Executive Insights is a series by Shipping and Freight Resource that provides ongoing insights, enriching the knowledge of the readers with what is happening in the shipping, freight, maritime, logistics and supply chain industry alongwith thoughtful analysis..
Executive Insights is also a chance to pick the brains of industry veterans, leaders and enablers..
In this latest edition, Shipping and Freight Resource caught up with Mick Morris – CEO and Co Founder of Buytasker LTD for some insights into the freight forwarding industry, the digital freight forwarding world and the technologies that they have created for the industry..
SFR : What is Buytasker’s vision in terms of the shipping and freight industry..??
MM : Well we started off with a vision to connect and enable the process of supply chain to be more efficient while also providing world class freight forwarding and supplier management services.
We are doing this through our Digital Freight Forwarder Technology Solution which is designed to effectively influence and protect the freight forwarder’s business through the supply chain digital evolution.
Apart from improving the quality of the freight forwarder’s customer experience and leveraging the strength of years of local knowledge combined into one platform, our aim is also to provide accountability and transparency for all our customer’s shipments.
SFR : What would be Buytasker’s main offering compared to other freight forwarders (digital or traditional)..??
MM : Very few Freight Forwarders have a Digital Solution stamped with their own brand and operating from their own website. We are focused on the digitalisation and modernisation of the small to medium sized forwarder.
Using our systems, a freight forwarder can have their own customer facing Digital Forwarder UI and can offer their own API for autonomous solutions to their customers without writing a line of code.
Our platform allows the forwarder to connect to network partners around the world, direct customers, integrate APIs for operations, such as INTTRA, eAWB creation and tracking/lastmile, feed in RFQs for their services and booking of their services to acquire new customers.
Using our in built International Payments System Network Pay™ the freight forwarder is able to pay suppliers instantly in a Fee Free Economy.
Our services include appraisal of the existing website of the forwarder, modernize, refresh/design and host their company website.
The platform can also manage instant customer freight bookings, Rate Card Management, providing bespoke API to deliver end-to-end eCommerce solutions to their customer’s point of sale system, be it website or online POS, connect to the customer’s WMS API to manage inventory and fulfillment.
In short, our system is effectively outsourcing all the worrisome tasks in the supply chain, empowering the freight forwarder with powerful technology stamped with their brand, without investing millions.
SFR : Are you open to collaborating with traditional freight forwarders in providing value-added services to the BCOs or would you be competing against them..??
MM : We are absolutely open to collaborating with traditional freight forwarders. Once our API is embedded into the Network Member’s system, they can offer BCOs a turnkey supplier management and shipping services. The BCO can also benefit as they will have the option to automate and optimize their supply chains while leaning on the Network as and when required.
In terms of competing with traditional freight forwarders, we don’t see them as competition as in this digital age we are all stacked together. How one provider can benefit the other is the question.
Even with large NVOCC’s yielding their own technology stacks, we can both mutually benefit from a partnership. As we are not directly middleware but share similar values and offer middleware connectivity, the question is, how can we add value versus how are they a competitor or how similar are they?
As long as we are all honest about our limitations we can make something work and no doubt identify customers within our network that will benefit.
SFR : Your website says you operate in 193 countries. That is a pretty awesome global reach for someone who started in 2016..??
MM : We have worked hard on valuable relationships and partnerships with various Networks and Forwarders, establishing trust and solutions together. The fundamental reason is, problems require solutions because when you turn up with a solution to a problem, things can happen very quickly.
The Networks recognized that our products offer a solution to the problems their members frequently complain about. In the early days this was mainly related to international cross border payment problems and from there our ambitions started to lead us into other areas.
We already had the Network backing with solutions like Buytasker Network Pay and our network believed in us and our vision and mutually agreed that together we can really make a difference and help the forwarder modernize and grow in the Digital era.
SFR : There is a big hype in the industry currently in terms of Big Data, Blockchain, Machine Learning, AI etc.. Does your system/platform integrate any of these technologies..??
MM : Our system is currently finding where these things can fit, we have ML plans but we are too early to make a serious entrance in this space but inevitably we will.
There are many companies claiming this space although in fact a lot of it is hot air, but this is a common occurrence as we shift through technology cycles through the decades.
Our core belief is in our integrity, which is key. When we’re good at it, we will let everybody know until then we’ll remain humble.
Big Data and ML naturally go hand in hand as the data capture increases and we found that while Blockchain is not a challenging technology to implement, it’s actually more of a problem to find where it fits within your software.
Buytasker will also look for any system it believes can add value and make an API connection where it can fit, ultimately it has to benefit the user.
SFR : What are some of the main criteria you look for in your Network Partners..?? Are there any “must have”..??
MM : There are many types of partners we connect with and fundamentally you can establish very early in the relationship whether the partner is the right fit. Humility is key, but integrity is a must have as we have to be honest with each other as we’re all in the same boat of trying to improve the industry.
There’s never going to be one winner in this space that we all have to work together.
Fully integrated systems such as Buytasker seems to be all the rage in the ever evolving logistics industry..
The system offers not only freight forwarding solutions, but also extends it to include full end to end solutions through reliable and vetted partners.. This allows the freight forwarder to reduce their risk in terms of payment and other requirements..
The Buytasker system is also said to be on the verge of offering a full function CRM to complete the offering.. We are eagerly awaiting to hear the feedback on the system..