Breaking Down the Logistics Industry Trends Report with CartonCloud
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It’s no secret that the entire logistics industry has seen its share of peaks and valleys–and now we have the data to prove it.

In this special episode with CartonCloud COO Shaun Hagen, we’re checking the pulse of this industry using their 2023 Logistics Index report that surveys 2,000 employees working in freight. Using these responses, we can get a better pulse-check around burning issues like environmental sustainability, staffing, and other stats, such as the alarmingly high number of companies still relying on paper processes.

Brace yourselves as the conversation escalates into the realm of AI and robotics, exploring their impact on the industry and the challenges SMEs face when budgeting for these technologies.

To download your own copy of the 2023 Logistics Industry Index, be sure to visit the CartonCloud website here.

Learn more about CartonCloud’s intuitive, easy-to-use WMS and TMS software, and book your FREE Demo to see their software in action. Mention this interview on Everything is Logistics to get half off your first three months!

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Follow EIL host Blythe Brumleve on social: LinkedIn | TikTok | YouTube

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:00

LinkedIn presents. Welcome into another episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented SPI Logistics and I am your host Blythe Brumleve. I'm happy to welcome in Sean Hagan. He is the head of North American Operations and COO at Carton Cloud and we're going to be talking about all about the TMS, the WMS Management Systems, which is kind of redundant if I say that phrase kind of back to back. But we're also going to be talking about the Carton Cloud Q1 Logistics Index reports, which has some really interesting findings. So we got a lot to get to. So, Shaun, welcome into the show.

Shaun Hagen: 0:45

Thanks very much, glad to be here and yeah, i'm really looking forward to getting stuck into the conversation.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:50

Now, speaking of getting started with the conversation, i thought your LinkedIn bio was a portion of. It was really would be really cool to sort of kick off this conversation, and so I just want to read a little bit from it. And your bio says the calm one in the room when the pressure is on, i am focused on winning, not who gets, not who gets the credit. Won't pretend to be an expert in areas that I am not, but I am a quick learner and I am adept at finding and turning to those who do have the right experience in helping fantastic teams achieve success. I relish thinking about and solving hard problems, with the focus on finding the best solution given the available resources, and pride myself on maintaining an unwavering fixation on delivering value to customers. You're kind of laughing about that, but I think it's such a good. I think it's such a good background to what you know logistics is in general.

Shaun Hagen: 1:39

Yeah, i think that that's like when you see yourself on camera or you hear your voice. It's just that cringe of undiscomfort going. Oh my gosh, i can't believe I put that on a public facing profile. But no, i appreciate you digging that up And actually it's really good. And so I think that's one of the things that I have found most satisfying about logistics is that's not just sort of the way that I've sort of probably operated in my career, but it's also just the way the entire logistics industry works. It's sort of co-operative at times, where you know coming together to get the best outcome for customers, but also, you know, competing against each other in other areas and being able to support that industry and through technology has been really interesting and challenging and exciting for the last five or six years.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:28

For sure, and so, for folks who may not be aware of you and your career journey, give us a little bit of insight into your career background. And you've been at Carton Cloud for what? about five years now? and then, how you ultimately arrived at Carton Cloud.

Shaun Hagen: 2:40

Yeah, absolutely So. Yeah, i've been at Carton Cloud for about six years, but prior to that I had a background originally in corporate finance and law, and I distinctly remember one day in the office looking at numbers on screens and just feeling very disconnected from anything that in my perspective at the time really mattered and making an impact in someone's sort of day-to-day life, that I quit my job and started working in technology startups a bit over 10 years ago. So the last company I was at was a lighting control company selling into the construction sector And then I ended up getting introduced to Carton Cloud by the chairman of the board and have been here for actually coming up for six years just helping the sort of, you know, helping the growth that we've been going on for the last six years, starting off in Australia and New Zealand and now sort of heading up the operations over in North America.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:34

And what was really cool is on the Carton Cloud website it said it was. You know the software was originally developed to save a medium-sized refrigerated transport and warehousing company based in Sydney, australia, and now Carton Cloud is used by more than 450 logistics companies. What, i guess, sort of makes up the typical. Is there a typical Carton Cloud customer? What does that make up? sort of look like.

