Alistair Group

ALISTAIR+ APPLICATION – TRACKING AND MATCHING PLATFORM

Introduction

Alistair Group was awarded a grant by the Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) Challenge Fund in January 2016 to support the development of its Alistair+ freight exchange service project. The goal of this project is to create an automated service (a smartphone application), which will serve as a tracking and matching platform between client loads and subcontracted small-scale locally-owned transporters (SMEs). As Alistair Group makes use of existing assets in the East African market, it will increase the utilization of idle vehicles and drivers. This application will benefit 100+ SMEs by giving owner operators and small transport businesses access to high-value cargo and ultimately increasing their income. This project will connect Alistair Group to subcontractors which will result in an increase in access to the transportation market for SME transporters and operational efficiencies due to reduced transport time and costs by cutting out unnecessary middle men and improving turnaround times on cargo.

The Alistair+ application will create efficiencies for the road transport industry, a historically low-tech industry in the region. As part of the project the Alistair Group will be improving its existing GPS tracking units to roll out tracking units to enhance security of the cargo carried. The application will efficiently allocate proven, safe drivers and vehicles to available loads as it will contain a database of the safety history of drivers, trips and vehicles. Drivers and vehicles will be preapproved through background checks, guarantees and periodic reviews as well as rigorous in-house training and education at the Alistair Group facility. This will improve turnaround time and ultimately result in cost savings and faster payment processing for drivers and the company. As each driver and vehicle is vetted and tracked by using existing GPS networks to track vehicles, pre-clearance is automated with a centralized documentation system and alerts for loading and offloading. The public can also report any unsafe driver behaviour by phone or SMS. This will be linked to the driver’s profile and overall rating.

The project implementation is structured into 6 milestones:

  • Milestone 1 – Alistair+ application product requirements and mock-up developed

  • Milestone 2 – back-end systems developed and tested

  • Milestone 3 – front-end application development and testing – functional application developed, Alpha, Beta apps tested with at least 100 Alistair Trucks for at least 3 month

  • Milestone 4 – the procurement and distribution of 100 devices to participating SMEs by end of year 1 and the undertaking of training of 125 subcontractors on defensive driving, lashing and loading, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) awareness and introduction to Alistair+ Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

  • Milestone 5 – the program implementation to 100 Alistair+ subcontractors

  • Milestone 6 – Alistair+ subcontracted drivers earn 15% more $/km and monthly revenue (averaged 3 months) by the end of the project.

Project Objectives

  • The project’s aim is to build an automated service to connect Alistair Group to 100+ SMEs. This will benefit SMEs by providing them access to high-value cargo road transport market resulting in an increase in access to the transportation market for SME transporters by efficiently allocating them cargo through the Alistair+ application and operational efficiencies by eliminating middlemen traders’ / freight forwarders to reduce transport time and costs. These will also improve efficiencies for the road transport industry

  • The Alistair+ application will contain a database that will include the safety history of drivers, trips and vehicles making it more efficient in allocating proven, safe drivers and vehicles to available loads therefore increased turnaround time which will ultimately result in cost savings and faster payment processing for drivers and the company.

  • Alistair Group will roll out mobile devices on trucks that will enhance tracking and security of the cargo carried. Furthermore, by providing automatic notifications between truck location and border posts, the technology will assist with more timely delivery times of cargo. Leveraging technology, more efficient allocation of cargo to available vehicles will help decrease human error.”

  • The project will benefit women as Alistair Group will be committed to actively recruit them throughout the organization from directors and managers to line and support staff. As part of the roll-out of this project, Alistair Group plans to motivate the top drivers in its company by creating drive-to-purchase agreements, so that they too can become owner-operators.

Conclusion

The Alistair app+ project has the potential to be a transformational innovation in making a real contribution to improved trade. It also has the potential to improve functionality, including support to vehicle fleet maintenance over time.

“Subcontractors enrolled in the Alistair+ project will experience at least a 15% increase in revenue and 15% increase in cargo carried thanks to the efficiencies introduced through the system. Alistair Group is committed to leveraging technological innovation to help catalyse the development and professionalism of small-scale transporters on the Central and Northern Corridors. The application will reduce costs and improve transport times, allowing us to help create efficiencies in the East African market.”

– Clementine James, Business Development Director, Alistair Group.