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Empowering SMEs in global trade is critical – Fraser Robinson, Co-Founder/CEO of Beacon

The global trade landscape is evolving rapidly while technological advancements in the industry are shaping operational efficiencies and strategic capabilities..

These technologies and capabilities are particularly important to SMEs as the efficient management of supply chains can make or break a business..

Supply chain efficiency and visibility have become all the more pronounced and critical as global trade faces several unexpected disruptions in the form of war risk, rerouting, maritime disasters, capacity shortages, and more..

Shipping and Freight Resource caught up with Fraser Robinson, Co-Founder and CEO of Beacon, a company at the forefront of revolutionizing supply chain management through technological innovation, as part of the Executive Insights series..

Fraser’s insights offer a glimpse into the future of logistics and how technology is reshaping this critical industry..

HM: Good day Fraser, can you start by telling us a little about your background and what led to the creation of Beacon..

FR: Good day, Hariesh. It’s great to be here. I’ve spent the majority of my career in tech or tech-enabled businesses, spanning from B2C in online travel to B2B data businesses.

Before Beacon, I was with Uber, deeply involved in their operations across Europe and Africa during their high-growth years.

This was my first exposure to a tech business that physically moved things around in the world. That experience at Uber, which you could argue is a logistics company, was instrumental in shaping my path towards something more closely aligned with supply chain management.

HM: It sounds like a seamless transition into the world of supply chain.. What is the core mission driving Beacon..??

FR: Our mission revolves around two main objectives. First, we recognize the tremendous inefficiencies and fragmentation within the supply chain industry. Technology has the power to transform these challenges into streamlined processes, which is where Beacon steps in.

Our second goal is to democratize this technology. Historically, the most powerful technological solutions have been accessible only to enterprises with substantial resources.

At Beacon, we are working to change that by empowering businesses of all sizes with cutting-edge technology to manage their supply chains effectively.

HM: That’s quite ambitious.. How does Beacon facilitate better collaboration and connectivity among the various players in the supply chain..??

FR: Collaboration is at the heart of what we do. The first phase involves organizing and making accessible the vast amounts of data from supply chains that have traditionally been siloed. However, simply having data in one place isn’t enough.

The real challenge—and where Beacon truly innovates—is in enabling all stakeholders in the supply chain to interact effectively around this data without the need for multiple logins or platforms.

Our approach has been inspired by solutions like Google Docs and Miro, which allow for real-time collaboration. We’ve adapted these concepts to the supply chain context, building a platform where data is not just visible but also actionable.

HM: Managing financial risks seems critical, especially with the uncertainties in global trade today. How does Beacon address these challenges..??

FR: Risk management is a critical component of our platform. Beacon provides real-time information that helps businesses adapt quickly to changes and disruptions in their supply chains.

This capability is not just about avoiding delays or fines, it is also about maintaining customer satisfaction and trust by ensuring that all parties are informed and able to react promptly. Additionally, our platform leverages historical data for better planning and decision-making, allowing businesses to optimize their operations based on past performance and trends.

HM: One of your core capabilities is tracking containers.. Can this change how SMEs handle their operations..??

FR: Absolutely. While tracking is crucial, the real value we offer, especially to SMEs, lies in the overall collaboration and documentation management on our platform. This enables them to manage their operations more efficiently, even with limited resources. Our upcoming features, like order visibility and further automation, will significantly enhance how businesses, large and small, manage their supply chains.

HM: With sustainability becoming a crucial metric in the industry, how does Beacon assist with tracking and mitigating carbon emissions..??

FR: Sustainability and carbon emissions tracking, particularly Scope 3 emissions which involve transportation, are crucial. Beacon is designed to integrate seamlessly with any carrier or forwarder a company might use, consolidating carbon reporting across different platforms into a single, consistent report.

This not only saves time but provides a transparent and consumable overview of all transportation emissions, facilitating more informed decision-making for sustainability efforts.

HM: Looking ahead, are there any new features or developments at Beacon that you’re particularly excited about..??

FR: We are continuously looking to enhance our platform. One of the exciting developments is the introduction of order visibility, which will allow our users to manage and collaborate on their orders even before they become active shipments.

This upstream move will not only improve the efficiency of pre-shipment processes but also enhance the overall planning and execution of supply chain operations.

HM: As we wrap up, what advice would you give to companies looking to improve their supply chain visibility and efficiency..??

FR: Start simple. Digitization can be daunting, but it’s essential for modern business operations. Begin by organizing your data and leveraging platforms like Beacon to gain better visibility into your supply chain.

The key is, to begin with manageable steps, such as implementing tracking systems, which can open doors to further enhancements and deeper integration.

This first step will open up numerous possibilities for optimization and efficiency improvements.

Watch the Executive Insights video with Fraser Robinson – Co-Founder and CEO of Beacon


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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiarhttps://www.shippingandfreightresource.com
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..

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