Shaun Hagen: 3:58

Yeah, it's a great question And I think one thing I'd say is that every logistics business is genuinely different, so a typical customer can mean something different in different contexts. But where we came from was, as you mentioned, out of a warehousing and transport business And so from the very start we had software that was designed to be used by either warehouses or transport or people doing both, predominantly asset-based providers in the logistics space. So we have a pretty even split of about a third, a third a third of customers using just the warehousing system, just the transport system, or customers who are running both the warehousing and the transport system for their own vehicles and their own sites. And I think that is actually the segment where we've been the most successful, where businesses don't have to sort of manage two separate applications, they can do it all in one. But I would say that we have a pretty even split and a typical customer. We really target the small-media enterprises. So we're not looking to try and sell to the tier one logistics providers. We're really focused on the maybe five to 50 or 100 sort of employee size operations with a couple of sites or five to 50 vehicles and really helping them transform their business and become really successful with software.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:15

And so you mentioned earlier that you have relocated to Vancouver, british Columbia and Canada. I just actually went on a trip. They're beautiful, beautiful city. That probably the prettiest flowers I've ever seen.

Shaun Hagen: 5:26

Yeah, it's stunning. We've just had our first spring here and it's been lovely just enjoying the flowers. But I make you earn it. The winter really makes you stick it out and wait for that to come back around. Yeah, as a Floridian, I would die if I lived in anything that has to do with like Where we moved from was very similar to the climate in Florida, and so it has been a slight adjustment getting used to shoveling snow and then not seeing the sun for a few months. But it is. It has been absolutely worth it.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:59

We're loving it here, The flowers are absolutely worth it. I think Now, when you are not necessarily from a personal move, but what about from a business aspect, as you're starting to break into North America, the Americas, what, I guess? are there any changes to your system that you have to make in order to accommodate the TMS systems and the WMS systems? Are they inherently different from, say, New Zealand, Australia versus the States, or is it pretty much the same?

Shaun Hagen: 6:26

Yeah, it's a great question And I think we obviously did a lot of research and analysis on what custom requirements were. We wanted to be able to bring the success and the product that we'd had in Australia and New Zealand into North America, so we didn't want to start from scratching. We were able to, i guess, identify that there was a good match for the requirements of operations here. To be honest, over the last 12 months of being here I've been surprised at how similar the requirements are and how little adaptation we've had to do to localize the product. I think we'd allocated time, resource and energy to doing that, but Outside of changing a few SS disease, it hasn't actually been a huge transformation. And the challenge is the business is trying to solve with technology here are very, very similar to what we Had been used to seeing for the last five years in Australia, new Zealand. So we've had to do very little in terms of local customization and we've been able to, i think, also validate that the product is a great solution For the same sorts of businesses we can help in other countries.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:29

And so when one of your YouTube videos that I was watching you really focused on You know you'd mentioned something around the lines of you know we focus on the customer experience. We have logistics professionals experience logistics professionals that are involved in the onboarding experience for new Customers, which I think is is is pretty unique compared to other. You know a lot of businesses that I talked to that they're just worried about getting bodies and seats, But you're you're more focused on and it sounds like you're more focused on getting that experience and helping that Experience through the customer onboarding process. Is that a safe assumption?

Shaun Hagen: 8:06

Absolutely. Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head. Yeah, every person that our customer speaks to, from the sales process all the way through the implementation and support, has come out of the industry. It's absolutely essential to us that we provide an excellent service to go with the product. The products fantastic, it's easy to use, doesn't need a lot of help. But Really, some of the value we add to our customers is that the people they're speaking to speak their language. They've they've run warehouses the same size and shape as them. They know the pain points, they understand the challenges they're having with staff or customers and can really help them Make sure they get the most out of out of the software But also helps you that they make you know providing that sort of ongoing support to make sure that they get maximum value.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:50

Is there a typical sort of a onboarding process, or or set up for for new customers? What are they typically, you know, i guess, struggling with? and then where does carton cloud, you know, come in and solve that problem for them.

Shaun Hagen: 9:03

Yeah, absolutely So. The typical pain points that we see that for customers that we're Implementing are around their customers expectations. You know, right now you can order a $6 pizza and you get almost you know photographs and GPS tracking the whole way to your, to your door. If you order five pallets of Afraid you might not get any updates until someone drops off at your door. So their customer expectations around integrations, visibility, automation are increasing. They're often struggling to sort of scale as well, so they're struggling to fulfill their growth ambitions. They're not quite big enough to bring on special specialists Or they're potentially fine that the admin is bogging them down. So an implementation for us is done remote and online. We do have the ability to go on on site But we we get our customers up and running in the round five to ten hours. So we're talking days, potentially weeks, for someone to get fully up and running on the system and getting value Basically out of the software from that first or second call. So that's one of the things that really differentiates us And allows us to take businesses that are maybe struggling to get value out of other software or have never been able to successfully implement software and surprisingly large and running off paper and spreadsheets and replacing that with with it, yet without our software, but really just to help them fulfill on their their growth objections or objectives, or help their customers Yeah, have a better experience with with them and their operation, but get the answer your question? Sorry, it is yet an online implementation and we're really just going through. It's all configured through the interface, train them on the system and then off they go.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:37

That's crazy. That's five to ten hours, or you know just a couple calls for on-boarding. I remember when I worked at a 3p Oh, i think it took us a year and a half to on board a new TMS, which was a nightmare. It was so painful to have everybody use it, so that that's incredible that you're cutting that time down by that drastically.

