How to Scale Your Freight Forwarding Business

May 21, 2020

With our esteemed guests, Brian Li from Flexport and Ian Bork from Rohlig, we explore how some of the top freight forwarders are adjusting to the new environment considering COVID-19. Both have years of experience in Growth, Marketing and Business Development so have a lot of thoughts on how we could protect our businesses and eventually thrive.

Jeff Tan  
Again, we'd like to thank everyone for coming. We have people around Southeast Asia from Vietnam. And we have attendees from the Philippines, from Malaysia as well and even from Myanmar.

Brian Li (Flexport)
That's awesome.

Host (Richie)  
All right, I think we're, uh, we'll get started here. Ian is coming, just running a few minutes late, but we can, you know, start off with the quick housekeeping items that we need to go over and Brian could start off here from Flexport. So Jeff wanted to if you wanted to just kind of lay it up and kind of talk about how this came to be.

Jeff Tan  
Um, yeah, I'd like to thank everyone for coming. So our expert dock team here right now. wanted to thank you, we we wanted to bring the community together. In terms of like how forwarders all need help in the community right now by providing information and other resources during this difficult time. So we at expert Ark here actually have software that processes that can enables forwarders to process three times more shipments in the same amount of time by automating data entry and communication. I'm everyone, for people who have questions, they can go through the q&a button, and then we'll discuss it in q&a. So just click that button at the bottom of your screen. And then em Ryan can we can go through them at the end. For the resources, we'll be able to email you the recording of this webinar and a copy of all the slides so that you can go back through them for even to show your, your company and even so that those who couldn't attend also have a chance to get educational material. And as what she said, like, we are inviting everyone to join our expert community where we'll be sharing and keeping in touch with each other on information and content that can help freight forwarders all around the world. So for personalized sessions, if you need to consult anything about like IQ related and you can hit me up and for our 30 minute one on one session, I'll leave my number there and my email will also be presenting this at the end. So for the panelists today, Richard will be our host. She's the chief Relations Officer of expert up for featured speakers. We have Ian Bork and Brian Lee. Ian will be joining us shortly on Brian we'll start things off.

Brian Li (Flexport)  
Hey, how's it going? Jeff, I saw your picture there, Richie yours as well. It's It's crazy to see how much Your hair has grown during this COVID time, just a reminder of how things have changed even though I mean, obviously, you know, COVID has impacted us all in terms of business, but also just crazy to see your hair as well. So, so I'm Brian, I've been with Flexport for three years. I started out really working with, with documents and, and literally I was I was hired to do data entry and worked on a lot of that. So I know what it's like, I know what it is, there are nights where I've been really tired and it's like, Okay, well, we need to, you know, get a lot of this information in the system, need to put it in track and trace. I know what it's like to have incorrect documents and then have clients yell at me. I've been there Believe me. Since then I've moved on to growth strategy with flexport. So really, my focus now is how do we build the pipeline output support? How do we build customers and just improve our customer base, so It's been a really interesting time. And definitely, this has been the craziest time I think we've ever seen in our careers probably since 2008. But but for sure, for sure right now. So how has COVID affected freight forwarding? Well, it's happened in a couple of ways. I mean, when you look at the air market, it's impacted both the capacity of air and ocean. I think, specifically, when you look at air, especially for flights coming into the US specifically, where we're flexport is really strong. I don't think this is anything new, but obviously we've seen passenger capacity just get cut out. And that is a huge and tremendous source of air freight. And because of that minimum capacity, we see just pricing shooting through the roof. So with the air market, the capacity is really constrained versing lead times really increased. And I think for freight forwarders specifically, we've seen it's been hard To really service our clients and service our customers in a really quick and easy way that air has normally been able to do on the ocean side carriers, there is less demand, but carriers are still trying to artificially sort of constrained capacity with blank sailings and everything. So just across the board, things are going down. There are some industries that are doing well some industries that are doing poorly, of course, because just the just the demands have shifted in the market. We're seeing a lot of consolidation a little bit and freight forwarding, we're seeing that some foreigners you know, have been less successful in this environment. There are some foreigners that have been able to execute super well. I hope flexport is one of those but but of course we'll see across the board. But yeah, like it's anyone's guess as to when this period will end right. Like we're not sure when exactly a vaccine will be readily available. We're still I'm not sure when exactly everyone's going to go back to work. So we don't really know and global trade will bounce back. And there's speculation across the board like, Are we going to be a work from home forever sort of thing, right? And and if that happens, obviously, the market and the industries that that really benefit and that are really shipping goods is completely going to shift. But it's really too early to say, what's been doing well. So how can freight forwarders survive in this environment? Well, there's a couple things that that we need to do, right, like, the first thing to do is obviously to focus on the customer because the customer is our lifeblood, and the customers most important, there's a couple of customers that are really struggling in this environment and that are really struggling to be able to pay the bills. There are other customers who are really struggling to get product out of out of their out of their factories and out of their suppliers and into like the end destination countries that where they really need it because there's just this massive increase in demand. The second thing that we need to do is is shake the couch cushion, so to speak. Save whatever Penny we can get, and, and just ensure that we can hold on to the savings such that in in these lean times we can survive. And that falls in a couple of different ways, right? When we think about for example, personnel, the more we can use technology, for example, and technology to improve that enemy. I think flexport has done a great job and I'm more than happy to talk about that. But the more we can use that to either a playoff fence with our customers or be, you know, save costs on the digitization side, and and the TMS side and all that, the better, we can move forward. So yeah, technology can definitely help bring freight forwarders into the modern era, like the slide says itself.

