Charting a true course through a perfect storm - Part 2
In Part One, we looked at how the challenges facing third party logistics (3PL) providers are creating a perfect storm. This includes aggressive downward pressure on pricing from customers, while overheads are on the rise.
In this blog, we will highlight the array of fleet management solutions that can help road transport companies navigate through these tough times.
Charting a Course
While even our complex 3D algorithms can’t predict the future for road transport, in our fleet management solutions we do have technologies that can help freight companies chart a safer course through this perfect storm. There are two ways in which fleet management from Trakm8 can help: creating a value-add proposition for your customers; and cutting costs.
An example of adding value would be using Trakm8 Optimisation’s scheduling software to offer your customers guaranteed two-hour delivery windows, enabling them to better plan and prepare for goods arriving. Or it could be using our award-winning EVOS algorithm to switch some of your fleet to electric vehicles without disrupting your business or increasing overheads. Introducing EVs helps your customers to reduce CO₂ emissions in their supply chain.
Furthermore, solutions such as Trakm8 Optimisation can identify areas for cost-cutting that you might never have otherwise noticed. For example, the ACME delivery company has 30 goods vehicles, working six days a week, supplying food retail stores. The transport manager currently manually plans all routes. Using advanced algorithms to re-schedule those deliveries, Trakm8 concludes that the company could fulfil all existing customer requirements by making better use of just 25 vehicles.
This means that ACME could cut 5 vehicles and drivers, making a substantial saving on overheads. Or alternatively, it could use the spare capacity to take on more work, without significantly increasing overheads. This spare capacity offers ACME a further choice, of either driving up its profit margin, or enabling it to bid with confidence on those increasingly tight tenders we mentioned earlier.
However, let’s imagine that ACME actually needs 26 vehicles running on Monday mornings, because it has 26 guaranteed delivery windows at that time, every week. This is blocking the removal of the fifth vehicle, which is needed for this one day, but is surplus to requirements for the rest of ACME’s operations. By incentivising one customer to move its delivery to a Tuesday, the logistics company could take another vehicle off the road.
Improving fleet safety can also help reduce overheads by minimising the risk of at-fault accidents. This could be in the form of Cellcontrol in-cab mobile phone blockers that prevent drivers from using their phones at the wheel; or Trakm8’s Roadhawk dash cams that provide hard evidence of who was to blame for a crash; or multi-cam systems that eliminate blind spots on goods vehicles. Fewer accidents, of course, means lower insurance premiums.
Another great tool for improving safety and cutting fuel spend is a driver monitoring system, also known as driver performance software, or driver behaviour. By providing in-cab alerts, these systems aim to ingrain best practice in your drivers, eliminating potentially dangerous and fuel-hungry habits such as harsh braking and cornering, or aggressive acceleration.
Finally, while the benefits of GPS vehicle tracking are well understood in the 3PL sector, the increasing intelligence of fleet telematics means there may well be new features that you have not yet exploited. For example, deploying geofencing to prevent vehicles from entering areas with road pricing, such as the London congestion charge zone. Or it might be using our advanced remote vehicle diagnostics as an early warning system on any vehicle health issues, helping you reduce the risk of vehicle breakdowns and enabling you to plan preventative maintenance.
Working in logistics is never going to be plain sailing; it’s a job that requires quick thinking and the ability to deal with multiple challenges, often all at once. However, a true partnership approach with a solutions provider like Trakm8 can help you navigate the best path through whatever stormy weather you face.
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