Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Prominent Haulage Groups Turn to IT for Freight and Logistics Management

New Technology Tools are Essential to Truck Fleets and Forwarders
Shipping News Feature

IRELAND – NETHERLANDS – UK - WORLDWIDE – Two major players in the European road haulage and logistics theatre have made announcements today regarding their preferred fleet management methods and the way they are working to achieve lower freight costs for themselves and their customers.

In July 2010, P&O Ferrymasters announced plans to introduce Quintiq's software to handle all aspects of the company's planning. Today the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) advise it has appointed the fleet management solution company FleetMatics as its preferred supplier.

Quintiq is working with logistics systems integrator The Logic Factory with the implementation, and the first phase, introduced in January, focused on the P&O Ferrymasters freight forwarding division, a major business unit that represents around 60% of the company's transport operations. The division has twenty-seven offices in thirteen countries, working with up to 5,000 hauliers and managing around 6,250 orders a week.

Previously P & O dispatchers were left to use their own judgement and experience to handle operations but the lack of a global view restricted their ability to optimise the flow of freight meaning that return trip and load combinations were overlooked. Today, central planning prepares a recommended pairing and provides a shortlist of suitable hauliers leaving local planners to negotiate best rates. Dispatchers are not forced to follow recommendations, but have to justify any deviation.

For their part, FleetMatics, an Irish company with offices in Dublin, the UK and the US has been supplying its software to the transport and logistics industry in Ireland for over a decade giving hauliers a real-time insight into vehicle activity that reduces operational costs and improves customer service. The company actively pursues SME business and serves over 14,000 customers installing in more than 200,000 vehicles worldwide. Jonathan Maloney of the IRHA commented on their decision saying:

"This software is a 'must have' for any road haulage operator seeking to gain a competitive edge in the freight market. It can also assist greatly in helping a business to remain commercially viable through its intelligent and ever evolving software package it is a highly recommended addition to any transport operator and therefore the Association is proud to work with FleetMatics."

P& O Ferrymasters say their use of the Quintiq package has enabled them to reduce the number of staff envisaged for their central planning team from five to just two, has helped them surpass their customer service goals by decreasing transport costs and reduced their carbon footprint. Bas Belder, Managing Director of P&O Ferrymasters sums up:

"This has been a model IT project. Quick to implement the Quintiq system provides real planning transparency and, most importantly, quick returns. Having seen the operational, the business and the financial benefits of phase one makes it so much easier for us to extend the system right across the enterprise into our Asset Division."

Implementation of the next phase of Advanced Planning is well under way, with P&O Ferrymasters' Intermodal and Trailer activities due to be operational by early autumn, on time and on budget. This phase will extend to support planners find the most cost effective routes and handle the complexities of optimising movement by road, rail and ferry.

In the Asset division, the system will be used to optimize utilization of P&O Ferrymasters' own road trailers, containers and coil carriers. The aim is to cut costs and improve efficiencies even further. Having a single planning system across all divisions will also help P&O Ferrymasters to identify the best fit for each job, own equipment versus freight forwarding.