Shaun Hagen: 10:53

Absolutely, and that's essential for us to be able to work with the small, medium enterprises. You know the. The larger providers can maybe afford to take 18 months to get to get those solutions implemented, but being able to get that done in a couple of hours or a couple of days is is a huge differentiator. But also, yeah, that's, that's what, that's the, that's our ethos, that's whenever we develop the product. It's it's got to be easy to use, otherwise we go back to square one, start again.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:19

Yeah, i love that you brought that up, that enterprises can, enterprise level companies can afford that delay, but small businesses and small that to medium-sized enterprises cannot. It's very, you know, a day loss could be, you know, or a week's loss could really be crucial to their bottom line and maybe, you know, their survival of their business overall.

Shaun Hagen: 11:38

Absolutely, and you know that also might be the one window where someone has the time availability to implement software. Whether that's, you know, a truck breaking down stuff, stuff, and believes Something going wrong with your largest customer, it can very quickly get get too busy and too hard. So if you can't get that done in the short period of time, yeah, whether it's an existential threat or whether it's just business as usual noise from running a logistics business It can get very, very difficult for them to then get that time back.

Blythe Brumleve: 12:08

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Shaun Hagen: 14:09

That's correct. That's correct. So we've been running it for two full years now, and when we launched it, what we were really trying to do Was develop something that was usable for the industry to help them get some feedback on sentiment confidence, you know, help them compare how they were feeling to, however, and also was feeling especially in that as we grew up, you know, a base of 20 30,000 users a day, being able to go and take advantage of the access that we had to the logistics industry to produce something that was going to be useful. So the sentiment index really came from trying to get a Like a check on the pulse of the industry, and the methodology we use is we ask three, three core three main questions, and they sent for around How do you expect your business to perform in the next six months? What's your view of the current economic climate for your business? and then, what would you say is the likelihood of Hiring additional staff within the next six months? So, by asking those same questions Every time we run this report, we've baseline the index at the start of 2021 And we've now got two years worth of data to get the citizen trends see some variance in terms of how the industry is feeling And we basically have a methodology where we have some composite scores across those three questions And it's proven to be very interesting and also very consistent with, i guess, what we've been seeing in the sales and support process from our Customers in terms of identifying what the industry is seeing and feeling, and we've taken the opportunity to report, to also ask some other Very topical trends, whether that's around environmental and sustainability, whether that's around staffing and port closures that have obviously been prevalent over that to use two years as well Or technology like AI and robotics. We've also sort of taken the opportunity to get some, some feedback So the customers can see what other people are thinking. People in the industry can see what other people are thinking and use that to kind of benchmark and inform their own decisions and you had close to 2000 responses for this year's survey.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:06

And How often are you are you conducting this survey? because I imagine, if you're conducting it pretty frequently, since since 2021, that that data that you're sitting on is probably pretty valuable, especially in, you know, the the world of AI and large language models and all that.

Shaun Hagen: 16:24

Yeah, okay, we're still focused on just trying to build a WMS and NTMS, but maybe we'll commercialise the CCLI data at the next offsite. But no, we have now got, i think, a really nice data set that spans back over about I think, eight to ten surveys over that time. We are running it on a quarterly basis and then publishing the report every six months to outline some trends there. But, yeah, 2,000 responses. So we've got a really great data set now, split across a whole bunch of geographies. So we had responses from North America, obviously, canada and the US, all across Australia and New Zealand, but also quite a few responses from Asia, europe and sort of South America and Africa as well. So it's been really interesting to sort of dive into the data. It's gotten richer every single time we've done it.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:12

That's super interesting about the just what everybody is dealing with the same kind of problems, but they seem to all be happening at different times of the year. I think is a safe assumption.

