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How to optimise road transport with track & trace technology

With trucking costs at a 10-year high, fleet managers are under intense pressure to optimise their road transport logistics and save costs. Find out how tracking technology and new business models such as B2B transport marketplaces could be the key to more efficient transport operations.

Today’s fleet managers and distributors are facing an uphill battle. In the 4th quarter of 2017, road transport costs in the EU reached the highest rate in ten years. Moreover, due to a driver shortage in Europe and the USA and rapid economic growth, trucking rates are set to continue to increase over the next months, with no end in sight. These factors combined are placing intense pressure on fleet managers to improve the efficiency of road transport logistics. However, it’s difficult to optimise what you can’t measure. In order to streamline and optimise operations, distributors need to first fix the issue of trackability in their road transport operations.

Price Index of European Road Transport Rates

Trucking costs have been increasing sharply over the last two years. Data from Transport Marketing Monitor (May 2018), made by Capgemini Consulting and TRANSPOREON

Why Most Companies Can’t Track Their Loads

In comparison to other areas, the road transport industry is yet to be substantially digitalised and disrupted by technology. Despite some recent innovations, most distributors still have virtually zero knowledge of exactly where their carriers and commodities are at any specific moment in time. Of course, ideally fleet managers and distributors would have the capacity to track everything, but a number of key challenges prevent this.

Firstly, fleet managers typically use several different road freight transport providers, making it nearly impossible to implement a single technological solution to track every single one of them. Secondly, even if distributors relied on a single overarching provider to carry all loads, they’d typically still have to outsource work to third-party hauliers, therefore replicating the multi-provider tracking problem.

How New Technology Players Can Help Tracking

Fleet Manager

Therefore, distributors and fleet managers that are serious about improving logistics efficiency by improving tracking systems will need to incorporate technological solutions into their transport value chain. For instance, cargo sensors are on the rise and present clear benefits for firms that operate their own road transport service. However, in the case of distributors that rely on third-party vehicles, novel business models like B2B transport marketplaces could be pivotal for successful carrier tracking since these technologies are tailored towards building long-term relationships between carriers and shippers.

These platforms directly connect fleet managers and distributors to thousands of hauliers, meaning they don’t need to outsource freight transport jobs to others, so all vehicles are tracked in real-time by the platform. Further to this, B2B transport marketplaces can also help fleet managers and distributors overcome road transport supply problems. That’s because these platforms connect them to an extensive network of thousands of hauliers, and always guarantee vehicle availability both for regular shipments and backup requirements.

The Impact Of Technology-Based Carrier Tracking

The future of logistics centres around a combination of technology, data and analytics. Fleet managers embracing digital disruption to their advantage will apply technology to the entire transport value chain, thus creating transversal solutions. This brings several beneficial outcomes for road transport operations:

  • Optimised carrier allocation
  • Optimised carrier assignment
  • Improved POD management
  • Improved route tracking and tracing

In other words, gathering of meaningful data, effectively analyzing this information and insisting on data-driven decision making will each help to boost road transport efficiency on multiple levels.

Firstly, fleet managers and distributors will be able to identify and prevent standstills as well as avoiding empty return routes. Secondly, proper tracking will allow them to identify the most frequent and repetitive routes in order to prioritise automatization, optimization and improvements to the planning of their road transport operations. This will ensure that fleet managers can always select the best carriers and fares for their transport requirements. Finally, these changes will mean distributors can better inform and organise their operations thanks to access to measurable data, which helps reduce gaps in knowledge and anticipate incidents.

Conclusion

In light of rising trucking costs, fleet managers need to overhaul road transport operations to make them more efficient and streamlined. Technological solutions will empower fleet managers and distributors to leverage data in order to positively disrupt an industry that’s currently behind in terms of innovation and technological evolution.

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