Brian Li (Flexport)  
I think there's there's a couple of big changes that we're seeing happen. First, customers are demanding that the information be as accurate as possible, right, like any mistakes and any slip ups well, that that just becomes an opportunity for someone else. And obviously, as an As the pool gets smaller and smaller, the competition is getting fiercer and fiercer, like this is an important thing. It's also important to use technology to align different organizations together. So how do we how do we combine sales and account management and operations? It's very hard to do it separately. But together we need these to work in harmony right and technology. I think that there are a lot of technology answers there. I think that there are also process changes that we need to think through as well as freight forwarders.

Jeff Tan  
Thank you so much, Brian, for sharing your what your your thoughts, we can go through the q&a later on. Ian just joined us Um, so yen hears all the way from California. So Sorry for keeping us up so late. Yeah, so who's he and

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
Hello, everybody. You Nice to be here. And I guess Good afternoon where you guys are at today? Um, yeah, so I'm a Silicon Valley veteran, as you can see, uh, you know a little bit about me. I've been involved in startups for about 15 years in a business development fundraising capacity, and have been in logistics for about 18 months now. So I am a business development expert, relatively new but learning a lot about logistics, but, you know, business development is business development. So, applying my knowledge to this industry has been really rewarding. Um, yeah, so building off what Brian said, um, definitely. This this what we've seen so far, so there was 150 5 million people in the US workforce prior to COVID. We saw 30 million people drop out of the workforce so far, so 80% of them are still there. 20% are gone. roughly the amount Work hasn't necessarily changed. So 80% of people are doing 100% of the people's work. People are busy right now, there's not a lot of time to go and create new relationships. It's kind of a fool's errand to go out and chase down. You know, new leads right now. businesses don't have time to meet new vendors, right. And in the us right now, people are filing for paycheck protection. staffers are learning new roles. They're taking on new responsibilities. People are trying to figure out do we need to furlough our employees? How do we stay in business? So really, the last thing anybody wants to do is, is adjust a vendor relationship on something that's as critical as logistics is so um, you know, be sensitive in this market. Don't be overly aggressive, and don't turn people off with you know, that type of aggression. You know it right into my point that opening new conversations is a fool's errand but really, where we're experiencing a lot of growth that rolig where I'm at now is through creating new product lines through consolidated loads through getting, you know, dedicated charters, whatever it whatever it may be getting a lower price point for our clients, and being able to take that value back to them. And, you know, therefore being able to expand the trade lanes we have with those clients. So that feeds right into expanding the services to the people we already have, it's a lot easier to get, you know, 20% more business out of somebody that you're already providing quality service to than it is to go out and start a new relationship. So, you know, to Brian's point, you know, shake the couch cushions, find, find things find value in relationships that you already have. I'm going to steal that analogy tomorrow at work, and they're gonna think I'm smart for using it. So thanks, Brian. Yeah, and then re quoting clients that you've, you know, quoted in the past. So one thing that, that I've been able to find value in doing is going back to people that maybe I've lost. I don't like to admit it, but there are a couple and saying, hey, look, you gave us these dimensions. These origin and destination cities, you know these requirements for your load, this is what it would look like to move it today. Because I have a strong suspicion, we can beat a lot of the pricing that they're seeing from their current provider. So it's a way to be subtly aggressive without being, you know, over the top. And then LinkedIn, super underused resource, I think, you know, there's a, it's worth going to an entire seminar on how to use LinkedIn in today's climate. But LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with people see who people know, find out who's in your immediate network, research clients. Use it, use it, use it, and get it for all your sales people. It's awesome. And, you know, you know who your clients are. So I mean, you know who your clients are. So what does that mean? That means, go to your clients, pages on LinkedIn, see who they know. See who sits in a similar position to their position at other companies and ask for direct introductions because You're gonna cut through a whole lot of red tape. Getting directly to a decision maker who has a decision making authority. We've already done it another company with a direct introduction. So that's one way right now that you're actually it's possible to go out and get new business, right?

