This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ North American Logistics Tech Summit.

TOPIC: How tech providers can collaborate within open platforms

DETAILS: As more money flows into tech startups, there will be more fragmentation. To improve the customer experience, more companies need to collaborate across seamless platforms.

SPEAKERS: Vernon O’Donnell, chief product officer, project44, and Mike Reed, chief product officer, Redwood Logistics

BIOS: O’Donnell, who joined project44 in 2018, oversees cross-functional teams and is responsible for product vision, strategy and delivery. Reed, who joined Redwood in 2020, drives advances in his company’s services, technology solutions and partner commercialization strategy.


O’Donnell: “I’d say one plus one equals 10. It’s impossible for any one company to do anything. The largest logistics companies in the world see probably less than 5% of the world’s freight. So, the only way customers have a chance of that true end-to-end visibility is through partnerships. And more importantly, through the mindset of an open platform. It creates a better user experience. Customers are not bouncing around from system to system. They are able to collaborate across a single ecosystem and that also starts to normalize standards. The more people that collaborate and interact in an open ecosystem, the better for everybody.”

O’Donnell: “Supply chain is hard enough as it is. There’s always something. There’s the Ever Given in the Suez Canal. There are cranes falling off of ports. There’s this little thing called COVID. There’s changes in tariffs. Border congestion. There are enough constraints in the physical world of moving goods, so the fewer constraints we introduce through technology, the better. This goes back to the mindset needing to be about openness, about collaboration. Ultimately, there is not going to be just one tech winner. There’s not going to be one company that dominates all of this. There’s going to be a collection of winners across all the various spectrums.”

Reed: “Look at the amount of PE money and the number of SaaS companies that have gone public and the amount of VC money in the space now, driving value and real capabilities in all the different supply chain categories and creating new categories that didn’t even exist five years ago, like real-time visibility. It’s immense. That influx of large numbers of new entrants creates a lot of disruption in the space, which is good, but it also creates a lot of fragmentation. An open ecosystem lets customers embrace that fragmentation and work with different providers in different categories, seamlessly and easily. One of the biggest things we see is that the ability to integrate all this seamlessly together is a really big value proposition. And I think it’s just going to keep going in that direction. There’s no letting up at this point. We’re just going to get more and more innovation and more and more fragmentation.”