Supply Chain Now Episode 479
“Just because you can envision a process, doesn’t mean it’s realistic.”
JP Wiggins, Co-Founder at 3Gtms
Although many supply chain professionals are familiar with the concept of a transportation management system, or TMS, they may not fully understand the scope and complexity of what these systems have to be able to achieve. Far from ‘just moving freight,’ they are actually acting as the gatekeeper of the boundary systems between shippers, carriers, and trading partners – managing operations in real time across inventory management, warehouse systems, vendor systems and customer systems.
3Gtms is a tier one, multimodal, holistic transportation management software system. Their customers include logistics companies and shippers, especially in businesses where fulfillment is a large component of the supply chain process. As their channel/partnership manager, JP Wiggins is constantly in contact with shippers and transportation companies looking for the next innovative idea.
In this conversation, JP tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton:
· Why 3Gtms believes it is important to bring high-end TMS software to midsize companies spending $10 million+ on freight annually
· The value of spending time with all of their different kinds of clients to find ways that everyone can improve their performance
· The rapid changes he has seen since COVID hit, and how companies are demonstrating their agility and resiliency in response
It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world. Supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
Scott Luton (00:28):
Hey, good morning, Scott Luton, Greg white, and Kara Smith Brown with you here on supply chain. Now. Welcome to today’s show Greg Kara. Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Hey, there it is good to have, we’ve got our guests completely outnumbered here and surrounded, painted in the corner. Yeah, that’s right. Well, you know, better yet. It’s a repeat guest, uh, which we’re always excited about reap and for that matter, we continue our collaboration with the ever immensely talented Kara Smith Brown. So we’re excited about today’s conversation more to come on that in just a moment, but Hey, real quick. Uh, if you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to check us out wherever you get your podcasts from subscribe. So you don’t miss conversations just like this, where we’re going to be talking with an industry leader when it comes to supply chain technology. So with no further ado, Kara and Greg are y’all ready to dive in.
Scott Luton (01:23):
Let’s do it. Let’s waste no time. JP Wiggins, cofounder and corporate development with three GTMs, JP. Good morning. How are you doing? Oh, great. Great. Thanks. Thanks for having me back. I thought you had learned from the first time. Well, we tried, but we’re contractually obligated. There’s that radio show in Atlanta for SMC three conference. Last time we were broadcasting together. Yes. A great group, SMC three, and enjoy that conversation. And, you know, uh, I think we’ve got a lot more in store with you today, as we get to dive deeper into, into your story. I think we had a couple folks on that episode, but regardless great to have you back really excited about this conversation. We have, you’ve got a very, uh, intriguing story, but also some been there, done that perspective that our audience is going to benefit from. Um, okay. So with no further ado, before we get into your insights and industry best practices and thought leadership, let’s start by providing our audience a chance to get into you, getting to know you better a JP.
Scott Luton (02:25):
So tell us where are you from and give us an anecdote or two about your upbringing. Oh, great. So, uh, you know, I’ve seen corporate dev here and, uh, one of the co founders of three GTMs, we started this company seven years ago, professionally, uh, before that, uh, was at a small company called SAP, uh, ran their transportation and the travel and transportation industry business group, both from a global marketing perspective and then product perspective. So did the SAP route for, for that. And then, uh, prior to that though, was a, another company that we did a startup, which was called Geolog Geolog ended up becoming part of in Oh six
JP Wiggins (03:00):
Oh seven, which is not Oracle transportation management, which is the global world’s global largest transmission management substance use. And then before that was a little company called Wesley software, a Wesley software, we ended up selling and it’s now part of blue yonder. So, you know, a lot of the folks there. So I’ve kind of been around the supply chain transformation management industry. And Hey, if you want to go back deeper than that. Uh, before I got in at Wesley software, I was the traffic manager updating myself with that term, by the way, at a company called service merchandise. If you remember the old service merchandise spec, the catalog retailer, and I was the, I was the guy that manages the inbound transportation from the vendors that shipped into their warehouse stores. So that’s my professional career. Uh, personally I live in Ohio, uh, you know, a father I’ve got three boys, I got two, uh, one graduated college just now I just got a job offer from Goodyear.
JP Wiggins (03:49):
So he’s an engineer, also Marine second Lieutenant, and they got another one at college premed and I got a high schooler. Um, really ended up baseball, got two of my boys, umpire I umpire with them or did at the high school level. And, uh, you know, kind of do the Ohio, Northeast baseball, loving, loving sports kind of thing. So say you’re a pretty good empire, JP, you know, I can do some things. Well, I can call the balls and strikes really well. And I know my rules better than most, uh, you know, sometimes you get that bang, bang, play that first, second, did the ball get there or did the runner get there? And sometimes you just don’t know. So you basically say who’s the coach. That was the biggest jerk. And you go against him. How about the chest bump? When the, when the coach comes out, are you, are you just high school? They come out at you, they’re off the field, then they’re not allowed to negotiate whatsoever. They can’t charge. That’s awesome. They take a step towards you, just give them and then they’re fine. And there are, they have to sit out two games. So you get to work at other levels.
JP Wiggins (04:51):
You’re getting the real story here. I love what really makes that snap decision. I love that JP. Yeah, love the passion. Um, you know, and I imagine that’s part of your, kind of your give back to the community. Um, you know, so many great people work to, to allow our kids to play sports across, you know, across all levels grade school, through high school. So appreciate what you do. Hey, they got a lot of umpires is a tough one. Um, I also donate all my funds that I make from umpiring to the local food bank. Cause you know, with COVID going on to, I live in Akron, Canton, Ohio, the Akron Canton, regional food bank receives that. And I think that’s something everyone should do some volunteer work and you know, gotta give a little back to the community too. So Hey, have fun with sports and put a little money towards a charity. So it all works out. Love that I love when we don’t, when we learn new things from repeat guests. So that that’s, that’s a great key takeaway today, JP. Um, okay. So Kara let’s continue prying into more of JPC.
