MHD sits down with Andrew Kirkwood, CEO and Katie Kinraid, General Manager APAC at BluJay Solutions as they visit Australia following the announcement of a major acquisition in the region.
Andrew Kirkwood, CEO at BluJay Solutions is based in the UK. He has an extensive career in the supply chain, working for some of the industry’s largest providers of supply chain solutions including Manhattan Associates and JDA Software.
He joined BluJay Solutions just over a year ago and his role is to lead the organisation through a period of growth.
“I’ve come onboard to put the infrastructure in place to help the organisation grow organically and inorganically,” he says.
Andrew has held senior roles in a number of billion-dollar organisations, as a result he is very well placed to lead BluJay through this next phase of growth.
For the past year, Andrew has spent a large amount of his time speaking to customers and finding out where they are going, how they operate and what areas they want BluJay to develop.
“We want to be more than an applications solutions provider, so I have been speaking with our customers about what they think the market needs from a supply chain solutions provider,” he says.
Data, Network, Application
BluJay Solutions shapes its offering around the principles of Data, Network and Applications (DNA). Andrew breaks these values down and explains data is leveraging information to make better decisions across the supply chain, network is about the interoperability between systems and application is transport management and customs processes.
“We have invested a lot in providing data that our customers can use to benchmark themselves against each other. We recently launched our Freight Market Index which provides transportation market intelligence for shippers, carriers and industry professionals,” he says.
The Freight Market Index is comprised of an elaborate set of key performance indicators (KPIs) derived from the $18 billion industry that BluJay transacts across its global trade network. It contains real-time data that is published monthly with independent expert commentary on quarterly basis.
According to Katie Kinraid, General Manager APAC at BluJay Solutions the company is very well placed to offer this kind of insight. “We’re capturing so much information around the world, that we’re in a very good position to analyse this and offer valuable industry insight,” she says.
Collaboration and maturity
Andrew says that part of BluJay’s recent developments have been down to the organisation reaching a high level of maturity when it comes to collaboration.
“We recognise that we can’t be all things to all people. We have great intellectual property, insight and innovation, but we recognise that we need to collaborate with others in the same space, and this includes our competitors,” he says.
For Andrew, if you don’t collaborate you risk having inefficiencies across your supply chain.
“We want to drive collaboration so that we can accelerate even more with regards to innovation for our customers. We want to change the way that people operate and open up with regards to sharing networks, data and insight,” he says.
Invested in Australia
BluJay has been operating in Australia and New Zealand since the mid 90s and according to Katie, the organisation is very strong in the logistics, shipping and e-commerce sectors.
Andrew says there are some nuances shared across Australia and the US in terms of a large spread of geographical area. However, for him, Australian consumers are more closely aligned with British consumers.
This similarity presents an opportunity for Australia to really lead the way when it comes to logistics, Katie says. “With Australia being a couple of years behind the European e-commerce market, we see this as a great opportunity to pitch what works well in the UK to Australian businesses. There are a lot of lessons that have already been learned in the UK that we can avoid here in Australia and New Zealand,” she says.
Andrew echoes this sentiment and says that in Europe there has been a mood of discontent from consumers with regards to service level agreements not being met. “One area that you really need to get right is delivering on your promises. Having convenient options for delivery is great, but you have to deliver on this,” he says.
Katie also says there has been a shift in the consumer’s role in the logistics process. “Consumers are now expected to take some ownership regarding their role in the delivery. They are presented with a message or email before a delivery to respond whether they will be home or not and they are starting to understand how critical it is that they own this role and be home when they say they will be,” she says.
BluJay recently acquired Expedient Software, a Melbourne-based provider of customs and forwarding software for the logistics market in Australia and New Zealand.
Expedient Software has been in operation for 30 years and was the first logistics software supplier in Australia to provide a cloud-based solution.
According to Andrew, this acquisition was a direct result of feedback from the market as well as part of BluJay’s larger strategy of growing its market-share in Australia and New Zealand. “Many of our customers told us they wanted us to expand in this area of customs and forwarding. They told us they wanted an alternative to WiseTech and we listened,” he says.
Expedient Software has its headquarters in Melbourne, which was also attractive to BluJay. “We really wanted a base here in Melbourne, as well as a local provider in this area of business,” he says.
Part of BluJay’s strategy is to ensure that it mirrors its global enterprise offering for more local markets, and this acquisition fits perfectly into this strategy.
“We have our enterprise forwarding solution for our multi-nationals, but this is specifically for our more local customers in Australia and New Zealand. We know that those enterprise solutions don’t suit our smaller or medium size customers so we invested in a company that we know can provide that kind of service to these customers,” Andrew says.
Andrew says that Australia is very well-positioned for growth and he’s excited to see this region develop. “I think Australia underestimates how sophisticated it is. It’s a very sophisticated economy here and I am excited by the opportunity to grow here and improve resilience and efficiencies for supply chains throughout Australia and New Zealand,” he says.