Shaun Hagen: 17:24

Correct. I couldn't wait to see what the results said about, especially now that we've got much larger footprint internationally And, remarkably, they all actually end up being quite similar. There were some interesting trends between regions, but it was very much interesting that, because logistics is so intertwined, i think everyone's kind of feeling and going through a lot of the similar sorts of things. But one of the biggest differences that we found is that the summer in North America is offset from the holiday season around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we've seen a lot less volatility in North America. It's much more consistent. Demand increases over the summer period because people are doing more than it maybe drops away as it gets colder but then picks up again as the holidays and the sales trickle in. In Australia we sort of double down on that. It's our summer over the November, december period, which is also our holiday period, which is also the large, the long school break, and so we have these incredible cycles in Australia where it gets incredibly busy for three months And then the middle of the year is a lot quieter. So it's been interesting kind of unpacking some of those trends as we've had a more diverse range of responses, but the overall trends have been interesting and it's been good to also be able to provide that back to the industry so they can see what everyone else is saying and feeling about the outlook for the logistics space.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:45

And you started this report in 2021, when things were still kind of crazy. I feel like this year, maybe we're settling into what the new normal looks like. Yeah, whatever that is, we're just kind of guessing, i think, at this point, but it would be interesting to know if maybe offhand, if you know of any did the data show that 2021 was that crazy versus 2023? Or is it still kind of just? there's no real patterns? I guess maybe over those last couple of years.

Shaun Hagen: 19:18

I think it has. It's certainly been yeah it's been, i would say, crazy. It's been hard to get a good read on a baseline over that period because whilst obviously the pandemic was very disruptive to a lot of industries, logistics almost probably benefited. You know not that you'd ever want to say it was positive, but the logistics industry obviously went from not a lot of recognition to being very prominently an essential service. Demand for logistics services went up, prices went up. Obviously that also had operating cost increases. So we've seen some wild fluctuations in terms of the outlook for economic outlook, for business growth, which has been extremely high for a lot of that period. But that's often been offset by very difficult hiring conditions And so expectations around being able to add staff while staff shortages were very prominent. Skilled labour was not available. There was government subsidies that were maybe reducing the availability of workers in logistics. I think we've almost seen in the last sort of three to six months, as the new normal has maybe rolled out, some of the hiring expectations have probably come back a little. It's been a little bit easier maybe for people to sort of access or solve the staffing issue. But maybe the economic outlook has probably caught off a little bit And I think we've seen a pretty big drop overall of around 10% in the latest index to make it actually, ironically, almost exactly where we started at the start of 2021. But it has been a wild ride of sort of peaks and troughs through that to end up back at a fairly kind of what feels like normal outlook for the industry after a pretty hot two year period.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:54

Now getting into the specifics of this report from this year, the Q1 report, some of those key takeaways, the first one being the majority of logistics companies use, on average, around two to five systems. What is the I guess, the barometer there? Should it be more, should it be less, or is it kind of just dependent on each business?

Shaun Hagen: 21:16

Yeah, it's a great question. Now. That was a very interesting, i guess, insight that we got from this question. So we asked the question of how many applications the average software the average logistics business was running And, as you said, the majority was was more than we expected. I think the big takeaway there is that, as cloud based software has become more specialized, is it a deploy and more focused on individual parts of what an overall logistics business needs. From a technology perspective, i think we've seen a departure from the one stop shop where you go and you get your one platform that does everything under the sun and it might not be very good at everything, but you just suck it and make it work to businesses taking a more holistic approach to what they're required to do. The requirements are separating their accounting system from their logistics management system was one that's been happening as cloud based systems like QuickBooks, sage, have become more specialized, but also being able to roll on maybe a driver management application or a warehouse management system, even if it's for different sites or different applications. I think the connectivity between cloud based applications has improved. So has the ability to integrate separate systems into a single solution. So I actually think that it's a positive because I would interpret that based on conversations with customers as well, as actually customers getting better tools for the job. That might mean they have a little bit more overhead to manage three or four or five software, but they've got the capability. Now it's easier than it was five or 10 years ago And it means that they're using the right tool to achieve what they're trying to achieve across their business. So I actually I expect that will be a trend that will continue to head down that direction, because requirements are not going down And I think it's increasingly difficult for the one-stop shops that do everything financials, compliance, everything under the sun to keep up with customer expectations. And there will be people who are successful on a single application, but I think not a lot of businesses have the budget to implement SAP across their entire business, so they try to piece together something that can be just as good by using best of breed cloud based applications.

Blythe Brumleve: 23:28

And that's where I think it almost feels like over the last couple of years, that being able to integrate your technologies with each other and have them talk to each other has now become table stakes for a lot of these companies.

Shaun Hagen: 23:40

Yeah, I completely agree. It used to be a point of difference for us I think five years ago how easily we were able to build integrations. It's always been a very big focus for us, but it's a ticket to play now. That's why we focus so much time and energy on that connectivity piece and giving the users the tools because that is now your. that's just an expectation that you can play in that cloud based, API centric kind of integrations. for you, It's not a point of difference, It's a basic expectation.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:11

And speaking of AI, the next takeaway that we have here is there's a strong industry interest and new and evolving technology like AI, machine learning, robotics and 3D planning software, where I feel like I could do an entire show on each of those topics. But do you see? interest is one thing, but do you see companies actually making the investments, or is it more of a wait and see approach? especially, when people talk about AI right now, they're typically talking about chat GBT and those kinds of systems, but there's other AI that existed long before chat GBT.

