Blog Digitizing freight in the era of COVID-19

Digitizing freight in the era of COVID-19

by Pierre Saad

Author: Pierre Saad, Co-Founder and CTO at Trella.

As we continue to navigate the uncertainty of the Coronavirus situation and the economic damages caused by it, businesses everywhere are adapting to an ever-changing environment that forces them to think differently. 

At Trella, we understand the effect this is having on our shippers, partners, and employees. We are taking a number of measures and introducing a number of elements to help mitigate the fallout and ensure the continued success of all our customers.

Firstly, for our carriers, we offer a product with multiple features empowering them to be their own bosses and make their lives easier. 

  • “Truck Stop” Marketplace

Nationwide, shippers are forced to minimize manpower and run their operations in limited time frames due to enforced curfews. This in turn exposes truck owners to endless fulfillment issues and a significant lack of loads to carry out.

Trella’s marketplace provides carriers with consistent recurring demand offered by more than 100+ shippers from 10+ different industries across 1000+ lanes giving them more space to explore a bountiful source of demand. This subsequently helps them minimize downtime during times when working hours are precious due to curfews and financial efficiencies are increasingly valued. 

We also worked heavily on perfecting our recommendation system by creating and analyzing behavioral shadow profiles for both carriers and shippers generating a model that can recommend the right load at the right time. 

  • Going Cashless

With stringent restrictions placed on ATM and bank cash withdrawals, carriers were becoming increasingly worried about their ability to collect their dues. Trella has always incorporated digital payments at its core, but what had been born out of convenience, now became a necessity particularly in light of the recommendations issued by the WHO on the transition to cashless payments

Through a fully integrated prepaid card network, supported by many of Egypt’s biggest banks, carriers get to receive their load payments through prepaid cards, which they can later use across multiple channels, or withdraw as cash. This shields them from the hassle of slow transfers and cash collections, and observes the necessary social distancing measures.

  • Age of the E-POD

The trucking industry is plagued and bogged down by a lot of paperwork that necessitates that at times a physical POD  (Proof of Delivery) is needed. The actual delivery of these PODs prolongs carriers collection of their dues.

By leveraging technology, we’ve enabled carriers with digital POD uploads upon load completion, giving us the ability to digitally validate the documents and process carriers’ payments within 12 hours. This is a significant cut from what could have taken them up to 7 days or more in the best of times.

For a company to be working at peak efficiency, it needs to have a best-in-class supply chain set up in place. In order for a company to better understand operational deficiencies, it has to be deeply in sync with its logistics providers, their truckers.

Secondly,  We leveraged our industry knowledge to be able to help the other side of our marketplace, shippers.

  • Best in Class Facility Reports

For a company to be working at peak efficiency, it needs to have a best-in-class supply chain set up in place. In order for a company to better understand operational deficiencies, it has to be deeply in sync with its logistics providers, their truckers specifically in the times of COVID-19.

We’ve fine-tuned our dashboard to be able to do the analytical deep-dive into your carriers perceptions and their own experience within a shipper’s facility and chain and convert that into reports that include a multitude of factors including

    • Efficiency Levels: Loading and waiting time assessments compared to industry benchmarks and overall visibility on facility efficiency.
    • Drivers’ comments and ratings:  Creating a good reputation with one’s truckers significantly impacts the smoothness of one’s supply chain, By creating a CSAT for each facility, we gather all the carriers feedback, whether through comments or surveys, in order to validate our referenced data. 
  • Eyes on the Clock

Visibility is key to our shippers, so we created a TMS (Transportation Management System) that cuts out hours from transport managers’ daily routine by automating and streamlining activities like scheduling, sourcing, reporting, and load follow up and tracking.

Centralizing the entire supply chain process in one platform, and tapping it into our truck stop (marketplace) gives our shippers a flexible & reliable source of supply. Some industries witnessed a big surge in demand to cater for unpredicted demand from the supermarkets and food stores, getting these requests to more than 20 thousand carriers instantly and with the help of our matching algorithm that made us able to automatically scale up their supply base to fulfill and match over 90% of the spot loads in less than 2 hours. 

COVID-19 has pushed a lot of companies to the brink, however often in times of desperation, innovation is born and that at least is the silver lining we can take from it. We have built in our opinion a resilient marketplace in Trella and the beauty of a marketplace is in its transparency and its visibility. 

Through technology, the impossible becomes possible and an industry that has seen little evolution in the past one hundred years becomes poised for a number of breakthroughs. At Trella we believe that hand in hand with our shippers and carriers we can bring that to pass.

On behalf of Trella team,

Pierre Saad

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