The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 4 months ago

Ep 114: The Future of the Freight & Logistics Industry w/ Kyler Ford

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 114: The Future of the Freight & Logistics Industry w/ Kyler Ford

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.  

Hello everyone and welcome back to thePavilion podcast. I am your host, Brandon Martin and you're listening toIs this a good time? The show where I put Pavilion members on the hot seatfor 15 minutes. We hear their incredible stories. We really showsTuesdays and thursday. So please subscribe. You won't miss hearing fromour experts. Our guest today is Kyle afford, he's the VP of sales at axel.We talk about a lot of things including the future of freight and logistics.This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses usedrift to grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift,helps their customers align sales and marketing on a single platform todeliver a unified customer experience, where people are free to have aconversation with the business at any time on their terms, learn more driftdot com. Alright, let's do this Episode 51. Is this a good time? Alright, thisis great. We have Kyler Ford with us today. Kyler is the VP of sales at axel,great guy. Really excited to have you...

...on Kyler. That's great to be here.Thanks Brandon. Well look, this is all meat, no filler. We jump right in totell us a little bit about the role you currently have and, and, and how yougot to this role? Absolutely, yeah. Currently the vice president sales ataxel where we provide working capital and back office automation for freightlogistics space. Previously before actually worked at another startupmaven was a SAS IOT company also in the freight logistics space and I've beenaxle since october and it's been a lot of fun. Nice give listeners like that,don't know the freight and logistics space, give them a little some of likewhat's going on because for my dumb Silicon valley mind, freight logistics,I immediately think of, oh no, you know, nobody is going to be doing those jobsanymore because that's what Andrew Yang tells me and there's just gonna beautomated trucks driving everywhere and, and obviously it's the freight sidethen there's logistics like give us a state of the industry if you would,sure it's a great time in the space and...

...it's a, it's an old industry that'sstarting to come through a revelation of new technologies and digitalization.There's tons of money being poured into the space from new freight brokers thatare doing things a new way with online digital marketplaces to access freight,making it easier for people to pick up loads and find new opportunities. Aswell as telematics. Companies that are very significant capital to helpprevent accidents and retrofit old equipment to make it safer on the roadfor everybody. And as well as really real time automation around back intoprocesses and route optimizations, Things that we use in our cars today,like Waze and google maps. Really still kind of new technologies in the spacesometimes. So it's catching up to the rest of the world, but there's somegreat companies out there that are starting businesses that are looking torevolutionize this space, which is long overdue. But there's just tremendousopportunity in the supply chain for new tech and for smart people who arelooking to solve complex problems. Cool.

And what's your prediction? How manyyears are we away from Elon musk? Having all the trucks on the road anduh, no one having jobs driving trucks anymore. Yeah, So we're a long way awayfrom that. Uh, you know, it's with insurance and, and with autonomy.There's a lot of regulations that still need to put in place. There's a lot ofunpredictable factors out there that need to be solved before that can bereally a solvable problem. So I think, don't get worried if you're a truckdriver or if you're, if you're in freight logistics, it's, it's sometimenow until that will happen. Okay, Okay. Well what would you predict? five yearsbefore the first trucks are going cross country with free? I think that's,that's a fair assessment. There's actually a company here in Pittsburgh,local nation whose testing already and doing great stuff and you know, I hopefor them it's sooner than that. But you know, I think we'll see some go across,but they won't be the norm for at least probably five years. Okay, Okay, cool.Is local nation, are they one of these Carnegie Mellon kind of, you know,accelerator startup, blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, there's some people from their,some great talent, you know, the robotics industry here in Pittsburgh istremendous. So we get a lot of that autonomous car programs that find theirway here. So it's another another good 11 to keep an eye on. Cool, very cool.I mean, well look, I, I always say that it's a, it's a little bit of luck and alittle bit of hard work that gets people where they are. I would love tohear a story from you about either one of those in your career that got you to,uh, to the place you're in. Yeah, I have a lot of luck and a lot of hardwork throughout my entire career, that kind of messed up. But you know, hardworking at a startup is, it's kind of the prerequisite right? You don't justwalk into any of them. They take a lot of time and energy and, and you know,from the sales side even more so, lots of emails and cold calls, educating themarket on on who you are because they have never heard of you and whatproblem you're solving and being able to clearly identify that so early on inthat career path, I was able to reach out to a lot of business owners, sealevel individuals through tailored emailing and relentless cold calling.And that hard work really ultimately...

...led me some some pretty goodopportunities. But with that, you know, timing is everything and you know, theluck part of it was always kind of getting the people at the right timeand also getting the right decision maker at the right time. So, you know,I think when I started at Maven, we didn't have any customers at all. Andyou know, within two years we were working with some of the largestfreight companies in the country and that was just due to a lot of hard workand prospecting and looking at trying to really address their problems withthe solution that we had, the same as, you know, is gone with here at axel.It's not easy to start a freight company or logistics company. So weprovide the working capital that helps these people. So when that road kind ofmeets the rubber, we've been there to help provide them with those levers andyou know, it's a really rewarding experience and it's a very fortunatelucky situation that I found myself in. So uh both use cases, it's been, it'sbeen really rewarding. Yeah, I mean, I...

...just, it's like the fabric of of thiscountry, I mean we are nothing if we can't move stuff around. So it truly, Iget a good feeling, you know, sure you can make cool social media sides orthis saturday other. But I just got a good feeling knowing that there's goodpeople behind some of the companies that are innovating and and some ofthese older industries, I mean, I'm in one in the world of restaurants andit's just, you know, I'm sure you and I have a lot of similar conversationsconvincing people to change their ways. Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know,as you touched on, it's an industry that goes under looked a lot andtransportation, but it was never more evident during this last pandemic howimportant it really is for us to get our things in a timely manner. Andthat's from our packages to our home goods. So anyway, that, you know,people can innovate and make that more efficient and streamline thoseprocesses impacts each and every one of us, even if we don't know it. Yeah, Ilove that, love that. All right, well, look, I'm in selling into these kind ofolder industries. There's some interesting tactics you take. I'm suregive us something that people can use...