Kara Smith Brown (05:48):
Yes. JP, you’ve been doing this a long time. Thank you for giving us the background all the way back to the very beginning. Uh, I was early at echo logistics. We have, we were in the building 600 West Chicago where the old Montgomery ward was. And my dad tells stories about people in rollerskates, bringing up your orders to the front. So very similar sort of background I’m there. Um, but even in this a long time, can you tell us where you go to, to get your news sort of transportation’s specific with the sticks Pacific? What are your sort of two biggest reasons you go to whatever day?
JP Wiggins (06:23):
You know, I, I guess my two ones, even though now I’m more focused domestically. I still love journal commerce. So every morning I hit JOC up, I kind of see there’s a couple of editors there that I always hit their articles, William Casey. And then, uh, and then the other one is wall street journal. So those are the two subscription services that I go to. Um, I’m also picking up on some trends from my kids and my millennial kids. They read a lot of those quick news services, so you can get it off of a few of the streaming services, but they’re like 45 second articles or 32nd articles. And I say, well, why do you do that? And they’re like, well, it’s quick news and they don’t have time to narrate. They don’t have time to put their own spin on it. They’re just dumping your facts at you. So, you know, aside from, uh, you know, like the Instagram newsfeeds that you can get, you can actually dial some of those things in pretty good to, and try to avoid the political spin. But I’m one of those big believers. You got to go to multiple sources to two or three different sources before, you know, cause everyone’s spending their own narrative on you on this stuff down to JOC and mill street is where I start every day.
Kara Smith Brown (07:25):
Are your kids interested in sort of logistics and supply chain, the way that you are, have you instilled the love of trucks in your Philbin?
JP Wiggins (07:33):
One was going to follow me in the career and he actually joined the business school at a highest state, a fish school business for, they have a transportation logistics program there and he did that for about a year and then he went premed. So no. Okay. Then I got an engineer now. So, uh, but no, I guess, you know, supply chain has been a, been a tough, I don’t know. We’ll see what the third one does. So, but they’re more engineering types and then, uh, then logistics. So we’ll see what happens, but good question. Great questions, Kara fit right in. I’ll tell you what Greg, before we go dive back into his background, a couple of quick connect, the dots, a bit journal commerce, outstanding source. We’ve got Eric Johnson about time. This publishes he’ll already appeared in a live stream, but, um, gosh, so much great insights there from the world of shipping containers, you name it and more.
JP Wiggins (08:22):
And then secondly, a JP going to your point of the 30 to 45 minutes, just, just the facts please. Just, you know, the news. Um, we had Emma cost Grove on recently with supply chain dive and I love not only their approach to reporting, uh, JP, but up at the top, usually give you a couple bullet points of the gist of the story. And so at a glance you don’t get any spin. You get the facts and the data we call it. Yeah. Yep. Bottom line up front bluff. One of the things my Marines tell them that they want it bluff. It, give me the bluff bottom line up front, then you go for the details and that’s, that’s how stuff should be bottom line of flat bluff. Bluff it out for me. Yeah.
Greg White (09:02):
Love it. All right, Greg, let’s dive in a little deeper. Yeah. Well we talked a little bit about some of your key positions and you know, in your, in your, uh, past, prior to, to, uh, 3g TMS, but I’d love to dig into a couple of those. Cause one you didn’t mention is really interesting a company called Descartes. And I imagine that was a, the acquire of one of your, um, previous companies, right?
JP Wiggins (09:29):
Exactly. Yeah. Good point. So, you know, abbreviated resume. I mean, I’m like an onion, you keep peeling it back. There’s a lot of layers in there. So yeah, no, I actually worked for Descartes systems twice, surprisingly in my career once before Geolog and after Geolog so yeah, I was there. One of the companies I’ve worked for got acquired by Descartes systems out of Toronto. So where there I was a product manager on their last mile routing and scheduling system. The Roadnet system was what I primarily did and then took over product management responsibilities for pretty much all their application business. Um, when I went back to Descartes, after Geolog got sold to Oracle, I didn’t go to Oracle. I ended up going to Descartes. Um, I was general manager of their application side. There was two big divisions of Descartes. There was the application business, and then there was the network business. And so I was GM on the app side. So again, we had the local area scheduling, we had some light TMS. We had a, you know, a lot of, lot of packages, especially around Baker was a couple of big industries as we were getting going. And then we were merging that with our network business.
Greg White (10:26):
Interesting. I worked with a company around 2000, uh, called same day solutions that is doing some work with the cart. And what we were trying to do was facilitate same day delivery of eCommerce sales and, uh, interesting how long it has been to do that. But we have this follow the sun technology. I don’t know if you might’ve been familiar with that, but, um, the thing that made, you know, there’s a couple of kind of throwbacks in your history that are, could be considered new now. And the other one is service merchandise, right? So we’ve heard a lot about stores that are effectively showrooms for buy online pickup in store or, um, you know, buy online or, you know, to use a showroom and then to shop in the store. But there’s really only, let’s say one Western flyer bicycle out front, right. Or stingray out front for you, for you to look at. And that is coming back in a big way. And what’s old is new. Again, it is, isn’t it.
JP Wiggins (11:33):
I mean, for those that don’t know, service merchandise was a catalog retailer, but they had a stories of, you know, four or 500 stores across North America. Each store was its own warehouse, right? So you would walk into a service Virgin dice and there would be one of each product on the shelf. Now you wouldn’t buy that specific product. You had a little piece of paper and you wrote down the number of what you were buying and you’d go and you’d see one of everything and write your numbers down, you check out. And then they send someone in the warehouse and they’d go to the warehouse and actually fulfill your order would come down a conveyor belt. So, I mean, isn’t that the precursor to the internet right there, uh, you know, fulfillment, I mean, especially, yeah, for sure. If they could have survived, they could have been these forward inventory locations that could have done same day delivery.