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
become an expert in this, you know, this is another point that's been made already, but really go out and educate yourself on what matters the most to your clients so that when they're talking to you, they're deriving value from that conversation. So what are the regulations for their industry on restarting what phase do they fit for the state that they're in? You know, where is that at? How are they running up to that? What are we seeing other clients do? Are we seeing people move production, become an expert in what they need to know. And then, you know, really prepare for a return to normalcy because it is coming. We don't know when but it is coming. And this is a great time, because you can't go and visit people at least in the United States. This is a great time to really, you know, call your prospects clean up your prospects, your leads database, really position yourself for success, identify decision makers and do a lot of the legwork now so that when things get back to normal, you're ready to dominate again. And that's that's how we're doing business today. And then the COVID Clements. Thank you guys.

Jeff Tan  
Yeah, thank you guys for that spiel. Um, let's wait for our, our participants to submit any questions, but I myself have a few questions for you guys. So, Ryan, you spoke about how we could better serve our customers. What are some core technologies that all freight forwarders should be using right now, in times of this pandemic?

Brian Li (Flexport)  
Yeah, so I think that there's a couple of things I think the first thing that comes to mind is obviously some sort of TMS system. I think any system in which you can sort of aggregate all the all the different sort of things that are going on global trade is a really complex business, anything that you can do to really centralize that is really powerful. I'd be remiss to also not talk about what exibit doc does, which is, which is the document transcription, gaming, and anything that's that that we can do to make it as easy as possible and as accurate as possible to get information from one place to another. That's literally our job right. So so anything we can do to fully to further streamline that, obviously leads to very strong downstream effects. And I think the last piece is like, Is any sense? So I think that this also falls into the TMS bit, but that visibility piece is becoming more and more important to at least our customers for sure. And, and i and i and i assume Ian, you can speak to this as well. But that visibility piece of Where is my cargo at any given point in time, is becoming more and more important to customers, especially in the age of the internet. So those are general broad themes that we're seeing

Jeff Tan  
Yeah, so for those who aren't so accustomed to what a TMS so basically our transport management system, you know, in Southeast Asia around a lot of our forwarders don't really have the most high tech like technology available to them in terms of like, logistics software, right. You also spoke about how about consolidation? And I wanted to ask you about since the situation that we have now is that freight forwarders are able to network with one another and our community would be to help each other like survive this pandemic? Right. And so what do you think is the best way to network with one another since there are no longer any conferences or meetups that usually like people from freight forwarders from around the world would usually come and join?

Brian Li (Flexport)  
Yeah, I mean, I mean, that's that's a tough question and and to be honest with you, like the normal methods won't work. And I think that there's this time of like this, this real happiness and Real scrappiness that that will prevail the day and it's like the people who are able to be clever about how to be, you know, sort of just clever in sort of business methods will be able to come out on top. And I think Ian made a great point when he talked about LinkedIn. I think that's, that's a fantastic method to use right now. I think we're also under estimating the value of a cold email, right? So if you go onto a website of a freight forwarder, or you're able to find someone else's email address, oftentimes you can guess the email address of someone you want to network with, within that within, you know, that freight forwarder. And, and I think that that's a great way to start off and just say hi, you know, introduction, the normal cold email that we're all accustomed to. Yeah, even if you send 10 cold emails, maybe to get back to you, and that's a win right there. And I think that you can start to have a great conversation and then hop on a zoom. Where, hey, guess what, actually in this environment, you don't need to travel to that to their person's location anymore. You don't need it. Take, you know, you don't need to spend $20 on a lunch even, you can still have a great conversation without traveling and without handling all these. I know we're in logistics, but you don't need to worry about the logistics of managing that that interaction.

