One Year On: Disrupting logistics and keeping it simple

In April, it will be one year since Twill’s launch at Multimodal 2017 in Birmingham, UK. We have been working to disrupt logistics ever since, with our digital freight forwarding platform.

It is amazing to realize how far we have come. We are now serving customers in UK, Spain, Poland and Czech and very soon we will be opened in USA and Mexico. Our customers are importing from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India.

We are also being mentioned in several publications as a key player in the digitalization of freight forwarding. For example, last week, McKinsey & Co – a global consulting firm – highlighted our potential to disrupt Air Freight before we even launch that service. This is just the beginning and in this year alone we will be able to serve many more customers around the World with a complete offer.

Twill is for everyone

Looking back, it is interesting to realize that we haven’t always being right. For example, when we started we made a set a number of hypothesis, some were proven and some were not.

One hypothesis that didn’t prove right is that we were expecting tech-savvy customers to be the first ones to adopt Twill. In reality, while a basic level of proficiency is needed, if you can buy anything online, you can book your shipping with us – there is no need to be tech savvy to use Twill. Our customers cover a wide spectrum of age, experience and interests.

Why? And how do we do it?

Twill is for everyone because we are working our very best all the time to make shipping with Twill as simple as possible for you, that’s why we exist. We listen to our customers. Daily, someone in Twill is talking to a customer somewhere in the World. These interactions can be planned interviews, calls or notes via our platform. Your requests, recommendations and experiences get forwarded to our Product and Tech teams that make sure they are prioritized and executed at the right time.

So what customers are the best fit for Twill?

The customers that benefit the most from Twill are those that want to be in control of their shipments without having the hassle to create and maintain a spiderweb of trackers, calls and emails with multiple parties.

We will continue our journey keeping always in mind our end goal – disrupting logistics and making shipping simple for our customers.

-Juan Cajiao; Twill Head of Growth

Local strength, global reach

November 23, 2017 – Last week was a very special one for everyone at Twill; we achieved our biggest internal business goal, much earlier than expected. I feel very lucky to be the person writing a blog post after such a great milestone was achieved!

I can tell you that there is no one ‘hero’ in our story that made it all happen. Instead, there is a beginning, which is like a hesitant leaf falling on a calm pond. Then after many leaves have fallen, many waves have been made, and a lot of hard work, we feel the sweetness of a momentary success.

Building momentum for change

Our latest milestone moment made me reflect about the difference Twill can make in the world. Will we make any change in the way people go about their lives if we achieve our craziest dreams? Or are we just one more thing out there filling a forgotten space of the market?

It can be a scary thing to ask, but it is something we must answer to ourselves with bold determination. It is only with clarity on the potential impact we can have that we can build the momentum to drive massive change for good. And in order to answer this question we need to look at the helm of Twill: its customers.

The potential of SMEs

Today, our customers are predominantly small and medium companies (SMEs) that are focused on sourcing the best products around the world and bringing them to their customers. These goods imported with Twill include furniture for the tourism industry, tools for home improvement, exciting decorations for celebrations and many others. Our customers enable their local economies to thrive by providing the best products available in the global market while generating jobs and wealth simultaneously.

SMEs are considered to be the backbone of the economy. According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), 95% of companies in its member countries are SMEs and they generate 60%-70% of employment in those countries. Around 20% of these companies are also involved in international trade and contribute to 25%-35% of world trade – that’s a huge statistic!

So how does Twill create a level playing field?

When an SME is trying to access global trade it faces many issues. According to the EU Eurobarometer in 2015, the three main issues are: complicated administrative processes (i.e. excessive paperwork), high delivery costs and finding suitable business partners.

Something everybody knows in freight forwarding is that if you are a big player you will get the best service at the lowest price. So guess what you get when you are a small player? That’s right, not the best service for the price paid.

Twill has the potential to level up the ground for SMEs, increasing the level of service value relative to price. We provide access to global trade and enable our customers to win by simplifying the shipping process and building economies of scale so that they can stay focused on growing and scaling their core business.

It is not usual that you get to be part of a venture with so much potential. Tomorrow, when I show up in the office, I will have a big smile and sense of fulfillment because I know with certainty that we are enabling our customers to build local strength with global reach.

– By Juan Cajiao, Twill’s Head of Growth

How to Twill a new Country?

October 10, 2017 – On September 2nd, I was sitting in the car of a colleague in Bilbao, Spain. I missed out on taking in the beautiful scenery because I had my laptop open, doing a final check for the potential customer we were on our way to visit.

My plan for the meeting was to first show the customer how simple it is to place a booking with Twill, and second, to make sure we gained their trust to let us eventually ship their cargo from China to Spain at some point in the future. Shipping with us in the future instead became the present; the customer loved the tool and the way our people work so they immediately placed a booking in Twill!

Since then, in the period of one month, we’ve had customers from all around Spain placing bookings in Twill more than 50 times. Looking at this experience, and since we want to bring to Twill to more countries, I’ve asked myself: why is it working so well?

I’ve identified three factors that we must make sure are fulfilled when bringing a new product into a new country:

  • Sharpen your offering: Bring the product to a real customer and ask them for brutal feedback. Then, make sure you refine your offering to meet their needs. For example, we translated Twill to Spanish to make sure the customer feels confident about every step they take.
  • Tune your efforts: Make sure your team, your partners, and your suppliers share one goal and understand what is their specific contribution. In Spain, we had several conversations with different stakeholders to make sure they understood the value Twill delivers to customers and how they could contribute to make the introduction a success… and they did it! These bookings are their win.
  • Unleash your potential: Identify and remove roadblocks. You will be surprised how many roadblocks are actually ‘imaginary’ (created by you). Be like water, always flowing towards the sea. For example: In Spain we loosened up our definition of the customer target group to be able to reach all the potential customers we can actually serve.

I leave you with a short video in Spanish (with English subtitles) on our opening in Spain. You will see some views of Malaga (where besides meeting Twill customers, I also went on holidays this summer ☺).

Looking forward to Twill more countries around the World!

By Juan Cajiao, Twill Head of Growth.