This Company to Re-Tell the Narratives of Post-Pandemic Supply Chain Bottlenecks

As confluence of forces have brought to light supply chain issues that were there before the pandemic, leading to widespread scarcity of goods, project44 showed up and set out a technology to untangle the ongoing messy chain.
project44 leadership team in an annual event with staff
Courtesy: project44
By | 9 min read

As the U.S. economy continues to struggle for a full recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, supply-chain disruptions all across home nation are driving up prices and leading to a growing deficiency of products.

The supply-chain bottlenecks around the world have caused record shortages of many product lines that American consumers are used to having easily accessible, from household goods to electronics to automobiles.

The problem is recognized by an acquainted nickname: “supply chain shortages.”

Yet the narrative behind this issue is true. Recent headline analysis demonstrates the knotted, buckled, snarled, and broken nature of the current supply chain.

As the globe was walking through the storm of “The Everything Shortage,” logistics tech firm project44 was busy constructing the instant cure.

The startup was founded by Jett McCandless in 2014. The logistic support tech company aims to connect, digitalize and provide visibility into crucial transportation processes — with a wide view of accelerating insights and reducing the time it takes to turn insights into action. project44 may confront an industry-specific need, but the impact reaches far beyond logistics.

Currently the performance of project44 is brilliant as the demand in the field is constantly evolving. However, less people know that McCandless has been in the logistics and supply chain industry and experienced the problem long before the start of the company.

Jett McCandless’ Ardent Visionary and His Bet on project44

Jett McCandless had two decades of experience working in the transportation and logistics sector before project44, managing numerous startups from the ideation to growth and scaling stages.

After taking on the role of Principal at GlobalTranz, a business with a gross annual sales of $500 million, Jett sold his stock to focus on his own endeavors. He began establishing businesses, such as the Inc. 500-ranked advising firm Metafora (formerly CarrierDirect).

Jett McCandless is more than just project44’s CEO. He founded the business after having first-hand experience with problems in the country’s supply chain for many years. He has had these problems for at least the past 20 years, so they are familiar to him. He’s really always been a little surprised that supply chain shortages didn’t arise more frequently before.

project44 product is presented at logistics conference
Courtesy: project44

In his eyes, the issue many shipping suppliers and their customers have is a lack of visibility. He also claims that the system is defective in design due to the way it is set up. Part of the reason that he formed his business was to openly address those weak points and find real-time solutions that would get products to customers more quickly without separating those directly involved in the supply chain itself.

Being a new technology platform and attempting to enter this market was not always simple. Fortunately, this business understood early on that it needed marketing to propel that effort and essentially establish a completely new category inside freight transportation.

One thing that we all see that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has exposed shortfalls in the capacity of retailers to lessen supply chain imbalances and offer an omnichannel customer experience, among other obstacles in the retail industry. This may be where numerous companies saw the end, but some like project44 took the chance and played.

The Rising Demand for Multi-Dimensional Visibility in Retail Supply Chains

The idea of supply chain visibility is not fresh. However, due to the inherent complexity and cost needed, only a small number of businesses have been able to achieve true, real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility.

COVID-19 has been a vivid reminder that a lack of visibility leaves businesses struggling without the technology to make the important, timely decisions needed to navigate their organizations in the right direction.

As businesses adjust strategies in the new normal, failing to pursue and embrace a comprehensive visibility is risky. Businesses are lost in the dark without a map if they can’t see their digital supply networks.

Even with available systems, seeing and managing the status of supplier orders manufactured, centralized and loaded onto a vessel, cleared through customs, drayed and inbounded into a distribution warehouse, cross-docked, inventoried for immediate sale and distributed to the end customer from one supplier in one integrated system is purely aspirational for most businesses.

After months of turmoil and unpredictability throughout the supply chain, the industry has learned that visibility is key. No matter how hard you try, there is little you can do to stop the effects of a pandemic, as well as little you can do to stop international trade conflicts or speed up chip production. What you can do is make sure you fully comprehend your situation so you can always choose wisely, no matter the situation.

Those that have stayed resilient, ready for 2023, are those that have quickly moved to imbue superior visibility into their distribution network.

Data is the best way to accomplish that, and project44 is one of the businesses assisting the process. This startup, which has extensive experience of the carrier sector, came up with a swift solution to help ease the strain on the entire sector since the pandemic’s inception.

Response to the Call & Efforts to Fix Supply Chain’s Weakest Link

“We know where the problem is coming from,” Adam Compain, senior vice president of product marketing at project44 said in an interview with FreightWaves.

He added, “Demand is at an all-time high, but customer expectations for fast delivery and visibility into those shipments are also at all-time highs. But the disparate systems in the transportation industry still aren’t connected. It’s not that legacy technology was necessarily bad, but the industry is finding itself in a new game.”

project44 platform is implemented by logistics companies
Courtesy: project44

project44 claimed that the company made every effort to assist clients in minimizing “relentless volatility, bottlenecks, and logistics breakdowns,” including during the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine.

It’s clear that project44 is fighting a multifront war for end-to-end, multimodal visibility at the purchase order level with its comprehensive approach. While the majority of rivals primarily service one region and concentrate on over-the-road visibility, project44 is a genuinely global company that offers end-to-end visibility across their customers’ complete supply chains.

With its cutting-edge visibility platform, project44 adopts a distinct, API-first and bottoms-up visibility strategy that enables their clients to quickly automate operations, work with stakeholders, and improve performance. project44 was architected to be the supply chain’s connective tissue.

The firm has built the industry’s only Advanced Visibility Platform. It focuses on assisting their clients’ customers through market volatility and the startup will take care of the multimodal carrier connectivity and shipment workflow automation.