Jeff Tan  
Yeah, definitely. Especially in these times like sales has really changed, especially in terms of like, of how freight forwarders usually do sales calls. Usually, from my experience, he would go to the actual offices of different shippers, and we just like, tell them about our service. And right now that isn't really possible. So maybe we have a question here that Ian could answer. So Larry Smith asked, Hi, can you talk a little bit about yourself within the context of your company, and a high level overview of how COVID is affecting your business? And also how exactly you're tracking all these leads? Yeah, so there's a lot of questions in there. Maybe we can go to Then one by one.

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
Yeah, definitely. Um, so I'm in business development. So my role is, you know, really prospecting, from step from step a, through close. And, you know, making sure that client is, you know, going to pass their credit check, they're the right size for us to work with, you know, not too big, not too small, that it meets all the check marks. Um, I do a little a light account management. I have an awesome team around me that supports the account management and then I do some interaction with the the operators, but really, it's 90% hunting and finding new relationships for our west coast branch. So a high level overview of how Cove is affecting our business. I mean, you know, we've taken I hope there's no one from my company here. Other than other than my assistant Who knows on the call, um, you know, we've taken in the US an 80%. We're an 80% time right now. So everybody's taking one day a week off. So it's a furlough. It's a six week for low. It's, you know, hopefully it ends at that point, but that's really how the management has approached it. And you know, we're on budget for 2020 right now, somehow. So, you know, certain industries are bulletproof, and there has been cargo moving and luckily, a lot of the lanes that we specialize in on our specific branch, or, you know, in our specific region haven't been affected as deeply as some of the other lanes have. So we have had a pretty healthy flow of business coming in. And then in terms of tracking leads, I get this question all the time. Um, you know, I've built CRM systems. And I really love him as a management person. But when I'm doing sales, I couldn't hate anything more than a than CRM. So you know, I'm I have reams and reams and reams of leads and handwritten notes and at some point in time, theoretically those will make it into a system but uh, you know, when they become real clients, they make it into the system, but really, it needs to be done in a CRM way so that it can be projected so that you can understand what's, you know, realistically over the horizon for your business. And it has to be done that way, unfortunately for some of the salespeople, but that's how that's how the tracking is happening.

Jeff Tan  
Yeah, so for the people who don't have the tech know how a CRM is a customer relationship, manage management system. So basically all your leads, all your business related stuff, you use it to track your sales. We have a question here from Reshma Yousef. He asked, how would you suggest SME freight forwarders Do not have the tech know how or financial resources to digitalize their operations. So maybe Yeah, Brian and Ian can talk. Talk more about this.

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
Yeah, I think that's Brian, Flexport's, Flexport's, the tech, the tech team, right.

Brian Li (Flexport)  
Yeah. This is a really good question. And to be honest, it is hard to answer. But I think that there's a couple of guidelines that we can we can work with, right. I think the first thing is we don't like technology isn't necessarily the right answer for your business. It might be the right answer. It might not be the right answer, right. Like, where is it the right answer? Well, it's the right answer when you're trying to really scale up your business and you're really like, Okay, if I were to grow my business to x, three X, whatever, theoretically, like it would break my company like that's, that's really when it really makes sense to have a tech for business. I think a lot of times Where tech also works is in the is in the situation that Ian you described earlier? where it's like, Okay, well, you know, 80% of people need to do 100% of the work, that's a really good way to do it. I think that there are like, also lower cost options to consider, like, if you want to go in the medium route. It's going to be hard, like it's going to there's going to be training that needs to have happen. But yeah, I mean, it is going to be a tough transition here. I think that there are probably, if you weren't, there, probably like some sort of scrappy things you can do. Like, for example, if you go to some of these, some of these companies and you reach out to them, maybe you ask for a trial, right? And it's like, Okay, well, does this actually help my business? Does it not help my business? That's one way to really see if it's right for you. Obviously, you're going to need the financial resources in order to do that, but that's a great way to get the tech know how, while also Not paying so much money up front for something that you might not know, it's going to help your business right? Like, I think that asking for a trial. I mean, think about it, like if you guys are hurting? Well, the vendors who rely on your money and the paycheck from from the freight forwarders are also going to be hurting as well. And they're probably going to be more than open to doing this. And that's what I mean for  Flexports vendors ourselves, like we've been able to ask for some of these sweetheart deals from our vendors. In order to actually make this work. They just explained the situation and explaining global trade. Yeah, that answers that question.

