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Flexport Fireside Chat: Bringing Logistics Tech to Toronto - A Conversation with CEOs

Bringing Logistics Tech to Toronto: A Conversation with CEOs | Flexport Virtual Event

Ryan Petersen: Hello everybody. Welcome, welcome. I'm so excited for you to join us this morning. I'm Brian Petersen, I'm the founder and CEO of Flexport. And I want to again, thank you for joining us today to chat about bringing logistics technology to Toronto. And I'm joined today by Stephany Lapierre. She can correct my French accent, Stephany is the founder and CEO of Tealbook, which is a Toronto based supply chain technology company. And Stephanie, thank you for being here today. I want to pass over to you to give a quick introduction of yourself and Tealbook for those in the Toronto supply chain tech community, everybody should be aware of this company. She is going to tell us about your company.

Stephany Lapierre: Yeah. Thanks, Ryan for having me. I'm super excited about today's conversation. So Tealbook aggregates data on every B2B company in the world. And so we use machines to identify what qualifies as a B2B supplier. We want to know where they’re based, what they do, where they do business, who are the people where they're certified for, who's affiliated, who's most similar. And so we seeded this enormous global network of suppliers, so that we can take large master data of companies that do business with tens to hundreds of thousands of suppliers globally, and we turn the light on.

So we show them a lot about the companies that they do business with, in a way that's autonomously enrich, that can feed their systems, can unify the data across all the software that typically collects different data points. So that gives them the mechanism to improve the quality of the information over time, it gives them a consolidated view of their entire supplier base. And it allows them to capitalize on this enormous investment that they've made on these suppliers, so that they can, you know, drive towards their business outcome that it could be consolidation, relocalization, risk mitigation, ESG, etcetera.

And we also have an application that empowers people across the organization to access the information about the suppliers they do business with, as well as expand so that they can introduce competition, innovation, etc. So we're based in Toronto, we are just over 100 employees now, and we are fundraised. We just recently fundraised and we're growing quite fast.

Ryan Petersen: That's awesome. I feel like data is the hardest thing in the supply chain. Ultimately, we're talking about a data problem of how do you get all these different companies to talk to each other and be able to exchange data seamlessly. It seems like a problem at the end of the day for all of us.

Stephany Lapierre: Yeah, I mean, one of the biggest challenge that we've seen is just with the amount of information that needs to be collected on every supplier in the world. When you do business, there's so much. And traditionally, it's been collected through software, which, you know, when you collect a lot of different software into complications of being in the enterprise, you have multiple systems. And so when you're collecting information, and you rely on services, on integrations on suppliers to come to various portals, it makes it incredibly challenging to have the data that you need at this speed and scale.

And what we've seen and we will talk about in great lengths today is the last couple of years, the amount of disruption and changes that are happening in the market. The enterprise is looking for a faster way to access this data so that they can make better decisions. But this isn't right. I'd love to turn it on to you and tell us more about Flexport, and what got you into this space in the first place.

Ryan Petersen: Yeah, so I spent my it all makes sense in hindsight, you go back and look at my career, I've spent my whole entire professional life at the intersection of global trade and the internet. I think, global trades, probably the most underrated force for good in the world, that we lifted a globalization ship, I would argue no technology in the last 50 years lifted more people out of poverty than the shipping container. And you know, we lowered the price of shipping goods by something like 95% or more globally.

We enabled free market economics across the world, especially China, but other regions, adopting trade and being able to participate in the global economy so that anyone can buy goods, buy or sell goods to their ideal customer anywhere in the world. It's incredibly powerful.

My background, I started out as an entrepreneur, as an importer of motorcycles, 20 years ago, I was the first dealer in the United States for Geely. Doesn't sound like a technology company. But actually we built quite a lot of technology. Geely is a Chinese car company that bought Volvo, by the way. And so we were not selling their cars or selling their motorcycles. And doesn't sound like a tech company. But we've got quite a lot of tech to run the business.

It was like early, late 90s, early 2000s, and we were building web based applications to manage all of our inventory, ship things, you know, coordinate with local with trucking, and we were able to integrate our software with trucking companies. Ecommerce checkout software, we could have been NetSuite, we could have been software, Shopify. We ended up just selling crappy motorcycles.

