Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#44: Graham Parker CEO and Co-Founder of Kontainers.

May 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 44
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#44: Graham Parker CEO and Co-Founder of Kontainers.
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#44: Graham Parker CEO and Co-Founder of Kontainers.
May 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 44
Radu Palamariu
Kontainers is a Software as a service company serving carriers and forwarders with own branded platforms allowing their clients to get instant rates, book cargo and manages all shipments online on any internet enabled device.
Show Notes Transcript

Kontainers is a Software as a service company serving carriers and forwarders with own branded platforms allowing their clients to get instant rates, book cargo and manages all shipments online on any internet enabled device. They were awarded be Best Global Digital Oceanfreight Platform by Frost & Sullivan in 2019.

Around a quarter of the 20 largest #shipping lines use the Kontainers Enterprise system to power their own-branded platform.

Discover more details here.

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Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello everybody and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I'm your host, Robert you a managing director of El could global. Our mission is to connect the supply chain ecosystem in Asia and globally by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in the industry. And it is my pleasure to have with us today. Graham Parker Graham is the chief executive officer and cofounder of containers, which is a software as a service company serving carriers and forwarders with their own branded platform, allowing their clients to get instant rates, book cargo and manage all the shipments online on any internet enabled device. Containers was awarded the Best Global Digital Ocean freight platform by frost and Sullivan. And uh, and the Bose is a quarter of the 20 largest shipping lines in the world that are currently using their system to power their own brand. Did that for a greyhound. Pleasure to have you with us today and thank you for taking the time.
Speaker 1:
0:52
Thank you for having me on radio. We're all friends and to show our containers. Super. And then, you know, uh, in particular, I want to thank you that, uh, that you're joining us from, um, you know, from Africa today. So I want also to, um, to share with our listeners that, uh, you know, that you are one of the most well traveled a CEO's, uh, at the moment there's a Heidi mindful containers all over the world, which is creek. Um, and maybe, maybe, uh, maybe start by telling us a little bit, uh, a little bit about your beginnings, you know, how you ended up in, uh, you know, how you ended up in freight forwarding in the first place and how you ended up too, to also build and start containers.
Speaker 2:
1:30
So, um, I did a, I did business in a, in college I do, um, in Ireland where I grew up in the, I dropped out and halfway true to the dismay of my parents. Um, and I was fascinated by shipping, um, by the globalization of the nature of global currencies and commodities and you know, how the connected the world. So, uh, I was lucky at our family, had a connection in the shipping industry and I jumped right into a job there and I spent, uh, two and a half years. They're really learning the ropes of, of operations. I started out as an export clerk, you know, pushing, pushing bookings and understanding a understanding how the industry, uh, really, uh, worked. Uh, I was fascinated by it. I absolutely love this. And when I was, uh, 22, uh, two and a half years in, I decided, you know, I could, I could do this myself.
Speaker 2:
2:28
So I set up my first freight forwarding company and set myself a crazy goal of doing $1 million in sales in the first year and I managed to do this. Um, and then I doubled it every year. So I went from one to two to four to eight to $16 million in revenue over the next half a decade. And was really fascinated by, you know, helping companies and their supply chains. Um, it was around the time where science was becoming a real thing and it was, you know, a really great learning curve. I got to travel the world. I spent a lot of time in China and visited five to 10 times a year. I know it was, you know, a fascinating time leading up to the kind of birth of containers.
Speaker 1:
3:08
Oh super. Um, um, and, and, and always, you know, always fascinated to hear stories of, you know, of people dropping out of school in the and, and building businesses. It's, it seems to be a pattern in some great entrepreneurs. And thanks for sharing that with us. And I also wanted to, to kind of probe, even if it's not going to make the, the, uh, let's say that the subject of our conversation today, but I know that you are also an investor in the, in revolute and [inaudible], which are two of the largest fintech payment platforms, I think revenue disease, a multibillion dollar company already. Um, and, and I wanted to go also to ask you, and obviously you're from, you're from, you're based in London, right? So you're, you're, you're, you're from London originally, but, uh, how did you, how did you also end up investing in this companies?
Speaker 2:
3:56
So I'm, I'm, I'm actually from Ireland originally, but we set up the business, um, in the, in Uk back in 2014 and you know, as a software company in that ecosystem, the UK, between Newcastle and London, we were, uh, you know, invited to a lot events when we saw a lot of great companies. Um, and we were lucky enough to see, Eh, you know, revolution the very early days. Um, and, you know, we were fascinated by how fintech effectively was, what freight to could look like in a decade. You know, you could see how the industry has matured, how, you know, groups or companies had come and, um, and had corn or different parts of the Marcus or there had been, you know, 20, 30 different companies with billion dollar valuations. Um, and, you know, it was, it was absolutely fascinating to see. And, uh, I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to invest in revenues and Monzo in their early crowd funding campaigns. Um, and you know, it felt that they were going to be very successful. Um, I know, you know, and Monzo just broke their 2 million and an revolut are up 5 million users. So it's a, it's an incredible success stories and you know, traveling the world, um, you can, you can see the cards, uh, almost everywhere now. Um, so it was a, it was great to see and for us it was a parallel between what Fintech is today. More trade tech will be in a, in a few years.
