There's a new online matchmaking website in town and it has an unusual target audience- trucks, and the companies that run and fill them.
Any one of the trucks you see on the road today could be part of a modern-day truck pooling service run by the innovative and award winning web-based company, Findatruckload.
The company operates an online market place that allows existing empty trucks travelling on New Zealand’s roads to be matched with businesses that need transport.
By reducing the number of trucks on the road the scheme has created a more efficient and profitable transport industry with savings of time and money for both load providers and transport companies.
With over 100 loads per month arranged across the country the operational gains are impressive but stop for a moment to consider the huge environmental benefits.
www.findatruckload.co.nz is carbon neutral. Their carbon footprint and emissions are counter balanced by filling empty trucks and hence running fewer trucks on the road.
The company is a multi-transport model and when possible it offers rail and coastal shipping for further reduced carbon emissions.
This highly sustainable business model has benefits for all New Zealanders; improved air quality, less congestion, less roading accidents, less road wear and with over 80% of all freight transported by road; lower prices for cartage can have an effect on the cost of everyday commodities.
While the company was set up with financial sustainability in mind, it is the environmental sustainability factors, particularly for a company operating in an industry that is inherently unhelpful towards the environment, that have helped them win several awards.
They were commended in the 2011 Westpac Environmental & Sustainability business awards for Taranaki and received a commended award for innovation in the EECA Awards which recognise small to large businesses that demonstrate energy efficiency and conservation.
A key to the company’s success is the many years of transport industry experience gained by the two directors, Andrew Bishop and Walter Ormsby.
The two former Mainfreight employees saw how much the road transport industry spent on running empty trucks and decided to investigate how to alleviate the issue. After looking at overseas models like the American site, 123loadboard.com, they left Mainfreight and developed the Findatruckload website in early 2009.
The website has many options for businesses needing to move freight; there is a real-time database of empty trucks plus instant email alerts that send notification when an empty truck has been loaded onto the site. Over 500 businesses are now registered to receive email alerts from Findatruckload.
Alternatively a business can put their requirement to the market in Postaload, creating an anonymous classified listing on the website from which transport companies can submit a private tender or quote for the job.
Registering and viewing trucks and loads on the Pay As You Go site is totally free, with a 6% success fee paid by whoever accepts the fixed price or offer or a load or truck.
Development of the website has been a large constraint for the company with continual investment required to keep up with the market. “We are creating automation within the system to help with the efficiencies but it all flows back at the end of the day to help us be carbon neutral,” says Bishop.
The Hamilton based director, who went to Lincoln University for a degree in Transport and Logistics, says the biggest challenge the company has faced was getting known to businesses and finding people to help manage the growth.
“There are two ways to grow; either chuck a whole load of money at it and hope that you succeed or take one step at a time, identify the problems and overcome them.
Findatruckload are definitely in the business for good and looking to overcome any problems. Despite a distinct lack of business support when they started up they are now looking to other organisations to help them grow.
“I’ve always been a big believer in asking for help. Don’t be afraid to ask people for their help and their views; that’s how I ended up finding out about places like SODA.”
SODA Incorporated provides start-up businesses with the connections and capability to grow; their aim is to energize and transform businesses for the benefit of the region and the national economy. Findatruckload have been accepted into the pre-incubation programme offered by SODA Inc and with their help and advice Bishop is determined that the company will not only be carbon neutral in the future but be operating in five different countries by 2015.
He is totally convincing when asked if the company can handle the growth and answers without hesitation, “Yes, totally.”
Their plans may not stop at internationalisation either.
“It’s a massive market; I cannot even quantify how big the market is. At this stage it’s all B2B but it’s potentially anyone that has a requirement for transport, we’re only scratching the surface at this moment.
Bishop agrees there is a need for individual consumers to have a service such as Findatruckload, “But I think that’s in the future,” he adds.
“It’s definitely an opportunity, I won’t rule anything out.”