It wasn't great at business, but we learned so much. And one of the things we learned was global logistics, like shipping this up was one of the hardest problems. We just felt like, you know, first of all, there were two big problems I saw in this space with dealing with freight forwarding companies. Number one was a lack of technology, there was no dashboard to log into. No one could show me where my stuff was on a map. There was no communication tools, very little data, very little ability to generate reports, sort of like fundamental stuff that technology should be able to do for a company.

Stephany Lapierre: How long ago was that? Not that long ago, right?

Ryan Petersen: This was early 2000s. We started a company in 1999. And, around the same time, Shopify, well before Shopify around the time NetSuite think Salesforce, it sounded in '97, or '99, I forget. What I mean, my brother and I are Software Engineers, so we built this like, pretty awesome web based software. They're not, you know, could have been something great. The business was not great. I'm not gonna lie. But we've learned a lot. And I think the most important thing.

So the first thing we learned was like, there was a lack of tech and instrument issues. Actually, just as important, we felt, I didn't see the customer ethos like this customer obsession of, George Bernard Shaw says every profession is a conspiracy against the lay, and against the laity. And it felt like freight forwarding to me as a customer of the freight forwarders was kind of a foster child for that. There's all these acronyms and weird terms. Viking English, you know, even the term a bill of lading, that we're all familiar with, like the word is, in English is loading, like lading is some kind of old english, like, what are we doing here?

So ,that's fine. But as an outsider, as a customer of those companies, I felt like, now my working model is that these are rookie detectors. Like, if you have to ask what a bill of lading is, the freight forwarding world will tell you what a bill of lading is, but then they're gonna raise your prices, because you obviously don't know what's going on here.

I felt like there was this real opportunity to sort of do marketing as education, teach people how things work, shine a light into the black box of global trade. And tech is really good at this; you can have tooltips, you can have glossaries, you can have just great messaging systems, great customers. And but it's not just tech, it's got to be a culture of people who are like, Hey, we actually want to partner with our customers, help them grow, solve problems, and make money, we're gonna make a lot of money, but over the long term by helping you grow your business, instead of like, how can I take advantage of the information asymmetry and make, make more money on this shipment? Because you don't know what's going on, and I do.

So, I really started the business out of frustration, that I felt that, you know, there has to be a better way. I didn't know all the stuff that I know now, which is that it's an incredibly complex chain, your freight forwarding company doesn't do all the stuff like they have to, I now joke, it should be called free email forwarding. Because you have to connect with the ocean carrier, the trucking company, customs broker, airline warehouses, like, it's a very complex chain. And therefore tech is really important to how you unify these people, how do you bring them together to share data seamlessly, how do you connect those factories that you all have such great data on.

With the brands, with the companies and allow them to communicate, exchange data, and really transactionally. It's very expensive to be having humans shuffle data around the world, including in physical pieces of paper sometimes. Less and less, but still, I made a joke, I didn't make a joke, I posted on the Internet, something about fax machines, I was kind of poking fun at freight forwarding businesses. And the CEO of one of the largest freight forwarders in the world, reposted my LinkedIn and said I was wrong, they don't use fax machines, except in their Japan office, where they still use and I was like, dude, you're missing the whole point, like your Japan office is clearly not using the same technology as the rest of the offices like something's off here. So I still think, I'm not claiming we've solved this at Flexport. But the problem says it's super interesting and there's so much progress still to be made.

Stephany Lapierre: And can you walk me through how our customers are engaging, especially now you're coming to Canada? And I want to talk more about why and what you're looking to achieve here. But yeah, just making maybe walking us through the journey with Flexport? What does that look like?

Ryan Petersen: Yeah, I would say, what is the brand trying to solve for I mean, everyone cares about low costs. And I think automation, we all know that humans doing manual labor is expensive. And so if we can, if we can, not manual, blue collar labor, but manual sort of back office labor, pushing emails around, you know, and data entry, communication with truckers, with carriers, with all the different things that you can bring technology to share data seamlessly, you save a lot of money. Everybody cares about saving money.