JP Wiggins (12:14):
Right then, I mean, it’s basically the Amazon fulfillment model right there. You have a local warehouse that has your product and you know, of course there was an inter, but if there wasn’t internet, all you would need is combine that with some type of Uber delivery and then you have same day delivery of product for a retail chain. I mean, it was just, you know, they unfortunately went out of business in the mid nineties due to, you know, some managerial issues, but it just didn’t survive being a catalog retailer, but competing against Sears in the day. But, uh, yeah, it’s not a, it’s a phenomenal concept that just, you know, the, you know, being able to have your warehouse. So you were very efficient on your, your, your floor space. So you, your, your, your retail space was very minimal versus you’re able to use your stores as a warehouse. So each store has its own warehouse basically.
Greg White (12:55):
Yeah. I really loved it. I actually did buy a bicycle there and rode it around the store. And then it came out in a box on the conveyor. I just remember it was like Christmas. Was that one of the, you mentioned two bikes earlier was that one was that the brand of the bike stingray was the one I actually bought us service merchandise. Yes. Is that a, is that a, is that a motorcycle or is that just no, no, no. Is a bicycle. Yeah. I think it was a Schwinn. Does that sound right? Yeah, that sounds right. Yeah. He’s got an owner’s manifest right here in front of the TV. Are you kidding me? He probably delivered it, but, but I think that that is a point that I think it is really worthwhile. If you know, there, there are a couple of things that you can still learn from even retailers like that. For instance, they didn’t do the, this ring fencing of their inventory. They didn’t have store inventory and e-commerce inventory. It was all available to whoever came in and that is one of the critical flaws. And in fact, I just saw an article the other day from Tom and right with Gartner, same deal.
JP Wiggins (13:58):
Yeah. We had local regional distribution centers as well as each store. So if you imagine in a geographic region, you might have five stores in a DC and all that inventory was available to the end consumer. So if one store didn’t have it, you actually could physically transfer inventory to the other store or pull it from a DC. Yeah. There was a time lag and actually getting it. But it’s similar to how, like an auto parts stores work nowadays, you go to auto zone and they don’t have your part, well, I’ll get it here tomorrow for yet. But see service merchandise was able to do all that. So, you know, but yeah.
Greg White (14:29):
Could you also deliver to the consumer? It seems like there were some larger products that
JP Wiggins (14:34):
Don’t remember. It might might’ve for some of them, but I think on the washer and dryer type of stuff. Yeah. We got into a lot more in that Descartes though. So, and that was the whole, you know, you go to the store, you go to the home Depot or the Lowe’s or wherever the Sears store, you buy that washer and dryer. It’d be great to be able to talk to right then schedule or your delivery schedule and delivery right then on it and confirm the appointment and the back, you know, in the early two thousands, that was a very hard thing to do, but we do it now, secondary nature. I mean, I just bought a Peloton for example, and you know, was able to, when I bought the Peloton schedule the exact time and delivery, and there’s a massive amount of work going on that final mile, I’ve taken that delivery from the Peloton and having them come into your house and set it up. So you’ve got the whole white club and it’s all just combined in one system. So
Kara Smith Brown (15:20):
Home Depot tried the white gloves in the mid two thousands. They had the home Depot expo store and they tried to do the white glove home delivery of like the big monogram refrigerator. This is actually how I got my start, was helping, helping the drivers figure out how they were going to build their loads in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, which is kind of crazy, but it also failed. They couldn’t figure out how to get them big monogram refrigerators like love into these homes in the Northwest suburbs as fast as, uh, as the next competitor could. So it also,
JP Wiggins (15:56):
And imagine that all that has to go into that conversation that you need, you need to understand what inventory you have available. So you’re going to be matching a washer and a dryer. That’s the easy part and knowing where that inventory is coming from, but then you also need to manage the transportation of that from where that exists to your physical location. And then you need to tie that to the actual delivery folks, themselves, the white glove people, the technicians that are able to come in and install it, and they need to make sure that their schedule is available. So marrying all this together, well, guess what, that’s what you need a TMS for, right? Hey, if I can reminisce one more second jealous here, because y’all bringing up memories of my own. I spent a lot of time in retail and for a company known as J B white.
JP Wiggins (16:39):
I’m not sure if David White is still around or not, but I remember when we were out of items at our store in Aiken, South Carolina, we had a quick list of all the other stores in Georgia and South Carolina. And while the customer was there, we dial that department. Right. And the other store. And it’s so crazy now because you’ve got all, of course, all that at your fingertips and the stores will manage all that. But anyway, I digress, but Greg, sorry. But know I had forgotten about that completely. Well, I think it’s interesting that we didn’t, um, immediately leap to some of those solutions because of the way that e-commerce was constructed originally as a separate, essentially a separate business from bricks and mortar retail. And there were a lot of reasons for that mostly having to do with, uh, store operations, budgets, and bonuses, but no good reasons, no good corporate reasons for it. But what it makes me think JP is you have seen so many points of view and so many variations and, uh, the problem from so many different
Scott Luton (17:50):
Companies, I’m curious, what is, what jumps out at you if you had a Eureka moment or an epiphany during all of this, is there anything that jumps out at you that really kind of drives how you approach things today?
JP Wiggins (18:04):
Yeah. I guess the two answers to that question, one of which is people just because you can envision a process, doesn’t make it’s going to be realistic. Um, and, uh, in my experiences from SAP, their big approach was keep it all in house. Everything is SAP. So let’s go back to the example like Kara, you had on the delivery of your washer and dryer and the white glove. Imagine how many different systems would have to coordinate across to make that happen. So you’re going to have an order management system. You’re gonna have some inventory control systems. You can have warehouse management systems. You’re gonna have your order management systems, not to mention all the billing and finances and all the downstream processes, but more importantly, it’s going to be not just within your organization, it’s going to be dealing across multiple trading partners. So you’re going to have to touch to that delivery vans training system.
