Twill Will: Making Digital Logistics Accessible to Small Businesses

Context

Digitization that has revolutionized many industries for years could address some of the aforementioned issues in the logistic sector. One market sector that could benefit immensely from digital logistics includes small and medium enterprises (SMEs). With digital solutions, the latter ones could enhance the speed of their business processes, gain access to real-time freight-rates and track their cargos, avoid outsourcing and overspending on logistics because of excessive paperworks and integrate maritime transport with other transport means seamlessly.

Maersk is a global conglomerate that operates mainly in shipping and energy industries. It has been a leading global integrator of container logistics for decades. With one of its newest business lines Twill, a digital freight-forwarding platform offering SMEs complete online logistics management services, Maersk aims at pioneering in digital logistics as well.

Some of Twill’s features include flexible rate options, additional free days from container arrival at destination to return of empty containers, credit access, end-to-end service (Ocean Transport, Inland Transport and Customs House Brokerage Request), personalized profile, easy website navigation and dedicated global customer service team.

Currently, Twill’s key challenges are to:

  • Find and engage with its niche market of small businesses.
  • Understand and address prospect’s needs in terms of digital logistics.

Our team tried to help Twill tackle these challenges with service design methods during a consulting project implemented within the scope of the Master in Service Design, at Politecnico Di Milano. In a team of 5, we worked in 5 design sprints implemented throughout 2 weeks.

The key limitation for the solution was the implementation timespan. Twill was looking for a solution that would be executable in a short-run and without extensive resources.

Approach

Sprint 1: Desk Research + Field Research + Analysis
Sprint 2: Service Idea Generation
Sprint 3: Service Concept Selection + Definition
Sprint 4: Service Concept Development + Planning
Sprint 5: Service Concept Prototyping + Testing + Validation

Research

  • Understand the overall logistics process and key concepts.
  • Understand the main trends in the logistics industry.
  • Understand the competitive landscape and each competitor’s positioning.
  • Understand Maersk’s and Twill’s long-term goals and short-term objectives with Twill.
  • Understand SME owners’ decision making process in regards to logistics.
  • Understand SME’s main pain-points and needs with international logistics management.

Within the scope of our desk research, we conducted a systematic review of recent articles and industry reports, a competitive analysis based on the competitor list provided by the company, web and search log analytics. Within the scope of our field research, we conducted interviews with 16 Maersk employees, 12 prospect (SME owners) and implemented product trial with the demo account provided by the company.

Field Research Insights

  • SMEs lack logistic knowledge: from processes to terms and regulations.
  • SMEs need to receive constant support from experts in order to manage their logistic activities.
  • SMEs need to interact with an easy booking system that will allow them to handle their shippings in a simple and intuitive way.
  • SMEs want to get a clear understanding about freight rates and be able to choose among tailored options.
  • SMEs need to have their shippings guaranteed avoiding vessels’ overbooking problems.
  • SMEs want to track their cargos and be sure their products will remain intact throughout the entire journey.
  • SMEs need to have all their shipping documents properly managed and stored.
Research Insights

Desk Research Insights

  • The trend of digitization in all industries is accompanied with an increase in customer education initiatives that mostly go under marketing investment and have rather high ROIs.
  • Despite the fact that technologies can support performance management in terms of cost savings and improving the performance of the vessel, the shipping industry is still far from being a fully digitized sector. Considering this, global retailers are implementing shipping into its supply chain so that they can manage and own multiple logistics service. However, this is not executable for SMEs with limited resources.
Research Insights

Solution

Key Features

  • Free educational content available on the web platform to empower customers and nourish leads.
  • Digital platform walkthrough for seamless onboarding.
  • Individual logistics coaching and self-paced training programs from Maersk’s certified experts.
  • Exclusive informative content after the first transfer with Twill​.

Service Offering

Service offerings

How It Works

  1. The SME owner watches the interactive video walkthrough presenting Twill services and guiding through the main website functionalities and then decides to sign up.
  2. The SME owner can now learn about shipment processes and logistics. Twill Will section provides videos, webinars and articles from industry specialists and logistics experts, tailored to the customer’s need for updated and reliable information.
  3. The SME owner gets informed that he/she can also organize one-to-one counseling sessions with Twill logistics experts who will support them to build a complete shipment plan. The first meeting is for free,
  4. After the free meeting the SME owner can decide to become a premium client or pay for single sessions.

Benefits

  • Understanding and meeting current clients’ logistics needs, thus, increasing retention rates and customer lifetime value (CLV).
  • Attracting and engaging with new clients in the niche market and communicating to them Twill’s value and ease-of-use.

System Mapping

System Map

Roadmapping

Service Roadmap

UX Design Process

Storyboarding and User Flows

Storyboards

Before diving into the flows, we wanted to understand the larger context of the service use and empathize with the users. To do this, we started with storyboarding.

We then identified two different user types:

  1. New users (people who have never used Twill)
  2. Twill’s existing clients

For each type, we created personas, envisioned separate flows and designed accordingly.

Prototyping and Testing

Interactive Prototype

Video Mockups

Video Mockup

Challenges and Learnings

​​“The time spent on industry research is never wasted”

Logistics is a complicated industry and understanding even its basic aspects can be challenging for people who have absolutely no experience in it. Unsurprisingly, as a group of designers, researchers and analysts, we did not have an in-depth understanding of the field. Thus, we had to spend a lot of time in the exploratory phase to understand its nuances and processes. At the time, it felt painful and hard, but at the end, it paid off. We we were able to design a solution that considered both the business and consumer sides.

“Conflicts and blocks happen, don’t panic — visualize!”

During one of our sprints, when we were working on user flows, suddenly, we all seemed to be stuck. We couldn’t get consensus on the incorporation of the pricing aspects of the new service into the user interface and we spent nearly the entire working day just discussing it - no real work. The result of our over-discussion was that we started to question the initial concept and panicked that it was not good enough, needed rework and that we couldn’t make it in time. However, at some point, we decided just to stop discussing anything and start visualizing all our ideas working in a shared space. Magic happened. All the communication and mutual understanding barriers disappeared and we entered into a state of flow. We managed to put together all the pieces through collaborative visualization.

My responsibilities were user interviews, storyboarding, user flows, prototyping, testing, video mockup prep. To learn more contact me at nar.krmoyan@gmail.com

Service, UX and innovation designer passionate about digital transformation and co-design