By Chelsea Kelly
Sara Blair is a Product Manager at Uber Freight, working on solutions that make the logistics industry better for the people who work in it every day. She is helping Uber Freight transform the industry and wants all of us to remember that we have a personal connection to logistics, even though we may not be aware of it.
If you bought it, a truck brought it
“Even if you’ve never thought about it, everything that you’ve ever bought or touched has been on a truck at some point. Behind the scenes and often out of sight, there is a vast network of people that work hard to deliver all of the goods that we enjoy, use and consume. The ones making it happen are truck drivers, facility workers, transportation professionals, and dispatchers, and we at Uber Freight are here to help them. Our long-term vision is to create a global economy of transportation to make their jobs seamless and easy, simplifying the movement of goods to help communities thrive.
“The Uber Freight service matches freight shippers (customers who have cargo that needs shipping) with freight carriers (the individual truck drivers or companies that transport goods to their destination). Just as Uber technology revolutionized the way people move, now we are doing the same for the freight industry. We are connecting shippers, carriers, and facilities to unlock efficiencies in the supply chain.”
New ideas and evolving technologies
“Freight and logistics are fascinating because of the intricacies that make it such a challenge to solve. The industry has been built over many years with carbon paper, telephones, fax machines, and walkie talkies. The team at Uber Freight takes time to understand how our customers and carriers think about their current process and seek to understand what they like and don’t like about everything that they do.
“As a Product Manager, I spend hours each week engaging with carriers who I used to book loads with to get their feedback on the new ideas we’re incubating. After collecting feedback, we often have to recalibrate to ensure that we are building what our network wants and needs. Nothing is more rewarding than having these conversations up front and then releasing a new product that turns into a delightful experience for our network.”
Logistics is personal to me, but it should be personal to everyone
“Logistics is in my blood, and it is very personal for me. I grew up in Southern Indiana, and I can remember as a small child passing large warehouses with semi trucks neatly packed side by side unloading. My father worked at the local plastic factory unloading trucks, so I often heard stories about the regulars that would offload there each week. When I got older I then found myself working the second and third shifts at that same local factory during my summers home from college. Before I knew it, I had graduated from college and helped to start a full-fledged freight brokerage in downtown Chicago that eventually joined forces with Uber to launch Uber Freight.
“I have seen my dad frustrated that none of his trucks showed up on time and he had no idea when or if they would arrive. I witnessed many of the transportation planners at the factory not understand why the cost of a truck skyrocketed overnight. I have felt the pain of a driver stuck in Florida when he needed to be in Chicago for his daughter’s birthday. This is just a small handful of problems that Uber Freight is equipped to solve because of our ability to leverage technology and operations teams in order to drive realistic change. This is why I am here. I have to make it better for my family, drivers, customers, and facility workers.”