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New TradeLens CEO Kim Spalding shares vision for company

New TradeLens CEO, Kim Spalding said her goal is “to help drive digitization in the supply chain industry.”

TradeLens, a neutral supply chain platform, utilizes blockchain technology to provide secure tracking and sharing of vital trade information in real time.

Spalding spoke with FreightWaves about her background and what she envisions for the global company.

“We use the application of blockchain technology to help us support trade documentation,” said Spalding, who was named TradeLens’ top executive following CEO Mike White’s retirement at the end of April. “It gives us a secure, immutable, traceable platform for transactions. That’s really important to our customers and to their network members because the transmission of documents and information, like the electronic bill of lading, is so critical.”

According to Spalding, TradeLens stands out from the competition by consolidating supply chain data points.

“Working directly with industry partners, continuing to invest in the strong relationships with our carriers, terminals, ports, rails and so many members of our network, which brings direct-from-source data into the platform, helps us share that data across the industry to make [it] more efficient and helps us serve customers to make their supply chains better,” she said. “There are folks in the industry that are doing pieces of those individually, but bringing that all together and doing that in close partnership with the industry is, I think, special.”

Spalding said she intends to improve upon TradeLens’ existing framework.

“I’m focused on a couple things,” she said. “First, we want to help the industry scale digitization. One of those areas I’m focused on is partnerships. The second thing is to just to focus on really great customer experiences, which means we want to continue to rapidly launch features that make our products better, and we want to expand the breadth, coverage and quality of the data that we have on the platform to help customers.”

TradeLens has processed 33 million trade documents to date, taking in 30,000 document transactions every day. Considering that high volume of data, the company’s customer advisory board is essential to providing solutions to its wide array of customers.

“Customer feedback is the most important thing,” Spalding said. “The customer advisory board has been really helpful to us, in terms of validating ideas. … They also give us real-time feedback on how they’re using our products and where our products can be better, and that’s incredibly helpful to us.”

Spalding, along with her leadership team, share a self-described “passion” for assisting companies in their net-zero carbon efforts.

“Because we connect the ecosystem, we can help improve interactions in hand-over parts and supply chain and can help track carbon measurements, especially with scope 3 emissions,” she said. “We’re actively exploring this idea to see if there’s something that we can do with partners like the Global Maritime Forum.”

According to a survey by Gartner Inc. and Awesome, women only occupy 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 has been a really great experience. Over the course of my career, I have benefited from good mentors and sponsors who’ve given me great advice and have opened doors for me. … I also have found that diverse leaders build diverse teams.

“I think the more of us from varied backgrounds [that] are here, we’re just naturally going to have an easier time building up teams and then helping those teams spread across the industry.”