NEXT Trucking CEO Lidia Yan is bringing new technology to the trucking industry as a way of moving freight more smoothly.
NEXT Trucking is a technology company, an online marketplace and app that connects carriers with shippers. The goal is to match freight with available truck capacity.
“We use tech to empower truckers,” Yan told FierceCEO.
Here’s how it works:
- Shippers upload information about what they need shipped onto the NEXT Trucking app from a phone or computer.
- Carriers (truckers) set up their account on the NEXT Trucking marketplace and include information about their preferred routes.
- When a shipment is loaded by the shipper, it is matched to truckers.
- The trucker accepts the load (if they choose) and assigns a driver.
- The trucker selects the payment options; for example, they can choose advance payment for fuel.
- The shipment can be tracked directly through the app so that the shipper always knows where the load is.
- The truck driver makes delivery and obtains delivery signature.
- The shipper receives the trucker's invoice, pays and reviews the trucker.
This differs from the traditional approach in which shippers used a broker to find carriers. It was a longer process, sometimes by phone or fax. Drivers did not have full control over their careers or the ability to choose shipments that matched their rate and route preferences. NEXT Trucking provides a way for shippers and carriers (truck) to directly connect and adds full transparency to the process in the form of what is being shipped, rates, and where the shipment is in real time, Yan said.
Also fostering growth is Mitsui O.S.K. Lines partnering with NEXT Trucking, which has a warehousing sister company, iDC Logistics. This partnership provides a one-stop solution from ocean to drayage to warehousing to trucking, Yan said.
And with help from the $21 million in venture capital NEXT Trucking recently received from Sequoia Capital, Yan plans to further grow the nearly 3-year-old company. Being brought on are more engineering and product staff to improve the current product and work on a new one, and sales and operations personnel.
Yan is taking on two areas that can prove difficult. She is a female CEO and she is in the trucking industry, not known for welcoming women.
“It is so rare to see women that in meetings or prospective employee interviews, people assume that the men in the room are the CEO,” Yan said. “I handle it by working even harder to demonstrate that women can get the job done and can often get it done even better.”
“When I started the business, I did not think about gender but was focused on solving a problem,” Yan said. “It is a challenge to be a woman CEO, particularly in a male-dominated industry like trucking, in which women are not as respected.”
Women “must take leadership positions and prove that we can do the same job, but with a different perspective,” Yan said. “In fact, organizations with female CEOs tend to perform better, so yes, we can do the job and have the capability to do it better.”
Fast Five with Lydia Yan
What is your favorite question to ask during a job interview?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What is an important trait for a leader?
Management skills and the fact they can empower the employee.
What keeps you up at night?
Trying to bring the best people into the organization.
What didn’t you know five years ago that you know today?
To hire slowly and really make sure we identify the right talent.
What’s a good source for new revenue?
Find the right market angle and identify the problem.