Update: “Your Data Team Should Be Your Company's Conscience” — Forbes Technology Council
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Flexport

Rapid Prototyping and Global Visibility

Flexport

Rapid Prototyping and Global Visibility

Employees
Industry
Global Freight Forwarding
Customer Since
Rows Utilized

Flexport is a licensed freight forwarder that uses people and software to manage the complexity of international trade. Though its employees speak more than 60 languages, there's one that's spoken by all: the language of data.

"Data is essential to moving freight," said Ryan Peterson, founder and CEO of Flexport. "As a freight forwarder, we need to understand: where is everything? What have we shipped? What are its dimensions? Where is it coming from and going to? These are all data points. We use data internally to run a better operation, but also to add more value for our customers as we work with them."

"When your are coordinating complexity, not only in the outside world but internally within a scaling organization, data is really the single source of truth that you should be making decisions on," said Jerry Tang, VP of Operations, Asia at Flexport.

At the core of Flexport's focus on data is its widespread adoption of Periscope Data. Everyone in the company has an account, using dashboards for both internal and external uses.

"We just want to have our KPIs visible for everyone. There’s total transparency here," said Sanne Manders, Chief Operating Officer at Flexport. "We want them to be able to do the analysis that makes them successful."

"One of the main things that is enabling us to succeed and really beat the other freight forwarders out there is that we really do have a data-informed culture, and Periscope Data has been integral to that," said Patrick Steigler, Director of Data Science at Flexport. "Periscope Data has enabled us to be more data-informed because it makes every user of it, both analyst and also consumers of dashboards, enjoy using data."

With Periscope Data, employees have access to accurate, real-time data that helps them prioritize their time, make better decisions, and identify and pilot new product features.

“If you took Periscope Data out of my toolkit, I would be completely lost. I use it every single day — and multiple times throughout the day — to help me make decisions.”
Taylor Oliver Director of Accounts

"Periscope Data saves me an incredible amount of time. The fact that I have maybe 15 starred dashboards I check on a daily or weekly basis that provide me the information that I need to effectively run our teams is incredible," said Taylor Oliver, Director of Accounts at Flexport. "If you took Periscope Data out of my toolkit, I would be completely lost. I use it every single day – and multiple times throughout the day – to help me make decisions for the company."

One of the many ways Flexport leverages Periscope Data is as a rapid prototyping tool, helping them to determine what new product features to build and how to prioritize them.

"I want everyone here to get used to Periscope Data, because then they'll understand the power of prototyping," said Manders. "And they will reach out to our data team if they have a great idea, instead of just sitting on the idea forever and not doing anything with it."

"If we didn’t have Periscope Data at the core of our business, organizing all of our data, making it accessible to our teams and helping their decision-making process, we’d really struggle and be back in the dark ages of old-school freight forwarders," said Peterson. "We’re really steering the business strategically based on the insights we find in Periscope Data in all of the dashboards. And we do it in real-time, so we can actually see what’s going on, up to the minute."