Alistair Group, established in 2006 in Tanzania, offers quality road freight and logistics solutions delivered to its customers’ operations. Alistair Group, with funding support from the Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) Challenge Fund, has begun implementing the Alistair+ freight exchange service project with the first step being the development of the Alistair+ application. The strategic objective of the Alistair+ project is to create the technology that will allow the Alistair Group to better connect with subcontractors which will in turn result in increased access to the transportation market for SME transporters and produce operational efficiencies that will reduce transport times and costs.
The application will create efficiencies for the logistics and transport industry by enabling SMEs (specifically small-scale locally-owned transporters) to better participate in the logistics chain, while also allocating reputable safe drivers and vehicles to ‘last-mile’ deliveries, or client orders via the use of a database that will include the drivers’ safety histories, deliveries undertaken and vehicle status. As each driver and vehicle is vetted and tracked, pre-clearance will be automated with a centralized documentation system and alerts for loading and offloading. This, in turn, will result in better coordination in the logistics chain. The application will also ensure that truck maintenance and driver training schedules are up to the highest safety standards. Over-speeding and dangerous driving of trucks will be minimised as the driver’s vehicles will be tracked with GPS using mobile devices and networks.
Transportation routes will be efficiently chosen with the application possessing the ability to notify drivers of route changes and route-way information. The driver will thus receive turn-by-turn directions on the route that they are taking. In addition, instant, simple communications between the driver and Alistair Group will be critical in ensuring that a trip is being successfully completed; a standard set of pre-programmed messages in the application enabling a driver to communicate with the Alistair Group Operations Team via the touch of a single button on their smart phone e.g. “I have arrived at the destination and have delivered the shipment as planned.”
An important capability of the Alistair+ application, in enabling a more efficient logistics lifecycle, is the collection, digital processing, and transmission of critical load delivery documents. With the use of the driver’s smart phone camera, the application will have an integrated document scanning, processing and transmission facility connecting with the Alistair Group Operations Team in Dar es Salaam. The driver will be trained on the application’s scanning functionality, and once the load has been delivered, the driver will use the application to scan the critical delivery documents and send them automatically to the Alistair Group Operations Team. This will reduce the operations management time required by staff, ensuring better coordination of the logistics chain.
And the expected result of the LIFT funded project?
“This application will not only facilitate more efficient logistics in East Africa, but also enable SMEs to better participate in the logistics chain by providing them with access to high-value transport contracts. It will be the first logistics application of its kind to effectively reduce the cost and time of transport and logistics in the East African market, while also ensuring that the best and safest drivers are employed through background checks and tracking. This will result in improved turnaround times and cost savings with faster payment processing times for drivers and Alistair Group.”
– Clementine James, Business Development Director, Alistair Group