The biggest concern with shipments is not just the wait time but the thought of not knowing where it is, what condition it’s in, or will it even get to its destination. But worry no more! Jim Waters, the Vice President of Global Marketing at Tive, shares how they revolutionized shipments’ visibility, which caters to the different requirements customers have for their load – from real-time tracking that shows you where your shipment is to the condition it’s in. This gives you the ability to set parameters and get real-time alerts on conditions like temperatures and shock and detailed documentation on the activity of your package en route to where it should be. Every shipment matters, so tune in and learn more about this amazing technology!


The section below is transcribed. Transcription has limitations so there may be grammar and typo issues.  

Every Shipment Matters With Jim Waters

Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us. This episode’s topic is every shipment matters with my friend, Jim Waters. How’s it going? 

It’s going well. Thanks for having me.

Please introduce yourself, your company, and where you’re calling from.

I’m Jim Water, the Head of Global Marketing for Tive. Tive is a real-time visibility platform provider. We help shippers, carriers, 3PLs, and logistics service providers actively track their shipments so that they arrive on time and in full because it’s all about getting all your stuff on time, not busted up, late, and lost.

Where are you calling from?

We’re based in Boston, but we have a global footprint, with one of our bigger offices being in Kosovo and Hollywood, Florida, including Manhattan.

Is it Manhattan, New York or Manhattan, California?

I love Manhattan Beach, California, but unfortunately, being from Boston, the Yankees, and the Red Sox, it’s Manhattan, New York.

You’re a Boston guy, right?

I am a Boston guy.

You mentioned Tive’s visibility solution. A lot of people say visibility solution. I always joke that there’s this spectrum because guys who say, “I call the trucking company,” we have an EDI that tells you when the truck arrived and a truck that tells you when the truck picked up. They say, “That’s our visibility solution. I call the driver every half hour or every hour on critical shipments,” or whatever the spiel is, and they would call that visibility. We have the FourKites and all these different solutions. I know yours is different and better, so tell me what Tive is doing that is different and better.

It’s a good point that you made that whoever you talk to, whatever company, 3PL, shipper, or customer, visibility means different things to different people. For you, it might be a hyper-accurate location so that you don’t have to keep calling your drivers. It could be location and conditions, so not only where is the load, but how is the load? How hot, how cold, or how wet? Did it have a shock event? Did someone open it? Was there a security breach? It’s those kinds of things.

It’s always interesting to know ahead of time what visibility means to that particular customer. We have three critical components to our visibility solution, and I’ll keep it simple. First is, we have industry award-winning solo 5G trackers that are the hardware portion. We also have a super simple UI for customers and customers of customers to monitor loads in real-time. The third aspect of our solution is live 24/7 monitoring around the globe.

You mentioned a few things. First off, your tracker is a physical tracker. It is not pinging satellites. I’m sure there are pinging satellites too, but this is a size of a deck of cards, right?

Visibility means different things to different people. It’s always interesting to know what visibility means to a particular customer ahead of time.

Yeah. It’s about the size of a deck of cards. It’s got a sticky back on it so you can peel it off, stick it on at the pallet or box level, and then hit one green start button, and away it goes. It’s always collecting critical data on location and condition.

This is a little different, and the reason I say this is because I’ve suffered from tracking in the past. Everybody has. When somebody says, “Our tracking is attached to the ELD,” or the electronic logging device, you’re like, “Cool.” They’re like, “Do you know if my tracker is attached to the trailer?” You’re like, “We’re pretty sure it is,” and then they go, “Are you sure my pallet got onto that trailer?” You’re like, “We’re sure it’s on that trailer.” That’s the problem.

Those are great solutions, but it’s not the same as saying, “I put this tracker on that critical shipment.” When we’re talking critical, I know you guys do a lot of medical, pharma, and food. It’s mission critical. It’s not the new furniture. It is life-saving drugs. I don’t want to know my life-saving drugs are pretty sure in that trailer and that tacker is attached to that trailer. I don’t want any maybes.

