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CW Innovation Awards: Tracking cargo on the road

Through Geodis APAC’s One Road platform, supply chain companies have received fewer enquiries on cargo locations and improved on-time performance using roads as an alternative way to move cargo

The exponential rise in cross-border trade fuelled by e-commerce in Asia-Pacific (APAC) has been a boon to the region’s logistics industry.

Consequently, many industries are looking to bolster their competitive edge by not only relying on air freight, but also turning to transportation service providers that use roads as an alternative way to move cargo.

But using roads to move cargo across Asia is a complex challenge, one that Geodis APAC has endeavoured to tackle to provide a viable alternative mode of transportation for enterprises to move their goods within the region.

The France-based company engineered its One Road supply chain platform backed by various technologies to provide a secure, visible supply chain using roads across the region.

Geodis said the initiative has supported the sourcing strategies of customers moving manufacturing out of China to locations such as India, Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Easing mobility

Geodis’ One Road platform, which was named Transportation Project of the Year in the Computer Weekly Innovation Awards APAC 2022, helps its clients move cargo across APAC by improving safety and delivery efficiencies through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT).

This includes equipping all trucks with remote immobilisers and electronic locks with geofencing capabilities to ensure the cargo does not deviate from its destination; temperature and vibration sensors to monitor the contents of the cargo; and the supervision of drivers by monitoring their eyes while on the road to ensure safe driving.

The company relied on a mix of in-house and external suppliers, including ORBCOMM, CargoWise, IBM, Microsoft and Google, to develop the system.

Overall, the pilot project was completed in December 2021 and Geodis is now rolling out production systems. The budget for One Road was €1m and the project was managed within the original budget and schedule.

Improved efficiencies

Organisations using the One Road platform have reported improvements in operational efficiencies. For example, thanks to real-time tracking data, customer service teams received at least 65% fewer calls from customers enquiring about the location of cargo trucks at any given time.

It has also helped its clients to eliminate idle time at loading docks, provide automated customer status updates, streamline appointment management, and improve on-time performance by increasing visibility across all the moving parts of the supply chain.

In the event of a crisis, supply chain providers can also use One Road to instantly track which orders are affected and allocate resources for contingency measures.

With better visibility of real-time arrivals, Geodis’ clients were able to proactively manage facility operations. As a result, the median per-load dwell time decreased by 21% during the pilot phase.

The One Road platform had also helped some clients to consolidate their truck base by over 15%, thereby increasing their freight buying power and capacity access. Finally, the partnership between Geodis and other private truck owners has resulted in cost savings of between 20% and 25%.

Ensuring success

To ensure the success of its project, Geodis used the Six Sigma DMAIC (design, measure, analyse, improve, control) methodology.

Using DMAIC, Geodis was also able to clearly define its objectives and deliverables, build awareness of the benefits of the One Road project, and improve communication with top management.

Geodis benefited from DMAIC in that it was able to identify the “critical to quality” factors in the project.

It helped to set up key performance indicators and develop ways to measure them, with the aim of guiding how it would collaborate with existing and future partners.

DMAIC also guided Geodis in keeping everyone involved informed about the project and the expectations it has, according to defined performance standards.

The roll-out of One Road is expected to be completed by September 2022. Geodis plans to continue expanding the platform and will tap the experience it has gained to roll out the platform in countries such as China and India.

On what made the project successful, Geodis believes the main factors include teamwork and managing change effectively.

The company believes this win will further encourage it to challenge the status quo and be ready to adopt new technologies to create better solutions and services for the transportation industry.

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