Jeff Tan  
I think it all boils down to finding the right partner in terms of like building technology up for your company because I'm like, like what Russia said like not all freight forwarders have like the financial capability to buy something where it's like $10,000 $20,000 outright. So it's finding that technological partner that you want to work with and build build that technology into your, into your into your company.

Host (Richie)  
Yeah, just to jump in real quick here, Jeff.

Host (Richie)  
I know that's probably going to be a common question that I'm assuming a lot of the attendees in here are having. So just real quick, again, to kind of answer the question more more directly to you and your practice. Definitely. After this webinar, definitely reach out to Jeff here, who, you know, we're offering some consulting on, you know, tech on the technology side, the digitization side. So definitely, if you have really specific questions that pertain directly to your practice to your business, we could definitely answer those after the webinar as well. But I think if we have another question in here in the q&a

Jeff Tan  
Yeah, I'm in the SMEs, small medium enterprises and freight forwarding industry, we do not have resources and technology. How can we market ourselves Amidst the tough competition and this pandemic, yeah, maybe even, this seems to be more of a business related question. Maybe you can help here.

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
So, um,

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
you know, coming into the freight forwarding industry, I've been shocked at how far behind a lot of the technology is I have a very strong tech background. So, you know, cargo wise looks like it was built in the 1980s. And a lot of the other technology that's out there is, is it's not great. And the reason is, logistics is a relationship business. So at the end of the day, it matters who you know, it matters who your operators know, in terms of can you get the cargo moves? Can you get someone to do a pickup that nobody else wants to do? Can you get first in line can you get your cargo off the ship in time? It matters who you know, and I've seen that time and time again in 18. So yes, technology is this is this thing that people feel like they have to have to compete. And it's not like you want to go out and make a bad choice on the technology you're getting. So really educating yourself on. You know, what your exact need is, as a business. So sitting down with people who understand the technology, I think, you know, definitely talk with Jeff, at length if you get a chance. But go through your go through needs evaluation with your business, what are your biggest pain points? Where do you think that you could apply? You know, $2,000 and make a difference with technology? Where do you think you'd apply for thousand dollars with tech, you know, and make a difference with technology? And, and really look at it from that angle. And then, you know, I don't want to get any young hungry tech entrepreneurs in trouble here. But basically, if you are a foreigner, you have something that they want you to have data. So go find somebody who's building a product in your space and say, hey, look, we'll help Your product but I need you to build X, Y and Z feature for me and then at that point you get what you need they get what they needed. It's a symbiotic relationship and you guys can win together. And I think that's a you know a way a lot of SMEs are creatively figuring out how to get custom built technology into their stack that they can offer.

Jeff Tan  
Jeff Galvez here wanted to ask about any effective strategy for cold calling or expansion of business to prospect clients at this time. Yeah, so maybe like strategies on cold calling cold emailing like maybe your tips and tricks so that for these guys

Brian Li (Flexport)  
yeah, so So from the from, from our perspective, at least, like cold calling, you're never gonna it's not shooting fish in a barrel. Like it's, it's honestly, you're lucky to have a 20% hit right here right like the strategy first. First and foremost is to have a one At basis possible and and have a high volume of sort of outreach before you can expect to see any success. Now I think within that what you can do that smart is like really be obviously be personalized, but then really test a bunch of different pitches on a number of different people and see what works. So it's like okay, well maybe if I have four different pitches, and I have 100 emails to sell well, you send 25 emails with one pitch 25 emails with the second 25 with the third and so on and so forth. And that okay, what works the best, you find what works the best and then boom, you just switch entirely to that. Now there's there's probably going to be some nuance there in terms of, you're going to know your markets the best. There's going to be some nuance here in what pitch works on each specific sort of different archetypes so to speak. And, and I think that it's it's a game of experimentation. It's a game of casting a wide net. And and I think ultimately, that's how that's how we've been able to see all It's flexport.

