Simon Bunegar, Head of Marketing and Business Development at the Transport Exchange Group, reviews a stellar year in collaborative logistics
As environmental regulations tighten, profit margins are squeezed and efficiency continues to reign supreme, transport companies in our industry are increasingly searching for alternative methods of operation. 2017 has seen the flourishing of one such solution; collaborative logistics platforms. Rather than going it alone, transport firms are sourcing and posting deliveries on expansive public networks like the Haulage Exchange and Courier Exchange from the Transport Exchange Group to generate revenue, be more efficient and reduce empty miles.
“2017 has been a fabulous year, both for us as a business and our members,” commented Simon.
Numbers don’t lie
In 2017, membership of the Haulage Exchange and Courier Exchange has grown by 25% – a truly impressive figure. However, what Simon emphasises most keenly is that usage of the Exchange platforms has grown by 40% – which indicates that new and existing members are using the Exchange more and more. That trend applies across the board in terms of number of loads, miles carried, and revenue earned.
“The Exchange has evolved tremendously in the last 17 years; from its early stages as a digital loads board, it is now a complete platform,” said Simon. “We have added functionality over the years to make it easier for our members to work together. Vehicle tracking, electronic Proof of Delivery (POD), telematics integration, electronic alerting, automatic invoicing; usage of all these features is increasing at a rate faster than the rate at which membership is increasing.”
The Replay tool and new instant messaging functionality is creating a shared and auditable record of each pick-up and delivery. Both involved parties can see when the load was posted and accepted, post progress updates, send an alert when drop-off is made, provide POD and then issue invoices all within one function.
“By having a single, definitive repository of information, disputes are avoided,” said Simon. “This has meant we now have an average positive feedback level of 99% for deals completed through the Exchange.
“The Freight Vision functionality is also very popular. We jokingly refer to this as the ‘4am app’ – at a glance, users can look at all their loads being carried and send or receive single click status updates. Rather than telephoning or emailing endlessly, a transport manager using Freight Vision can open one bleary eye at 4am, look at the app, see there are no issues, and then go back to sleep.”
From posting a load, to receiving responses and finally accepting a carrier, users of the Haulage and Courier Exchanges experience an average response time of 4 minutes.
They say the more you put into something, the more you get out of it; the same applies for the Exchange platforms. Constant innovation and development has ensured the Haulage and Courier Exchanges remain in tune with the needs of their members.
Simon said: “The more value our members receive from being on the Exchange, the better members they will be; sourcing more, posting more and generally creating a stronger network.”
A global exchange
Substantial growth in any business brings with it possibility for expansion and benefits from economies of scale. With a rumoured expansion in 2018 into Germany, plans for greater transatlantic activity are also on the cards.
“We have international customers who are very interested in creating integrated end-to-end coverage of the entire supply chain via the Exchange platforms. Also, some larger corporate organisations are taking on board the Exchange Group’s infrastructure as a white label offering and using it to run their own asset base or subcontractor base.”
It is clear that 2017 has signified a year of ascendency for the Transport Exchange Group; keep up with FACTS in 2018 to see how this develops.