It is one of the most over used words in the glossary of business terms, so much so that the phrase ‘game-changing’ is beginning to lose its impact. But for Mark Smy and Karl Kirkley, the co-owners of Connect Logistics, a Gloucestershire-based same day delivery and collection provider, the expression is perfectly justified when describing the difference that Courier Exchange (CX) has made to their business.
Connect Logistics Fleet includes two Luton-style vans, one of which has enhanced carrying capacity owing to its extra height (2.7m) and length (4.5m)
So how has Connect Logistics’ modern fleet, which includes eight vehicles of varying sizes, benefited from using the CX?
Says Mr Smy “CX has transformed our business in so many ways. Firstly, thanks to CX – which provides us with a virtual pool of skilled and compliant drivers… – I would estimate that our revenue stream has increased by around 50 per cent. Secondly, the platform has helped us to consolidate loads and reduce dead mileage, which has translated into large fuel savings for our privately-owned fleet.”
However, for Mr Smy and his team of self-employed drivers, it is the latest version of the CX Mobile App, which takes compliance, visibility, communication and efficiency to a new level. And Mr Smy ought to know. As a freight exchange platform evangelist, he was asked by CX’s development team to road test version 3.2 of the Mobile App.
CX 3.2: Enhanced features
But in case you’re still using the older version of the Mobile App, or don’t use it at all, version 3.2 revolutionises status updates by enabling everyone involved in the transaction – including the customer (if given permission by the operator) – to access the driver’s real-time location from start to finish. Secondly, it allows drivers to send a single message to a raft of contacts at the touch of a single button. Thirdly, a bespoke scanning management system means that drivers can issue electronic PODs instantly, while owner operators can send invoices too.
So which features of version 3.2 have made the greatest difference to Connect Logistics?
Explains Mr Smy. “Communicating location and ETA is not always easy to do when a driver is on the road. However, the ‘on my way to pick up’ feature, addresses this issue in one swoop. How? Well, as soon as a driver presses the button, the transport manager, and the customer can see and track the driver’s real-time position on the Live Availability Map. This creates a more streamlined service as the system gives the customer precise arrival time predictions, which largely renders calls unnecessary.”
CX 3.2: Electronic PODs
In addition to raising transparency levels, Mr Smy also thinks that Version 3.2 is a tool which could help to further improve governance and accountability in the freight sector.
“The built-in scanner provides our driver’s with a mobile office, as it allows them to electronically scan PODs, and send them directly to the customer via email in seconds. Not only does this feature save them the hassle of processing paperwork in the office, it means that the customer instantly receives a forensic electronic record of the delivery details, as does the transport manager from the courier company carrying the load, which adds a further layer of compliance to the transaction.”
CX 3.2: Removing another brick in the wall…
Mr Smy, who also beta-tested the previous version of the App, believes it won’t be long before the features in the latest version, which was released last month, becomes a big hit with members.
“The brand new status updates functionality will complement and potentially add a new dimension to many of the existing features such as the “Who is Nearby?” function. It is incredibly useful, as it tells us in an instant how many drivers are located in one particular area. Therefore, if we see that there are hundreds of drivers in that specific location, and a job comes up, we can make an informed decision on the best price to quote when bidding for work. The new features, I believe will underpin the existing ones, by adding an extra layer of transparency. That can only be a good thing.”