Maersk digital freight forwarding start-up is now live in more than 10 countries
The Hague, NL – 16 April 2018 – This week, Twill is celebrating its first anniversary following a year of rapid technology development for the digital freight forwarding platform. The company now operates in more than 10 countries, with ambitions to add 15 more countries to the platform in 2018.
Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer at Maersk commented: “With Twill, we are making shipping simple for our customers. We are unleashing a new-normal in an industry which is hungry for technological change and our reason for setting up Twill last year was down to the fact that digitalization is at the core of our vision to become the global integrator of container logistics, connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chains – and that’s truly taking shape thanks to initiatives like Twill.”
Troels Stovring, CEO of Twill also added: “When we started Twill, we were very excited about the opportunity of building a product from scratch. We have achieved a lot in the last 12 months and are making huge progress in making shipping simple, but the journey of Twill is far from finished – our ambitions are still high! We wanted to take this opportunity to reflect our product journey so far – where we started, how far we’ve come, and what lies ahead.”
Where we started
Before Twill was born, the team analyzed a lot of data – studying markets, competitors, conducting ideation sessions.
Troels comments: “Those exercises were helpful but they didn’t give us a concrete idea of what Twill would offer as a product. So we asked ourselves a fundamental question – ‘what problems will Twill solve?’ And the answers became clearer and clearer after we talked to customers.”
Twill’s first tradelane was China to the UK, and from interviews with customers it soon became apparent that shipping was perceived as hugely complicated in their world. After identifying common customer painpoints, Twill’s product vision and value proposition were created.
These conversations also set the number one rule of Twill’s product development – that at its heart, it would always be user-centric.
How far we’ve come
Soon after its initial launch, Twill saw success very quickly. And like every MVP (minimum viable product), as Twill grew the team saw bottlenecks of the product, and identified ways to fix those.
“In terms of customer needs, we have always kept communication open to our customers,” added Troels. “On average, we have around 10 formal customer interviews or testing sessions each month, as well as lot more phone and email conversations. We’re very proud that some of the key features we have developed, such as the most recent pre-booking feature, have all come from customer feedback.”
Today, Twill has four key features:
- Easy booking – Traditionally, the quotation and booking process can take 3 to 4 business days with back and forth communication. With Twill, 80% of bookings are quoted and completed within 3 minutes, in just a few clicks. 30% of them are even done within 1 minute
- Track & Trace – Visibility is a huge priority for Twill. The platform selectively displays major milestones to customers in real time. Internally, Twill uses more than 40 milestones for the customer care team to control the operation process and be ahead of any potential exceptions
- Centralized paperwork – Often in the shipping process, documents are late or wrong, potentially causing significant financial loss to customers. Twill facilitates the document flow in the process and gives transparency. The platform has more than 5,700 documents uploaded and flowing among different parties
- 24/7 Customer Care – Exceptions are unavoidable in logistics sometimes. All customers want is to be well informed and taken care of, and Twill’s operation dashboard helps to do that. Combined with Twill’s people on the ground in each country in which the platform is live, customers can rest assured that the customer care team is always on top of exceptions and have expertise to minimize any possible impact
What lies ahead
So far, Twill has gained a year’s experience handling Full Container Load (FCL), buyer-controlled freight business (FOB incoterm for example).
In its initial development Twill focused solely on developing the product for the needs of small and medium sized customers. Looking ahead in 2018, the company is ambitious about bringing the platform to more customers. Daisy Zhang, Twill’s Head of Product, explains three new additions to come:
“Firstly, we will expand our service offering into shipper-controlled freight business (CIF incoterm for example) and Less than Container Load (LCL) freight, as well as adding more countries.
“Secondly, we will expand our product to serve a certain group of big customers. We recently conducted some research on the needs of our larger customers, and found that some of them share the same painpoints as our current customer group. Evolving the platform based on their needs will also add huge value to our current customer group. We have a plan already in place to bring the platform to some larger customers this year.
“And last but not least, we will continue to improve the user experience as a continuous journey. With all that we have achieved in the last 365 days, we are already on high speed when it comes to development and will move quickly based on our previous experiences. Our focus is always on delivering value for our customers – and ultimately the measure of whether we are achieving that is if they would recommend us to others in making shipping simple.”