FreightWaves TV, an online channel that provides the latest news and freight transportation information, interviewed Orderful founder and CEO, Erik Kiser, about our Cloud EDI platform and how it reduces costs, complexity and onboarding time, as well as provides access to a growing network of retailers, manufacturers, carriers, distributors and 3PLs. Watch the video or read the interview below.


Grace Sharkey – FreightWaves TV Host

I have Erik here with me today. He’s the founder and CEO of Orderful. Thank you so much for being here with us, Erik.

Erik Kiser

Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me.

Grace Sharkey

So you just went through your recent $19 million B series raise. And before we dive into what you’re going to be doing with that capital, let’s tell our audience what Orderful is and what this EDI platform is. Like we just talked about, it’s something small behind the scenes that people don’t understand how much it affects the supply chain. So can you dive into the cloud software for us?

Erik Kiser

That’s right. Sure. EDI is the way that companies trade data, the way that companies actually integrate with one another. So if you’re not familiar with the problem, or the solution, it’s a protocol that enables shippers to actually integrate and have automated transactions with their carriers. Just taking a step back to my past, my past experience was as a developer in the space. I was building custom integrations for manufacturers, connecting them with their supply chain. I started my career as a consultant. What I was doing was building these custom integrations. I saw that the market wasn’t being served with software, the market was being served all with professional services and consulting services. So what I set out to do is build a cloud platform that can bring companies together in one place. What we’ve been able to build at Orderful is a network of pre-connected shippers, retailers, 3PLs, and carriers, so that when anybody connects to our platform once, they can start testing, enabling, and trading with their supply chain immediately.

Grace Sharkey

And for everyone in the audience that might not work behind the scenes at carrier brokers or even a shipper, a lot of times these shippers use EDI still compared to API connections, and a lot of companies prefer API. So what Orderful can help do is make those connections without having to invest deep into the development ops in-house. So what’s really great too is Erik, you’ve built connections with some of the largest companies out there, and everyone go check out their website. They have a couple of those on there. Can you dive into some of the partnerships that you’ve been able to build within this platform already?

Erik Kiser

Yeah, for sure. Any major shipper or retailer in the United States is published on our network. And what that means is we take their EDI requirements and we digitize them. Every shipper, every retailer has their own unique requirements to trade with them. What we’ve done is we built a feature where we can take those PDF files, which are traditionally sent over email to describe how to integrate with the shipper and we digitize them. When we do that, we add to the size of our network.

As I mentioned, every major retailer, you’ve got Amazon, Costco, WalMart, anybody from those guys down to the 99 cent store, Walgreens, CVS. Then on the shipper side, same thing. We have a lot of the larger fortune 500 manufacturers and companies that are demanding automated integration with their supply chains already published on the network.

The way that we grow our network is that we can represent both sides of the supply chain. We can represent companies like Koch Industries, they’re a current customer of ours. What we do with KBX Logistics is we publish their requirements on our platform, and then they invite their carriers on to trade with them. So what that does for us is it creates this ability for us to provide one single platform where both sides of the supply chain can self-service to onboard and do business with each other. When we invite their carriers on, their carriers end up logging in and onboarding through our portal as self service, and we completely eliminate the need for there to be custom consulting or third parties involved. It can all be self-service by the resources at the carrier.

Grace Sharkey

Yeah, and what’s great is really when you say you can erase the need for that, you’re making the barrier to entry a lot easier for carriers, right? They’re going to be able to go out there and they’re going to be able to approach any shipper within that network and know that, hey, we’re going to be able to work with you and work with you quickly. I was talking to someone who’s worked with you in the past, and they told me the onboarding time was ridiculously fast. I don’t think a lot of people understand that this technology, in these setups, in order to communicate that data, normally, if you were to do a third party in house, can take weeks, if not months to set up, and we’re talking about working with Orderful, pretty much immediately. How’s it feel to shrink down that timeline for your customer?

Erik Kiser

Yes, that’s great. That’s the big pain in the industry. And the transactions, just to take it a step higher too, the transactions that we’re integrating with carriers and shippers are things like the load tender, and the load acceptance, and 990. And then also, pretty commonly are the 214’s, the location updates, and then the invoice, the 210’s. So if you’ve heard those transaction numbers, you know EDI. But the way that we shrink down that onboarding time is we provide both sides of the supply chain self-service through our onboarding portal. So instead of there needing to be humans in the middle, sending and receiving emails back and forth, to collaborate on testing, which traditionally is the way this testing cycle goes, is the shipper would send a PDF file to the carrier, the carrier would then read that PDF file, build the customer integration, and then start testing with the shipper. Instead of that whole back and forth exchange happening via email, and phone, these companies can now just log into our portal and do this on their own time. So when a developer gets started, what they can do is post a transaction to Orderful in the file format that they already trade. So they can post an X12 file, any version, and then what our product does is, it gives that developer real time feedback whether or not their days can be accepted. That real time feedback rapidly reduces the amount of time that it takes to onboard because you’re not waiting for a human to send you an email or a human to update you on the testing cycle. If we can give people more power at their fingertips to do their jobs in real time, we can dramatically reduce the amount of time it would take for this onboarding cycle to happen. That’s how we approach a problem is to build self service software that enables people to do this on their own time.

Grace Sharkey

Perfect, there’s a bunch of ops guys right now just foaming at the mouth listening to all those codes. And now with this raise (series B round), what are you hoping to do with that? What are the next steps for Orderful, where do you see your growth really expanding now?

Erik Kiser

Yeah, we’re scaling rapidly right now. Part of the capital will be used on some scale initiatives to support our existing accounts, and all of our growth today. And then secondly, we haven’t really gotten to market yet. We had a sales team of one, well, we now have a sales team of two. So we’re going to start putting some marketing materials together. We’re going to start informing the industry about how we can help other companies like Koch Industries onboard their supply chains more quickly. It’s really exciting. We’re really excited about not only having the support from a new investor, but the ability to really make a change in the market. In my experience, I’ve dealt with this pain day in and day out as an EDI developer. I’m really excited about bringing a solution to the table that can actually solve the problem and doesn’t just cause more managed services or more consulting services to get the job done. So, really excited about actually making a dent in the industry.

Grace Sharkey

Yeah, and it’s a huge behind the scenes problem and that’s what I really like about the solution. It’s one of those things where the average person doesn’t understand that this is actually really meaningful to the overall delivery of their goods. Thank you so much for being with us today Erik and I’m excited to have you on here in the future!

Erik Kiser

Thanks Grace, thanks a lot!