AiThority Interview with Ally Lynch, SVP of Marketing at project44
Could you tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at project44?
As Senior Vice President of Marketing at project44, my team and I are tasked with educating companies on how the project44 Advanced Visibility Platform can show them exactly where their shipments are, and what condition they are in, during every step of their journey. Supply chain visibility is a new market, so a major part of our job is helping potential customers understand how Advanced Visibility can solve many of the transportation and logistics challenges they face, from avoiding truck dwell time at loading docks, to optimizing inventory management, to building a more sustainable supply chain.
This keeps us quite busy! As you see in the findings in our recent reports on the Delivery Economy, customers now expect low-cost, fast, and highly transparent delivery of goods. This has irrevocably changed the customer experience companies need to deliver across both B2B and B2C markets.
In our first report, The Delivery Economy and The New Customer Experience, we found that 70% of consumers want the ability to track progress of their shipments and 50% of consumers want an accurate delivery date estimate.
Given these expectations, it is no surprise that our second report, Aligning the Supply Chain in the Age of the Delivery Economy, found that 73% of supply chain professionals say they are experiencing pressure to improve and expand their delivery capabilities as a result of the Delivery Economy.
What is project44 and what kind of supply chain visibility do you offer to your customers?
project44 is the world’s leading Advanced Visibility Platform for shippers and logistics service providers. With our platform, companies can gain visibility into and automate key transportation processes, allowing them to increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs, improve shipping performance, and deliver an exceptional Amazon-like experience to their customers.
Our platform is connected to thousands of carriers worldwide across multiple transportation modes – trucks, trains, ships, and more. This network means our customers can see their shipments wherever they are, as well as get accurate predictions on when they will arrive at their destination. Users can also automate a variety of pre-shipment, shipment and post-shipment processes, including shipment rate quotes, ETAs, and payment.
Our platform delivers insights that only high-fidelity data can provide – insights companies can use to make smarter, real-time business decisions.
Which industries are most likely to be influenced by the new Delivery Economy? How can Digitization and Automation empower customers in this journey?
Honestly, it’s difficult to think of an industry that isn’t being influenced by the Delivery Economy. If your business involves delivering a physical product to customers, chances are your customers’ delivery expectations have been reshaped by the existence of Amazon Prime and other instant delivery services. These rising expectations are not limited to consumers – they have permeated the B2B customer experience as well. In fact, in our most recent Delivery Economy report we found that 85% of B2B companies are feeling the pressure to improve or expand upon their delivery capabilities.
This means that whether you are a B2C or B2B company, you are seeing more pressure to improve your product and delivery functions, including logistics, transportation, supply chain, procurement, and manufacturing.
The digitization and automation delivered by project44 are essential if companies hope to address these pressures. Today, 79% of supply chain professionals are using a combination of suboptimal methods to manage processes around production, logistics, and delivery throughout the supply chain. There continue to be too many companies whose supply chains rely on phone, fax and spreadsheet to function, and this can have a domino effect if these companies themselves are suppliers to another organization’s supply chain. Only with digitization and automation can supply chain professionals fully optimize transportation processes to give their customers the delivery experience they’ve increasingly come to expect in the Delivery Economy.
Can you identify some potential roadblocks that marketers should expect when re-structuring their Supply chain strategy?
One key roadblock is the disconnect between a company’s marketing and customer executives and its supply chain professionals regarding their company’s delivery experience. In our latest report, 82% of marketing and customer executives said they believe their company offers customers what they want in terms of progress tracking. Yet, only 39% of supply chain professionals say they’re set up to offer more insight into a shipment’s progress and delivery information to their customers.
The reason for this discrepancy is that executives seem to think their Marketing teams are working closely with their supply chain teams, when in reality such collaboration is limited. In the same report, 78% of executives said their supply chain team is working with Marketing on a continual basis while only 55% of supply chain managers said the same.
Only by fostering close collaboration between supply chain and marketing teams, as well as between executives and managers, will companies be able to align on the process improvements and technology investments that will provide their company with the real-time insights they need to succeed in the Delivery Economy.
Can you describe a moment in your own company’s Customer Experience journey that you’re most proud of?
The moment I am most proud of was a few years ago, when I first saw the visibility experience we were delivering our customers creating a network effect that would drive wider adoption of our platform. We had a few shippers and logistics service providers that signed up for our Advanced Visibility platform early on, and even with the smaller network we had at the time, they were able to realize such significant benefits that they began asking all the carriers they worked with to adopt our platform as well. With more carriers adopting the platform, our network grew, further increasing the value we could offer to shippers and logistics service providers.
Now, we have the most extensive visibility network in the world, with more than 8.5 million vehicles in our network. Meanwhile, the high-fidelity, real-time data generated by this extensive network has allowed us sign up a wide variety of different industry leaders – including Tractor Supply, Bosch, Dollar General, Grainger, and Overstock, to name just a few – as customers. All this was made possible by delivering our first customers an experience that provided them with a whole new level of insight on their supply chain.
Where do you see the real-time CX movement going as we move into 2020?
We expect that the customer experience movement – and particularly the movement by companies to provide exceptional delivery experiences – to pick up steam. Customer demand for even better delivery experiences will only intensify as time goes on. As a result, the risks of not evolving to meet these new expectations will increasingly outweigh any pains associated with such a transformation.
For this reason, we expect marketers will increasingly work to understand and meet their customers changing delivery expectations. Those that don’t, or fail to foster the stakeholder collaboration, institute the better transportation processes, or adopt the new visibility technologies needed to meet these changing expectations will fall to wayside.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Marketing Leader?
Marketing leaders need to keep in mind that, in an AI-Centric world, their AI is only as good as the amount and quality of their data. That is why, in preparing for a AI-Centric world, marketers need to make sure they have access to relevant, high-fidelity data. Only with this type of data will their AI be able to generate accurate insights that allow them to improve the experience they offer to their customers.
When it comes to their customers’ delivery experience, this means high-fidelity data on their shipments as they move through every stage of their journey. If they don’t have this data, they won’t have AI that can provide them with insights on how to improve the delivery experience they offer their customers.
Thank you, Ally! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Ally Lynch is a Senior Vice President, Marketing at project44.
project44 is the world’s leading advanced visibility platform for shippers and third-party logistics firms. project44 connects, automates and provides visibility into key transportation processes to accelerate insights and shorten the time it takes to turn those insights into actions. Leveraging the power of the project44 cloud-based platform, organizations are able to increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs, improve shipping performance, and deliver an exceptional Amazon-like experience to their customers. Connected to thousands of carriers worldwide and having comprehensive coverage for all ELD and telematics devices on the market, project44 supports all transportation modes and shipping types, including Parcel, Final-Mile, Less-than-Truckload, Volume Less-than-Truckload, Truckload, Rail, Intermodal, and Ocean.