Do you ever wonder how the clothes you wear or the phone you’re reading this article on got to you? I didn’t think much of it until I began working in supply chain for a consumer goods company, bringing in the latest cosmetics products from Asia to the US.
Products come in containers on those gigantic boats you see in port or even stowed away in the cargo holds of the planes you fly on. It’s a fascinating network of moving parts and a trillion dollar industry! Any company that imports or exports products is likely using the services of a freight forwarder. Everyone knows about commercial delivery services such as UPS/FEDEX/USPS as they show up on your doorstep every week with your latest maybe essential but probably not Amazon.com purchase, but most are unaware of the daunting process and companies that help get the products into the country.
Traditional freight forwarding services reminds me of Taxis, a byzantine industry in which the customer experience was less than ideal. It worked, but you couldn’t help wondering whether there was something better out there (Hello Lyft! Hello Uber!). Shipping products with a traditional freight forwarder is a bit like trying to hail and ride a taxi in a mid-sized US city, it works, but dang does it leave you wanting more.
Enter Flexport. While other freight forwarders rely on a crushing amount of emails (with attachments) passing back and forth between an CC email list of a mind-boggling number of people from several entities, or even paper documents in some cases, Flexport puts everything in a neat and modern web based dashboard. It’s a simple change, but it works wonders in clearing your inbox, tracking your freight, and making sure that consumers are able to purchase their favorite products.
Flexport is a software company along with being a freight forwarder. It’s an important distinction, the established old guard of competitors are freight forwarders who have software to help them, but they’re not software companies by any stretch of the imagination. I believe that this distinction has helped them leapfrog the competition, as it allows them to innovate faster on behalf of their customers.
I’d highly recommend Flexport to any company seeking a better freight forwarding experience. Of course, there are still areas for improvement with Flexport that are more related to their freight forwarding capabilities, but I’m confident they will improve rapidly as they scale and volume increases. The software itself though, is phenomenal, as are the service teams that help guide your every step with moving freight. It’s ride sharing for freight forwarding, without all the excess baggage, and an amazing leap forward in the world of supply chain.