Speaker 1:
5:18
Hmm. Fascinating. Fascinating. And fingers crossed. Yeah, I mean, uh, also for us being part of the transformation right now, it's, it's, it's definitely exciting. And also if we look at the, and I was reading some statistics specifically, if we look at the not the amounts of money and funding that a, that is being put into, into freight tech at the moment, it's, uh, it's kind of a, the growth is very, very significant. It's very similar in, in, in some ways with the growth that fintech experience a few years ago. So I think we're on the same type of tangent and hopefully achieve the same type of results. Um, and, um, I wanted to, I wanted to go into containers a little bit further. So basically you provide that interface between the, you know, the three pl, the shipping line and their clients and, and you shared that you, you, you brought down the costs of digitalization quite significantly, uh, in, in this industry that's used to having that, that middleman, um, uh, and basically, uh, you wanted to do this switch to a digital interface because it, it is, uh, obviously the obvious step.
Speaker 1:
6:25
Now can you tell us a little bit, because uh, there is also a step that involves a lot of uh, anxiety, uh, because the, the, the processes, the uh, the, the steps in the freight forwarding industry and the shipping industry are quite, let's say, age old and tested and sometimes it's quite people, people based. So how, how do you convince your, your, your clients to use your, your service and also, you know, others, some, some benefits that are quite straightforward, like cost cutting. Um, I think you can save quite a lot of money by using Canadian. So maybe tell us a little bit one or two case studies as well.
Speaker 2:
7:01
Sure. So I think for, for us rally right from the birth of the company, we were very lucky in that, you know, my freight background and my co founder Charles Lee is it Cambridge educated computer scientist and he was part of the team that we knocked the human genome. Um, he was also involved in GSKs online Peyton portfolio bringing in online in his twenties. So He's like a hundred times smarter than me. And, um, he has brought incredible software learnings and he's built a world class team, uh, in containers on the, on the software side. And you know, right from the get go that marriage of deep industry knowledge and technology has really allowed us to look at the industry, uh, differently than a lot of a lot of other companies because we've got those two disciplines together at the core of the business. And we believe that actually looking at it, you know, we, we believed the couple of things.
Speaker 2:
7:59
First of all, that freight forwarders would win. Uh, you know, we believe that freight forwarders and on all great brands have a distinct advantage and they've got a significant customer base is built up over years and decades that literally cost billions directly gate. Uh, they've got global networks that also take years, if not decades, uh, and, and a lot of money and also deep industry knowledge and augmenting that with modern SAS tools. We believe we'll look, we'll have to win. And we saw that most. So the investment was going into non customer facing tools. So a lot of back office software that is, that is obviously important, but the customer doesn't get a benefits. You know, Nicole customer still has to do a lot of manual left phone calls and emails. So we wanted to build a new layer, effectively reinvent genre of software that would allow freight brands to have their own brands, um, shop front if you will, allow them to have pure digital interactions with their customers.
Speaker 2:
8:55
Um, so that was, that was our, uh, you know, our, our picks from the start. So we were lucky enough and we decided to go from the, from the, from the top down. So we decided to the onshore flagship product enterprise back in 2017. So our flagship product and device as an example, our top five customers, our software will power more than 1 million transactions next year. And we were lucky enough to work with big companies right from the get go and including mercy. So, and you know, mercy made a comment that working with containers and accelerated and their digital journey and you know, that's quite an accolade to put on a young enterprise software company like us, Mercer, not just the biggest, that mover of ocean containers in the word, but they're also very much the most advanced technically, uh, you know, they've been building as solutions for, for decades now.
Speaker 2:
9:48
So that was a, that was a big accolade for us and it really helped us to win more of the, of the big forwarders and a and carriers. And you know, that's an idea of going from enterprise to smaller ones. Uh, while it was difficult from a customer acquisition and product phase, uh, it's really paying dividends for us now, you know, because we've got the brand, Eh, we've got the product and, and we've got those that, those tastes studies from the likes of the likes of mercy as well. So it's an interesting time at the moment.
Speaker 1:
10:22
No, for sure. I mean, having, having more skin your in your list of clients helps a lot. And it also proof that you can address from very, very large, uh, customers, uh, to two smaller ones. But I'm, I'm curious maybe to, let's say if you're talking about, um, motor score, if you're talking about a mid, the mid size, maybe afraid forward, do you have some examples of how you managed to, um, save cost? I think you also speak on your, I watch the video with the other yourself that by, by the cost of paying a sales person for put the yearly salary, you know, that's pretty much the cost of containers and then, then, you know, the benefits that container's bring. So if we were to get a bit more practical for all listeners, um, maybe you can share with us one or two case studies and some of the, you don't need to give names necessarily, but some of the benefits that the comments go
Speaker 2:
11:14
yeah and absolutely do. So first of all, I guess in terms of having the solutions, like having your own branded customized solution, first of all, on the operation side, it saves on average about 40% of the transaction costs. And so on average we would see each file been touched 15 times. Um, and post containers that's done to around five. So because it's an automated process, operations can concentrate on the high end tasks. And what that means for the forwarder is the customer has a much better experience and and on the operations can concentrate on the high end tasks. So they have to worry about, you know, conforming, shipped on board or are giving updates on bills of lading are approving bills of lading. It's all done through the platform digitally in real time. So from an operations point of view, cutting the fido costs by 40% is significant for customers and coupled with the uh, customer experience, um, increase.