JP Wiggins (18:54):
What is their appointment scheduling system? Not, you know, so it’s just bringing all the data together from all the different systems. And in many ways, that’s the same challenge that we still experience a day that we experienced 20 years ago, which is the reason a lot of these things fail is because you can’t get interconnectivity and collaboration across multiple enterprises. So you’re going to actually enterprise to enterprise, we’ve done a great job, getting things to work within the enterprise and with systems you can control. But when you start dealing with third parties and their third party systems. So I guess my point is, is I’m being a guy that’s on the TMS. My Eureka moment is man. It sucks being on TMS because it’s so hard because that’s our job. We have to communicate to all these boundary systems and then translate their data, transform it, and turn it into intelligence and act upon it.
JP Wiggins (19:42):
So it’s more than just writing reports. You’re actually managing operations in real time, trying to communicate with a warehouse system, with an inventory control with order management, with vendor systems, with customer systems. So, you know, yeah, we’ve used terms like control tower and control towers, trying to bring us all together. But that’s really, what’s what we do on TMS is a lot more than just moving freight and execute and freight it’s that, you know, we really are a, um, the date, the gatekeeper of the boundary systems between you and your trading partner. So we sit outside the four walls and that’s where we have to live.
Scott Luton (20:17):
I think this is a great segue, Greg, if I have your permission to move forward into learning a lot more about three GTMs. Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Right. We’ve got our title, retail ruminations and reminiscing. The three RS it’s feels like let’s, um, let’s, let’s bluff it. Let’s let’s bottom line upfront, uh, still in a word that you use JP. So tell us the bottom line. What does three GTMs do? And then we’re gonna find out where you spend your time.
JP Wiggins (20:44):
Gotcha. So using, um, you know, industry definitions, we’re a tier one, multimodal holistic transportation management system software. We are a software vendor. We’re not a service provider. We’re not a third party logistics. We sell to third party logistics companies who use our software. We sell to shippers that are looking to manage their own freight. So, uh, our normal client is either going to be a ship or 3:00 PM. On the shipper side, we sell a lot to shippers where the food is a big one, food me where the delivery, the fulfillment of the product is a big component. So you don’t just buy the product. You also buy the fulfillment, you see this a lot in food, for example, food and beverage, and some process industries where, you know, Hey, you just didn’t buy those chickens, those chicken breasts and chicken parts. You’ve bought the delivery of the product at specific intervals at specific times in the supply chain.
JP Wiggins (21:34):
So, so if I’m that company that’s managing that food delivery, I want a good TMS to manage that so that I can execute with my carriers, find the right mode of transit, pay those carriers, manage freight while it’s in transit. Right. So that’s what a TMS does is it takes orders. It optimizes orders. It figures out what’s the best mode. How do I have to get there? And above all though, it’s following all the rules. So it’s like, when does it have to be there? What kind of truck does it need? What’s the freight class? How do I calculate the rate? There’s, there’s thousands of constraints. What routing guides do I have to follow?
Scott Luton (22:07):
I can only imagine, but you know, what’s really neat as we kind of, um, marry all this together is your background. And as co founder to have the software be built, assuming all those constraints and the whole, and all the algorithms and all that stuff as, as, as non technologists, don’t really get. But to, to, to draw on your background from where you, you did a lot of that and your earliest, you know, for service merchandise, through a variety of technology platforms to bake all of that into, uh, what 3g TMS does. I mean, that’s gotta be a huge advantage in the marketplace.
JP Wiggins (22:40):
Yeah. It takes, you know, when we formed the company, we went out to pretty much every other TMS that was at the time and hired intellectual property from them. So not just junior people, but senior people from all the, what would be our major competitors. So it’s, it’s a lot, it’s a very complex industry. Uh, you know, I like to say transportation is about what eight, 10% of the GDP in North America. So it’s a big industry. So software that’s supporting transportation is another huge industry in itself. So you get into some massive complications very quickly, but you know, we’re still trying to keep it a high level, but that’s kind of what we did is when we found out companies go hire a lot intellectual, private from everyone that had done it before and let’s come back together and let’s do it again. And each little thing that we do, we can do slightly better.
JP Wiggins (23:28):
So as a whole, it’s massively better, but individually you might look and say, well, Hey, here’s a component. Well, yes, you print a bill of lading. Great. Okay. Well, who’s good. Everyone prints the Bella lady. Yes. She contact the carrier. Yes. Everyone contacts the carrier, but you know, you just do things a little more efficiently and a little that it’s, it’s hard for someone on the, to really understand. It’s almost like, you know, if you’re a doctor or a brain surgeon, how does a brain, how do you know if your brain surgeons good or not? Well, you gotta go talk to another brain surgeon kind of thing. It’s the only way you’re going to understand it’s just a good surgery or not. Why are you going to go talk to the other surgeons? So, you know, it’s the same, sorry. I digress. I love what you just said was TMS is brain surgery.
JP Wiggins (24:08):
Sometimes it is, well, you know, we’ve got like 50 people in our R and D group. That’s been doing this over seven years. I mean, it’s not as something that sure you can put together a very high end, very simple function, funk feature TMS. And there’s a lot of those out there. And that’s right for some people, if all you need to do is find a carrier printability and you’re great. All right. But if you want that integrated system, that’s going to talk to my warehouse management order management, going to talk to my vendors and partners and channels and carriers, and do that electronically and translate data and operate very efficiently. That’s a different type of TMS. And you know, what we’re trying to work on is really making that available to the masses though, not just to the super high end folks, but you know, that midsize company and that’s our target Margaret now, as we call it SMBs, you know, people that are shipping maybe $10 million of freight a year plus, you know, with our suite, you know, so as opposed to before TMS is this tier one is Gardner calls it as a tier one we’re generally available for people that are shipping a hundred, maybe even 200 million plus is what their freight spend was.
