The agile truck: every forwarder's dream. A fast vehicle that adapts to different tasks and handles dynamic processes with live dispatching, making pick-ups spontaneously along its route. A resource that saves time and money and reduces the complexity of logistics tasks with its flexibility. With software solutions and mobile apps, this truck is no longer a utopia.
Freight traffic is continuously increasing, road is transporting more and more goods. Parallel to this development, loading space is becoming scarce and there are fewer and fewer truck drivers available. To still get all the products to their destination on time, logisticians, and freight forwarders need to use the available resources flexibly and dynamically. Their task is to extend the operating times of the trucks in order to increase transport capacities. This is an undertaking that can only be achieved with agile vehicles. To get it done, the dispatchers must continuously adjust their planning to a new order situation. They benefit here if the trucks are less likely to be stuck in traffic jams thanks to dynamic routing and if they can also transmit additional pick-up orders to them at any time via a mobile app. If mobile apps actively communicate new stops and loading lists to the drivers, the forwarding companies use their loading capacities much more efficiently and can move more goods with fewer drivers.
Agile trucks are versatile
The prerequisite for being able to fulfil many different customer wishes is a universally usable vehicle fleet. Both the vehicle pool and the individual trucks must be able to handle as many different transport tasks as possible. Above all, it is important for freight forwarders and transport companies that their trucks and trailers can transport a wide range of diverse goods. In addition, they benefit from being able to call in vehicles at short notice. Leasing vehicles, mobility solutions and vehicle rentals offer companies access to flexible resources. If these can be called up on an order-related basis and included in IT-supported planning, they take on the character of a service for the freight forwarder. Then the trucks are so scalable that they can be described as Truck as a Service (TaaS) – analogous to software solutions that are used exclusively on demand. Transport companies and logisticians thus have at their disposal precisely the vehicle characteristics that are important for current orders.
Mobile apps make trucks agile
How effectively and dynamically trucks can be deployed for the goals of a freight forwarding company is determined by the control options available to the planners. If the service provider uses mobile apps to organise his routes, new stops can be introduced directly via the navigation. A message to the driver and a change in his route are all it takes to include more consignments for additional destinations on behalf of other customers in the tours. This active management turns the trucks into agile work tools. The fact that they can be flexibly reassigned with mobile workflows reduces the complexity for supply chain managers and dispatchers. If software solutions also suggest changes to the driving times or the stop sequence, they relieve the planners. They create transparency by revealing the basis for decisions and dynamically interpret the underlying business rules with enormously fast calculations:
- time slot services
- deadline deliveries
- value-added services
- transport areas
- customer priorities
- driver qualifications
Only with the use of mobile apps can these flexible control options be effectively implemented. To do this, all the company's requirements must be incorporated into the parameterisation of the software. For example, the range of electric trucks, their safety equipment when used with hazardous loads or their economic efficiency in the respective utilisation or route profile. If they are considered in relation to the situation, the use of the trucks meets agile criteria.
Dynamic organisation generates agile deployment plans for the trucks
Process information in real time, calculate complex scenarios, make quick decisions, and implement them effectively: Mobile apps – if they apply the premises of the business model transparently, independently, and dynamically – transform a freight forwarder's vehicle resources into agile trucks. With this flexible approach, they significantly improve the utilisation and deployment times of the vehicles and become an effective element for logistics service providers against the driver shortage.