Speaker 2:
12:16
Um, and then secondly to us, we also see customers looking at it from a sales point of view. So now you have a tool where customers can get access to wait 24, seven, three, six, five on any internet enabled device. So again, it helps the cost of pricing and sales and what important via allows sales to spend more time closing deals and not, uh, not punching out rates or are checking rates for customers and for pricing themes, endlessly sending out excel sheets, customers can access that data and they can access their own personalized rates in their, in their accounts. And again, across any internet enabled device. So we've seen some fantastic case studies of cost savings on the sales side as well. I would probably put it in an average of around, uh, 33%. One third, it's a little bit less than operations. Um, and then, you know, added to that.
Speaker 2:
13:08
I would also say that we're seeing forward or as being, uh, usually individually, you know, coming up with brand new ways. So when the platform is go live, they have their own API key. So they're giving their customers a great experience and now they're using that API key and they're going to the banks and saying, can we plug in a trade finance to, can we plug in a marine insurance too? And it's actually opening up brand new revenue streams for freight forwarders. And um, you know, where maybe there's pressure on the arbitrage of rates. Uh, these are brand new revenue streams that is going through a booking. It's a customer they've had for a long time to customer takes a box, they get to trade finance option, they take another box, they get an immediate marine insurance options and it's brand new revenue streams for the innovative freight forwarders. And we think it's very exciting.
Speaker 1:
13:55
Fascinating. And this is basically works for, uh, I mean it can work for a 50 stuff for it forward as well as to a thousands, several thousand dollars or tens of thousand stuffed up, uh, freight fruitful with the, it doesn't really, it doesn't really matter. Your, your pledge from is, uh, is just as applicable in new and you let them basically the whole interface would be customized by, by, by their own brand. Right. So I mean it's, it's basically the, it looks as if the client is using their system.
Speaker 2:
14:26
Exactly. It's true enterprise grade software. So in real time to their admin portal, they can go in and change the look and feel and they can approve new users and they can make changes under their terms and conditions. They can literally control every aspect of the platform. Um, so it gives the, the freight forwarders the ability, and like you mentioned already, Roger, previously the software was only available to the really big players and customer facing solutions would normally have taught millions of dollars. Um, I'm taking a year or two. I know we're delivering them, you know, for a much lower price points, um, uh, in, in just four weeks. Um, and our mission is to get these products into the hands of every freight forwarder on the planets, um, in the next 18 months, uh, to allow them to be, you know, to take that digital box and, and, and to be able to continue to do what they do best. Um, you know, we think that's exciting and it will have a, a big, uh, a big, um, impact on where the market goes.
Speaker 1:
15:27
Hmm. Okay. So I'll have, I'll have two questions just to play a little bit. The devil ever. Okay. So on, on one side is, um, maybe Lisa, this is less of a devil then look at the question, but obviously we have, we live in a world where, you know, Flexport freight hub, lids and cargo, and this bit's quite a few. I don't, I mean, let's just use this term I in May on may not be the correct, the correct label, but people, you know, maybe call them digital freight forwarders. Um, how, um, how would you say, and we got this question, you know, I is containers similar to Flexport and freight hub ads and target and all of that or, or do you basically help? Uh, again, I, I'm going to use some, some, some labels. I mean, uh, I don't know how to call it actually. Do you actually help? No. A freight forwarders compete with those components? Let's put it this way.
Speaker 2:
16:24
Yeah. So containers is a, is an enterprise software company and you know, every part of our companies, 75% of our, of our, of our company, our engineering and technical talent. So we're a software company in our DNA. And, uh, yeah, I mean we exist to enable, uh, the shipping brands to compete, uh, in this kind of acceleration of afraid technology. And, you know, I guess to an extent, he has these digital first freight forwarders are coming to market with a lot of money. Um, you know, they don't have any legacy. They're building ultra modern solutions and where, you know, basically saying to the freight, Brandon's, you know, we can provide you the same technology, um, at a competitive price point in a matter of weeks with, you know, without, uh, without a lot of expertise needed on the, on the freight brown site. So I guess we're looking to, you know, we would see ourselves as enablers and we would see the digital first freight forwarders else as disruptors. So that would be where we are, where we would see the, the ecosystem.
Speaker 1:
17:29
And then my second question would be, and thanks for that clarification, my second question would be related to the time, right? Because four weeks to implement containers almost sounds too good and too fast to be true. Uh, um, and I'm sure that a lot of this, like how is that even possible in four weeks because we are used, you know, implementations and then, you know, I don't want to name any big software companies that take months, if not years. So how did you manage to do it in four?