Shaun Hagen: 24:48

Absolutely. There's some very interesting AI that is specific to the logistics space. We've been very much focused on that and working on how we can use the data we have for our customers to enable them to access those. It's a great question. One of the things we like to do with the logistics index is ask the same question again a year or two later. The trend in that question was very interesting from the last time we went there. Robotics is probably sitting at around the same number where I think everyone kind of knows that's coming is trying to work out how to potentially justify the investment up front, how to kind of reduce the reliance on staff, But I think that is a challenging one for the SMEs to get the budget. But the AI and the machine learning and the 3D resource planning have kind of shot through the roof in terms of their popularity compared to about a year or two when we last asked that question. And to your question about are they, is it interest or is it actually going to decisions, I think that the larger organizations are testing and trialling and doing proof of concepts to validate the business case, And I think that that's something that is starting to become much more common, But I still think that the sort of typical SME is probably still not quite sure what to do, how to navigate that space. It's probably still playing catch up a little bit on the, you know, the internet security, like the security side of things, integration side of things. And now I'd have to go and tackle the AI and machine learning. That's where I think they're looking to service providers to help them kind of bridge that and be able to offer, you know, connect much more integrated solutions that will let them start doing that. I don't think chat, GPT or BARD is likely to be the answer to AI for logistics. I think those are obviously language based models that have some fantastic applications. Maybe you could help some of them rewrite their websites, but I won't. I won't name names, But but I think that the I think we're the opportunity here is, you know, looking at things like route optimization, which has been in the industry for a long time, but maybe taking a more flexible approach to that rather than adding so much data integrity or resource utilization in the warehouse And we've seen some really cool businesses like Sinclair that have come out of there that are doing some really cool stuff but connecting that, I guess, the value with what's achievable for those businesses. I think it's going to be the really interesting trend over the next couple of years so that we can see a higher uptake, because the small meme enterprises are often the ones that have the most to gain out of that. Amazon's already using AI and machine learning, So you know it's going to just mean that the smaller guys that can't access that are going to be the competitive disadvantage until it does become achievable for them.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:23

And then on the automation side as well. I would imagine that automation is a little bit easier to implement into a company, or am I wrong in that assumption?

Shaun Hagen: 27:35

I well, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't a little bit easier. I probably couldn't say the five to 10 hour thing, but no, I think that that automation is a little bit easier And I think, yeah, that is a lot more achievable for these businesses And I think that also then it's easy to break down systems and workflows into pieces that can be automated. So may not be Washington automation for end to end, but it might be automating the most painful parts of a process. And that's really where configurability, ease of use, flexibility becomes kind of the key aspect for those businesses, because they have different, very, quite varied requirements. You've been in the three P O warehouse, you know, even across different customer profiles you have incredibly different workflows and requirements that need to be satisfied And I think that's where automation can become challenging. But I think that that's much easier for businesses to achieve.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:26

All right, a couple more takeaways we have here. is this last or not last one, but second to last one Companies are looking to lean on networks and partnerships to outsource some operations in order to boost capacity and meet consumer demands, which is increasing the importance of a secure software integrations between systems. You know, with a lot of you know software integrations and software use, it's really only as good as the team that uses them and the team that adopts them. How do you, i guess, how do you see customers maybe finding success with implementing new software, especially you know, with your use case, that you can onboard new customers and get them rolling within, you know, a couple days max.

Shaun Hagen: 29:09

Yeah, so great, great question, And I think that the way that we've seen them getting getting that value is potentially that ability to work together more collectively with other providers in the industry as well. So, whether that's being able to integrate with other service providers or just integrating more seamlessly with their customers, i think as that, that resource constraint on footprints and the availability of vehicles and staff become more and more of a pressure point, being able to provide additional services or automation and other aspects of their business so automating their invoicing so they can get home at five o'clock or get back to their customers more quickly, or giving their customers online portal and visibility, or being able to work in the same, in the same way, with other service providers, whether that's transport companies that are doing their deliveries or other warehouses that are doing sort of overflow. I think that once they have that single source of truth, that enables them to take a much more flexible approach to how they're servicing their customers, but also how they're actually fulfilling on their logistics services. Sorry, did I answer the question?

Blythe Brumleve: 30:08

Yeah, because it actually you answered the next question I was going to ask you and that's no, it works out great, because it sounds like those are those early light bulb moments for your customers as they come on board. And then they, you know it's one thing to sell them, and then they, you know, they start using the product. But what are those light bulb moments that say, wow, this is a really good investment for us to make.

