February 23, 2016

Freight Exchanges Unlocking the Value of Visibility

Simon Bunegar, Head of Business Development, Transport Exchange Group

The ability of a freight exchange to act as a central platform, operating seamlessly with other supply chain and back office systems, is providing a unique opportunity to bring together different telematics systems to achieve true data integration. By gathering, analysing and sharing this disparate vehicle tracking information, there is a huge opportunity to monitor assets to greatly reduce waste and cost. As a result, road transport and logistics businesses now have the opportunity to achieve complete operational visibility to drive smarter, more profitable ways of working.

There are currently little or no industry standards within the telematics sector. With at least 15 significant vehicle tracking suppliers and in excess of 100 providers in total, transport operators face serious challenges when it comes to effective supply chain communications. Previously, there has been no means for partners to share vehicle positioning and other important data unless they are using the same tracking tool (and even this offer requires costly integration of some kind).

However, advances by independent freight trading platforms, such as Haulage Exchange, means there is now an opportunity to bring together information from multiple data sources. What this means is that transport operators can achieve complete visibility of in-house, sub-contracted and partner fleets, helping them to fill empty vehicles and trailers through interactive co-operation between business partners while maintaining key levels of quality service.

This telematics integration is allowing the creation of trusted networks, boosting operational efficiency and increasing profitability simply by being better connected. Moreover, with the increasing adoption of smart matching technology there is an opportunity to move visibility away from something that is essentially passive towards a more active and dynamic process.

Furthermore, by integrating vehicle tracking with a freight exchange there is now an opportunity to increase the telematics value proposition for smaller fleets. Often the return on investment for these operators has failed to justify the ongoing cost of the tracking system. The result of this is that despite many acknowledged benefits, few are easily measurable and there is sometimes a perception that significant internal resources are required to maximise the potential of the technology.

These smaller operators now have the potential to be part of an extensive virtual, fully-tracked fleet. As a result, they have the ability to become more attractive to larger organisations that are increasingly demanding end-to-end visibility of their supply chains, while helping to promote unused capacity to other members, minimising dead mileage and boosting revenues.

Transport Exchange Group’s Haulage and Courier Exchanges now have agreements with more than a dozen leading telematics providers to deliver complete visibility and control for both in-house and sub-contractor fleets using their unique SCALE infrastructure (Smart Location and Location Exchange). As a result, data from many of the best-used vehicle tracking tools can now be combined through the Exchange to create the first system-neutral telematics integration platform for the logistics and road transport sectors.

The value of visibility is already seeing active, tracked members of the Exchange reduce levels of empty running from an industry average of around 30 per cent to less than 10 per cent. A more efficient use of available capacity is having a dramatic impact on revenue growth, operational performance and lower environmental impact.