Speaker 2:
17:58
Well, you know, our enterprise product and I mentioned earlier and like our top five enterprise customers and our software will power more than 1 million transactions in 2020 every one of those solutions and were delivered in 12 weeks and on time in different parts of the world. So, you know, we've done it for your biggest shipping brands in the world than just 12 weeks. And that was probably the biggest question we had from them. How can you deliver these solutions in 12 weeks when a lot of our existing vendors take, you know, six to 18 months to deliver solutions? And it's a similar question on edge where we deliver it in four weeks. And I guess it goes back to the core of the platform. It's a multitenant intonation. So effectively every brand and has their own tenant that is customizable and right from day one when they sign up that term that does actually live and it is, it is available to be, uh, to be updated during that four week process.
Speaker 2:
18:54
So, I guess the advantage we have is that the solutions are already built before we process is actually about customization and education and training. Um, and you know, just today in the Australian impressed we've announced a great reseller would have probably called [inaudible] and they've announced then, you know, a customer called Collagen, a great freight forwarder in Australia. Um, who, who will, who will enjoy the benefit of going live and edge in just four weeks. So I guess the secret radio is as, as an enterprise software company, we already have the software built on effectively the four week, cause it's just about them, you know, and the customization element. Um, so that's, that's, that's how we're able to do it. And we believe that that's very important. And actually we want to bring that time down. We have a product coming, um, the end of the year called the essentials, which will be even faster and it'll be tailored at a very, very small freight forwarders.
Speaker 2:
19:49
Um, think about a Squarespace or wix for free folders. And so, you know, we believe that the claim will go down and we also believe that the industry needs the SAS solutions. You know, if you want a CRM, you can go get your credit card and sign up for salesforce and a couple of seconds as the industry and freight technology evolves, you'll see more of these saas solutions that are just super easy to implement. And there's no on-prem, there is no long lead times. And I think that will be farther transformative for, for freight forwarders and shipping brands in general.
Speaker 1:
20:18
Yeah. And it's, it's almost honestly, I mean, I again, exactly on the point that you mentioned because people are used to certain, uh, to a certain speed and, and a way of doing things. It sounds amazing and a, and if you're able to do that, I think, uh, I mean, it's fascinating for, I mean, it's incredible because again, uh, as, as as I shared, I think a lot of the most people, myself included in the industry and most industries are used to very long implementation cycles for whether it is software as a service of platforms of their own in house or whatever it may be. Um, so you're being able to do that in, in a metro four to 12 weeks. It's already a almost unthinkable. So, uh, um, and the more of this case that as you will have, I would, uh, I would definitely encourage you to make a big bang out of it because then I'm sure that you will, uh, because then more people would pounce a little already.
Speaker 1:
21:09
But I'm just also kind of thinking, if I'm to think ahead then, um, in this, in this way, let's say that, uh, this is just a thing that questioned, that comes into or into my head that the, you're not the more freight forwarders. I mean it could come to a point where all the freight forwarders and shipping lines use your use your platform then was there, um, how are they going to compete? Almost a million sequoia? I'm not sure I'm formulating the question correctly because then it boils down to also the operations, the backend, the way the, the, the more of the, where the, their, their processes and all of their own. Because if you have the same interface or, I mean they're on brand, but it's the same interface with their clients. How and what will make them the not the, not the competitive advantage for them?
Speaker 2:
22:00
Yeah, I think, I think to be honest, you, if you fast forward 18 months, I think most rate forwarders and shipping lines, we'll have this capability to interact in a, in a modern digital way. So allow their customers to get access to rates on the tiny enter enabled device, the world class user interface at one click for re bookings and series of dashboards and analytics. I think everyone will have these. If it's not containers, it will be other solutions. Um, you know, we see competitors coming into the market every day now. And I think you're right. I think there will come a day where this will not be a competitive advantage anymore. This will be, you know, uh, requirements. The same as, you know, having email was, uh, two day, two decades ago. Um, and I think then, yeah, it's absolutely, it's all about how, how freight brands think about the technology.
Speaker 2:
22:48
Um, I mentioned earlier we had, you know, a big freight forwarder in Germany come to us and say, okay, we'd like to use our API team to go to a bank, an offer trade finance solutions, and they're making as much on trade finances. They are on the freight, you know, a brand new revenue stream they couldn't have imagined five years ago. Um, from existing customers with the click of a button. And this is the power of the Internet. And this is where it's actually a real opportunity. This is where it's not a trick to freight forwarders, the ones that are embracing it, the early adopters and the innovators, they are the ones that are really maximizing the opportunity. So I think the ones that are continuing to be innovative and you know, we'll be the ones that will really use this technology to their advantage, then use it to scale globally at a much lower cost. You know, they won't need to be an army of people on the ground everywhere to open new offices to get a new footprints. And you know, that's where we see the market going in the next few years. Right.
