On the back of Slync’s recent announcement of its Booking & Allocation Management solution, CEO Chris Kirchner sat down on FreightWaves’ What The Truck!? podcast to discuss logistics orchestration, the state of the supply chain, and the hype surrounding logistics technology companies. Here’s an excerpt of Chris’ short conversation with hosts Dooner and The Dude.
(You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, or watch on FreightWaves TV.)
So, what is Booking & Allocation Management?
According to Chris, Slync’s new “plug and play” solution was developed organically in response to the issues the company has seen time and again among its customers. Specifically, it provides LSPs with the tools to efficiently track, edit and follow through with bookings, taking multiple parties, time frames and irregularities into account. In a global shipping climate where the glitches and shortcoming of current tools are more costly than ever, Slync’s Booking & Allocation solution streamlines these outdated tools and processes which are overly reliant on ad-hoc communications and manual data entry.
Chris goes on to explain that even in non-pandemic times—that is, without rates being astronomically high and containers in short supply—a number of complex functions must come together nicely to make global shipping happen. And in today’s state of supply chain, it is even more essential that the foundational processes like booking and allocation work more autonomously, so humans can focus on more difficult challenges.
“I always say we specialize in the ‘unsexy, unknown’ processes to those of us who maybe started outside of logistics…but these things are critical to making whatever it is you and I want when we walk into Walmart be there on the shelf.”
How does this help with solving allocations and the broken process of booking ocean freight?
“First, you have this problem where you have to have multiple bookings—ghost bookings—just in order to ensure that there might be space available on a boat for you. And in today’s capacity-constrained world, that’s even more of a challenge. Moreover, this is a process traditionally run on Microsoft Excel. So you’re relying on people oftentimes all over the world updating individual cells on what the current status of a booking is or where it is coming from, when it needs to be at a destination, whatever those pieces [are]— which there is a ton of—you’re relying on an Excel spreadsheet and email. That’s not a great way to do business, especially in something that is as fast-paced and continuously changing as it is today on a day-by-day or even hour-by-hour basis.”
The conversation continued by touching on topics like carriers’ recent decisions to cap spot rates until early 2022, the long-term effects of the pandemic, and the recent explosion of SaaS companies in the logistics industry.
“For a while now, forwarders, global shippers, [or] whomever it may be moving anything around the world have been talking about the need for better software. But there haven’t been a ton of companies founded until about the last 36 months.”
Underlining the investor-hype surrounding logtech, Chris continues: “I remember the first time I came on to talk to you guys, this was not that sexy of a space. I remember walking into investor meetings having to explain what freight forwarding was. Now all of a sudden, because of this environment, the focus on supply chains around the world opens up opportunities for massive innovation, new technologies, new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking about things. That’s where we come in. Trying to fix and bring what is there—in terms of the scattered array of systems and data across emails and spreadsheets—and make sense of it.”
Orchestration, automation and visibility are hot supply chain buzzwords today, and just like Chris says, are more in demand than ever. Slync’s new Booking & Allocation Management solution provides the opportunity to digitize processes by collecting, integrating and orchestrating data from multiple sources in the supply chain.
“It’s a fascinating time and I think what we’ll be talking about five years from now will be much more efficient, streamlined digitized processes.”