It also helps online shopping buyers keep their supply chains on track by removing friction from the process when they can see end-to-end visibility insights all without placing any extra burden on retailers’ team.

Businesses that use project44’s user-friendly SaaS platform can finally retire rigid, out-of-date legacy systems that consume all available development time and necessitate difficult integrations. 

Instead of developing and maintaining automation and carrier connectivity, they may save time and concentrate IT resources on value-added solutions that will increase revenue and draw in more consumers.

With the solution, project44 has treated a serious disease of the supply chain. Even so, building a tech company is not easy. project44 got started in 2014. It didn’t switch to offering real-time tracking until 2016 and 2017, which sent top-line growth soaring at triple-digit rates.

It took them three years to release the first product. Looking back on their journey, the two years of preparation appear to have been worthwhile, especially given that this company’s financial performance speaks for itself.

The Winning Wall-to-Wall Approach

project44 is benefiting from the distribution network turmoil. Since March 2020, freight rates increased by as much as 174% due to the increased global demand for electronics, PPE goods and stay-at-home consumer products. According to the startup, at the same time, COVID-19 and other limitations caused significant port congestion problems, and rollover percentages have never been higher.

Following its rapid growth as the rising demand due to the pandemic, project44 snapped in $100M in a Series D round led by Insight Partners in 2020. This year was a massively successful year for the company when it signed a record-setting 135 new customers as well as numerous customer expansions.

project44 team collaborate with drivers about the platform
Courtesy: project44

In 2020, the company also created the most expansive and highest performing, global, over-the-road network with connections to more than 780 telematics/​ELD providers, representing 94% of the European market, and over 95% parcel coverage in North America and Europe.

Its winning has been going on since then. In June 2021, project44 revealed closing a Series E investment of $202 Million led by funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs) and Emergence Capital, elevating the company at $1.2 Billion.

In January 2022, project44 earned a $420M Investment led by Thoma Bravo, TPG, and Goldman Sachs valuing the business at $2.2B pre-money. With this valuation, project44 has furthered its position as a leader in the real-time visibility market.

project44 has purportedly established a financial record in the enterprise logistics tech sector, having raised a total of $817.5 million in venture capital, including its $202 million equity round in 2021.

To date, the business has received numerous awards for the Advanced Visibility Platform. As an honor, project44 was named #1 on the 2022 FreightWaves’ FreightTech 25 list. This Chicago based tech company has expanded globally by acquiring leading visibility providers like GateHouse Logistics, Ocean Insights, ClearMetal, and Convey.

project44 has a global network that tracks over 1 billion packages annually across 166 countries. Its customer base consists of titles like General Mills, The Home Depot, Lenovo and Amazon, and project44 had a net retention rate of 133 percent in 2021. During the same given timeframe, the company reached over $100 million in ARR.

project44’s growth springs from its ability to meet the needs of three distinct groups inside its customers’ organizations. Nevertheless, it’s just a part of their journey, one of the most key factors of their winning is the ability of always update the tech side to make the solution as flawless as possible.

Rethinking the Supply Chain Industry with a Fresh Top-Notch Movement

Since project44 burst onto the picture in 2014, it has continually refined its suite of original and acquired visibility capabilities. In September of last year, it introduced Movement, a ground-breaking platform that brought all of these under one roof and provided connection and transparency to all supply chain participants.

Its new platform provides all supply chain participants, such as shippers, carriers, logistics experts, and others, with the transparency and teamwork capabilities necessary to make supply networks work.

Movement integrates the power of the entire project44 product line, including its internally developed products and acquired capabilities, into one cohesive platform.

Archival Garcia, Vice President and General Manager for ANZ and SEA at project44, suggests that the main stress point that Movement addresses is the lack of a reliable standard for data capture. Although it is not a brand-new issue, it is becoming more and more urgent every day.

“There’s no international and uniform standard for what type of data should be captured, and what it should be measured against,” said Archival.

project44 leadership team in a ribbon cutting ceremony
Courtesy: project44

He added, “Different companies capture different data, different systems are used for different legs of the journey, and even internally, different departments within one company will be focused on different data.”

“There’s no holistic view of the whole journey, with everyone using and accessing the same data. This makes it very hard to deliver on the basic promise to the customer: ‘This is when your stuff is going to arrive.” said Archival.

Movement, Archival says, presents the chance for that single standard – a true yardstick by which to evaluate progress and delivery for all stakeholders within any given distribution chain.

From a single platform, Movement equips teams to manage exceptions, optimize cargo operations, automate tedious tasks, and work together to address customer complaints. 

By offering total order-level visibility across all modalities, including multimodal estimations, from the raw material to the customer’s door, it adds value. It offers complete workflow capabilities and insights, including those for before, during, and after transit.

It can be used by anyone in the supply chain, regardless of position, and it can transmit data to any individual or system. The user-friendly interface, standardized APIs, and Movement’s support for data-driven operations make it easier to resolve issues.

Bottom Lines

The e-commerce industry is probably a contributing factor in the expansion of supply chain software businesses. The popularity of online shopping is encouraging e-commerce businesses to invest in new technology that will improve customer service and give them an advantage over competitors. Traditional retailers are also enhancing their digital capabilities to address the increasing demand.

project44 is playing an important role aiding those retailers shifting to the new area. With a team of industry experts, technology visionaries and ambitious individuals, the company is propelling real-time, transparent and optimized shipping experiences. Since day one, they’ve never fluctuated from the vision of empowering a more useful and efficient world. The values unite them across continents and workplaces to stay focused and settle for nothing but the best from each other.

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