For businesses selling online, navigating the e-commerce supply chain could be a real showstopper, especially if the orders are pouring in the thousands every day. Companies that are scaling up at a meteoric rate would often face challenges with pulling together different freight forwarders and trucking fleets to deliver on time to customers.
But businesses like these usually work with a lean budget that does not allow them to recruit and maintain a supply chain department, often using up all their cash flow into building traction rather than in setting a concrete supply chain in place.
Shippabo, a cloud-based supply chain management company has set out to solve this predicament. “We help businesses that are already established with a supply chain infrastructure, to connect with freight forwarders and carrier contracts. If they have custom brokers, we can connect them with a good drayage company, or they could come with their own fleets,” said Nina Luu, co-founder and CEO of Shippabo.
As businesses grow, their supply chains need to be tweaked, requiring more customization to the processes. “Most of them would typically start with utilizing one freight forwarder, but would either grow into using more freight forwarders or different carrier contracts or a combination of both,” said Luu. Enterprise customers can import and manage their own contracts within the platform, and can use Shippabo’s pre-existing contracts through its curated network.
Before founding this company, Luu worked in the importer side of logistics, inputting products of large fleet haulers in the U.S. It was at this point where she witnessed the hassles importers faced with visibility and data collection, as they had a hard time figuring out a way to optimize the process.
“It took a lot of time to get data, and to report in terms of how many units are available at the warehouse, how many in production, and in streamlining supply chain to provide information to our sales team and clients,” said Luu. “In addition to it, we found it difficult to have a clear insight into exactly which products were having problems in customs, and on where the information gap was.”
When a business is growing, it is essential to running a single system that can consolidate all the data coming in from various channels - which can help establish rules, pick the right carriers for delivery, and in managing freight tracking. Luu insisted that this situation was Shippabo's product-market fit, which can be seen by the positivity with which its customers receive the startup.
“The common feedback that we hear is that businesses think of us as an extension to their team, because not only do we have an application that continues to work with the team, but also includes a consultation service,” said Luu. “We primarily work alongside companies to help them achieve their overall supply chain goals. The goals range from driving down freight costs, shipping with greater efficiency, or being able to accommodate all their data in one place, which allows companies to optimize well.”
With Shippabo, Luu does not think much into competition. “If you look into supply chain management platforms, Flexport is definitely a competitor. Flexport is great when you are a smaller business that looks for a concierge service, but if your business continues to grow, you are going to want your own supply chain and to be able to manage various infrastructure in a way that allows you to scale,” she said.
Shippabo has been managing contracts for clients such as Bassett, Loot Crate, Flooret for some time now. The Shippabo Rate Explorer feature helps in pulling up instant rates from a curated network of carriers. For businesses that import more than 300 containers a year, Shippabo offers to integrate their workflow into its platform and view its own contract rates against the ones in the Shippabo network.