Wow – I didn’t know about this company but it sounds like a massive success story! This kind of digitization seems incredibly relevant in a world where people want full transparency in their supply chains – how are the products I order online or buy in store getting to me? I wonder if there is some opportunity for Flexport to ever offer digital solutions to other areas of supply chains. I’m thinking further upstream than shipping – more towards the manufacturing side of unfinished goods. One example of an industry that’s incredibly opaque and in need of transparency is the textiles industry. As Flexport iterates on their technology, maybe the next step for them is to disrupt other parts of the supply chain through digitization.
Building on Megan’s comment above, I wonder as more sports leagues and events partner with SMT, will they continue to sustain a competitive advantage as their product is no longer a differentiation point for their customers? I’m thinking of Clay Christensen’s theory of commoditization and decommoditization cycles. As SMT’s tech becomes commoditized, value is likely to move into other area’s of the supply chain – should SMT begin to invest R&D dollars in spaces they think the value will be in the future? And where would that be in this scenario? As well, tying themselves to the incumbent rocket ship is beneficial for scaling in the short term, but what happens when those incumbents are disrupted? I’ll be curious to see how SMT continues to reinvent itself and if it ends up a winner or loser for the long term.
Really good point!
Really cool, Megan! I saw that IKEA is also testing out a furniture leasing model in 2020 (for as little as $33/month for an apartment’s worth of furniture – crazy). It seems like this would fit nicely in with their new microstore “Planning Studios” for highly urban environments. I agree that their upfront investment in rethinking the user experience and digital supply chain will allow them to be much more agile when continuously innovating in their business.