Route42 and KPN facilitate data-driven transport

Transport providers want to get the best possible returns from their assets. The Dutch company Route42 helps them achieve that. “Our platform makes data-driven business operation possible,” says Max Zillinger of Route42. “That begins with collecting high-quality data.” But how do you do that if your assets have no on-board computer? In partnership with KPN, Route42 developed a smart solution for this.

The transport sector is changing rapidly. In the first place, customers are setting increasingly strict delivery requirements. It is now normal for ordered products to be delivered on the same day. New technologies such as freight matching, where a software platform matches shipments with transport providers, are putting further pressure on the already modest margins. At the same time, transport providers are faced with a shortage of assets and drivers. And they also have to take account of new laws and regulations on road transport.

All these developments are forcing transport companies to reinvent themselves. “A data-driven approach gives transport providers a better handle on their business,” says Zillinger. “Where are my trucks, trailers and other equipment? How can I deploy all these assets as efficiently as possible?” To answer these questions, a transport provider must have reliable location data, possibly coming from on-board computers. “But the possession of data is not an end in itself. You also have to turn it into concrete ideas and actions.”

Utilizing the power of data

That is exactly what Route42 helps transport companies with. “Our Transport Intelligence Platform enables them to utilize the data in practice,” Zillinger explains. “This platform offers all kinds of ideas for improving business processes. It shows where time is being lost unnecessarily, what runs you have to make so as to achieve optimal returns, what the best time is for the periodic technical inspection (APK) and which drivers are not driving safely enough. For example, the platform indicates where drivers ought to reduce speed or change their braking behavior. The more concrete the better.”

Route42 recognizes that the transport sector is making a huge effort to connect all valuable assets to the internet. “It started with the truck, but nowadays there is an increasing need to have a better understanding of how their trailers, containers and equipment are performing. KPN has been active in this area for a long time and is now also developing an asset solution. We will add this solution to our integrations because there is a lot of demand for it.”

Localizing these assets gives transport companies a variety of benefits:

1. Reducing search times
An extremely large amount of time is saved if a transport provider has digital information about the location of its trailers and containers. “For a scheduler, driver or fleet manager, localizing assets can be a time-consuming job,” says Zillinger. “Let’s say it takes ten minutes per asset – and that’s a conservative estimate – you’re talking of dozens of hours per year. For a large transport company with 100 trailers and containers an enormous improvement in efficiency can be achieved.”

2. More efficient use of assets
If a transport company knows where all its containers and trailers are located, it is clear how efficiently they are being used. “There are often small numbers of these assets within the organization. But is that actually the case or are they simply being underutilized? Using our platform the customer can see if a container has been stuck somewhere for five days. If this happens regularly, it is unnecessary to invest in expensive new containers: you can do more with the same assets.”

3. Detection of theft
A variety of ‘automations’ can be set in the Route42 platform. The customer then gets a notification when particular conditions have been met. “An automation of that kind can, for instance, help identify theft at an early stage. The transport company is informed straight away if assets leave the site without authorization. Or if an asset is moved on a Sunday, when normally that should not happen. You can then take quick action.”

4. Greater customer satisfaction
A data-driven transport company gets new instruments to strengthen the relationship with the customer. “The data makes discussions on matters such as arrival and departure times unnecessary. Errors can arise if a driver enters such data manually, but the location data is very reliable. You can also perform optimization jointly with the customer. On what days is time lost and how do we prevent that? It’s also possible to share the live location of an asset with end consumers.”

The right hardware

The KPN location trackers have been developed on the basis of Route42’s specific knowledge of the transport market. “In this sector, assets are sometimes in use continuously for months or even years,” Zillinger explains. “That places considerable demands on battery life.” Among other things, the connection has an influence on this (see the Q&A on low battery connectivity below). “The trackers also have to be robust to withstand weather conditions and wind. We specified while the trackers were being developed that these are crucial issues in our sector. This is one of the reasons why the hardware responds perfectly to the requirements of transport companies.”

According to Zillinger it is very easy to fit assets with trackers and to link them to the Route42 platform. Quite a long process has to be gone through first, however. “Every application has specific connectivity and hardware requirements. As an example, a container with a power connection needs different hardware from a container without power. If you want to transmit the location frequently, the hardware and connectivity have to facilitate it. And in other countries you need a particular network. So we look at this on a case-by-case basis.”

Connectivity and intelligence

Interested parties can approach either Route42 or KPN. “We cooperate with each other in this and reinforce each other,” says Zillinger. “Nobody knows the transport world better than Route42. Our platform has amply proved itself in practice. KPN is a reliable partner that guarantees good connectivity. In addition, KPN has a lot of experience in asset monitoring and hardware configuration. Connectivity without intelligence is of no use, and vice versa. This partnership brings two powerful worlds together.”

Zillinger concludes with an urgent appeal to the transport sector. “Thanks to new technologies, it’s becoming increasingly easy to capture the right data and to get valuable information from it for your business. This can enable every transport company to increase its returns substantially. So go ahead and make the transition to data-driven operations!”

Want to know more about the possibilities for your company? Feel free to contact our experts here.

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