Speaker 1:
23:47
And tell, tell us a little bit about your cost model, right? How do you, um, it's, it's somewhat than obvious a question for more says that forms with, but let's just go into it because we have gotten this question from Oregon. So how do you charge actually and, and you know, how do you, uh, how do you make money?
Speaker 2:
24:02
So we charge them in, you know, in typical SAS, it's a monthly subscription. And so we basically, we basically charge a, a, an all inclusive monthly subscription fee. And you know, that makes it very transparent for our customers. So with one fee per month, um, so it's unlimited transactions. They've includes hosting, maintenance and upgrades. So we, we did 36 upgrades last year that come for free. Air Freight would be a free upgrade at the end of this year. So it's a, it's a simple monthly subscription model as, as typical saas and it gives our customers a lot of visibility and that their, their fixed costs as well.
Speaker 1:
24:45
Okay. And one of the, I mean, one of the very specific challenges that that tends to be in the, in the, uh, in the industry, right, is, is the challenge of having the software which gathers rates and, and schedules both from cares directly on those delivered by delivered forwarders, uh, at, uh, almost instant, uh, in an instant way because also the market can vary quite significantly. Right. And this race can fluctuate and can go up and down and, and, and it's not that easy to, to have that software to do it, uh, to do it in a, in a good way. How did you, or how do you currently tackle this challenge?
Speaker 2:
25:24
Yeah, that's a good point. I do. And I think, you know, for us as a modern platform, we operate with about 52, eight eyes. Um, every facet of what we do is available as an API. And, and, and that's great. Uh, you know, for example, on rates, we work with a lot of our bigger customers on radio, which is, which is really great. It helps rates be pulled in, in real time and updated. Um, and the same on schedules. We've been, um, around a million sailing schedules a day for four years now. So we don't just have all of the world's schedule data from multiple sources, but we're able to run algorithms against them, understands and likelihood. But we also see the reality is that the industry is still running on a lot of the eyes. So we've, um, we've had to work with them, a lot of older ideas and, and just build out those capabilities.
Speaker 2:
26:17
But we also tried to use our API first focus to help customers where possible. You know, in terms of upgrade, if I looked at the top five ocean carriers right now, you know, practically every single one of them, um, has made incredible strides on Api is over the last two to three years. Um, it's just been incredible to see. And you know how they're all adapting, um, almost towards an API first and culture. So I think, um, the industry being a little bit behind compared to some other industries, there is still a lot of legacy. There is still a lot of EDI is. But the work that's going on behind the scenes, particularly from Edi as two API, this is incredible. And you know, a lot of people don't always appreciate us. Edi is our technology that go right back to the 1960s I believe. You know, and you know, no matter how great the Edi, you can only pull data on a basis, maybe an hourly basis, but often once a day API is our real time swapping of data. So B. Dot. Or raised a schedule, a booking confirmation, it can happen in real time and it could really help and deliver an incredible customer experience, you know, and that's Wasa and that's what we're looking to be for the freight forwarders to help them to deliver a world class, modern digital customer experience.
Speaker 1:
27:37
Gotcha. And you did mention that that effort will be part of the system. And actually we got the, we got this question. So this is going to happen, you said this year, uh,
Speaker 2:
27:48
is it, is it going to happen this year or next year or how soon will you be able to yeah, it's going to happen this year rather we already have them top 10 forward or not. We work with that. We're working on them air freights and with already, so eh, we can already do air freight bookings and we're working really hard on the pricing side right now. And I know some of the airlines have been slower than the ocean lines to, to adapt towards API Apis and in real time pricing, which is very important and their phrase because when you want to make an airfreight booking, you know, you need to make sure you're on that aircraft. And so we've been working very closely with our customers and particularly this year and we will have them and exciting airfreight module in the market by the end of the year.
Speaker 1:
28:36
So is the, is the, is the fact that the API, what would the API has be the biggest challenge in terms of getting, getting more accurate and, and good data from the airlines? Or what would Bob do you think is the biggest, I mean, when you, when you go into, into the air freight market, what's your biggest challenge in terms of getting the accurate data that you need?
Speaker 2:
28:55
I think one of the things that customers love about the, uh, the containers products is, you know, when you get to, uh, looking, viewing your rates, Pete at spot rates are contract rates at the data is, is, uh, is integrated with all of the available sailing schedules. So you get this Kayak style, do you have, you know, Singapore to Hamburg, all of the different rates, but also all of the different sailing schedules and customers love that view. They get to see all of the different options and a significant amount of them are not after the cheapest price thereafter, a certain ETA, a certain ETD a certain cutoff time. Um, and on the air freight side it's even more important because on the, um, on the ocean freight side, we, we use, um, an airline style model where we can actually use an allocation countdown. So for Carrie or forward or has a certain allocation on the ship, once that application is sold, it disappears off the platform.