And I think as we've gotten bigger, we've also been able to buy freight cheaper. Not all the time, but you know, as we get bigger, we are on average able to buy for cheaper promotion carriers from airlines, etc. We can pass through some of those savings to customers and drive a great flywheel. By the way, our goal is not to be, to pay the lace for ocean freight. But we, you know, we want to actually, I hope that our business model allows us to pay the most for ocean freight, while still giving great deals to the customer because we automate so much of the labor costs. I think that has to be number one and big focus area.

But as important and what we're trying to show customers is, your visibility, where's your stuff? When is it going to arrive, predictive analytics, using machine learning to predict transit times harder than ever right now, We'll talk about that all the congestion and supply chain challenges that we're facing. But being able to show people visibility and then control. It's one thing to know where your stuff is, it's another thing, hey, there's a problem, I need to take action. And so you see, I'm a big believer that you want your visibility platform to come from your execution platform as a unified system, because it is one thing to see where all the stuff is and what the problems are. And then what, you know, and you want to be like, Okay, I've got a problem, let me act on it. This shipment is late, oh, I need to reroute it, let me ship it over here.

So give people more control than they've ever had over their supply chain. That's more important than ever in the e-commerce world, where, you know, supply chain managers are under a huge amount of pressure. Because in the old world, you could have one distribution center and serve the whole country. And you know, a week or two of shipping time was fine.

Now, if you're trying to hit a two hour delivery window, you need to have a lot more inventory, scattered in a lot more places. We, in the tech world, we call this edge caching, sort of positioning your content, in this case, your products, close to the end user. And that's a much harder problem, and one that machines are really good at and humans aren't that good at managing.

Giving people better options, more flexibility, that's the flex in Flexport. And then a big part also is working capital, you know, be able to do one of the things that logistics managers often fail to do where they tend to be comped like literally comped but measured on their procurement costs, like how much are you spending on trade? Right? It makes sense. But in reality, very few are the more sophisticated ones, and we're trying to help all of our customers become more sophisticated, recognizing that actually, the cost of your inventory itself, just sitting there on the water is very expensive, if it's slow. And if we can speed that up for you. And there are ways to do that, that your CFO is going to get really excited if I can reduce the amount of inventory you have sitting on the water, improve the turns of your inventory.

This is you know, operations management sort of 101, but but a lot of the pure procurement folks in logistics only care about cost and obviously cost is important but you try to educate people, hey, if we can if like how much is it worth to you, if I can get your stuff there, you know, 30% faster? That’s 30% less inventory sitting on the water. Your CFO can do the math, and all of a sudden, we help up level logistics people that have strategic conversations with their CFO. So we want to make our customers heroes, obviously, internally and externally.

So these are some of the things that you can do with tech. Ultimately, the journey is you come on the board to Flexport. You can use our order management system to place orders to your factories or your suppliers around the world. Factories received those orders acknowledged and maybe haggle over them. I've been wanting to add like I used to live in Shanghai, I want to add like a pretend to walk away button that was like my old negotiating tactic. But nobody, everyone thinks I'm joking. So we haven't done that.

You can sort of acknowledge those orders and then convert those to a shipment and we'll ship them, we shipped 112 countries last year. Pretty excited that we've just we've been in Canada for a little while. But we just launched our Toronto office, which is going to be our Canada HQ, we have a Vancouver office as well. And so we'll deliver that all the way to the end user, all the way to your fulfillment centers who then pass it on to the end consumers are your stores, and give you visibility the entire way and show you exactly what's happening. Everybody can communicate with everybody.

We have over 50, we have 47%, almost 50% of the truck drivers in the United States that do port trucking using our technology stack so that we can dispatch trucks with no humans involved for drayage. And we've got now we've deployed this in Canada, I don't know the market penetration, I'm sure it's not as high as it is in the US. But that's really powerful. So you'll be able to see those goods actually where they are, when are they going to arrive at your warehouse because the drivers have our mobile app. And then if the warehouse wants to talk to the trucker, they don't have to talk to me who calls the trucking dispatcher, who talks to the trucker, the warehouse and the trucker can just talk. So it's things like that are obviously tech can solve problems here that really differentiate us from like a traditional freight forwarding business.

