#28: Brad Hollister CEO of SwanLeap

#28: Brad Hollister CEO of SwanLeap Featured Image

SwanLeap is the No. 1 company on the 2018 Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in the US. Its revenue has jumped from $110,000 in 2013 to $100 million in 2017. This year they are likely to break the $500 million mark – Which makes it among the fastest-growing startups in the world!

Through their rapidly deployed, custom implementation of NextGen TMS (transportation management system) and auditing services, SwanLeap is using AI and machine learning to automate many of the manual roles in a company’s supply chain. And in this way providing supply chain managers, decision-makers and entire companies with comprehensive, actionable insights into supply chain logistics and costs by generating significant savings. Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, SwanLeap brings unprecedented clarity and control to a fragmented shipping market through a proprietary machine learning platform that curates cost-effective and personalized supply chain recommendations in real-time across all transportation modes to improve connections between sender, receiver and carrier.

A few words about Brad, he is the Chief Executive Officer of SwanLeap and under his leadership, SwanLeap delivered an unprecedented 75,660.8% growth in revenue in the past three years. A life-long entrepreneur passionate about improving the world, Brad is the visionary behind SwanLeap’s next-generation technology. With extensive experience in transportation, logistics, and supply chain, his leadership and institutional expertise solidify SwanLeap’s position as the leading provider of end-to-end transportation technology. Brad is a guest lecturer for the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a sought-after speaker on the advancement and disruption of the transportation industry. He is also a proud alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Listen to the full discussion here:



Connect with the Guest:

Brad Hollister: LinkedIn | Twitter 

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • How did they achieve a 75,660% growth in the past 3 years?
  • Why do executives need to be involved from beginning to end in the process of improving visibility and cost optimization?
  • Talking about complacency and fear – Why some industry practitioners don’t like the idea of saving 20 to 40% on cost with a solution like SwanLeap?
  • How do you protect data confidentiality all the way through for your clients?

Show notes:

  • [02:34] But before we talk about SwanLeap, let’s talk a bit about the start up you had before that. You sunk 200k USD of your own money, landed a big client – but then you decided to shift gears and start SwanLeap. Tell us more about that story.
  • [06:22] How was Swanleap started, what is its story and where is it today? As we know you were working on another start up (Freight Access) and you invested your retirement fund.
  • [11:44] The use of this new technology is allowing SwanLeap to deliver an annual average transportation savings of 26.7% to its customers. Tell us more about how this works – it seems with this kind  of numbers you don’t need sales people.
  • [18:43] What are actually the main stumbling blocks why this type of TMS is not implemented yet worldwide? Why aren’t there more companies that implement this kind of approach to cost saving?
  • [21:30] Talking about AI and data. Do your clients have the data you need to plug it in your systems and help them?
  • [24:00] Who are your main targeted customers? Are there certain criteria you use for your customers or stakeholders?
  • [31:15] How do you stand out of the competition? What makes SwanLeap unique?
  • [36:03] SwanLeap has shown an unprecedented 75,660.8% revenue growth over the past three years. What were the main attributes that contributed to this astonishing growth?
  • [42:41] How do you plan to sustain this pace of growth? Do you have plans to expand to Asia or Europe?
  • [44:40] How do you protect data confidentiality all the way through? You said somewhere: “We follow a set of core rules: We represent our capabilities honestly. We protect confidentiality of client information. We do not misrepresent our purposes in seeking information. We only make promises we can keep. We consider our actions carefully, asking whether we can defend them openly today and in the future.”
  • [48:29] What are some of the key attributes you look for in the leadership team?
  • [51:41] I know you are growing at an astonishing rate. How does your team cope with this pace of growth?
  • [56:35] Looking back at the Swanleap story so far, what are the things that make you most proud of?

About the Host:

The host, Radu Palamariu is the co-author of “From Source to Sold – Stories of Leadership in Supply Chain”. He has been named one of the top 3 Global Supply Chain Influencers on LinkedIn and was featured in ForbesBloombergWEFBangkok Post, and MIT Supply Chain Talent magazine. Radu invites executives to share stories and perspectives around technology, logistics, e-commerce, supply chain, and manufacturing, and their views on how the future will look.

Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.

The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.

Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.

We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.

Related Episodes:

Episode #03: Paul Bradley CEO Caprica International

Episode #13: Damien Dhellemes Country President Schneider Electric

Episode #27: Dhruvil Sanghvi CEO of LOGINEXT




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