Zencargo Team

Meet Peter Tomlinson, Director of Data at Zencargo

Apr 08, 2022

I joined Zencargo back in November as Director of Data, my first foray into the world of logistics and freight forwarding. My background spans a number of industries, from solving real big data problems for digital marketing to bringing insights to global real estate markets – where the data is not so much “big”, but very very complex. I have also run my own data consultancy, helping SMEs make their first steps towards becoming data-led organisations.

Regardless of the industry, it’s always been about the data – as an engineer, architect and leader, I’ve been focussing on challenges around acquiring, managing, securing and exploiting data for over 20 years.

What Does the Director of Data Do?

The role of a data leader is fairly new, and reflects the change in perceptions of data from a liability to an asset. In the broadest sense, my role is to deliver two things:

  1. Operational excellence by putting complete, accurate and timely data into the hands of our colleagues, clients and partners.
  2. Increased revenue through making data a key differentiator where we compete, and leading the market with disruptive data products.

Using Data to Disrupt the Shipping Industry

Many industries, such as real estate and freight forwarding, have been around for a very long time. Because of that, they’re behind the curve in using new data and technologies to drive them forward into the future. 

Zencargo invests so much in data because we’re striving to stay far ahead of the evolving needs and expectations of our customers. Being in the vanguard of these efforts makes it a constantly exciting place to work.

Currently, the supply chain is broken. Containers are stuck in ports for days, weeks, or months at a time. Buyers never know where their goods are or when they might receive them. Costs are at an all-time high.

But there’s more than sufficient data to solve these issues if you know where to find it and how to apply it. 

Unlike others in mature industries such as freight forwarding, we’re not just using data to assess daily performance. We’re evaluating ways to develop market-disrupting products and fix the broken supply chain. 

Zencargo’s Draw for Data Engineers

For me, one of the biggest draws when considering Zencargo was that the supply chain is not an abstract problem for a data person. 

On the surface, it’s very tangible and easy to visualise – somebody orders something, the manufacturer makes it and puts it on a lorry. Then it goes to a port, gets packed onto a boat, and goes to another port. From there, it’s unpacked and stored in a warehouse until it’s picked up to be delivered. 

But once you look underneath that surface, it’s vastly complex, with any number of processes and actors in play at any given stage. That provides the data-minded with a rare combination of a clear mental picture of the problem space, and plenty of hard problems to keep us entertained.

The other big draw in joining a company at this stage is its growth. We’re rapidly scaling our business, and moving fast in any number of areas. While this poses it’s own challenges, it’s exciting, and there is no shortage of opportunity and our focus on our core values means we’re not losing sight of what’s important to us as people along the way.

Who Would Be a Good Fit for the Data Team at Zencargo?

Anybody that loves data will thrive at Zencargo if they want to do something that genuinely makes a difference for everybody in the world. 

The shipping industry affects almost every aspect of life. Places that have been difficult to reach in the past can be more efficiently accessed and supported. Even in less developed countries, a better functioning supply chain means more goods, food, and medicine. 

Furthermore, for too long, businesses and consumers alike have been powerless regarding the supply chain. People have the right to reasonable expectations about cost, delivery, and communication concerning their shipped goods. Zencargo has the opportunity and ambition to be on the front end of those developments. 

And it’s all data-led. 

We’re learning more and more as we grow and develop. That creates an exciting environment that keeps you constantly on your toes. You’ll discover more than you will almost anywhere else, and you’ll be working with a team to support and encourage your personal growth. 

Learning As We Go

The best part of working at Zencargo, other than the opportunity to make the world a more accessible and better place, is that we are all learning new things every day. 

Every part of the company is looking for ways to improve and discover new opportunities. That energy and the values that our company was founded on inspires every person to care about everyone else’s success. 

You don’t have to come from shipping or logistics to find a place at Zencargo. I didn’t. You only need to love working with and solving data challenges and have the drive to be a part of something bigger.