Shaun Hagen: 30:31

I think, yeah, that by far that my favorite one is once we we go through the process of setting up customers, products that do a couple of transactions and then you can just basically sell them. By the way, all of your invoicing is already done and they go, no click on the click on the click on the button, and they go, oh my gosh, and they just they see the revenue leak is disappearing. They say the admin time going and they they see, like I said, some of those other benefits getting home on time customers getting in a customer's paying fast because there's no questions about the invoicing, nothing's been done incorrectly, but, yeah, being able to turn up on the first of the month or Monday, whatever they, however they invoice, and just having all that done, that's the first, i think. Penny drop moment, once you get into operational workflows, buckets gaining customer portal integration, i think there's a whole bunch more, but that's always the first one. That's because the dollars, dollars always get people.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:18

That's that's the, that's the one that still gets the strongest reaction, i think was there anything else from the report that really stood out to you that you think is important to mention?

Shaun Hagen: 31:29

I think the other, the other interesting piece was really around the number of businesses that were on paper processes. Still we have 97% of the respondents say that they produce paper and one or more Processes in their operation and a bit over two thirds was, you know, three or more. And I have not stopped in six years being amazed at the size of organizations that are still very paper dependent. So I think that's I know that's probably a little bit of Old news in the industry, but it was still shocking that there's not more businesses that have been able to completely let go of a pattern of. This isn't about us, but you know we certainly have customers that have been able to do that. So that 97% of the industry has not, yeah, got there is some. It's quite remarkable wow that.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:15

I mean that I remember going to a job interview like 10 years ago and handing someone my resume and he's like no, thank you, and he refused my resume because he didn't want to actually hold on to any paper, so it did. That changed my level of thinking around like electronically sending documents.

Shaun Hagen: 32:31

We did. We did restricted to logistics operations, not recruitment operations, but some that's. That's that's commitment to the cause. I'm impressed.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:40

No, no, we have. We've talked a lot about these takeaways. Where can has the report been publicly released? where can folks you know, sort of you know, find this more, this information, and download the report?

Shaun Hagen: 32:53

Yeah, one thing I should have said that that is the reports free. It's available on our website. On our website we have a drop down for the logistics index and all of the previous versions are available there to view and download the complete completely for free. So carton cloud dot com There has got the full report. It's about eight to ten pages to try and keep it relatively succinct, and then all of the data is available in an appendix as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:20

While you are there to I should, you know, make the listeners aware that everything is logistics. Listeners are also getting 50% off their first three months at carton cloud to. All you have to do is mention that you heard this interview. Everything is logistics, or EL, you know, you can probably use the acronym to make things a little bit smoother as well. You can also sign up for a demo over at carton cloud dot com and, you know, obviously we feel really fortunate to be able to to partner with businesses like yourself because your commitment to not only learning about the industry but to your customers as well, and also to your employees, because you just recently held an event where everyone got together and you were able to do some live interactions with your customers. Can you kind of break that down for us?

Shaun Hagen: 34:04

Yeah, absolutely. At the start we talked about how everyone you speak to in the sales and customer support process is a logistics industry professional. Unfortunately we can't have the same hiring policy for our developers. That would probably make the code very poor or the logistics operation very inefficient. But we do try and still maintain that connection, obviously with our staff, who are incredibly important to us, but also making sure that our whole industry understands what our customers do and what our software means to them. So in May we held our annual back to base event where we had the entire company go back to our original headquarters in the Gold Coast in Queensland. So not a terrible place for people from six or seven countries to have to head back to for a week. But we did two events that week that were incredibly important to us. So one is we took all of our technical team who haven't necessarily worked in warehouses. We took them out to see four or five of our customers in Queensland going out seeing how they use the software, seeing how they run their business not just about the software, you know walking around their warehouses, looking at their depots. So going again to see the connection with industry and understand when we talk about workflows and described requirements, what that actually means in a real world setting. But we also want our technical team to understand how the software works, And so we did something called the Carton Cloud Olympics, where we ran an event on one of the afternoons. We split the team up into so the teams up into five or six people that were not operation staff. So these are people who have never worked in a warehouse And we basically had them with a brief do a full implementation of a warehouse and the WMS and the TMS in about three hours. And these are people who have never worked in a warehouse, obviously know the system, they know the ones and the zeros, but have not necessarily spent as much time in the front end. And every single team was able to fully set up a customer, set up all the products, process mortars, generate an invoice and also completed delivering at Simon Glass within about three and a half hours. So making sure that our software is A capable of being implemented by people who have never used it before, but also that our staff understand what our industry is, what it does and what it means to them, is just such a key part of our philosophy and why our genuine mission is to just improve the lives of logistics people, And I think that keeping that connection between us and our staff, but also our staff and our industry, is what lets us do that as we continue to expand the product.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:36

Heck, yeah, i love that approach because, especially like from like a you know a marketer who is, you know typically in the office. I never get to go out and see anything like that.