Jeff Tan  
Mike Tracey here wanted to ask maybe any one of you What what are easy to use and free or cheap tools? you recommend for forwarders? That's just starting to digitalize.

Brian Li (Flexport)  
Maybe Ryan or Ian can take it.

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
Yeah. There's a lot of free CRM out there. Um, customer resource management, or customer relationship management, whatever they whatever it means now. You know, Salesforce is very expensive. It On the other end, you have something like streak streak is very cheap, it's very affordable. And it takes your emails right from Gmail fits into the G Suite and it plugs right into actionable CRM items, you know, follow ups, meetings, whatever, whatever it needs to be. You can put everything in a pipeline. So I think having a good CRM Sugar CRM is cheap. There's a free CRM comm if you really don't want to spend anything and that's all CSV for format. So when you decide you want to, you know, take the step and go to the next level of that type of stuff, you can port that over easily. But there are a lot of free type of solutions like that. And, you know, I personally am on the biz dev side. So that's really the only tech stack that I'm using on a daily basis. I mean, we have quoting systems and whatnot, but you know, my team understands that I can go out and close business so they take care of all the all the quoting and everything like that. So that's really the tech exposure that I have.

Jeff Tan  
Yeah, I think it really drills down to like finding what works for us a forwarder. I'd like not and maybe talking to the right expert, since we know that, um, you're like we were freight forwarders like, we're not really tech experts that who could digitalize our find these cheap tools for us? So maybe, like me, I'd be happy to walk you through like, what are the cheap options out there in the market? And like what, what what we could offer you Guys in terms of like how we could digitalize us? digitalize for you guys as well.

Brian Li (Flexport)  
Yeah. And one last thing that I'll say to that is like, okay, yeah, obviously, it's hard to be very prescriptive with the right tools. But, you know, whatever the biggest pain point is like, often, if you just you can just Google it and then find a bunch of different vendors and find a bunch of different vendors who are doing something and then talk to each one of them and reference that you're talking to other vendors, right? And then and then really just enforce that trial and even even Mike, you can see if it really adds value for your business of course and see like, Okay, well, you can start to start to get a feel for the tools, easy to use as a relative term, right? So So obviously, what's what's maybe easy to use for you, Mike is going to be a little bit different than then what's easy for you to use and what's easy for me to use. So. Really, a trial is the best way to move forward and I would highly recommend not moving forward unless you have that sort of proof of concept there.

Jeff Tan  
Um, yeah, we have Ken here from side effects in Vietnam. He said as I see the effects of COVID-19 many shipping line and airline withdraw their service, it makes great and service become not steady, like greatest increase and no space or equipment in the small fleet for as a small freight forwarder how, how do we go about recording to prospects or to customers? Maybe and can talk more about this. So, basically like the changing rates and all these it might be harder for smaller freight forwarder to go about this recording that we talked about.

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
Yeah, so you know, um, it's really tough for me to there's small and medium is such a broad spectrum, right? So it's hard for me to necessarily understand your specific situation. So you know, a general thing. What we're doing is saying, hey, look, we have X amount of cargo going on four different days out of this port to this city, right? So we're consolidating the loads, you know. So that's one thing that we're finding a lot of value in is consoles. And then in terms, it just depends on your bargaining power, though, right? Like if you're not moving Enough, enough volume to get console's on your own. We're seeing people go and find other forwards orders to partner with. So saying, hey, look, we have half a load, these have a quarter of load, they have 15%, they have 10%. And let's, you know, move it out, and we'll lock in these rates, so you can go and use collective bargaining power right now. So I think those are two things that that are really working

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
right now.

Jeff Tan  
Um, yeah, so rashleigh also asked, for example, using TMS or CMS systems would really help in optimizing app assets apart from track and trace, but how do we get there? How do we get our hands on these without having the tech know how, and the Money for q&a outright upgrade for purchase. I think like Brian talked about this, I'm really finding that right design part there that even Ian talked about it and finding that right company that can work for you. So people, so finding that, like startup or that tech technology company that can work with you and building up your systems and becoming like design partners for you and them.