JP Wiggins (25:06):
But now if you’re 10 million seems to be about the right number for what we’re doing, then there’s the free stuff for stuff below people below 10 million TMS TMS for the people is what I’m hearing for the masses. Yes. All right. So before Kira picks your brain a little bit more own transportation, uh, one quick question about your role, you know, where do you spend your time? You should little out on that early on, but where do you spend your time? And what’s your favorite part about what you do day in and day out? Two things I have in corporate developed now, but I’m also, I run partners and channels here at three GTMs, you know, in the corporate development, I also do strategic initiatives. And one of the greatest things I get to do is I get to talk to customers and, uh, you know, I’m working at tr I’m working a corporate initiative right now.
JP Wiggins (25:46):
If we have a network, we have a lot of shipper clients and we have a lot of three PL clients I’m working this initiative. Well, let’s get them to talk to each other a little bit more. I mean, you know, shippers are always looking for good service providers and three PLS are always looking for good shipper clients. So maybe I can form more of a network and get them talking. So, you know, talking to the shipper customers now and finding out what they’re looking for and talking to my three PL customers, and what they’re looking for is that that’s the best part of my day, I think, is talking to the end customers. So I do like talking to partners to, you know, finding out what people are doing. Uh, we use, uh, like SMC three is one of my partners for the rating side. They also have a lot of API offerings. We do a lot of our own API is directly to carriers, but they have some conglomerate offers, which we might be looking at too. So talking to the partners is that’s the fun stuff, you know, that’s, you know, dealing with that. Uh, and that’s where I spend most of my days. Outstanding. Alright. So Karen, let’s put our finger on the pulse of it.
Kara Smith Brown (26:37):
Yeah. So JP you’re talking to customers reveals of shippers three PL partner. If you seem to helpful some sort of everything and everything that’s going into moving freight, right. Which is super exciting, full from a actual physical perspective, as well as the tack and the money. Right. And we always talk and we cover it’s about, Hey, you can move the physical freight, but there’s also the tax that’s such as that. And then how does the money move? What are some of the sort of key trends that you’re seeing when you are talking to all these folks that either have really shaped where you’re thinking about the company going for UTMs going in the future, or just like really interesting stuff has happened in the last couple of months, clearly COVID has been a huge, a huge factor in some of that too. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
JP Wiggins (27:21):
Yeah. You’ve heard of COBIT too. Right? So, you know, it’s, it’s a very interesting topic. We sell a lot to, like we said, food and beverage clients, we have automotive clients and then our three peels clients sell across the board. So we have CPG in there. We’ve got retail, we’ve got a little bit of everything. I mean, obviously when COVID hit, um, the non-essential clients a lot in our automotive sites, they just dropped off the face of the earth. Their orders went to nothing. Our system is all based on transactions so we can see cause that’s how we bill our clients is per transaction. So our automotive clients, if they were not essential, they dropped nothing versus our food and beverage clients. It just went the exact opposite. It totally spiked up. Um, what we’re seeing and it’s something that I’ve said in the past is we’re seeing a lot of change going on.
JP Wiggins (28:02):
So, but if you’ve been in transportation and I’ve been around it for a long change is a very normal process. Um, so, but put yourself in the day in the life of, uh, of, uh, one of my shippers that are moving freight and what’s happened well, capacity has changed. Carriers are changing rapidly. So there used to be a glut of transportation, a lot more carriers available to handle than there was freight. So it was easier to find carriers and you would be able to do it at better rates. Now, uh, capacity is tightening, uh, it’s tightening substantially. So there’s less carriers and there’s, you have to be more dynamic and how you actually move freight. So changes the normal is, was really what we’re seeing, but that’s what it has. It really hasn’t changed whether there’s always some crisis, you know, that’s okay. Some port shuts down, somebody is going to go on strike.
JP Wiggins (28:49):
Um, maybe there’s a tornado or a hurricane. I mean, change is the normal and dark store options are the normal. And that’s what we experience here. Granted Kobe has been maybe a little bit bigger than what we’ve seen in others, but in the end you have to deal with things very dynamically. You have to be able to help me identify my best mode. If I don’t have trucks, maybe I can put it on inner mode and put some on train. Uh, maybe I can move some of my LTL freight, the parcel. Maybe I could move some of my parcel to consolidate it and put it in truck and ship it with full distribution. So those are the types of things that F you have to be able to be dynamic. And, you know, I keep saying change is the normal, but it’s like, there’s always some new crisis going on. Right. So
Kara Smith Brown (29:31):
I’m curious, JP you’re mid market is sort of your mindset, right? So we talked earlier about sort of the 10 million in freight. Are you seeing that they, that this sort of mid market shipper, maybe it wasn’t prepared for COVID and is now making investments to be more flexible for the next time? Something like this happens? Yeah.
JP Wiggins (29:52):
Yeah, no, definitely. It was funny when we started the company and it was six, seven years ago, uh, we were all fast based, you know, cloud-first and we had people say, well, what happens when the internet goes down? I won’t be able to use your software. I need an on prem solution. Now we have some of these same people calling us back saying, what happens when you can’t go into the office to run your on prem solution? You know, I mean, the internet is safer than your on premise, who would have thought that? I mean, so I mean, the change is going to be whatever you can think. Now, if you had a very flexible and dynamic system, your system has to be able to be workflow configured by you personally, by your company. You can’t go to your vendor and wait for them to program you a change.
