Brad Lorge is the co-founder of Premonition, a logistics optimisation firm helping online retailers and shipping companies meet heightened consumer expectations and develop more sustainable supply chains.
Premonition’s technology can optimise large job sets, rerouting multiple vehicles in real-time based on a plethora of factors: changed traffic conditions, weather, delivery windows, incoming orders and returns, truck capacity, a driver’s final destination and consumer requests such as redirected parcels.
Lorge says the software application has typically resulted in a 5% to 15% reduction in the number of kilometres driven each day by a given fleet, to achieve the same outcomes.
Premonition is working with close to a dozen Australian clients, including several “household names” with fleets in the range of 2,000-plus vehicles, according to Lorge.
Logistics makes up about 10% of Australia’s GDP, and delivery vehicles are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion in cities. The transportation sector, including the movement of passengers and goods, accounts for 16% of all GHG emissions in Australia.
He says Premonition’s approach is to think “about logistics as a service to consumers rather than just a network of trucks”.
Companies have conventionally built their processes and networks to handle large volumes of goods and move them as quickly as possible. Once upon a time this aligned with the expectations of retailers “but the market has evolved dramatically”.
“Today, mobile consumers want to be in control, they want to see and understand what’s happening with their delivery in real time, and they want more options and flexibility about when and where their delivery will arrive.”
Premonition’s tools help shipping companies communicate directly with consumers and hit tighter delivery windows, with some clients providing windows inside 30 minutes.
Lorge calls the platform “Uber for couriers” – drivers and managers have an application to optimise their workflow, while consumers have an app to track their deliveries and make last-minute decisions about drop-off locations.
Dr Jyoti Bhattacharjya, a lecturer in logistics and supply chain management at the University of Sydney, says route optimisation software can help logistics companies become more efficient but it’s only one component of a much larger problem. Logistics companies have to invest in fleet upgrades, including trucks that run on cleaner fuels or electricity, as well as warehouse automation.
Australia’s logistics sector has been slower to transition to more sustainable practices than certain overseas markets owing to a lack of incentive.
“Logistics companies will need to evolve, or what we’ll end up with is a lot of mergers, and a lot of Australian-based companies bought out by foreign investors, who have learned to do it better.”
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/aug/23/uber-for-couriers-australian-logistics-software-promises-to-minimise-traffic-and-emissions?mod=djemlogistics