Nobody does, and that’s part of what visibility means to you. We do business with critical cold chain tracking companies like Aerospace or BOA Logistics, or a few folks that are critical, but one of the things that we do focus on is exactly what you were hitting on. Body parts go missing all the time, so we have a blog article that people can look up on our website. It’s called Where’s My Liver? It’s a grabby title, but you’d be surprised at the thousands of livers, hearts, and kidneys that get left on the tarmac every single year.

Globally, it’s got to be terrible, but what we do is we ensure that that package not only is preconditioned with the right temperature, so it’s not too warm or too cold, but that it got on the plane. A lot of our customers have said, “The plane took off,” because they have the tail number. They can see it take off. They’re looking at the thing and it’s sitting in a hangar or warehouse, or somebody is taking their lunch break and sitting on top of the cooler that the liver is in. It sounds funny, but it’s not funny to you and me if we’re waiting on a liver transplant.

During this pandemic, we recognized the importance of the drugs that saved lives with both the vaccines and the countermeasures. If you’re waiting at a hospital and you’ve got people who need the shots, the vaccine is one thing, but the countermeasures for somebody who’s potentially on a ventilator, it’s pretty important to get those drugs where they need to be. If you look at the trackers we put into ELDs, it’s great. It changed the industry, but the problem is it can’t tell me if my stuff was dropped. It can’t tell me if my stuff got banged. It can’t tell me if my stuff was in a very hot, humid place and it’s not supposed to be in a hot, humid place.

If you think about the number of fresh perishables, like food, vegetables, or fruits, a lot of times, I joke with my wife. She’ll go to the market and she’ll pick up some raspberries or strawberries. They’ll look great and she’ll get them home. The next day, they’re rotten. She’ll look at the shelf life date and she’ll say, “These have a date of next week but look at them. They’re rotten.” I say, “It could be a number of different reasons, but in most cases, they either got hot and then they went back to normal or they got cold and froze, and then they went back to normal.”

We would know that because it’s real-time tracking, so if we have an excursion of a hot or cold exception, we can let the grocery store or the shipper know that they should probably dispatch a different load because those things are going to have a shelf life of a day. They’re going to get returned anyway, so they might as well send out a fresh shipment.

When the Food Safety Modernization Act came out, I did a lot of training for companies. When strawberries, corn, or whatever is in the field, it’s 98 degrees that day, so it’s hot. They cool that stuff down. The produce has a cooling process and then it’s in a number of cold chain facilities or warehouses, and then at some point, it’s in those trucks. To your point, anytime it gets heated up above, all of a sudden, all bets are off. You think it’s going to be good through next week, but surprise, it’s not.

When you go buy those strawberries, blueberries, or whatever, it’s always expensive. I saw a napkin over at the store and it said, “I bought a head of lettuce. Should I throw it out now or wait until next week?” That is so true because I always say I want to eat more salads. I bring all this stuff home. I don’t need any excuses not to eat salads, but I wait a few days and open it up, and I’m like, “It’s not the same.”

We’ve been taking a look at specifically shelf life. What we’re finding is some stats that say 80% of the demand for fresh fruits and vegetables is up regardless of pandemic or not pandemic, but the shelf life has dramatically dropped off because of port congestion, driver’s shortages, a reefer that has been shut off to save gas, or sitting at the Mexican border and coming over the border. There’s a whole host of things that can be solved simply by knowing where the truck is, what the temperature is in real-time, getting in touch with dispatch, and having the driver fix it.

Graphics Caption 1 TLOL Jim Waters

Tracking And Visibility: There’s a whole host of things that can be solved simply by knowing where the truck is or what the temperature is in real-time, getting in touch with dispatch, and having the driver fix it.


You mentioned UI. That is the user interface, right?

Yeah. We have a user interface that allows people to see multi-facets of critical data like shock, light, heat, and hyper-accurate locations. At any one time, you have a dashboard that shows you not only where your stuff is, but how it is.

