Interview with Jason Lau

Jason Lau, as the Operation Enablement Lead who was based in Hong Kong office at Flexport, had conducted relevant solutions to get this fast developing freight forwarding company’s digital contents organized in a better way. Let’s see what inspired Jason to start to do DAM at Flexport and what were his strategies during the process.

Here is the Linkedin page of Jason Lau.

(1)What drives your motivation to start to organize digital assets at Flexport?

Flexport exists in the rather complicated industry of freight forwarding and international logistics, so when new hires onboard into our company, they must tackle a very steep learning curve. There are so many pieces of knowledge that new hires need to learn in order to be successful at Flexport, especially for those who do not have a prior background in international logistics. In addition, Flexport has a global operating model with many moving pieces, so there are many processes and procedures that employees need to know in their day-to-day workflows.

Thus, there were several pain points that arose due to the nature of our business.

  • New hire training was difficult due to the lack of source-of-truth company knowledge. It’s very difficult to build a training curriculum if your source material has not been written down!
  • Employees had a hard time accessing information across our suite of tools (Slack, Google Drive, Confluence, emails). Because of this, people often searched for information by asking their teammates, instead of relying on our tools.
  • It was very painful to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest information. Our company suffered from a problem of “too many communication channels”. Information would be communicated in-person, over Slack, and in emails, so it was difficult for people to be exposed to all changes that took place.

As our company’s Operations Enablement Lead, my goal in organizing Flexport’s digital assets was to create the best and easiest user experience when it came to documenting, delivering, and consuming information. And my strategy in accomplishing this goal centered around those three distinct pain points.

(2) What were your strategies when selecting a digital asset management vendor for the company?

While there are many digital asset management tools that exist on the market with their own sets of features, in my mind, there are certain core competencies that you should look for when evaluating a new tool.

  • Ease of content creation: you want a tool that is easy to use when it comes to content creation. This becomes especially important as a company scales. Oftentimes, a company’s knowledge base can grow massive and become unmanageable, so you really want a tool that empowers the content creators.
  • Ease of information lookup: you obviously want a tool that makes it easy to find what’s already documented. What good is a digital asset management tool if users have a hard time finding what they’re looking for? Therefore, a tool with great search and search optimization features is essential when selecting a tool.
  • Access to analytics: this may seem like an optional feature, but it’s actually quite necessary in my opinion. Digital asset management tools that have analytics features allow you to understand your users’ behavior and also enable you to make data-driven decisions on how to improve the user experience.
  • Compatibility with other tools: finally, you should also consider how your tool can interact with your existing suite of tools. For example, Confluence is often a great choice due to its compatibility and shared features with other Atlassian products. Oftentimes, there’s high potential for synergies when selecting a tool that’s extremely compatible with your other tools.

There are many additional dimensions that you could consider when selecting a new tool, but I think that these are the most important!

(3) Were there any problems haven’t been solved? Would you mind to give some examples?

Of course, with any high-growth company, new problems come up all the time. One challenge that we encountered in the past was whether to implement a concentrated versus distributed content creation process. In other words, should content only be created, managed, and updated by designated individuals, or should this be democratized to all individuals? One one hand, concentrating content creation rights allows you to maintain a higher quality product, but limits the speed and velocity of content creation. On the other hand, distributing content creation rights allows you to increase the velocity of content creation, but leads to a lower quality product. At Flexport, we haven’t quite found the perfect balance, but we do implement a mixed system. There is no good answer to which method is better, but you should try to work toward a balance that suits your organization.

(4) What kind of supports would you love to get if someone is willing to help Flexport solve their digital file problems?

Flexport is a rapidly growing organization. When I first joined, we had 80 employees in a single office location. Now, we have nearly 1,800 employees worldwide. For me, I think one area where we could solicit some advice is on how to continue evolving our digital asset management strategy as the company continues to grow even larger. I think that Flexport has done a great job of executing a strategy that has gotten us to this point, but how should we shift our strategy to account for future growth? It’s a great problem to have, so I’m not too worried overall.

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