By the Numbers
increase in on-time performance through improved supply chain visibility
of carbon emissions offset for Fairphone shipments through Flexport.org
cost savings with the support in transition from air freight to rail
How Fairphone Sets the Tone for the Smartphone Supply Chain with Flexport
Fairphone is a social enterprise with a mission to help build a smartphone market based on ethical business principles and a transparent and responsible supply chain. Founded in 2013, it designs, produces, and sells smartphones built from sustainably sourced materials and fair labor practices; in the process, it aims to raise awareness of important social issues. Together with its partners and collaborators, Fairphone seeks to make social responsibility toward people and the planet a natural part of doing business.
To deliver on that mission, Fairphone required a logistics partner that would deliver visibility across its entire supply chain; help it offset CO2 emissions to meet its wider sustainability goals; and provide a specialized team of dedicated operations, customs, and data experts to manage shipments every step of the way.
With Flexport’s support, Fairphone has built full transparency into all of its products in transit, optimising its supply chain, so phones reach their destination quickly and affordably. Now, with the support of Flexport.org, the company is able to meet its sustainability goals with greater ease and lower costs.
"We just log onto the platform, and it’s all there for us to see. The software’s getting better all the time. New features are added regularly that I never thought I needed, but I now rely on completely."
Visibility Driving Better Performance
Before partnering with Flexport, Fairphone was facing stock shortages and invisibility of shipments from the moment of factory pickup at origin. “Our supply chain team was spending 25% of its time sourcing vital information about shipments. Major product launches could be fraught with worry as we wondered where our stock was and if it would arrive in time,” says Amanda McElmurray, Supply Chain Manager at Fairphone. “With Flexport now on-board, tracking our shipments—and more importantly, the exceptions—it takes just 5% of our time. This massively frees up our team and gives us peace of mind.”
Centralising all shipment communication, data, and documents via Flexport’s digital platform–rather than siloed in email chains–made it possible to gain a comprehensive overview of Fairphone’s entire logistics chain, with easy access to real-time updates.
“We just log onto the platform, and it’s all there for us to see. The software’s getting better all the time. New features are added regularly that I never thought I needed, but I now rely on completely.”
With a dedicated team driving efficiencies in the PO, booking, and customs processes at the point of origin, Flexport has also shaved two days off lead times, which used to take a week. This helps accelerate and improve the world’s access to Fairphones.
"We were used to accepting delays in lead times, and only being contacted when things went wrong. It’s great to have a dedicated relationship and collaboration."
One Dedicated Account Team, No Agents
To ensure on-time deliveries, the company needed greater transparency around shipment timings. By providing improved supply chain visibility, consolidated shipment documentation, and open channels with on-the-ground support teams, the Flexport team has transformed the reliability of Fairphone’s shipments. As a result, Fairphone has boosted its performance significantly, with 95% of all shipments arriving on time.
“I never expected such a great service offer in terms of execution. Flexport goes above and beyond, even on things we wouldn’t expect, like classifying HS codes for our ‘new’ product lines,” says McElmurray. “We were used to accepting delays in lead times, and only being contacted when things went wrong. It’s great to have a dedicated relationship and collaboration.”
Reflecting on Flexport’s client service team, McElmurray says, “Flexport’s team is fantastic at managing expectations, and in combination with their technology, predicting how long shipments will take.” One of the main differences, McElmurray underscores, is that the team is on hand every step of the way. “Rather than waiting for customs to clear, Flexport immediately starts figuring out what’s happening, and troubleshooting if there are any delays,” she explains.
Putting People and Planet First
Within its mission to change the world, Fairphone is also on a mission to reduce CO2 emissions significantly by shifting away from air freight. “We didn’t even know CO2-focused initiatives were available,” says McElmurray. “The reduction of CO2 in our inbound logistics was not yet in scope for us to implement. However, with Flexport, we were able to start CO2 offsetting for all of our shipments directly.”
Flexport.org is helping Fairphone drive sustainability across its supply chain by allowing it to offset up to 100% of shipping-related emissions for a small donation per shipment. In addition, by supporting Fairphone’s transition from air freight to rail, Flexport is helping the company achieve an estimated 28% in cost savings throughout 2020.
For Miquel Ballester Salva, Circular Innovation Lead and one of the founding team members at Fairphone, Flexport enables Fairphone to have a social impact at the highest level. “The transparency over our transport options and the built-in offsetting programme align with our own CO2-focused priorities,” says Ballester Salva.
“As a scaleup, we can only have a critical impact if we remain successful,” he adds. “By maintaining excellent stock availability and lead-times, we are keeping our social enterprise professional and dependable. This lets us inspire the rest of the industry to apply our initiatives as best practices.”
Taking Action for Good
Fairphone and Flexport both share the belief that environmental impact starts with the supply chain. With transparent, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible methods for moving freight, Fairphone has an easier and more affordable way to meet its wider business goals for people and the planet.
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