...that might, you know, might not besomething that they know about, that they can use in the kind of their dailysales lives. I think the biggest thing that anyone when reaching out to thesetypes of people and industries that are maybe more old school is reallytailoring their approach to these people and making it very targeted. Andthat sounds kind of common sense. But it takes a little bit of extra researchtakes a little bit of extra creativity to really drive home why they shouldtake time out of their really busy day, which could arguably be busier than anyother industry because things are changing conditions are always changingfor these folks. So for them to take 5 to 10 minutes of the day to talk to youabout something that you have to offer is, is pretty significant. So, you knowwhat I've found successful is making sure you do a little bit background onthese folks, see where they came from, how they got their position, you know,in the email address, things that they may like or something that at theircompany that's been problematic for them over the years. Hit target pointsthat maybe affect them. So, in freight and logistics, it's, you know,insurance rates, it's accidents, it's...

...the loss and visibility into theirshipments, right? So making sure that whatever you're delivering reallyimpacts their bottom line and that's something that they should take timeand really evaluate because it could be a game changer. So it's all about notproviding that bulleted list of overwhelming things that they couldhave. But drilling that down to a couple of key pieces that relate tothem personally and also will ultimately impact their business, lovethat love that. Yeah. I mean it's it's I even have to remind myself sometimesyou can't really relate it back to the use case enough right? Always make sureyou're connecting your solution to their problem five times in theconversations. I mean just you can't do it enough because it doesn't alwaysstick on the first time. For sure. Absolutely. And so who are some peoplethat you would want to shout out that our up and comers and or people youknow thought leaders that you're following that that really kind ofcontribute to the way you think about your sales philosophies. Yeah. I meanone more recently is you know, Mark...

...roberts, the former C. R. O. At hubspotis someone who you know, I keep constant ion and someone I look up toBen Braverman and flex forward as someone who's built out a reallysuccessful company there that I keep an eye on. Those are great guys as well asyou know, even in my own backyard at actual, you know, I think our cofounders, Barth and Sean built out just an incredible culture at our company aswell as a growing organization. But there's so much thought around how we,we hire people the types of things in traits that we instill in each otherand hold each other to a high regard to more so than I've ever seen. And andthey're pretty young guys that are doing this. So there are some peoplethat I keep on on my radar. Nice man. Nice. I love that. And and just curious,you know, talking about those founders, what is the origin story for thecompany? Is it? Uh, they come out of the industry, did they? They didn'tactually what it's a great story. The...

...both best friends from high school,they tried to start multiple businesses. They had gotten into a segment oftransportation and kind of ride share and things within that space and thenfound an opportunity uh, in the logistics and freight space, providingcapital to these startup brokerages and also providing payment automation forthese larger brokerages. So yeah, they kind of stumbled upon it, which I feellike it's a story that happens a lot in transportation. If you talk about howpeople ended up there in regards of whatever role they work in, but theyreally are, are set and poised to transform this segment or this part ofthe industry. Cool, cool. Well look, I mean, all this other advice andeverything is for for the, for the people listening, for me, where we eatman, give me one spot and it it's got to be from pennsylvania. You and I havea very strange connection to the center of pennsylvania and you've lived there,I've spent a little time there, I married somebody from there, doesn'thave to be from there, but give me a spot in P. A. That we can go to Men. Uhthis is my favorite thing to do.

There's actually a restaurant in, inPittsburgh pennsylvania. It's called Ala Familia. It's kind of in a dicey upside of town, but it's been around for a pretty long time and it is literallythe best restaurant that I've eaten at in my life. It's kind of veal chop,that is unbelievable, It looks like out of the Flintstones, uh it's got, it'sgot great sea bass and Black bass and Jonathan. The owner does a terrific job,anytime that there's a sporting event going on Pittsburgh, you're likely tofind name your broadcaster, they're, they're athletes are their businessleaders are there, but it's, it's a pretty well known or well kept secret,but I have some friends that live all over the world in Singapore, in Londonand Hong kong who have been here and, and have eaten here and they think it'sthe best restaurant they've ever been to. So wow, I highly recommended and Ispent a decent amount of time in Manhattan. He did some really greatrestaurants up there too. We can't, you know, you can name a million, but it'sright up there with any of those. This is, this is hi, this is a sounds like amust hit if in Pittsburgh isn't the...

...type of place that that's booked upwell in advance or Yeah, but they recently expanded, you know, they havesome capacity and uh, you know, it's worth it, get it on your, on yourbucket list of places to eat it. It's a game changer. This is great, and I'msure because of your Western P. A. Your Steelers and not eagles, so so we canhang otherwise, you know, we really wouldn't be able to go watch a sportingevent Together. You're fine. 100% Steeler fan awesome, and Kyler great toconnect and uh keep doing what you're doing man. I'm really, really lookingforward to just keeping in touch and hearing about how your careerprogresses. Yeah. Brandon, I appreciate the time. Nice to nice to chat with youawesome. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If youlove the show. Great review. Send it to your mom, send it to your dad, send itto your kids, send it to your siblings, sending everybody. Why not? And thentell them all to smash that subscribe button and a reminder of this episodeis brought to you by drift. The new way...

...businesses by from businesses. You canlearn more. Get the conversation started at drift dot com. I had funtoday. Hope you did too. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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