Shaun Hagen: 36:46

The marketing team had to do it as well, everyone had to and they were out there scanning on the mobile application, getting some on Glass And we had a. Yeah, we had a bit of a contest and obviously made it into a, made into a prize in the competition.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:00

That's awesome Because I mean, it probably opened up so many different, you know, from a storytelling perspective, from a coding perspective, from user experience. I'm sure maybe you solved additional problems that day based on their user experience.

Shaun Hagen: 37:12

Exactly That was. The best thing is that some of the developers came up with ideas and just we had a list of about 25 ideas that came up. That that's actually. That screams actually a little bit confusing, or that error message doesn't make sense, or how can we make this easier. So, you know, that wasn't the primary goal, but it was really cool to see the team, who maybe aren't necessarily talking to customers every day, actually see what a customer has to go through. But how can we make this different? How can we make this better? So, yeah, it was. It was a great event And I'm looking forward already to to running the next version of that next year.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:43

Yeah, i love that because I think I heard one. Anytime Mark Zuckerberg, and like Facebook employees, deploy something new, he forces all of them to use that product only on the mobile phone and not on a desktop device, just to make them aware of the different user experiences which you only experience if you do it yourself. So I love that That's it.

Shaun Hagen: 38:03

We. We have everyone. Everyone uses a mobile app. That was an entirely paperless exercise And my favorite quote was was from one of our web developers who said oh great, let's find out why we have a mobile development team, as he was opening the mobile app for the first time. So but no, it's a tongue-in-cheek reference, but it was great because, like you say, people might only use one part of the application. You had mobile developers working on the web application. You had web applications doing scanning and getting silent glass, and it was a really great experience And I think, as it delivered a lot of value, it was a lot of fun And and yeah, i was a spare was a sort of a proud moment there. Where you go, how cool is it that our software can get implemented by people who don't even know about logistics in three and a half hours? So there was. There was some nice moments for the company there as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:45

Yeah for sure, that sounds super cool. Now now moving into sort of the final part of the show, which is something pretty new We starting in starting in July, for for the show, and it's the rapid fire questions that I like to ask you, know each person that comes on the show just to kind of get a glimpse into you? know how they operate their business separate from you? know the the actual, i think you know in the trenches, business stuff, which it might be a little bit in the trenches, might be a little bit outside the trenches, but for for you guys, i see you guys have a podcast called the Logistics People and you had some episodes drop in 2020. What are some other fun and interesting ways you have marketed yourself? or carton cloud, even though I just said it doesn't have to do business related, even though this is a very business specific question, it feels like you put me back into the trenches and talking about one of the kind of ruin.

Shaun Hagen: 39:31

my two favorite answers the CCLI and the CCLI and the podcast That's up. No, the podcast is gone, a little bit stagnant, but no, I think that some of the things that we love to do is we've actually launched a new sort of learning management system which basically allows us to do sort of I think, a really good job of generating product walkthrough videos, training videos, but through like a gamified, kind of like an academy. if you've ever used like a HubSpot Academy or some of those Salesforce type trailhead, we've used that same basically approach for logistics And we've got what that's enabled us to do is to market us in a way that you can actually learn the system in a couple of minutes. And I think we're still kind of getting there. But the old iPhone, the old iPhone ad from the very first version, which was you watched the 32nd ad and the whole tagline was now you know how to use it. That's kind of what we're going for is that these product videos. you watch it in one or two minute video and go, Oh, I could do that And that's the answer is, you actually can't, it's not that hard. So I think that's probably some of the more fun stuff that we, that we do.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:37

What about your your favorite social media platform, and why?

Shaun Hagen: 40:42

Yes, i am going to. I'm going to say Twitter for that one, it's a little not necessarily that I love everything that's happened in Twitter in the last 12 months, but I still think that it's such a great platform. I love the access to information, directs, connection with sort of industry experts and a range of different subjects, and also, yeah, some of the some of the interactions you see on there are quite, quite unique, so I think that's probably still my favorite.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:07

That's a good way of putting it. It's definitely it's. It's like witnessing a dumpster fire, but from a safe distance.

Shaun Hagen: 41:14

Correct. I think the enjoyment style has shifted over the last 12 months, but it's still is still enjoyable.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:21

Feels like our modern day, like trash TV, like the Jerry Springer or Mori Povich.

Shaun Hagen: 41:27

It does. I feel like I can. I can relax a little bit more on Twitter than maybe like LinkedIn or something.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:34

Yes, yeah, it's interesting to see the different languages that are being spoken. You know some of them. One is maybe more profanity filled and the other one is just a little bit more fake. Polished, i guess, is probably the right I would.