Speaker 2:
29:49
And it means that customers have a great experience because what they're booking a is going to be confirmed on the air freight side. Um, it's more difficult to, the airlines need to have APIs to direct space available. I'm not aircraft, so if the customer makes a roping, um, it's, it's confirmed and you know, similar on the schedule and sites. So I think the world's first, um, airfreight API was, was made available by, by Air France, KLM and in conjunction with freight us earlier this year. And we know, you know, a lot of the other airlines are working really hard for to treat somebody, US airlines. And so we think that, you know, once those, then once those Api are available, customers will be able to have a great experience where there'll be able to view real time inventory on an aircraft, a realtime pricing, make your booking through API is, and getting instant confirmations. Because I guess, you know, the, the nightmare scenario is you go online to the airfreight product, you see a pricing aircraft that suits your needs, you make the booking and two hours later it gets rejected. So that's been important for us to actually get, get a good airfreight product to market when I think the airlines are not getting to a really strong stage and having, uh, having those Api keys available.
Speaker 1:
31:05
Yeah, I mean, it's, uh, it's almost, uh, I mean, looking back historically, it's interesting how we've been having that capabilities or passengers, right. For Airlines for a long time. Uh, I mean in terms of, you know, booking your own seats and all of that. And, and still for the, for the air cargo, it's, it's, it's quite, quite a bit behind. So, um, I know that a at iota is working on a lot of things and a lot of, um, uh, kind of joint efforts to, to, uh, to create this industry standards as well. And, uh, yeah, it's a, I don't know how quickly it's going to happen, but there's good that there's some, there's some steps being taken. Um, one, one question, we got the, I know it's a term that gets thrown, thrown around a lot these days is on artificial intelligence, but let's just, let's just try and bear with me som and meaning most, I think it's mostly algorithms and machine learning and you're not this kind of smart, a smart way of predicting things. So, um, one of the listeners said that you, and I don't know, I mean he said that continuous mentioned that, that you were leveraging Ai. So his question was you would like to understand how you're using this type of, um, algorithms and artificial intelligence or machine learning in, in your software, uh, if, if, uh, if that's to be, can be shared. Yeah, sure. Um, so I, I think, uh, I listened to my co founder speaking a lot about this,
Speaker 2:
32:28
you know, he's built a world class team of architects and computer scientists around Jim. Um, and you know, you lead a, I hear him talk a lot about the need to have a significant of data and made industry. So, um, I hear my cofounder, uh, speaking a lot about this, um, the Ai, um, name gets thrown around a lot Radu and, and I think we're, uh, you know, aware that you need huge datasets to actually utilize AI properly. And for us, and even though freight has huge data available, um, you know, I'm not sure we see big enough data sets to actually utilize AI today. However, we do use machine learning and different parts of the platform. And so, you know, machine learning I guess is, uh, needs, needs less data, um, and, and can, um, can help provide an even better experience. So to give you some examples of where we use machine learning is, um, when a customer has logged into their accounts and it becomes more and more familiar with their, um, with their processes and how they do things.
Speaker 2:
33:35
So to give you a few examples, when they log in and make bookings, uh, depending on how the booking is made, it will start to preempt some of the booking fields. So we did constantly may be because that was the constantly, the last time they booked to Singapore. Um, all right. Um, it will greet them when they log in and say, hey, Roddy, would you like to approve your bills of lading? Because that's normally what you do want to choose the afternoon when you log in. And when you get to the dashboards, Michigan for machine learning as a great tool to be able to give some really detailed analytics because now the data that's been trapped in lots of emails and excel sheets is now all in one platform. And you can start to show the customers analytics, you know, um, orders to the Middle East, quarter two versus quarter three and percentage of all their ships on time ETA. So you can use a lot of machine learning there and we utilize that. But we don't see a big enough data sets yet, uh, to, uh, to use AI.
Speaker 1:
34:33
Uh Huh. Um, we've got this very interesting question and I mean, it's a, it's a bit tricky for you to answer it, so I'll throw it to you anyways. But, uh, um, the question of goes, what would be your piece of advice to, to the CEO's of the top? Well, it was the top three global forwarders, but to be honest, I think top 20 would do just as well. So what would be your piece of advice to the top 20 global forwarders, the CEO's of the top 20 global forwarders in terms of, in terms of implementing digital solutions? And I mean, without overselling could be this of course, but of course, apart from, by containers from buying that now.
Speaker 2:
35:19
Absolutely. So, yeah, I think, I think, um, to be fair and all of that, the top forward, um, you know, almost without exception were lucky enough to be talking to probably 60% of the top 20 freight forwarders as a at sea level. So, you know, we get, we get really great access to understand what's, and it's fair to say, I don't take, I can't think of an exceptional time to where the digital acceleration isn't significantly faster than what it was last year. Um, you know, so that's the first thing. I think every single one of them see this as an opportunity and the challenge. So I think, you know, ensuring that it's, um, it's getting, um, increased, uh, increased spend on budgets, um, you know, that, that, that projects are actually delivering. And you know, if I was to a, if I was to give one piece of advice, it would be, you know, if you look at SAS tools and I think they really are the secret to success.
