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On this episode, we interview Peter Yost, Director of Partnerships at FourKites, which is a real-time tracking solution for supply chain management.
Peter gives us a taste of what they do at FourKites and explains how their solution is a small part of what the end-user is truly purchasing. The tracking abilities of FourKites are great, but when they're partnered with the tech of other powerful alliances, the joint solutions become game-changers in the supply chain industry.
1st Stop: What Are Our Strengths?
(You Can Track Your Order From Domino’s … Why Not Million-Dollar Freight?)
Let’s dive into how FourKites works.
Their solution solves a serious concern in supply chain and logistics: updated, real-time tracking. Their product gives real-time feeds, updated every 15 minutes, on ETA, so large distributors (such as 3M, Kimberly Clark, Kraft Heinz, etc.) can track expensive freight across the country, much of which is aboard those large 18-wheelers on the highway.
This is a must-have in today’s world. We live in a technology-driven environment where we can find out exactly where our pizza delivery is, form order to oven to home. We glance at an app to determine what time we should meet the delivery person at our front door.
If we’re concerned about the timely arrival of our $20 pizza for the Superbowl, consider the importance of knowing where your 3-million-dollar shipment is as it moves across the country.
2nd Stop: The Question: ‘What’s the Combo That Becomes Greater Than the Sum?’
Every business revolves around (or should revolve around) its end-user. B2C, B2B, alliances. …. The goal is the same: Solve a problem, provide value for the customer.
Most companies have to simply ask: “How can we deliver our customers the most value from our available products and services?”
Alliances, on the other hand, have to ask a different question, according to Peter: “What is the combination of our products that is greater than the sum of its parts?” In alliances, then the complexity is magnified. However, the increased complexity offers the opportunity to innovate.
3rd Stop: a Three-Step Process to Uncovering Alliance Product Innovation
So here’s the process of delivering a superior, competitive product in alliances:
Focus on the end-user.
Determine how your alliance can deliver a joint solution that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Create a go-to-market strategy.
Here’s a real-time example of how FourKites followed this simple process:
First, they considered their end user: likely a freight company delivering products to distribution centers
What’s a problem, concern, or pinpoint these freight companies often face? Temperature control.
Peter understood that most freight companies need to win contracts with grocery companies or food distribution businesses. Federal regulations describe specific temperature ranges food must be kept in during transportation.
So, Peter worked with technology partners to integrate FourKites’ tracking software with a temperature monitoring system. The resulting solution gave an updated ETA combined with real-time temperature monitoring.
This allowed the end-users (the freight companies) to deliver a competitive advantage when they were competing for freight contracts with grocery chains.
Finally: The last piece of any joint solution is serious education.
Obviously, FourKites SDRs had to be educated on the tech itself, but also their partners, ISVs, and any resellers. Lastly, of course, the freight companies themselves needed to understand how to accurately describe the tech so they could leverage the advantage as a benefit to their potential customers.
Last Stop: Determine What Alliances to Create
A major question burning in the minds of alliance professionals is often: How do I know what alliance partnerships to enter into?
As the Director of Partnerships, much of that decision responsibility falls on Peter’s shoulders.
Here are the questions he asks himself:
Does this partner provide exceptional value to our end-users?
Will this partnership help our end-users right now, or in the very near future? If the partnership has potential but isn’t immediately valuable, Peter asks the company to circle back within 3-6 months.