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When asked about his secret sauce to leading a sprawling company like nVision Global, Luther Brown’s reply is almost as instantaneous as it can get—“Listening. I do a lot of listening.” Right from the swarm of queries set forth by his teams on client issues to his life outside the confines of work, Brown—a strategic solutions visionary who focuses on process improvement and value added activities—listens to and validates each and every conversation. It is this meticulous attention to detail while working with a market as divergent as global transport management that has positioned nVision Global at loftier heights today. “Our ability to listen, adapt business processes and configure our tools to create value has been the cornerstone to our growth.”
“We have about 500 competitors in the U.S., almost 25-30 in Europe, and 20-25 in Asia, but there are only 10-15 companies who can truthfully engage in the global market and support their customers with physical resources and offices within each region” notes Luther Brown, CEO and Founder, of nVision Global. Initially, when the company set out to take advantage of the ample leeway between the poles, the practical challenges of global transportation were apparent. There was a burning need for systems and services capable of addressing different units of measure— such as pounds and kilograms, miles and kilometers, multiple currencies—and tax and billing requirements applicable at different levels within regions as well as even within the same country. Freight transactions as well as system users required solutions that are capable of processing multiple languages, then take the validated data, and run conversion and translations processes to deliver customer specific global reporting based on each customers’ individual requirements. . “These prevailing divergent variables are unheard of in the U.S.” explains Brown. Breaking the mold, nVision is one of a handful of truly global companies, with actual teams in the Americas, Europe, and Asia—with full service operational centers/customer service centers in each region—operating on a single-source platform, providing global services and technology to its customers. The nVision portfolio encompasses a broad spectrum of logistics SaaS solutions, including control tower services, transport activity management, freight auditing, and consulting services used by many of the largest global transportation providers and fortune 500 customers worldwide. Currently there are thousands of electronic data connections processing tens of thousands of electronic communications and data exchanges daily.
On a micro-level, every customer has unique challenges and nVision begins its approach by analyzing specific challenges that impede an organization’s explicit goals and objectives. “Our teams prefer to study our customers’ unique pet peeves and tailor the solution to meet their demands, rather than selling them a canned package,” evinces Brown. Every time a new customer puts in the request for a fresh challenge to be countered, Brown’s team huddles up, retrofitting the original product with an enhancement module and even creating new modules based on the combined communications and vision of multiple parties sharing a common goal. The customization attribute of nVision’s solutions comes in handy when responding to times of change in the technology universe. For instance, one of nVision’s clients had a supply chain mechanism where each time an order gets filled, the complete invoice with required supporting documents had to be submitted. Whenever a transportation provider was unable to upload the scanned image, it was a wrench thrown in the works and the entire workflow would be suspended. “We created a process where the respective EDI file would be put on hold until images are submitted, and our system reads the image and EDI file to match its contents together,” says Brown. On one hand, nVision efficiently responded to the client’s specific requirement, on the other hand, the new module is now a bread-and-butter feature included in the solution.
It is very important for us to build successful relationships with both the providers and customers
The movement toward increased visibility is an ongoing process, but it is necessary now more than ever. One of the most demanding tasks that weigh down supply chain and logistics managers is the planning of on-demand routing that provide profitable ROI for their businesses, which is directly dependant on visibility. To enable a streamlined workflow for the managers to gain control and exposure of the end-to-end value chain, nVision has developed the iMpactTMS, a robust closed loop solution which has unique contract management features. For visibility into current and historical shipment tracking information, nVision’s customers leverage iVisibility, a real-time visibility portal.
The Balancing Act
It is interesting to note that nVision has made it a priority to maintain the balance between its customers and the transport providers at the end of the supply chain equally. “There are two forces in the picture and our focus is to connect their communications, provide them both with the information they need to get the processes completed, invoices audited and paid,” extols Brown. “It is very important for us to build successful relationships with both the transportation providers and customers and to make the process simpler for all parties.” For fleet managers and the field workers, the solutions have to be user-friendly and non-intimidating to use, given the nature of their job. This is where nVision’s global and localized footprint comes in. “Having our teams strategically placed in the various regions is pivotal to our success,” he adds. A foreign fleet provider facing an operational setback is no longer off-the-grid and need not worry about being stuck in different time zones; all they have to do is contact our regional personnel.
"Our network is underpinned by algorithms that support multiple currencies, time-zones, and comply with regional laws"
Despite the sprawling expanse of nVision’s service across the globe, the solutions operate on a single database. This sets nVision in a different light in a world, where its competitors use distributed architecture with localized servers for different regions. “Our unified network is underpinned by algorithms that support multiple currencies, time-zones, and comply with regional laws,” connotes Brown. nVision’s teams taking on Brown’s leadership have equally become skilled listeners, and this is reflected when they efficiently correspond with cross-border customers. “Interestingly, I think back to when we expanded into the global market almost 16 years ago, we were on a conference call with a European customer,” he illustrates. “In the U.S., ‘tendering’ refers to delivering a shipment, whereas in Europe, a tender is a bid for a proposal; understanding and validating conversations is essential to our business.
From picking up the telephone or sending emails to track packages, to invoicing and freight auditing, the process of tendering shipments has come a long way to its current automated paradigms, evaluating the TMS market at $19.03 billion by 2020. Especially, with a service coverage that extends beyond borders, nVision has redefined the scope of automation in global logistics. “This along with scalability and easily configurable customized solutions give us a competitive edge,” offers Brown.
The company is constantly pushing the envelope to put offices in more locations in Asia and LATAM. Charged with energy, Brown has found his true passion in listening to equally passionate customers who come to him with challenges and are willing to work toward eliminating them. With an eye for identifying the right talent and more challenging projects, Luther Brown is having a field day with his ear to the ground scouting for freight crises and translating them into innovative and reusable solutions.