Speaker 2:
36:15
And, you know, we talked earlier, I do about, um, how it's hard to, um, you know, get projects live and you've got long implementation times. If you're a top forward and you've got a project that's going to take 12 to 18 months to deliver at a critical time, you know, where there's a lot of disruption in the industry, there's more and more saas tools available and that can give you an impact on your business in a much faster timeframe. And I saw a statistic from, I think it was HP recently talking about how, you know, the average customer now has 50 to 70 different SAS tools and their business. And I think, you know, freight forwarders can utilize more and more mature size tools and you know, right down to early stage ones. So, you know, tools like slack and um, you know, that about the IPO has made a tremendous difference in organizations.
Speaker 2:
37:10
And my view would be to, um, to try implement some SAS solutions, um, you know, to understand where, where immediate value can be brought to the business and to the customer. And obviously there's still a need to do some man, some longer term projects as well. But I think, you know, in terms of thinking about SAS is grace. Um, and also thinking about, you know, having one project is, is probably not going to be enough. Um, you know, containers as a complimentary solution to back office. So, you know, we often say the forwarders, if you're getting a back office solution, uh, this is a totally separate conversation. So, you know, having multiple projects, life I think now is vital for the 30 top 20 freight forwarders.
Speaker 1:
37:54
Oh, very good though. Very good inputs and a, and if love towards the next section and w w closely draw, draw an end. But the section on hiring people in the section on, on also close to, to my heart personally, but also the, which is critical to pretty much any business in, in general. Um, and obviously you being a software company, I mean, I'm guessing that that it's not that easy to, I mean, you're very lucky to have found the rocket scientist in your CTO. Um, and it has been a good match. But tell us a little bit in terms of your, your challenges and, and, and, and, and, and how you've overcome them. Uh, in terms of hiring the best, you know, programmers and getting them to work on containers as opposed to, I don't know, going and working for Google. Well, I don't know who else they could be working for. There's a lot of tech companies out there.
Speaker 2:
38:41
Yeah, absolutely. I think it's incredibly challenging. Graduating the, a, the market for engineers now is, it's incredibly hot and I was in California and last month, and you know, we, uh, I met some engineers who are, no, not very senior, and we're, we're earning four and $500,000 a year with, with Facebook in that, in California. So, you know, the market is incredibly strong if you're an engineer and, you know, what we talk about really is, you know, we're doing something to make a, make a dent in the universe and were looking to make our mark in the freight tech world and, and to a certain Jonna of engineer, I think that's really exciting. Um, you know, you're a part of the first, uh, you know, the first step 100 engineers that are working on something like this. Um, rather than maybe in a Google or somewhere like that where you're, you know, number 10,000 or 20,000, then you don't get to have as much an impact.
Speaker 2:
39:39
Um, I mentioned earlier, we did Tardy six and upgrades last year. We'll do around 50 this year. So engineers plumbing into containers are pushing their own coach every week. Um, you know, they're building and shipping features every, you know, every month. Um, and that's incredibly exciting be actually sitting, um, you know, in the, in the, in the kind of front row as such. And you know, I think in the bigger companies it's, it's much more siloed and you don't get as much as an opportunity to express yourself. And that's what we tried to do. And particularly my co founder has done an incredible job and finding the best tech talent. You know, we've got, I mentioned architects, computer scientists, we've got engineers that have gone through the IPO process with our companies. And that's really what appeals to them, you know, actually getting into an exciting, uh, at company at a very early stage, um, and delivering your code and making a difference in your voice being heard. And, and I think that's what it takes. And you know, my co founder and I are incredibly passionate about the mission we're on. Um, and hopefully that comes across the to the teams as well.
Speaker 1:
40:47
Yeah, I mean, sometimes I'm also quite jealous myself goes, we've, we've started to, in terms of the salaries of some of these guys, I mean, I, I dropped out just like yourself. I dropped out of computer science, um, versus days. So, you know, sometimes they look at what they could have made, but then that is, that is in the unlikely, positively optimistic scenario that they would have become so good at it, which I doubt that I would have. But it is, it's fantastic. Uh, you know, some of this, this, these engineers and the very skilled ones is just incredible. What type of, um, so there is they get to, to make and um, and yeah, I mean it's also fascinating form from the human resources side of the business. We are where we come, the type of, uh, increasing requests that we're getting from clients that realize that they need to do things around it.
Speaker 1:
41:40
Right. So it's, I think they see it whether it's large shipping line, straight as a, you know, a manufacturing companies. They see the need to develop these kinds of capabilities to have some data scientists to look into their processes to have a, I don't know, I think RPA is another robotic process automation. Because you did mention about the back office stuff is also an area that is pretty hot at the moment in terms of that. Um, yeah, so there's more and more interest in terms of attracting this type of talent. Um, well, not, not everybody's is doing as good of a job. And I do believe that, that what you mentioned in terms of having a strong vision and, and you know, the co founders like yourself believing in that and attracting people to play, play a huge part. Um, uh, but, um, but yeah, it's not easy.
