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Maximizing Load Bookings with Freight Transport Automation

Governments are keen on introducing high capacity vehicles (HCV) to limit traffic congestion and reduce carbon footprints through freight transportation. But, truckers struggle with finding their next load on the backhaul and, of course, want to clear payments as fast as possible.

E-commerce has brought about a 5% increase in urban shipment demand. But, the situation is- retailers complain of goods not reaching the customer in time because of trucker shortage. And transporters claim- they suffer significant losses due to deadhead miles. Ironically, the load trucks are rolling, but without loads or lesser goads than their capacity, which leads to the transporter’s loss.

This article highlights how freight automation can maximize load bookings to bring a favourable impact on the transportation and logistics industry.

Logistics & Transport Service Challenges

The traditional shipping process involves contacting third party brokers and vetting the shipper manually. Despite being at the core of the supply chain, transportation services lack innovations to improve operational efficiency. The following are some crucial challenges that the logistics industry faces, even today!

Deadhead Miles

The trucks operating without load contribute to dead miles. Dead miles can occur when a carrier travels from location A to location B to pick items or it returns empty from location C to location A after dispatching the load.

According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) survey report 2017, it costs $66.65 per hour to operate a truck

Traditionally, small trucking companies call freight brokers, who in turn call up warehouses to find if there’s freight ready for hauling. Unfortunately, about 15%-25% of the time, truckers end up carrying zero freight.

Therefore, deadhead miles certainly bring a huge loss, especially because freight services generally operate interstate. 

Lack of Price Transparency

The transportation sector has been struggling with inflexible prices and backhaul charges. Fleet operators often demand deadhead miles charges for the shipment. Thus, irrespective of cargo capacity (or the volume to it’s full), the operator can charge sellers any amount.

Trucker Shortage

Trucking companies have reported truck driver shortage as their top industry issue in 2017-18. The American Trucking Associations state- the industry needs to recruit and train 898,000 new truckers by 2026. 

Manual Booking

On average, a logistics company may waste 4000 to 6000+ hours to manually create bookings via phone calls, emails, and coordinating with drivers and manufacturers. 

Benefits of Freight Automation

Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) can bring manufacturers/sellers, shippers, and carriers on a common platform. Automation solutions can bring the following benefits-

Route Matching and Optimization

Traditional backhauls include unused available capacity, causing deadhead mileage. 

With route matching feature of a freight automation system, instead of travelling back and forth from location A to location B, and then starting a new haul from location A to location C; trucker can find the best route to reach location C enroute.

Efficiently Managing Fleet Operations

Traditionally, equipment tracking was dependent on manual data entry from drivers, shippers, and consignees. The process was not only cumbersome but also error-prone. Transportation supply chain automation helps in managing fleet operations in the following ways-

  • Lodging truckers’ start and end time automatically add to the accuracy of HOS (Hours of Service) records.
  • Vehicle tracking can identify bottlenecks and provide instant support in case of accidents, fuel shortage, roadblocks, or other unanticipated highway incidents.
  • Route guidance enables efficient haul plans.
  • It can reduce idling time and thus improve fleet productivity.

Transparent Pricing

Transparency in pricing can make freight transport robust and reliable. 

For instance, Uber Freight has introduced Lane Explorer, which shows real-time market-based rates, up to two weeks in advance.

Online Processes

In any logistics and transport organization, the manual payment cycle requires 40%-60% more time and effort than its automation counterpart. Freight bill automation can solve the heavy-haul truckers’ problem of receiving payments faster. Eliminating manual processes can improve overall supply chain efficiency.

Collaboration Between Fleet Brokers

OECD states– Truck platooning can save over 10% in operational costs. Platooning is driving a group of vehicles together to increase road capacity via an automated highway system. 

At the same time, HCVs (High Capacity Vehicles) that carry 50% more load than traditional trucks can save up to 20% cost/km.

However, truck platooning and utilizing complete HCVs capacity requires collaboration between shippers, carriers, and freight brokers. Automation can bring different stakeholders from the freight and logistics industry on a common platform to work together.

Product Spotlight

HwyHaul, a leading California-based freight brokerage startup uses transportation automation to connect enterprises with truckers. It simplifies the ‘load booking’ process for shippers and seamlessly empowers them with a state of the art Transportation as a Service (TaaS) solution.

Currently serving Reefer, Dry Van, and Flatbed loads, HwyHaul connects shippers and carriers on a common platform. The distinct features that freight-logistics management platform brings are-

  • Shipping enterprises can create and track their freight from booking to end-of-delivery.
  • Trucking companies (carriers) can manage their fleet and drivers.
  • Internal operations team can oversee and govern backend processes.
  • Truckers can use HwyHaul app to book and deliver loads without having to wait for telephonic communication.

We specialize in developing industry-specific and logistics & freight automation products. Contact us at hello@mantralabsglobal.com to learn more.

Bottom Line

Load bookings and freight brokerage automation solutions can contribute to reducing carbon footprint and improve fleet productivity to a great extent. 

PwC 2019 report says by 2030, automation will shorten delivery lead times by 40% and reduce logistics costs for standardized transport by 47%. With newer disruptions like driverless trucks, relay-as-a-service model and automatic freight scheduling on the horizon, the transportation and logistics industry is on the cusp of unlocking new revenues across the value chain.


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What will ‘Behavioural Changes’ Mean for India’s Digital Health Future

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, facing a threat unlike one never seen before. COVID-19 has been a reason for global concern since it has negatively impacted economies, shut down workplaces, and forced cities into lockdowns.

But history also tells us  that times of uncertainty also foster innovation. The pandemic has forced consumers and businesses to rethink how they behave both physically and digitally. As per McKinsey, COVID-19 has speeded up the adoption of digital technologies.

