At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that Cargo Express Delivery UK, a same-day courier operator, and Fat Solutions, which began life as an industrial recycler, have nothing in common.

From its headquarters in Bradford, one makes its living by travelling the length and breadth of the UK, transporting everything from small envelopes to 1500kg pallets to its loyal customer base, while just under 40 miles away in Manchester, the other – is formerly an alchemist, specialising in converting waste cooking oil into bio-diesel for bus, coach and taxis.

Not much alignment there, you’d think. But, if you were to take a closer look, you’d see that while on the surface, their customer base is radically different, they share many similarities. Both are family-owned companies. Both have successfully weathered recessionary storms that have blighted the UK over the past decade, and both believe that inculcating and championing a culture of collaboration in their businesses is the key to increased profit margins. And perhaps, most importantly, both have embraced highly-advanced next-generation collaboration platforms, created by the Transport Exchange Group, to help them achieve their goal.

cTake Cargo Express Delivery (UK) Ltd for example. The company, which was founded in 2011 by father and son, Jurijs and Igors Gailiss, joined the Transport Exchange Group in 2012 and now has achieved top-tier membership.

Says Managing Director, Igors Gailiss: “The Exchange is a collaboration forum, which has been truly life-changing for our business. We estimate that is has helped us grow our business by around 75%.

“It works because it is a neutral and trusted third party, which represents, not just our interests, but the interests of every member.

“The Exchange has played a key role in the company boosting our revenue stream by around 50%. It enabled us to increase our fleet by nine vehicles and provides a solid and safe platform for us to work in concert with reputable sub-contractors whenever we cannot make a delivery ourselves. And the beauty of the system is that we can track driver movements and trace loads forensically and in real-time.”

But what has been truly game-changing for the Gailiss family and their 12 staff is a sizeable reduction in empty-leg running and a decrease in congestion and emissions too – which they believe “demonstrates how interoperable real-time systems can be transformative in fostering enhanced collaboration”.

So how exactly is this achieved?

“We take great pride in providing our customers with a 60-minute collection service which extends to most cities and towns in the UK. The exchange offers us real-time visibility and helps form and nurture symbiotic working relationships.

“For example, if one of our drivers has dropped off a load in Liverpool, and we can look at the Live Availability Map, which uses a traffic-light system to display the exact whereabouts of any driver in our extended network.

“If another company – say in Warrington – which is 10 miles away from our driver – posts a load – which needs to be delivered to Huddersfield, a 15-mile journey from our depot, we can take ownership of the load. Not only is there mutual benefit on both sides, and a reduction in fuel costs and CO2 emissions because the company who originally posted the load has not had to spend time and money making an 88 mile round trip.”

Gary Armstrong, FAT Solutions.

It is a view shared by Gary Armstrong, who runs and owns Fat Solutions Ltd., a same-day delivery haulage firm whose three 18 tonnes trucks are certified and equipped to carry everything from ambient produce to expensive mechanical machinery.

Says Armstrong, “When I signed up to the Haulage Exchange 10 years ago, I was not sure what to expect. The fee seemed expensive at the time, but in hindsight, it has been worth every penny. It has given me access to a community of like-minded companies who come together in real-time to acquire or sell loads, without ever hindering the smooth transition of goods to the customer.”

But it is the security and peace of mind that the Exchange, with its 4500 members – all of them stringently vetted in a 17-point accreditation process – provides Armstrong and his five-strong team, which has proved invaluable.

“Even before I pick up the phone, I can do so safe in the knowledge that every logistics company on the Exchange have been closely scrutinised. And before I even post a load, I can check that the carrier has the correct documentation. Do they up-to-date insurance paperwork and security clearance? But what is very helpful is that, at the click of a button, I can forensically access a company’s feedback. If they have one negative review, and 100 good ones, then that is something I will usually overlook. But if the sub-contractor’s record is littered with negative feedback, then I will not use them. In short, it helps me to makes an informed decision as to who I work with, knowing whoever that is, that they will provide a high level of service.”

As a collaborative tool, which fully harnesses the weight of compliance data, the Haulage Exchange helped Armstrong to pinpoint and connect with Denton-based Corr Distribution Ltd, a same-day freight and courier.

Armstrong explains: “Linking up with Corr has helped my business to grow. I do not have vans. They do. They have around 16 of them in fact. If I have a job that requires a van, I can make contact in real-time through the Exchange – and book them – safe in the knowledge that my load will be delivered on time, and at a fair price for both parties.

“In the world of logistics, what could be more collaborative than that?”

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