Flexport: How to optimise your supply chain for 2021

February 23, 2021

In this week’s fireside chat, we heard from Henry Ko, Managing Director for Asia at Flexport about what companies can expect in navigating their supply chains in this new era. Flexport is a full-service global freight forwarder and logistics platform. Its mission is to fix the user experience in global trade and bring the world free trade through technology.

How supply chains have been impacted by COVID-19

Supply chains have only become more unpredictable. Disruption in early 2020 due to manufacturing shut-downs in China and high turbulence in the freight market has brought logistics to the top priority for many C-suite executives. 

Executives must strategise for the increasing costs and complexity of global logistics and freight by considering both short-and long-term factors.
  • Short-term: COVID-19, global economic recession/recovery, balance supply and demand. 
  • Long-term: Globalisation vs regionalisation, geopolitical risks, new opportunities.

On the other hand, digital innovation and transformation has accelerated under the “new normal”. Manufacturers like to have end-to-end visibility of their supply chains, leverage data insights for more preventive planning, and better forecast / balance demand and supply

Top 5 ways manufacturers can minimise disruption to their supply chains

There are five actions manufacturers can take to address this:
  1. Build an agile and resilient supply chain to be more responsive to market changes. 
  2. Enhance the digital competence of their supply chain to enable full visibility. 
  3. Adopt new technologies such as AI, digital control tower, digital twins and automation to increase production efficiency.
  4. Reduce total transaction costs by improving the whole efficiency instead of only focusing on freight-related costs.
  5. Diversify their supply and selling networks.

How Flexport uses data to help businesses manage uncertainty during COVID-19

During the pandemic, data has enabled non-disruptive work and collaboration. This has led to better planning, forecasting, and enhanced trust among ecosystem players. 

Flexport's customers achieved more efficiency by using their data platform with full visibility and control over their supply chain.

  • Since their clients have started working from home in March 2020, monthly active clients on the platform has grown by 21% monthly.
  • It takes 60% less time to complete shipper documentation on Flexport's platform when compared to submitting the same documentation by email 
  • Upmarket customers spend 30-40% less time locating the shipment insights 
  • The quality of data their suppliers provide via the platform is 4-4.5x greater than information shared over email 

How Flexport strengthens relationships between buyers and suppliers

Flexport has built an innovative “supply chain network” through the digital platform where manufacturers can easily connect their suppliers, buyers and collaborate seamlessly through the network. 

In the long run, Flexport’s technology vision is to iterate and refine the platform to connect all of the entities in global trade and standardise how they collaborate across the network. Flexport's goal is to help clients to create their own valuable businesses and benefit from greater selection and the ability to scale to anywhere in the world. 

What to look forward to in 2021

With estimates of recovery of the global economy, there is much to look forward to in 2021. 

Aside from the acceleration of digital adoption in the post-COVID-era, new business transaction models will also be instrumental in market growth. Mediums such as virtual conferences, live streaming promotions, and E-commerce have surged and accelerated during the pandemic. 

China Customs data shows that the global trade volume through cross-border E-commerce in China has increased by 52.8% compared to the same time last year for the first three quarters. 

In addition, positive trade deals and agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI) will drive global trade and economic growth in the coming years. 

We hope you enjoyed this fireside chat with Henry Ko. Be sure to follow Flexport on LinkedIn to stay updated on all the supply chain and logistics trends. 

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