Stephany Lapierre: Yeah, that's amazing. And I mean, I think both of our businesses have benefited from the last couple of years and what's happened in the supply chain. And so I'd love to hear more how that's maybe propelled Flexport. And, you know, supply chain has never been more known or talked about by just anybody, right? And some of the chaos that we've seen. And so I'd love to hear your perspective on how that helped Flexport. And, what trends is it you're seeing moving forward?

Ryan Petersen: Yeah. Hard for me to say it's benefited us, I think, it's certainly made our customers pretty upset, rightfully so right. Prices have gone to the moon, transit times have gone and fallen through the floor, it's a pretty ugly situation. And for the last six, seven years, Flexport was able to grow without like, incredibly fast. We went from last place, we did zero freight shipments in 2013, to now in the United States, where the third largest ocean freight and air freight provider NVO, sort of freight forwarding company in the United States, top 10 globally.

I hope, if we can get things continue on the same trend that we've been on, we'll be number one in two years or so. And I hope to do a similar trajectory in Canada were so much smaller, obviously, since we're newer in Canada. That part of that growth was that there was so much excess capacity that carriers were really happy to give us if we could tell, if we could bring the customer on, we could get to space.

Now all of a sudden the ships are full, I think we are. I think we do have a, we are relatively bent better than ocean carriers, in my view than other freight forwarding customers. We're the number one seller of premium ocean freight, where you're sort of last on the boat, first off, guaranteed equipment, guaranteed container or guaranteed space, no role guarantees, were the number one seller of those products on the TransPacific into the West Coast of the US.

Carriers make more money on those products. We are also more reliable, because we use data science to project. One of the things that has blown my mind is that 30% of all the ocean freight that's booked gets cancelled, and doesn't show up at the port. And this is a you know, it's a vicious cycle that has to be broken somehow.

Because ocean carriers are trying to plan their voyage. And if 30% of the containers don't show up, it's like you don't make any money if you sail at 70%, you're definitely gonna go bankrupt. So they have to overbook their ship. And then it makes all kinds of reliability problems because you're overbooked, and then you end up having to roll containers.

And so, I think we can position ourselves to be better for ocean carriers. But it's a much harder conversation in this environment where the ship is totally full. So for me to get one extra container, someone else has to get one less container. And, you know, that's a tough conversation for them to have with customers that have been good loyal customers for them for a long time. Whereas in the old environment, there was excess capacity, we were a great, even a better partner for them. They love the growth that Flexport was driving.

So it's been tough for us, it's hard to get the scale and you know, to get the space to deliver on customer promises. And we've had to, we've had a waiting list for the last two years we've, in the United States, it's been you know, we've been very selective about which customers we can onboard, we don't want to over promise. So I wouldn't say it's Netnet. Netnet, it's been fine for us. We've become kind of famous, I don't know y'all see me I've been on TV a lot like.

Stephany Lapierre: I got four of these interview before we did this today,

Ryan Petersen: Sixty minutes took me on a helicopter. So Netnet, like I don't, it's I do think Flexport as a younger company, we're founder led, we're like, we're more I pride ourselves on being more agile, like we can adapt to change, I hope faster than most of our competitors are kind of like older in my opinion. And obviously, I'm biased, but like a little bit more bureaucratic.

Stephany Lapierre: And the customers would want that, right? They want that visibility, they want more flexibility, they want the ease of use so that they can start tracking.

Ryan Petersen: And when some of it like pure, it's not about it's not all tech, it's like there's got to be this entrepreneurial spirit of like, let's go solve some problems. You know, like a great example was last year, when there wasn't enough PPE in the hospital networks all over the world. It was a real tragedy, we saw this, and we went and hit 50% of all the world's air freight flies in the belly of passenger planes, and those were all grounded during the pandemic, especially the TransPacific ones.

So at the exact moment, you need to ship more air freight than ever to get PPE to hospitals in an emergency. All the airplanes are grounded. It's a real problem. And yet, if you just listen to the sentence, the solution is right in there. It's like well, there's a bunch of passenger planes grounded let's call the airlines and we were pretty much the only forwarder that did that, or at least the first one. We chartered 80 passenger planes, and we filled the masks into the seats in the overhead compartments in the belly and just shoveled almost 500 million units of PPE into five different continents in health care system.

