TradeLens’ new CEO, Kim Spalding, said her goal is “to drive digitalization in the supply chain industry.”
TradeLens, a neutral supply chain platform, leverages blockchain technology to enable secure real-time tracking and sharing of critical trading information.
Spalding recently spoke to FreightWaves about her background and what she envisions for the global company.
“We leverage the application of blockchain technology to help us support trade documentation,” said Spalding, who was appointed to TradeLens’ top executive following the resignation of CEO Mike White in late April. “It gives us a secure, immutable and traceable platform for transactions. This is really important for our customers and their network members because the delivery of documents and information, like the e-bill of lading, is so crucial.”
According to Spalding, TradeLens differentiates itself from the competition by consolidating supply chain data points.
“Working directly with industry partners, continuously investing in the strong relationships with our carriers, terminals, ports, rails and so many members of our network bringing data straight to the platform from source, helps us to share that data across industry close [it] more efficiently and helps us serve customers to improve their supply chains,” she said. “There are people in the industry who are making parts of it individually, but bringing it all together and doing it in close partnership with the industry is something I think is special.”
Spalding said she intends to enhance TradeLens’ existing framework.
“I’m concentrating on a few things,” she said. “First, we want to help the industry to scale digitization. One of these areas that I focus on is partnerships. The second thing is to only focus on really great customer experiences, which means we want to continue to rapidly roll out features that improve our products, and we want to expand the breadth, coverage, and quality of data we have on the platform to help customers.”
Headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, TradeLens has processed 33 million trade documents to date and completed 30,000 document transactions daily. Given this large volume of data, the company’s Customer Advisory Board is essential to providing solutions to its wide range of customers.
“Customer feedback is the most important thing,” said Spalding. “The Customer Advisory Board helped us a lot in validating ideas. … They also give us real-time feedback on how they use our products and where our products can be improved, and that’s incredibly helpful to us.”
Spalding and her leadership team share a self-proclaimed “passion” for helping companies in their quest for net-zero carbon emissions.
“By connecting the ecosystem, we can help improve handover and supply chain interactions and track carbon measurements, especially on Scope 3 emissions,” she said. “We’re actively exploring this idea to see if there’s something we can do with partners like the Global Maritime Forum.”
According to a survey by Gartner Inc. and Awesome, women hold only 19% of C-suite positions in the supply chain industry. Now, Spalding hopes to help bring more diverse leaders into the industry.
“I’m no stranger to industries and situations where you might be the only woman in the room or one of the few,” she said. “I found this industry very welcoming, which was a really great experience. In the course of my career I have benefited from good mentors and sponsors who gave me great advice and opened doors for me. … I’ve also found that different leaders make different teams.
“I think most of us come from different backgrounds [that] are here, it will obviously be easier for us to build teams and then help those teams spread across the industry.”