Shaping the Global Cold Chain with Visibility: Q&A with Trimble’s Zack Gibbs
We are proud to share that Zack Gibbs, Senior Product Manager for Trimble Transportation, was recently named as one of Food Logistics magazine’s “Rock Stars of the Supply Chain” for 2021.
There’s no doubt that this title is well-earned. As a leader in the freight visibility space who’s always working to innovate new solutions to create supply chain efficiencies, reduce waste, improve ROI and enhance customer operations, Zack is poised to create lasting change in the supply chain for years to come.
We caught up with Zack to celebrate his award and pick his brain about all things related to supply chain visibility.
Tell us about your career path and what you do for Trimble.
After I graduated from the University of Tennessee with a focus on supply chain management, I had the privilege of starting my career at Amazon. I was there for several years in a variety of startup, operational and project management roles before moving to XPO Logistics to learn the carrier side of the business. After XPO Logistics, I missed the startup feel and landed at a supply chain technology company that Trimble acquired back in 2017, where I still work today as a Senior Product Manager for the Transportation division’s Visibility group.
In current my role, I am responsible for working with our technology infrastructure and development staff, customer success, support, sales, partners, and operational groups to deliver technology solutions for our customers that help them improve their operational performance, better manage risk, provide enhanced benchmarking and analytics, and ultimately improve their customer service.
What have you and the Visibility team been doing to shape the global temperature-controlled supply chain?
Over the past year, the team has focused on enabling better connectivity for temperature-controlled shipments across modes and third-party hardware providers.
The Visibility application pairs positional data available from a variety of telematics providers and other disparate sources with trailer or container temperature data to calculate not only accurate ETAs and risk assessments alongside each positional update, but also highlight risks of temperature-controlled goods riding inside of that trailer or container.
We provide automated alerting inside the application around these product-level temperature breaches and allow our customers to set up custom rules for being automatically notified using email or text message updates when variances occur using their own custom setup rules.
We’ve also helped expand views for less-than-truckload (LTL) and parcel shipments, as well as enhancing shipment tracking around ocean containers and vessel tracking around international ports.
These efforts are building the foundation for a connected global food supply chain with more efficiencies and less waste, with the goal of proactively managing potential food spoilage or quality concerns in-transit as well as limiting negative brand impact by putting potentially dangerous items on consumer shelves.
What else is the Visibility team working on right now?
Over the next year, we plan to further enhance solutions to address customers’ complex needs, such as multi-zone temperature tracking, more intricate customer sharing controls for both carrier and shipper customers that improve visibility while protecting sensitive information, leveraging GIS location level data to understand and build logic around unplanned stops along a route line, further enhancing LTL/Parcel/Ocean modes of service and support a continuing emphasis on integrations between companies to provide better data sharing between providers.
What has changed in the supply chain since you first started in the industry?
Since I got started in the industry in 2010, I have seen many changes. One of the biggest changes is the access to cloud infrastructure, which allows companies to more easily try solutions prior to signing on to a system with a long-term commitment and requiring a large upfront capital expenditure investment, as was typically done in the past. Now, systems can be set up in weeks or even just days – significantly reducing implementation time and providing more rapid return on investment.
Being able to experiment with different solutions becomes much easier when your base systems are running a more modern cloud-based architecture. This speeds up time to market for new technologies and innovation adoption in the industry as a whole.
Eleven years ago, when I began my career with Amazon, the company was just beginning to become the powerhouse that it is today. I give the management team at Amazon a lot of credit in pushing the entire industry forward in its ability to think about customer needs first and build modern and innovative solutions to delight customers. That is what we should all be striving to do within the industry – pushing the envelope and thinking about customer solutioning first.
What do you think are some of the transportation & logistics industry’s biggest challenges?
The transition to cloud-based solutions is a challenge. Many cold chain companies are still utilizing on-premise systems which can be more cumbersome to update, maintain, and harder to integrate across other solutions. Cloud-hosted software and applications enable more opportunities for collaboration across companies and create opportunities to develop new solutions that previously were not accessible due to the siloed nature of on-premise data.
What are some of the largest areas of opportunity for the transportation space?
Looking into the future, I think one of the largest areas of opportunity for disruption is building out connected marketplaces to match supply and demand needs to reduce empty miles for carriers and find capacity for shippers, which ultimately will reduce costs for all parties involved in the transaction.
It is going to take connecting multiple of these marketplaces together in the future to drive lasting change and efficiency in my view. A siloed marketplace strategy does not unlock as much customer value as needed to change the industry.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The favorite part of my job is easily the people I work with every day. I am lucky to work with a diverse, dedicated, and engaging group of people every day – both inside and outside the organization.
Whether I am interacting with customers to address their complex needs, working with the Trimble engineering or customer success teams to develop new solutions or collaborating with other providers to create new integrations, I am happiest when working with others to find solutions to solve everyday problems that address customer pain points.
Congratulations on being a “Rock Star,” Zack!
Looking for more information about Trimble’s Visibility solution?
Check out this La-Z-Boy case study to find out how this innovative technology is helping customers improve the efficiency and connectivity of their supply chains.