Technology and Customer Experience in International Freight Forwarding
Future of Supply Chain, Episode 12
January 28, 2019
On Episode 12 of the Future of Supply Chain, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jason Provonsha, CEO of Steam Logistics. In our conversation, we got a primer on freight forwarding, leveraging technology to uphold great customer experience, and thoughts on the current trade environment.
Jason originally began his logistics career working for Access America Transport where he led corporate sales through its merger with Coyote Logistics. In 2016, Jason became CEO of Steam Logistics, where his efforts shifted from domestic brokerage to international freight forwarding.
Freight forwarders manage freight movements across borders on behalf of BCOs. Companies such as, Steam Logistics, help customers plan the most economic routes and shipping times for their freight. They act as a sort of “travel agent” for their clients, taking out all the guess work when it comes to getting freight from point A to B. In 2018 alone, the U.S. Freight Forwarding industry earned a combined total revenue of $138B, and is still showing signs of growth.
Technology helps drive great customer experiences. Jason argues that technology should help drive superior customer experiences. It is crucial to think from the customer’s point of view, and realize that each client has a different set of interaction preferences. For large BCOs, certain technologies and features such as a reliable web portal and transparency are imperative for a front-line employee who is comfortable with technology. A busy supply chain manager on the other hand might require real-time updates and not have the time or desire to wade through email or login to a portal for key information
The future of supply chain might be fullstack, end-to-end platforms. The recent strategic activity in the sector might be pointing to increased initiatives to drive a more seamless experience between ocean/air, trucking/rail, warehousing/distribution. Jason noted the different talent, operations, and technology requirements between domestic and international freight which underpins a lot of the M&A (Panalpina/DSV, CEVA/CMA CGM, and Seko’s acquisition moves)and strategic investments (Loadsmart/Maersk).