McElroy is borrowing a page from Uber to improve utilization of truckload capacity. Drivers sign up for the service and use a smartphone app to publish their location and availability. When a shipper tenders a load, Transfix scans the pickup vicinity for available drivers. Taking distance, pickup time and past performance into consideration, the best match is offered the job.
The smartphone app then registers a digital contract, supplies the driver navigation to destination and tracks driver progress in real time.
The application won this year’s Transportation Research Board’s Six Minute Pitch Contest for start-ups unanimously.
“We think the two most important things affecting the supply chain today are getting more out of existing resources and eliminating waste,” says McElroy. “There is a tremendous opportunity to create value for all participants in the supply chain by using idle capacity.”
McElroy notes that typical matching services average 75 to 100 miles of deadhead per trip. “We pay 50 percent or more,” he says. “That elimination of waste goes directly to the bottom line of the carrier.”
Transfix also improves visibility, which reduces inefficiency, he says. Its smartphone app provides shippers real-time locations of truckloads anywhere in the country, he says. “Through the use of geo-fencing and tracking, we can know within six to seven minutes of an incident that will delay a shipment, instead of finding out when the delivery window is missed. This allows management by exception.”
The Transfix platform also automates almost 100 percent of traditional brokerage processes, says McElroy. “Everything is tendered through the phone and tracked through the phone, so people can spend their time dealing with the one or two percent of shipments with problems.”
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