The Intelligent Route To Improve Transport Productivity

Can intelligent freight matching help boost UK productivity? If we measured it as GDP per hour worked, the UK’s productivity has pretty much flat-lined since 2008, and although recent figures suggest some improvement, we still lag well behind countries such as Germany and France.

Many reasons are suggested, and few solutions have been proposed. But a good starting point might be within the transport industry, the lifeblood of the nation’s industry and commerce…

Something has got to change

Now, we know that we can’t make drivers work longer or harder – because quite rightly, stringent rules are in place, to regulate driver hours and conditions.

Autonomous technology could have an impact in the longer term, where we may see a single ‘driver’ in charge of multi-vehicle ‘convoys’ for example… but this is still some way off.

Larger vehicles are not really practical on Britain’s road system and the productivity problem is not necessarily concentrated around high-tonnage flows…

But we do know that a large part of road transport activity is intrinsically unproductive. Around a quarter of trips are run empty, and the load factor on ‘loaded’ trips is often as low as 60%.

Addressing even a part of that wasteful activity would immediately improve the productivity of the nation’s 290,000 drivers and would have numerous beneficial effects on the wider industry and commerce.

A tangible solution?

One approach is using intelligent freight matching. Utilising sophisticated algorithms, a shipper can match their requirement (for a load to be moved within a given timescale and destination) using a carrier’s otherwise spare capacity.

The system can compare literally thousands of load/capacity pairings simultaneously in close to real time, making ‘best matches’ based on compliance with customer needs, price, and also environmental impact.

The entire process occurs automatically, on a Machine-to-Machine basis, with no need for human intervention. The result, is lower rates of empty non-productive running, higher load factors, lower carbon emissions, better returns on assets and higher driver productivity.

Intelligent freight matching enables a better fit between the needs of shippers, requires less time for transport management (at a lower cost per load) and improves productivity even further.

The government’s recent white paper, ‘Industrial Strategy – Building a Britain fit for the future’, talks about four ‘Grand Challenges’:

  1. Exploiting Artificial Intelligence and the Data Economy;
  2. The Future of Mobility;
  3. Clean Growth;
  4. and the Ageing Society.

We believe intelligent freight matching ticks three of those boxes and has a key role to play in productivity improvements.

We hope you enjoyed this blog and would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the subject.  In the meantime, please follow us on Social Media, to be sure to get the latest updates.

   

  

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