This is the next level of visibility. You mentioned real-time. Let’s say I need this to stay below 45 degrees and it’s creeping up from 40 degrees, 41 degrees, or 42 degrees. Do I get a notice that says, “Warning, your stuff is getting hot?”

There are two things about that. Number one, yes. We can either set up the load, but we usually have the customer set up the load. They put in their own excursions, so if they’re going to ship between, let’s say 37 degrees and 41 degrees, we’ll set that parameter or they’ll set that parameter. They’ll get a real-time alert either by text or email or if our guys are looking at it, meaning our 24/7 monitors, they will take a look at it and they’ll get in touch with the customer and say, “We’re looking at a possible excursion. It has gone up 5 degrees in the last 30 minutes. We did see a light alert go off, which means somebody opened the back. It probably took in a big gulp of warm air.” The driver is going to need to adjust the temperature to keep those things fresh.

I ran across a story years ago. I will not mention names to protect the innocent and the guilty. There was a food company, and they told me about this that they had their own trucking division. They said they were delivering $70,000 worth of food. It was supposed to deliver on a Friday, and it didn’t. Somebody said, “Take this back to the terminal. Make sure this stays cold all weekend,” and whoever was supposed to do that didn’t do that. On Sunday night, these guys showed up at work and they realized they had wasted $70,000 worth of food. Rather than calling the boss and saying, “The funniest thing happened over the weekend,” what they did is they turned it back on.

We don’t ever want to put anybody in that position because if I was working in this warehouse or terminal, I don’t want to say that I made this mistake. Rather than getting fired, I say, “The Tostitos will be fine. They’ll be okay.” If I had a Tive tracker on that, I would have gotten a warning when it started to heat up on Friday night. Somebody could say, “Did you do that? Did you make sure that truck stayed on?”

That’s precisely what the excursion alerts are for. It’s to pick up on a potential problem so that there’s time to take reactive measures to either turn the reefer back on. Maybe the truck ran out of gas and the guy is asleep in the back, or maybe somebody opened the back to put something in it and it left the door open. We can tell at any time if there are infractions or excursions that are recoverable. We like to say we can prevent shipment delays in damage because we can see what’s going on now and probably predict what’s going to happen.

I know you work in pharma, in food, or anything in that mission-critical stuff. What are some other sweet spots for you guys?

We launched our SOLO 5G pharma, which is a critical cold chain with specially calibrated sensors. That’s one of the things that’s a sweet spot for us, and then there’s also consumer-packaged goods. That can be anything from retail, televisions, 55-inch screen TVs, or laptops. The sweet spot for us is letting people know that there was a shock event and probably a lot of that merchandise could have been damaged.

When you say shock event, is that a big pothole or an accident?

We track between g-force. We try to filter out bumps in the road and speed bumps, but anything over an 8G or a 9G is probably not good. It’s probably an accident or the guy or gal driving the truck jammed on the brakes.

We can prevent shipment delays and damage because we can see what’s going on now and probably predict what will happen.

It could be they dropped on a shelf.

We can track that right down to the box level that that happened. The other thing that shippers would like to know is who was responsible for the damage so that when they’re going to file a claim, we can show them with a PDF report exactly what time it happened, where it happened, and when it dropped, which is critical.

That’s a good point. I’ve worked at a third-party logistics company. I always remember going through that, “We could have picked it up. It could have been damaged when we picked it up.” You always have the he said, she said moment, and it can be damaging to relationships. I’m not trying to make your case here for the ROI, but when you think about that $70,000 worth of food that pays for a lifetime supply of Tive trackers but so does missing one claim. It could be a load of electronics is worth millions of dollars potentially, and if somebody said, “I’m not paying you guys. You owe me $1 million for this damage,” you can say, “We can prove that it didn’t happen on our watch.”