That wasn't tech, that was like, hey, we're entrepreneurs like we're gonna take action rapidly and solve problems. I do think that that can be a real competitive advantage for any company by the way, like, we now live in a super chaotic world, and I predict chaos is going to get, it's just going to increase. And if you can build your company to be better at observing what's going on, taking in data from all the sources like seeing problems, identifying those, getting those to the right team members, kind of rapidly assembling teams to go, okay, who needs to know about this information? What have we learned? What are we gonna. And then what decisions need to be made? Take action, and then it's a loop, right? We go back and keep learning. You can win in a chaotic environment.

Stephany Lapierre: Yeah, agreed. Our team when Covid hit within a week of Covid, we just closed series A and we're, you know, between the do we pull back on span, like how do we move forward and someone on the team offered that we should do this campaign to offer any company disrupted by Covid, to find suppliers. So that any disruption in their supply chain, we would provide a supplier list with our search engine and within two weeks, we got 170 requests to help the UK Government identify 16,000 manufacturers of PPE ISO certified and that propel their pipeline and right it definitely propelled. Ryan Petersen: Yeah, the ability to take rapid action and like there's going to be more chaos than ever and like, feel all these disciplines and business industries are more interrelated than they've ever been. So you never used to have to worry about other things that were sort of exogenous, they're outside your control, they didn't matter that much. Even the ocean freight, the ports like didn't matter that much to a business, they didn't have to think about it, it wasn't a problem. And all of a sudden, it's like disrupting businesses that like whoa, like you're getting hit from a lot of angles. And so you've got to really develop this culture of agility, the culture of rapid ability to rapidly experiment, test things, move, go fast.

I think it's something that can differentiate entrepreneurial sort of founder led companies that, you know, there was nobody's job at Flexport, who was to charter passenger planes, to ship PPE to hospitals, like that's not part of nobody asked us to do it. And even I was just like, let's do this. And we just, you know, I'm really I'm not claiming that I came up with the idea by the way, someone smarter from Flexport did, but it's like, that's the kind of spirit that's needed to overcome the chaos.

And chaos is normal. And in supply chain we've had, since Flexport started we founded it in 2013. 2014 was like the normal year I think. I think crazy happened in 2015. In the United States, we had a West Coast port strike, three months of no shipping. 2016, ocean freight hit the all time lows. I hear everybody complained about the price of ocean freight. Nobody was complaining in 2016 when you could ship a container from China to us for like 800 bucks or something. And Hanjin went bankrupt, let's not forget, right.

Ocean carriers have been under tremendous pressure for the last decade. Then 2017, ‘18, ‘19, Donald Trump every couple of weeks would launch a new tariff, like throwing everything into chaos. 2020 we had the pandemic and all that. 2021 the highest port congestion highest rate in the history of the world. Maybe not, but in the containerized world. 2022 what's it gonna bring I think there's gonna be there might be another port strike, that's going to be under negotiation soon. 2023, we've got new IMO regs around carbon emissions.

Stephany Lapierre: Everything seems to be more and faster, there's more disruptions, there's more changes, there's more regulations, requirements, right? It's not gonna slow down.

Ryan Petersen: No, it's definitely not. And so I really think it's. To win in that kind of environment, you've got to be more agile. So you've got to be better at observing the world, which means taking in data. This is where companies like ours can help, like, get you data, what's really happening right now. Communication is part of data, get real time find out what's really happening on the ground at your supply chain, throughout all the different nodes, be able to route around, identify problems, identify bottlenecks, be able to quickly get that information to the right people inside your company and outside. These lines are going to continue to blur.

And as you find more and more companies finding that actually maybe the best person to solve a problem doesn't work at your company, but who cares, invite them to the Zoom call, let's get them on the team, right? And then make decisions and you got to be effective and making good decisions quickly. And some decisions need to be made slowly. So having real judgement to apply when it's what's a one way door versus a two way door, where you can cut, if you can go back like go really fast.

