delivery,” says Arun. The system uses data analytics to understand which are relevant issues and provides alerts. This helps focus on right problems so they can be fixed immediately or managed suitably. For example, the system takes in data such as bad weather or meeting the constraints of the driver’s shift hours to estimate arrival time. Real-time data on traffic and historical data patterns are used to refine the estimate and provide alerts. Sharing relevant information with internal and external stakeholders in the supply chain cuts time and money that is wasted due to delayed updates.
“Our customers have seen on-time performance improve from the low 90 per cent range to 97-98 per cent,” says Mathew, who has implemented logistics strategies and systems at P&G, Nestle, Kraft, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Tyco, Argos and Nokia globally. “This implies less wait time at warehouses, lower stock-outs, faster inventory turns,” he says. For example, its customer Smithfield Foods, a leading global producer of pork products, reported that ontime delivery rate improved to 94 per cent, from 87 per cent, by using FourKites software.
Besides location, FourKites helps track temperature in real-time – a requirement for many enterprise shippers to comply with the Food Safety Modernisation Act. The rule requires that shippers must ensure that temperature of certain foods must be within specified safe ranges during
transit. Mathew Elenjickal, Co-founder, FourKites FourKites provides real-time tracking and supply chain visibility solutions through its Freight Visibility & Orchestration Platform. The data source is on-board GPS or Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) systems used by fleets or owner-operated phones. The advantage is that shippers and thirdparty logistics providers share realtime data — on location and status.
The solution covers various transportation modes – road, rail or ship – Arun Chandrasekaran, and multiple digital Co-founder platforms. It integrates with tracking software from other providers.
For example, it is natively integrated with Ryder System, a leading provider of commercial fleet management and supply chain solutions. The combined solution offers realtime shipment visibility and exception notifications through FourKites; business intelligence, analytics, and engineering
The company’s differentiation is filling the blind spots in freight visibility and providing orchestration tools. FourKites is winning against competition and has built good traction. So far, it has tracked over 40 million loads and over two million location pings are processed daily. It is also signing up a lot of marquee customers in North America.
Recently, it also signed up Vitti Logistics, a 3PL provider in Mexico and the US. Other recent customer wins include Schneider, a transportation and logistics services provider.