We talk to people all the time that say, “We put in a claim and we didn’t get paid off because we couldn’t prove who was handling the package when it dropped.” Maybe it was a movie camera that’s worth tens of thousands of dollars. If you put a $100 tracker or $50 tracker on that load, it’s paying for itself.

You don’t have the he said, she said moments. You don’t have those poor relationship issues. How much do those trackers usually cost?

It depends. It’s subscription-based. If people are going to reuse them, the price goes down, but on average, it’s between $30 and $50 per tracker. If you’re only shipping six loads three times a year, that cost is going to be considerably higher.

When you talk about a wasted load, one wasted load in ten years pays for a lot of trackers.

We did a case study with GEODIS. One load was close to $1 million.

I’ve also experienced this where we were moving freight from way down in Mexico all the way to Northeast Philadelphia, New York on a regular basis with million dollars’ worth of stuff. Every once in a while, stuff would show up rusted because it was sheet metal stuff for construction. You can’t get to a construction site and go, “Here’s your million dollars’ worth of stuff. It has a little bit of rust on it, but don’t worry about it. You’ve only paid $1.5 million for it.”

It also was showing up sometimes dented, which was a problem. It didn’t cause it not to work, but you sold somebody millions of dollars with this stuff. They didn’t expect to see dents in it, but there was stuff that was damaged. In that long track, there’s a lot of handling and you could never tell where it went wrong. Also, there are some rough roads down in Mexico. People are saying, “It’s the roads,” but you take the guesswork out of it if you put a tracker on there and go, “We exactly where these problems happened.” Let’s wrap this bad boy up. Who’s your sweet spot? Who do you guys normally work with? 

For customers?

Graphics Caption 2 TLOL Jim Waters

Tracking And Visibility: When people think of retail, they think of clothes, shoes, or socks, but let’s not forget that retail is also supermarkets. It’s not critical, but the cold chain for perishables is also considered retail.



We’re very heavy in 3PL, 4PL, and logistic service providers. That’s where our sweet spot is. Now that we’ve officially launched the SOLO 5G pharma, we are going all the way to the pharma shipper. It’s all the big names that are not only shipping things for COVID, but there are so many other things that need to be shipped in pharmaceuticals and pharma life science products. Those are the two areas that we’re mainly focused on. Also, we’re heavy in retail. When people think of retail, they think of clothes, shoes, or socks, but let’s not forget that retail is also supermarkets. It’s not critical, but the cold chain for perishables is also considered retail.

I don’t know what it’s like now, but I heard this a few years ago. A friend of mine from India said that 30% of the food that was harvested was never eaten. They had plenty of warehouses, but there were some reefer shortages. If somebody says, “I don’t want to spend money on a tracker,” you’re like, “You don’t mind throwing out 30% of your harvest.”

Sometimes, it makes no sense, but we run into it all the time. It hardly ever costs a thing. The shippers may not be used to where the technology has gotten to. Moving from passive trackers that just sit on the load and collect data, and then you plug them into your USB port, our stuff is constantly connected as long as it’s not in the air or too far out in the ocean. We are constantly collecting the data, and as soon as we connect to a cellular network, we’re downloading that in real-time.

To your point, they don’t even know that’s possible. That’s what’s cool about something like this. You can say that it is possible. The he said, she said moments you’ve been having with your 3PL, carrier, or shipping company, it could be solved for $50 a load. Thank you so much for taking the time.

Thank you. We appreciate you for having Tive on as a guest.

Thank you all for reading. I appreciate your support. Until next time, onward and upward.


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About Jim Waters

Graphics Jim Waters Headshot TLOL Jim Waters 300x300Inspires Remarkable Content, Market Opportunities and Sales Enablement To Drive Meaningful Conversations & Pipeline Velocity. Regarded as one of the leading pipeline builders in Boston B2B marketing. Currently Head of Marketing at Tive the leader in real-time visibility.

I founded Foresight Information—before its acquisition by (Everest Group.)

The Logistics of Logistics Podcast