Shaun Hagen: 41:48

I would agree wholeheartedly with that.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:51

All right, favorite SaaS product that is not your own.

Shaun Hagen: 41:55

Yeah, i mean, that's number one and two. No, i this one. This one's easy. This one's going to be a little bit specific, but we have a plugin to my not favorite SaaS product, which is Slack very much not my favorite. We have a plugin to Slack called Donut And what Donut does is every week it connects you with someone else in the company and it works through to try and connect with people that you haven't connected with, and it basically has just suggests some 15 minute slots that work in your calendar And basically means that every week you have a 15 minute conversation with someone from the company and it goes through and matches you up. And we're a remote organization of about 65 people across six or seven countries And, as you've heard, like our team and our staff are incredibly important same on the same level as our customers and being able to have those sort of water cooler chats and just making sure that everyone in the organization is connecting and getting to know and just a 15 minute conversation about anything not work related is it could be work related. It's just my favorite thing. It's my favorite 15 minutes of the week And seeing people who had never met connects at our back to base for the first time in person and already know about their kids or their interests or their favorite food was really cool. So that's my favorite SaaS products. Unfortunately, embedded within my least favorite SaaS product, it makes up for some of the annoyance of Slack, so Oh, love that.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:16

That's such a great idea, especially from a remote perspective, keeping everybody somewhat connected, And then it makes those in person meetings so much more powerful. It does All right. Well, last question favorite supply chain. Well, not really second to last question, but favorite supply chain factoid.

Shaun Hagen: 43:36

This one is another easy one for me. 90% of logistics businesses are small, medium enterprises, So that's obviously very close to our heart. A lot of software companies spend a lot of money developing products for those big guys. Because they spend a lot of money, They have very complicated requirements. But our passionate and our excitement is in the other 90%, The ones who can be forgotten occasionally. But they make up a lot more of the industry than you might think. So yeah, 90% of logistics businesses are small media enterprises. That's my favorite.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:06

Wow, That's an incredible market, especially considering all of the greatest importance that getting your stuff from port to porch is obviously very important for everybody around the world. So, yes, great factoid that you just shared. And final question is there anything else about Carton Cloud that you feel was important to address that I didn't ask about.

Shaun Hagen: 44:33

No, i think you've sort of. I think we've covered off on the main points, i think, the best. I think that the thing that's most important to us is that we like to also be a very honest and transparent organization. It's been one of the adjustments as an organization we've had to make, i think, coming into the North American market, where maybe the confidence in what you can do and maybe the bragging is a little bit more embedded in the sales and marketing process. And we've come from and this was important to us we've come from being an Australian organization. We're now a North American organization, but we tell customers exactly what we can do. We absolutely fulfill what we say, but we're also the first to sort of put our hands up and highlight any areas that we sort of think that there's going to need to be some more discovery. So I think that that honesty and transparent integrity is what's allowed us to build really good relationships with the customers And that's something that I think we offer, along with excellent customer service, to all of our users here. So that's been a fun journey for us to go on. And, yeah, that's, i think, the main thing we haven't spoken about, but we've talked about the software and people are not listening to this podcast to hear my sales pitch. They can reach me on any of the website forms if they want to. But I think we've had a really good conversation about, i guess, what can't prioritize and what matters to us.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:47

Absolutely. We will make sure that we have all of those links here in the show notes, just to make sure it's super easy to reach out to you to book that demo, to download that report, anything else that we can expect from you guys in the coming months or maybe coming years.

Shaun Hagen: 46:01

Yeah, absolutely. I think we've got a really cool project that we've been working on. So our vision is to basically break down the differentiation between warehousing and transport software. We've ended up with both applications and we've been trying to identify ways that we can kind of break down this arbitrary, just distinction between something that's coming in on a truck and something that's being received off of a container and tracking cartons on pallets or cartons on trailers. So we've got some really cool features. I think, coming out of the next three to six months that will start to break down. What we call an inbound order, or a delivery just starts to become just a workflow on a task. So there's some really exciting things that we'll be hitting our customers over the next couple months, but also, I think, over the next 12 to 18 months, as we give our customers basically just to in our dream state at least a very configurable system. They can kind of call whatever they want, change rules, build their own workflows and really just make sure that they can get software that does exactly what they need to without having to change their operation. So our release log, our YouTube channel, always has our new updates and obviously you can always talk to someone from that team if you want to as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:06

Awesome. Thank you so much, sean. This was great, fascinating discussion.

Shaun Hagen: 47:09

Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Bipo. It was wonderful getting to meet you and thanks for the conversation.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:13

Absolutely. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, i also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digitaldispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, i hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.