If it's a one way door, take your time, and then rapid action experimentation and then run the loop. That's just like table stakes, I think in the future. And companies that do this are gonna thrive in the chaotic environment that we're in, and what can I predict will continue to be in for the rest of our lives. Companies that fail to do this are going to go by the wayside, that they're not able to adapt. You can see this in evolutionary history, by the way. The animals that adapt, that are able to respond to environmental change are still with us. The dodo bird couldn't stand up to that and disappeared. And that's a natural force in the economy and just sort of this Darwinian, like, companies that can't adapt, die. And that's really sad.

I think one of the things we want to do at Flexport is help. It's very, very, very sad. If you look at the retail apocalypse, it's very real. Look at all that iconic retailers that have failed in the last five to ten years. It doesn't need to be that way. You know, and we want to help companies be able to adapt to the trends of e-commerce, and everything else that's going on in the world.

Stephany Lapierre: 100%. With four minutes to go, I'd love to talk about why coming to Canada, what you're looking to achieve, and I'm assuming you're hiring people also in Canada, so creating employment, where do you see some of the talent that you're able to leverage?

Ryan Petersen: Yeah, I mean, Canada is like an obvious extension. We launched in Canada a few years ago, but we've been that we decided to really double down and launch in Toronto, I think it's obviously the major business commercial hub of the country. And without being there, I don't think you're really on the boots on the ground in Canada and get the relationships you need with the decision makers and the customers.

It's like from as an American, we were founded in San Francisco, it's the easiest market in the world for us, sort of culturally, geographically it carriers of the same coming in. It's a relatively straightforward process for us to go in once there versus like, we're in 10 other countries that are much harder culturally and timezone wise and everything else. So it's a great market from that perspective.

Actually, Canada on the freight side, for whatever historical reason, I'd love to know more of the history of this, but it's like 90% of the freight in Canada is managed on the ocean freight is managed by freight forwarders rather than carriers direct to customers. So there's a real opportunity for us to differentiate there and come in and be a great partner to the carriers and bring them to customers.

Whereas in the United States, I don't know the exact ratio, but it's much more like 60:40 or something in terms of freight, where to carry yourself directly to a customer, and there's not as much role for the freight forwarder. So it's a great market from that perspective. So yeah, just like lots of great reasons to come to Canada. I'm a huge Canadian junkie, I love to go skiing, too. I hope that I get to do some business in Calgary and combine it with my ski trips.

Stephany Lapierre: That skiing is better when you go to Vancouver. I’m a big skier myself. And so and what do you how do you see this impacting just what's happening in the world right now? Like we're seeing a lot of diversification, the desire to relocate supply chains from Asia, for example, to North America. Is this something that you're seeing? And how do you see this, you know, changing possibly around no risk versus globalization and sort of that full circle?

Ryan Petersen: I think the longer these problems continue, and right now, this morning there are 50 ships waiting off the coast of Vancouver, versus like, seven last week. I mean, I think it's very tight. Hopefully, we're very temporary with the floods in the railhead there. But if you can't depend on global laprade, it takes 70 days to get something delivered, you're gonna have to rethink things. And if it caught in the prices stay where they are, it's inevitable that businesses will adapt and shift are they going to bring it to the United States or Canada for manufacturing? I don't know that we have the cost competitive basis for that. But Latin America is certainly going to be a winner.

If this continues, I don't know when it will be resolved as part of the problem is that if companies had certainty that this was going to last, they would have already made the shift in many of them. But if you're not certain, then it's very hard to make such a dramatic change.

Now, it also depends on the industry, like there are certain industries, consumer electronics in particular, that like the ecosystem is way too strong in Southern China, that you really can't pick up and move. You would know this better than me. But like certain industries, you can't move. Others that you can have been moving for a long time.

I met with an ocean carrier, I want to say like five or six years ago at TPM, the big ocean freight conference at Long Beach, who told me they were moving thousands of containers a year of used manufacturing equipment from China to Vietnam. Just you know, just wholesale sort of shipping factories down to Vietnam. That's an inevitable force in business of like moving to lower cost labor sources, but you'll see more of that if the supply chain congestion sticks, and I don't want that to be the mechanism by which this results.

I think it would be a really sad thing and like oh, good, like now everything's fine because we ship less stuff. Like actually we should be like everything's fine because we've improved capacity of the network, we've improved the throughput. And there's more freight than ever, rather than, like, Oh, we've reduced the amount of freight now we're good, that would be sad for the economy.