Speaker 1:
42:23
It's not easy at all. And, um, you know, it's, it's a big, it's a big, tough, uh, height. So, um, so yeah, you've got to, we all got to give you the best shot that we have. Um, and, and let me ask you, where do you see a, you know, in terms of the skills, uh, so let's, let's talk specifically for the, let's, let's see, logistics, three forwarding, shipping industry less, less sticky like this. So from on, from where you stand from a more technology perspective, where do you see the skills that the industry as a whole needs run and what type of, uh, what should, you know, students learning the, I dunno, a supply chain or logistics now in university, what should they be looking at the learning in the next five to 10 years? To stay relevant.
Speaker 2:
43:08
I think if you, you know, if you look at the software industry rental over the last, you know, 20 years and you know, I think a lot of the roles, um, you know, outside of engineering are going to become more and more relevant. So, you know, if you look at say project management, you know, that's a particular skill set that's very strong in the software world as you know, some people that can actually manage projects where, you know, we're very lucky in containers to have them. A great project management team led by our global program director, John McLaughlin, who's got 20 years fintech experience with the likes of Citi Bank and BNB. But I think that's a big skill set. And I also think, you know, I'm, I'm a salesperson before anything else that I do. And I think coming from the industry, um, if we look at an enterprise software sales and solution selling, you know, we can learn a loss, um, about, you know, how, how to sell, uh, to, to shippers in the next step in the next decade.
Speaker 2:
44:05
If I'm afraid forward or that is, you know, if you, if you look at it today, I shipper is basically managing their business on a suite of SAS tools. They're using salesforce. Are you using Dropbox office three, six, five, right down to online banking. You know, and making their life easier and selling them solutions will become more and more important. So I think from a sales point of view in freight, I think upscaling ourselves and thinking more about solution selling, enterprise sales and being more process driven, um, you know, thinking about customers, how you can actually add value. One of the things that we do in containers and rather that's really exciting is digital customer acquisition. So, you know, right now I'm a lot of trade sales is done over the phone and it's done face to face and that again will continue. Um, but acquiring customers digitally, you know, true email marketing campaigns and the like, we do a lot of this for customers and it's very exciting.
Speaker 2:
44:54
And also on marketing graduate, I think there's huge opportunities for um, you know, marketing graduates to get into freights. And again, like we spoke about an engineering, of course, if you're graduated in marketing, you can go to a software company and apply your skills, but you can also come to a freight brand and you know, maybe have a bigger opportunity to, you know, draw on a blank canvas and create campaigns and how to shape that brand. And you know, we work very hard on that in containers on our brand and the message that we convey and how we convey it across the different channels. So I think there's a huge opportunity in the, in digital marketing and phrase, uh, you know, digital customer acquisition is still almost brand new and freights. So I think there's a huge opportunities for, for people to get into the supply chain and trade industry. And Dare I say it, maybe call me even a little bit more, maybe come a little bit more and more sexy and in the decade ahead when it's more tech centric and you, you, uh, you know, you get interest from, from younger graduates that are in project management that are in solution selling the rent that are in marketing. That may not be as interested in today, but as it undergoes this massive, um, technology evolution that we see today, it'll become more exciting for them.
Speaker 1:
46:13
No. Super final, final question from us. We have one would be some of the principles Maxim's quotes that you follow, let's say in, in, in life and in business.
Speaker 2:
46:24
And you know, I, I think, Eh, I'm not sure, um, um, if it's, if it's an actual, um, quote Radu but you know, one of the, one of the most important things and we always, we always think about in, in our businesses is, and you know, being, being very honest in what we do and also working super hard and, you know, thinking about how we can, um, how we can actually add some value. Um, um, I'm a big fan of a, of a lot of the Churchill quotes, um, particularly the one that says success is not final failure is not fatal. It's continuing with porridge is, is what's important. Um, you know, I think that's, um, that's, that's a, that's an important one.
Speaker 1:
47:12
No, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you very much for your time. Thanks for all the sharing and for the good insights that you have imparted with us and good case studies and uh, and also for, you know, for making the time you're going if you're on the road and, and you know, in, in, in, uh, in Africa and even if, you know, even if, uh, there's a lot of, a lot of very, very exciting projects happening. So thanks a lot for taking the time and wishing you a lot of, uh, you know, a lot of continued success with the, with containers in the months and years to come. Thank you very much for having me on [inaudible] as I mentioned. Yeah, everyone in containers is a big fan of the show was great to be on and wishing you in the show and, and outcomes. I continued success and thank you again. Super. Thank you. Thank you Graham.
Speaker 3:
47:56
Thank you for listening to a podcast. If you liked what you heard, be sure to follow us on [inaudible] dot com slash podcast for all the show notes, links and extra tips covered in the interview. Make sure also to subscribe to our emailing list to get the news in the nick of time. If you're listening through a streaming platform like iTunes or stitcher and you like what we do, please kindly review and give us five stars so we can keep the energy flowing it get more people to find out about our podcast. I'm most active on Linkedin, so do feel free to follow me to stay tuned for our latest articles as well as future guests for the podcast. And if you have any suggestions or any other idea, please feel free to write to me. I respond to all and also please make sure not to miss our next episode where we will be having a few other c level and top leaders in supply chain joining us. Stay tuned.