India, which was on the cusp of a ‘digital health’ revolution, has now been forced to embrace innovation and emerging trends. The healthcare sector holds great promise since new-age technologies like telemedicine, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, etc. are transforming healthcare services.

There have been unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour as well. People are now increasingly relying on using the internet to find clinical information or engage with healthcare professionals digitally. Moreover, online consultations, telemedicine, and e-pharmacies have seen a rise in popularity.

Companies will thus need to capitalize on the changing patterns of consumption and health-seeking behaviour.

This article focuses on how changing patient behaviour will affect India’s digital health future.

A growing Indian healthcare market

According to a report by Future Health Index, India is a leader in the adoption of digital health technology. As per India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian healthcare market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22% to reach a valuation of USD 372 billion by 2022. This growth can be attributed to the following –

  • Growing health awareness
  • Aging population
  • Lifestyle-related diseases
  • Rising income levels
  • Growth of internet availability

The rise of digital health start-ups is also playing a role in the growth of the healthcare sector. Indian health tech startup landscape has now matured.

Over the last few years, telemedicine has emerged as a fast-growing sector in India. Prominent start-ups like Practo, mfine, and Lybrate have established themselves in the telehealth market. McKinsey estimates that India could save up to USD10 billion by 2025 by using telemedicine instead of in-person doctor appointments.

COVID-induced behavioural changes

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about changes to patient behaviour. The fear of leaving homes to get treatment has led to the growth of virtual care and telemedicine. 

As per a report by Accenture, almost 70% of the patients canceled or postponed their treatments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology, therefore, played a crucial role in helping patients continue their care. Healthcare providers were even able to improve the experience for patients by delivering them faster response time, personalized interactions, and the convenience of getting consultation from home.

The same report by Accenture highlights some key behavioural changes that are being observed in patients – 

  • Nearly half of the patients now get their treatment at their homes instead of visiting a clinic.
  • Almost 60% of patients want to continue using technology for communicating with healthcare providers.
  • About 41% of patients now use video conferencing to connect with their healthcare providers. Of these, for almost 70% of patients, it’s their first-time using video conferencing for healthcare.
  • Almost 44% of patients used new apps or devices during the pandemic to manage their health conditions.

All this highlights the need for healthcare providers to reimagine their patient engagement strategies in keeping with the changing patient behavior.

Future of digital health in India

New digital technologies and tools are making an impact across the healthcare sector. They hold great promise in improving the efficiency of healthcare services while delivering better patient care. Below are some of the technological developments that are expected to revolutionize the way we seek healthcare.

Telemedicine

About 68% of India’s population lives in rural areas where healthcare services are not usually up to the mark. This barrier can be overcome by telemedicine that offers an excellent way for patients to consult a doctor in a much shorter duration. Telemedicine can cut waiting times and allow patients to avoid traveling to a clinic or hospital. Some other benefits of telemedicine include –

  • Immediate access to specialist healthcare providers.
  • Cost-effectiveness.
  • Improved quality of care.
  • Convenience to the patients.
  • Improved patient engagement.

Internet of medical things (IoMT)

The rapid growth of IoMT devices is rapidly changing healthcare delivery by playing an important role in tracking and preventing chronic illnesses.

It not only helps eliminate the need for in-person medical visits but also helps reduce costs. Goldman Sachs estimates IoMT to save USD 300 billion annually for the healthcare industry. IoMT will benefit those patients the most who are unable to get access to quality healthcare due to remote location.

Big data in healthcare

There has been dramatic growth in the amount of medical and health data in the last few years. These massive datasets can be used to draw insights and opportunities for healthcare organizations. Analysis of healthcare data can help discover warning signs and create preventive plans.

The widespread adoption of IoT devices also makes it easier to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, etc. This can help in the early detection of diseases like hypertension, asthma, heart problems, etc.

Electronic medical records

Electronic medical records or EMRs help collect, digitalize patients’ information, and store it in a single place. EMRs store various types of medical data like medical history, prescriptions, drug allergies, etc. and allow doctors to make accurate disease prognosis in a much shorter time. Some other benefits of EMRs include – 

  • Effective medical decisions.
  • Easy data recovery.
  • Improved collaboration.
  • Portability.
  • Security of medical data.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has a big role to play in improving healthcare since growing digitization leads to the availability of a large amount of health data. AI has the potential to transform everyday health management in the following ways –

  • Improved accessibility of healthcare services (for example – the AI-based mobile app Ada is available across 140 countries and makes it possible for anyone to have access to medical guidance).
  • Improved efficiency.
  • Accurate disease diagnosis.
  • Improved insights to reveal early disease risks (for example – a popular app Verily can forecast noncontagious and hereditary genetic diseases).
  • Time and cost savings.

mHealth

Mobile health or mHealth refers to the monitoring and sharing of health data via mobile technology like health tracking apps or wearables. 

mHealth apps can prove to be beneficial in increasing patient engagement, providing health education, and offering remote consultations to patients. It can also use the data from wearable devices to improve the quality of care. Some other benefits of mHealth include – 

  • Faster access to physicians.
  • Improved medication adherence.
  • Remote patient monitoring.
  • Increased medication reconciliation accuracy.
  • Improved coordination between healthcare providers and patients.

Conclusion

It’s quite clear that COVID-19 has significantly impacted patient behaviour. There has been a growing preference for telehealth and mHealth apps. But all of this has also compelled healthcare organizations to put in more effort in adapting to these behavioural changes. Healthcare providers are opting to rely more on new technologies to continue delivering patient care. A more affordable standard of high-quality care is in the works for India’s digital health future.

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