JP Wiggins (30:37):
So if your business flows change, if your workflow changes, you have to be able to do it dynamically yourself. All right. And that’s a key part of being self sufficient. And, and that’s that’s, yeah, I don’t want to be this isn’t, shouldn’t be a commercial for my company, but that’s really when it comes down to it. One of my biggest differentiators I have over some of my other competitors is we put that in the hands of our customers. So if I want to be able to self tender truckloads, or I want to do a waterfall tender, I could set up a business process that does that. Um, I can set up workflows so that if there’s problems with things, while they’re in transit, the system tries to solve it itself to a certain level. It tries to maybe renegotiate to another carrier or puts it out to bid, or it finds a solution where it can.
JP Wiggins (31:19):
And then only when it can’t find a solution, then it alerts a user. So exception management is very, very big in this business right now, especially because you want the stuff to be automated because you have less people working and you have maybe one route planner. That’s now managing hundreds. If not thousands of orders a day versus before you might have, you know, five or six people doing that. So you’re at a point where you have, and then it gets to be so complicated because not only are you just doing things manually, you’re having to integrate with systems. So it has to be a system to system thing. So you gotta let the systems do the complex things and let the humans do the, what they do best, which is the thought process. How do I make this better as we transition? That’s a great, outstanding question.
JP Wiggins (32:01):
A great segue point. But before Greg talks globally, I know he’s got a thought or two about cloud-based anything. And Greg, I saw, I saw your ears perked straight up, but what followup comments own what JP just shared come to mind before we go global? Well, you know, it goes, it goes directly to working with mid small and midsize businesses. And that is your system. Your solution needs to be more in forgive this analogy, JP, because it might be a little bit below your level, but your solution needs to be more QuickBooks than SAP. It needs to be configurable and adaptable, but not require
Greg White (32:40):
Customization and a big services effort to adapt it to the uniquenesses of your business. And, and it sounds like, and that’s my question, JP. It sounds like that is more of what you’ve done. You’ve got more of that configurability than customization,
JP Wiggins (32:54):
You know, and I would say that’s the biggest advantage of a very modern system versus an older system, because I don’t even 10 years ago, when you would design a piece of software, you would design it to perform a function. Now, you don’t do that. Now, when you’re designing a piece of software, you design a piece of software, that’s going to have a default function so that it does its default process out of the box, but it’s configurable to be modified it for unforeseen circumstances because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but you gotta put that power in the hand of your end user. And that’s what we figured out. He said, so there’s actually a duality of software going on right now. I have some very, very complex customers that are asking for very, very complex things they used in my hand, three PLS, my hand shippers.
JP Wiggins (33:37):
If you’re looking at it, I’m using hands here. Cause I got Italian in me. Um, you know, and on the other side, I’ve got some other clients which are saying, no, I just want it to work. And I want it simple. And I don’t want to think about it. All right. So you’ve got two different types of users and you can’t, some people are making the mistake where they’re trying to do it in one. All right. So my user experience is going to be this one screen. No, no, it doesn’t work. You actually need to think about it from two of reflection. Let me give that super small user, that simple screen. Maybe I’m somebody that only logs into the system once or twice a week or a month. I don’t want to have to be trained. I want it to just work. I want to be able to just ship a piece of LTL freight.
JP Wiggins (34:11):
For example, I want to just log in. I’ll give you my zip codes, my dimensions, and I want to bill anything. I just want it to go. I don’t want to think about it right? Versus on the complex side, I’ve got this person that’s dealing with hundreds, maybe thousands of truckload orders. And I want the maximum amount of flexibility in my day to day functions, but I’m also a user that sits in the screen majority of their time. So they’re, they’re a highly trained, highly executed. So then you can go more. I almost think like this person give them a calculator, right? This person you’re gonna give them Excel. All right. And they’re going to teach them pivot tables, and you’re going to teach them how to write pie charts. And you’re going to teach them how to program and actually write in Excel versus this brochure.
JP Wiggins (34:49):
Well, it’s calculated. They know how to add two plus six divided by three. You know, they know how to do that. You don’t teach them that. So that’s the type of user experience that you need to dive down. So you got to give that flexibility, but you also gotta be simple about it. Cause that’s what everyone wants now. You know, people want to buy a piece of software. Hey, I want it live in four weeks. I wanna live in two weeks, right? Yeah. But you know, we’ve talked about the complexity related to integrating all these different trading partners and across the enterprises, you know, we’ll simplify that as best we can on the it side, but in the end, uh, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s not very simple. It’s, you know, we’re trying to hide that hide that complexity is absolutely must be can, but we still got to give you the flexible,
Greg White (35:27):
Well, one of the things I heard you say that I like is you give the answer where the answer can be given by the technology, because that’s another thing that the income current and incoming generations, the non outgoing generations of workforce are really seeking is they expect technology to deliver the answer where it can and, and for the, the user experience to be very, fairly simple. So, yeah. Well, okay. So since we’re talking about theorial stuff like that. So if you think about, think outside of transportation, JP, and maybe do some more macro type supply chain issues or challenges or trends that you’re seeing or tracking or reading about that are interesting to you, what else is out there that, I mean, whether it impacts TMS or even transportation, what else is out there that you see as interesting or forward-looking in supply chain?
JP Wiggins (36:27):
You know, the, the manufacturing trends are one that I’m kind of really, really interested in seeing what’s actually happening. So, um, we’re learning that, uh, do you know, where should we source and make our products? And, and that keeps changing on us. I mean, for what, you know, 10 years ago, it was all everything’s being outsourced to, uh, you know, China or some third world country, and they’re outsourcing their now, now, however, uh, labor costs in China up there’s political dynamics going on in the end, the, the driving factor is going to be what’s best. Uh, what’s the most cost efficient way to make product. And in many ways, China labor costs are going up. And the other thing is, is we’re automating labor with labor being so much automated. So in other words, why would I manufacture something in China when I can automate that same process domestically?
