Digital logistics provider and freight brokerage Convoy has unveiled an offering for just-in-time (JIT) trucking, with a pledge of delivery within 15 minutes of the set arrival time.

The pandemic forced companies to shift to a ‘just-in-case’ strategy and build inventory to cope with disruptions, but this trend has been reversing and inventory levels declining, noted Mitch Violett, Convoy’s senior director of product and engineering.

Hence, there is growing interest in JIT solutions that increase shippers’ flexibility and, potentially save them costs.

Shippers have established relationships with individual carriers to review production plans and asset placement, but these arrangements tend to be rigid, with little flexibility to respond to abrupt change, like demand surges or emergencies, he argued.

He said Convoy spotted an opening for a more flexible service that gives shippers the ability to scale up and down in response to fast changing conditions. Its new JIT service leverages a network of over 400,000 trucks and the IT infrastructure to find matching carriers to meet specific shipper requirements.

Nearly all the truckers on Convoy’s platform (97%) are using the company’s app, and all have been vetted for aspects like safety and licensing. Convoy uses some 1,000 data points involved in a single job to develop a score card for each carrier’s performance, which helps the artificial intelligence deployed to come up with a selection of suitable truckers for a given load.

The system also captures shipment-specific information, such as handling requirements and shipper preferences, and communicates these to the trucker. The system has full visibility of shipment status and can intervene if anything is amiss, while shippers get status updates over a control tower or by e-mail.

Tests with a select group of manufacturers showed a 98% on-time performance, which gave Convoy confidence to pledge deliveries within 15 minutes of targeted times. And the truckers don’t feel undue pressure from this, said, Mr Violett, as they can communicate any disruptions or issues that arise via the app and update delivery times.

Convoy’s internal data show savings of 11% or more in transport costs for users of the service, he added, and he sees a broad user base for the new offering. The automotive industry has traditionally placed much emphasis on JIT solutions, and the consumer packaged goods, food and beverage sectors are also very interested, he added.

“This is definitely a growing segment,” he said.

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.