Brian Li (Flexport)  
Yep, I would agree with that.

Host (Richie)  
I think rush mouse is another other question here, Jeff. Um, which is May I suggest that either a government agency developed a platform for various software providers to offer their services on cloud based subscription to the SMEs? Would that sound like a proposition

Host (Richie)  
anyone want to take

Jeff Tan  
Yeah, I mean, that sounds like a great idea. Yeah.

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
I think I mean, industry has time and time again shown its ability to outperform any government on projects. So I think, an effort like this on the private side, we could go a pretty long ways. And I think, you know, it's a, it's a resources lacking, especially as logistics is finally catching up to the digitization of the world. Really, they're the last last survivors of the non digital world and a lot of ways. You know, so sharing information is going to be a really important step. And the more you know, a lot of these, it's a chicken or an egg type situation. So if you can get, you know, mass behind a technology, that technology is going to become better, but if everybody's using, you know, 10,000 different solutions, then none of those are ever going to get the revenue they need to become the solution that everyone needs. So everybody deciding what the platform they want to move forward on is, you know, kind of an important step. So in a way to democratizing the technology in this space is going to be important in the next couple of years. And I think probably flexport is in kind of a cat bird seat, you know, in terms of dictating what the tech stacks going to be as we go forward, so they'll probably be buying up a lot of these smaller tech options, and, you know, consolidating and having all of these things, you know, that they can offer?

Jeff Tan  
Um, yeah, we just got another question from an anonymous question for you and what with the new normal, what do you think would happen to face to face calls? What could be a better option that may be effective?

Ian Bork (Rohlig)  
I mean, at the end of the day, I mean, some some people I sell to or fortune 500 executives, that are definitely going to want to socially distance some people or warehouse managers that are going to want to go in and high five and, you know, talk real close without masks on and won't like if I'm wearing a mask. So you know, I think there's a For me, personally, I'm not too worried about what that's going to be because it's just, that's a personal decision that I'm comfort. It's a personal risk that I'm willing to take on. So I don't mind talking to people with or without masks, right. But it's really as a company, when you are looking at risk and mitigating risk for your employees, you almost have to mandate that they were that just to cover your cover your basis, in terms of them getting exposed to COVID while they're out on a work call, violating some health order, right. So yeah.

Jeff Tan  
I'm Mike Mike crazy asked again, how long do you think the situation will last until we start to see things pick up again? And what are some broad trends and implication forward you should be aware of?

Brian Li (Flexport)  
Yeah, honestly. Yeah. Mike, that's that's an excellent question. And I don't want to give an answer on time because there's just so much like I don't want to say you know, three months and then become Back to me, like six months later, and it's like, hey, this hasn't happened. Right. But like, the point is, there's there's still a lot of variability. But like, let's talk about certain cases in certain scenarios, right? Like, in the scenario of three months things open, it's a new normal, like, we just go back to the old world. Well, then, I mean, we don't need to really talk about that scenario, because we all know what the old world looks like. I think that what's interesting to talk about is in sick, let's say that in six months, things are not back to normal, like how does a freight forwarder adjust what industries are doing well, so we're actually like, for example, we're seeing that a couple of industries are really doing well in this work from home environments. If work from home environment becomes a more permanent setting, potentially, these industries are positioned well to succeed and that's a couple of things like the first is toys and children's clothing. A lot of legging companies are doing really well like a lot of women like wearing these leggings and and they're very comfortable, you know, On a video chat, you can see that you know, below the top half of the of the attire so those companies are doing super well. There's there's also a couple of interesting companies doing well that are that are sort of like that are sort of odd to odd to me, but makes sense, which is like the first one is, is insect repellent actually is doing very well, there's a lot of home renovation happening because people are at home and are uncomfortable with the way their house looks. So there's a lot of these like, sort of niche industries. I mean, we could talk about this a little bit more if you have more questions. But I think that that's, that's sort of like I think it's smart to sort of start to get around those sorts of industries and those sorts of work from home, like what benefits in a work from home environment? I mean, you can just go onto Amazon and look at what are the best selling products and that might be a smart way to figure out how do I pick up my business, right, like, how do I pivot? The sort of customers that I go after?