JP Wiggins (37:17):
And then I don’t have to worry about sending raw materials there and bringing finished goods back, right? And I also don’t have that time lag. And that’s most people forget about that time lag on their cost of goods, but, you know, you’ve got an extra 60 days a time lag sending products back and forth. So that 60 days is very expensive. So doesn’t make sense, you know, the manufacturing process. So, you know, manufacturing more locally as we’re getting much more, how do I say it as we’re getting significantly better at automating manufacturing processing, reducing the cost of labor to very little, because it’s an automated process, our manufacturing swing more than any politician I think has done. I think that’s the biggest swing where we’re seeing more on source versus, and that’s why we saw more outsource in the past. It’s in the end, economics are gonna rule here. You know, it makes the most sense from a business perspective. So, you know, that’s, that’s what I’m seeing. So that’s the big trend I’m kind of following more than anything is, you know, how quickly will that actually happen? You know, Hey, can I have a robot build this or do I need to pay somebody
Greg White (38:16):
And talk about a complex dynamic, right? Because it doesn’t work for every product or it may not work for every aspect of a product. You might see some products have sub assemblies that are automated and final assemblies that are more manual or vice versa. And, Oh God, one of the things that we’ve experienced and we’ve talked about lot, is that
Scott Luton (38:36):
Saying near shoring and reassuring is a lot easier than doing near shoring.
JP Wiggins (38:42):
Well, they, you get the, you get into this, this, the supply chain disruptions, all right, we just saw this with code, but there was a big supply chain disruptions, but even post COVID right now, there’s things going on with people to understand, you know, right now you can’t buy a container, literally, you know, these containers that they ship, you can’t buy when the orders are booked out to 2022, almost on buying new containers, steamship line rates are, have hit the highest, like a box from container normal. Normal is 4,000. Now we’re 4,000 bucks. That’s the standard cost to move a box. We’re talking almost half, again, as much as it was just a few months ago. So, you know, you, and you can’t buy, you know, capacities or the swing is just insane that you’re going to have on that there too. So yeah. Anyway, the extend a supply chain is always, you know, I, I, you know, what what’s going to happen is that going to drive more manufacturing more than local locations? Who knows? I mean, it’s just, it’s just, it’s just, you know, like I said, changes the norm,
Scott Luton (39:35):
Right? Well, and it’s worth keeping an eye on it is because it’s though those dynamics and they will undoubtedly change. I don’t think any of us know exactly how they will change, but those will impact dynamics that will ultimately impact transportation for your business and labor and automation and other technologies that go into it. So I think that’s a, that’s a great driver and a really interesting one to talk about. We’ll have to take that offline JP and you, and I can just bounce that back and forth for the next 12 years or so. One other element to all of this reassuring and nearshoring, we referenced the policy makers, the politicians, the business leaders, the business cases for making those decisions. But consumers still, as much as the consumers are learning in recent years about not just supply chain, but more, what I love is as they’re learning more about reverse logistics, right?
Scott Luton (40:33):
I think we still have a lot more awareness. I think of pharmaceuticals. And we all know the role that China and India plays in that industry. And there’s been a lot of talk about bringing a lot of that back to the States, but the price points of the resources and the labor, all those things y’all mentioned are so much different. And I think as consumers, we’ve got to keep getting more informed about that because it’s not, as we all know sitting here, it’s not one lever you’ve got to, when you, when you make those big, big, uh, resourcing decisions, here’s a, uh, what’d, you call it a thousand different constraints. There’s so there’s thousands of levers that you’ve got to make decisions on. And ultimately consumers may pay a lot more for certain things.
JP Wiggins (41:15):
So, yeah, but like even pharmaceutical diving into your example there, uh, five years ago, it was significantly much more manual intensive to make pharmaceuticals. Now you go to these China factors, they’re automated factories. They’re, they’re making this completely automated as much as physically possible. So why have an automated factory in China versus having an automated factory in North America or Canada or Mexico or Europe, for example. So you get into what is the economic benefit, and then you get into the geopolitical considerations, which is, do you want China making pharmaceuticals for your military? Right. That’s, you know, that’s a great question. Well, what if you happen to get a war with China? You know what, okay. Call them up and say, I need my first aid kits, no shortage of ramifications for each of these, these decisions, but automation is Greg likes to talk about automation certainly is in our favor here.
JP Wiggins (42:07):
A bit of an equalizer, a bit here for the U S economy and the U S industry base. So looking forward to, um, you know, how we can, we can leverage that. And in months and years moving forward, okay. So Greg, we want to make sure we can connect our listeners with the one and only JP Wiggins, umpire extraordinary, and a lot more. So we don’t really want people contacting you at your umpire persona, but if somebody does want to reach out to you or to reach out to three GTMs, how do you suggest they do that? Obviously the web right, three gtms.com. That’s how 90% of people find out about you in the, in the day and age. Uh, I’m also LinkedIn. You can shoot a message on LinkedIn as the other reason, JP Wiggins, it’s pretty easy. Um, you know, that’s, uh, the easiest way at this point.
JP Wiggins (42:55):
So JP Wiggins at 3g TMS is my personal email, feel free and Pappy engage. I love talking to folks about this stuff. So it’s kind of what I do. I know it’s exciting and that, you know, but you know, you just think of the global dynamics of what’s going on around you and you can understand, yeah. You know, butterfly flaps, its wings in India, and it does change the weather and Toledo. I mean, you can piece this stuff together. That’s what we do in logistics. It’s so fun. It’s making lives better for everybody now, you know, so I’ll tell you, Greg and Kara, when we launched supply chain now forever ago, it was fueled by very passionate, informed conversations, just like this, featuring guests, light JP Wiggins. And it reminds me every time we hear passion shooting through the zoom or whatever platform our own is while we do this. So JP really appreciate you sharing your perspective and care. I want to circle back to you. Um, we’ll have to have you as a guest host coasts a lot more often. What was, if you had to pick one thing here, I’m gonna put you on the spot and then Greg, I might, I might do the same. I love putting you on a spot too. What’s the one succinct thing that you heard JP talk about that you’re going to take away from this conversation.