Like we should be in the midst of a golden age of boom, like consumers are buying more stuff than ever, should be awesome for all the brands and awesome for all the logistics providers. But instead, if in fact what happens is people say, I can't trust ocean freight anymore. I'm going to move my manufacturing to Mexico. Certainly that would be bad for our industry, right. And not the outcome that we're looking for.

Stephany Lapierre: Yeah. We can think with a lot more data visibility, like where we're heading, right. It's forcing change. And so to your point, I think that it may be temporarily. So there's going to be some diversification and localization happening.

But as the market is figuring this out because they, you know, it needs to open up again. I think there's gonna be that demand for more visibility, more transparency, the ability to track in real time, the opportunity to be able to take action in real time, right. To be able to find an act on contingency plans, and that's one of the, and we talk a lot about is, it's great to have a contingency plan, but if you don't have the data and the information to take action, and it's just a plan.

Ryan Petersen: Supply chain manager’s jobs are harder than ever, because on the supply side, you're like, oh, I can't rely on the single source, whether it's congestion or tariffs, geopolitical issues, or quarantines, like you need diversified supply sources.

And now all of a sudden you're complexity just multiplied five X on the supply side. And then the demand side already talked about how you need to have inventory position close to the customers. And you're probably more global than ever. If you're not, your global competitors are gonna show up in your market. Better for you to show up in their market.

And so like your complexity has just compounded. You used to have like one origin and one destination, you could do this on the phone. Now I got eight origins and if you want to have two hour delivery, you got 18 in Canada, really 18 different DCs at destination, eight times 18 is a lot bigger than one. And so and yet budgets are getting cut, people have less resources. Nobody's trying to spend more money on this area, certainly not right now. They're already spending too much.

So it's a real hard problem, and I think as a supply chain teams are under a huge amount of pressure. I hope technology like ours can give you some tools to help wrestle this monster and get you some level, some degree of control over all the complexity that's merging.

Stephany Lapierre: And the consumers are more demanding than ever on transparency on speed. So they won't have the patience and they won't have the tolerance.

Ryan Petersen: Customers are in charge. Consumers are in charge. The internet, like in the old world, brands were in charge. They had mass media, they had a megaphone, no one could talk back to them. They could run ads and like they're in charge. But now customers are in charge. They can get whatever they want right now, if not from you, then from your competitor.

And they don't have any patience, they want it right now. Like in two hours, if I don't get my, you know, if I don't get my socks delivered in two hours, I'm gonna, someone else will. If you don't Amazon, well, somebody else will. So that's a really hard problem to solve. And I hope that it doesn't. So more bankruptcies of great retailers and great brands and companies that make great products. You'd like to live in a world where like you just make great products and that's all it takes.

Stephany Lapierre: Yeah. I mean the ESG, I think the good news from that front is, were know companies that didn't care. Didn't not didn't care, but the need to do anything about it, right now we're seeing a huge surge and you know, wanting to do business with small diverse businesses, wants to do business with companies who are sustainable, who have no carbon emission goals and things like that.

So I think that change is really positive if you combine the two, speed and you know, corporate social responsibility of companies. You get the best of both worlds.

Ryan Petersen: The changes are all positive if you can get through them, if you can make them happen, you run a much better business, you're more agile, you're better for the world. You're better for your customers. Everything Is awesome, it's just hard to do. So hopefully there's roles for technology to help people make this transition and set it up. I see that we are over time here, so let's thank everybody for your time, we really appreciate you all joining us today.

Thank you Stephanie, for joining me and on this conversation and hope. I hang out with folks in Toronto when I get up there, which shouldn't be too long. I'm definitely coming up in Q1. And last time I was in Toronto, I saw an ad on television that still sticks with me for a curling shoe. And I don't know if curling is really popular in Canada, but when I come, I want to do a customer event. We'll all go curling together. So consider yourself invited, we're going to do a big Flexport curling and a party up in Toronto.

Stephany Lapierre: Sounds good, Ryan. Thank you so much for having me. Welcome to Canada. We're excited to have you guys.

Ryan Petersen: Thank you. Thank you everybody. Bye-bye.

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