https://innovateuk.blog.gov.uk/2017/08/25/connecting-a-fragmented-logistics-industry/

Connecting a fragmented logistics industry

Despite the introduction of smartphones, telematics and satellite navigation systems, logistics remains a highly fragmented, inefficient and dangerous industry. DriverNet provides an app that transforms isolated and uninformed duties into fully connected and controlled experiences across a new online logistics network.

Using the tech in people’s pockets

Meet our customers - DriverNet, app screen

Despite most of the 5 million commercial vehicles in operations on UK roads now having access to a mobile internet connection, drivers still cannot connect to customers or the information they need, in real time, out on the road.

As a result of a lack of connectivity, information and controls during deliveries, on top of needless emissions, there are 50 deaths a year and 23,000 serious injuries related to the delivery process, whilst 500 people a year are killed by HGVs.

Our app provides drivers with:

  • smart navigation that direct delivery drivers to the service entrance, loading bay or ‘goods in’ and not the front customer entrance or car park.
  • real time alerts prompting customers to coordinate deliveries and enable safest possible site conditions

A logistics veteran turned solution provider

I am a former logistics manager and had a 16 year career which started with a year in delivery before working in operations management roles for clients such as BP, M&S and Starbucks. In the final years of my career I began to work in IT systems and started designing websites in my own time to improve driver and depot performance.

After I had an emergency procedure for skin cancer in 2014, I decided a year later it was time for a new challenge away from logistics and looked into launching my own start up. I began to piece together the wider issues facing the industry, as well as the problems I had witnessed as a manager and potentially solve them with the systems I had designed. In 2016, I founded DriverNet with my business partner Emma McNally, our CTO.

Inspired by other sectors

DriverNet was inspired by gaps left in telematics systems, Google maps and Uber, as well as technologies such as hotel booking sites, contactless card payments, Oyster cards and online check-ins.

There are now seven of us developing DriverNet and the technologies behind it, which has secured us three innovation awards in the last five months.

We are based in St Helens, an industrial town once at the heart of technology, as a pioneer in the glass industry. Our offices are based in the old Beecham’s HQ, which was the first factory in the UK to be powered by electricity in the 1880s.

Solving logistics challenges

Connected logistics
Connected logistics

The main issues in our industry are:

  • reducing empty running, unnecessary emissions and waste
  • increasing the safety, efficiency and cooperation of exchanges

In response, DriverNet is a low-cost android app, ideal for the 80pc of vehicles on the road, ran by SME or micro operators, that connect any drivers to any customer or site in swifter, smarter ways.

Reducing costs and emissions

DriverNet’s SmartPass feature fast tracks the site entry process and was recently tested with Kuehne and Nagel. It reduced lorries queuing outside depots from two to three minutes to just seven seconds. This saves up to 30p in driver and fuel costs and 0.23kg of CO2 emissions per minute of queuing and engine idling avoided.

Business funding

DriverNet has been funded by a combination of:

  • life savings
  • the proceeds of selling my house
  • £25,000 innovation R&D grant from the Department for Transport
  • £100,000 of co-funding from Innovate UK

Innovate UK has also recently funded DriverNet to participate at the TechInnovation 2017 Summit in Singapore in September.

Smart Logistics, for everyone

DriverNet is a human centred solution designed to improve performance, experience and safety in real time, not just for the millions of people that participate in deliveries on the ground level, but the public too. We’re also dedicated to creating jobs in technology for local talent and offer free talks and lessons in IT to local pupils and students to help raise the profile of tech in our town.

We love talking tech and logistics.

You can follow Ant and DriverNet on Twitter (@DriverNetTeam)
www.driver-net.com

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