Kara Smith Brown (44:05):
Uh, can I give you two? Is that okay? Sure. I wrote them down. That’s what I was doing when I was looking down. So one is the block loved this. Didn’t used this, so things, I guess they can military and your son for giving me a new, uh, a new acronym in my company. For sure. And I think the other one that I’m going to take away is just the, that transportation is always in a state of disruption. Funny story from my background, uh, like I mentioned earlier, I was early at echo global logistics and we wrote the first copy. That was a technology enabled repeal. And I remember it was like three or four years later and someone said to me, well, we’re the first tech enabled refill. And I was like, Oh, Doug Wagner. And I wrote that copy in 2006. So you can’t have that.
Kara Smith Brown (44:54):
That’s mine. And so I think you’re so, right, right. I mean, even the acrosome the coyotes and the sort of like the disruptive technologies that you’ve been working on on the TMS side for a long time, you are literally disrupting yourself, JP, like the work that you did at SAP, or that essentially became SAP. You’re now disrupting the three D I just think that’s super cool. Like, I think it’s really neat that like that we, as logistics professionals continue to disrupt our own work as we continue to sort of grow as an industry. So thanks for bringing that to the table. So that, that was good,
Scott Luton (45:30):
Right? Yeah. Love that. Alright, Carrie, you’re going to get the next close call, that JPS to make by the way, because you’ve made your case. All right. So Greg one, what’s the one big thing on your end before we sign off here? I think, I think it is the value of experience, um, and, and the recognition that you need to be always learning, right? Um, because you can avoid so many, we talked about it with service merchandise and with some of the other, uh, application companies that JP worked at, you can learn so much from your experience, but you have to continually seek to improve on that, not lean on that, but use that as a lever to help continue to lift up your learning throughout your career. And clearly JP you’ve done that, and that is incredibly value, especially as we’re in this time of generational transition in the workplace, in the world, frankly, but in the workplace, especially, uh, I think it’s important to value experience and to recognize people that can utilize that experience, not as a crutch, but as a lever to help, help create innovation and create disruption in the marketplace and to accelerate that, that, uh, advancement of technologies and solutions.
Scott Luton (46:50):
All right, as much as we hate to do it, we’re going to wrap up this episode of supply chain now. Great conversation here. We’ve been featured JP Wiggins, cofounder, and corporate development at a company on the move three GTMs, JP look forward to having you back again. It was well worth it today. Thank you again. You bet. Kara Smith, Brown, Greg white great stuff today. What a great episode, uh, enjoy dobbing in appreciate y’alls questions. Uh, you know, it takes a nuance approach to get all the goodness out of guests like this, right? Not really with JP. I feel like we could just turn the mic on and just let him run, but sometimes, but actually I’m glad that it, you, JP, you’re very good about sharing what you know, and you know, a ton obviously, and letting us get into some of those nuances, like the service merchandise discussion and some of these others. I think that those are great recognitions for our community. Yup. Absolutely. All right. So one final question. Before I wrap up, Carol, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you and the lead coverage team,
Kara Smith Brown (47:51):
Gerald Lee, coverage.com and I’m Kara Brown, or take care of just Kara at the coverage dotcom. You can also reach out to, well, who’s often the very, uh, usually a host with y’all too. So we’ll as the cover section.
Scott Luton (48:01):
That’s right. All right. So with all that said, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this episode as much as we have thoroughly entertaining and enjoying. I’ve got 18 pages of notes on my end to care. Uh, Greg good stuff. Great to have you back, uh, after your sailing adventures back in the seat of here at supply chain. Now, uh, I’ve got a busy week ahead, uh, to our listeners. Hey, if you enjoyed this episode, check us out wherever you get your podcasts from, or you can visit us at supply chain now, radio.com on behalf of our entire team, a a B light JP, do good get forward and be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we’ll see you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Would you rather watch the show in action? Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Jp Wiggins and Kara Brown to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.
JP Wiggins manages channels and partnerships for 3Gtms. He was most recently at SAP where he was the solution principal focusing on SAP’s transportation, warehouse and event management offerings in North America and previously directed industry marketing for the company’s transportation and logistics business unit. Before SAP, he was senior vice president and general manager for Descartes Systems Group’s supply chain, transportation and logistics applications business, and also had been vice president of product management for the company. Previously, JP was co-founder and senior vice president of logistics for Global Logistics Technologies (G-Log); co-founder and vice president of product management at dx/dt; and vice president of logistics at Weseley Software. He holds degrees in transportation & logistics and marketing from The Ohio State University.
Kara Smith Brown was one of the first employees at Echo Global Logistics. Echo grew quickly in three years and her name is on the company’s 2009 IPO press release [NYSE: ECHO]. At a Nashville-based supply chain management company Kara weathered a major communications crisis with almost no market exposure before moving home to Chicago to start a family. Kara arrived in Atlanta in 2016 and started SmithBrown Marketing with no network. SmithBrown marketing is a team of marketing and sales enablement consultants specializing in all the pieces of the B2B conversion cycle: mar-tech stack building (CRM/Automation), sales/marketing operations and enablement, inbound/outbound content, SEO/SEM, social conversion, and measurement. Less than two years later, she has a team of four full-time employees and a client list that includes Atlanta heavyweights. Kara is also an active force in cultivating Atlanta’s female economy, being a Co-Founder of CloseHer, a community for women in sales. In 2017, Kara joined forces with Will Haraway to kickoff LeadCoverage, a PR and lead generation consultancy focused on supply chain, heavy industrial and tech. Learn more about Lead Coverage here: https://leadcoverage.com/
Greg White serves as Principal & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory: www.trefoiladvisory.com
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