Previously, we discussed the issues and challenges that the logistics industry is facing, especially within the EU. Due to the problems in the workforce, implementation of local laws, and limited technological interventions, some businesses are struggling to survive against their competitors, resulting in low margins and even bankruptcies. So how do you gain the competitive edge? Mark Ulrich, the Solution Director of PTV Map&Guide, answers the question while digging a little deeper into the current issue faced by the sector.
Compass: What are the current challenges faced by the transport industry?
Mark Ulrich: The existing driver shortage for example leads to a sharp rise in personnel costs, which means advanced cost- and margin pressure for almost every kind of transport.
Minimal wage law requirements within Europe became really demanding in the last years which has a direct impact for international transport planning activities. The existing regulations create additional efforts and increase the complexity for personnel cost calculations and reporting.
In nowadays transport companies are massively confronted with rising costs, low margins and international competition. Establishing a valid total transport cost calculation is more important than ever before to survive and stay on top of the competition. As there are plenty of relevant cost parameters to be taken into consideration, creating a reliable cost calculation can be difficult and time consuming. Transport companies first of all need a reliable time, distance and toll calculation but additional factors like personnel costs have to be considered on a detailed level without losing efficiency and flexibility within a high-dynamic market.
Compass: How has the industry evolved?
Mark Ulrich: In many cases big logistic and transport companies have professional TMS-systems in place to support their financial and operational processes. Thereby standard calculations, proposals and invoices can be arranged in an efficient way. Despite a high degree of automation, large companies also require flexible independent solutions like PTV Map&Guide in order to be able to calculate specific transport requests for customers on a standardised and transparent base. Nevertheless, a big step still has to be taken, till the digitalisation process within the transport industry can be completed.
Smaller companies are not that equipped when it comes to the IT infrastructure. The reasons for this often lie in the lack of budget or technical expertise. A lot of these companies use various calculation sheets and applications, which may result in missing standardisation and reduced efficiency. It’s hard for small and mid-sized companies to stay competitive – for this reason, we offer them PTV Map&Guide as a simple solution to optimise their daily business.
Compass: How does PTV Map&Guide play a role in tackling these challenges?
Mark Ulrich: First of all, PTV Map&Guide is a cloud solution. This means that everybody can use it without any local software installation. This saves you additional hardware and software-costs. Moreover, you don’t need any IT-professionals to put the system into operation.
PTV Map&Guide is tailored for road hauliers and shippers with a strong focus on domestic and international HGV transports. This is why our solution supports the requirements of the transport industry for professional route planning, total cost calculation and price findings.
Compass: One of the greatest additions to the advanced cost calculation feature is the ability to calculate the cost in less than a minute. Tell us about the different ways this can benefit companies.
Mark Ulrich: This means that you can raise your competitive advantage by reducing your reaction time massively. It is not necessary to be a be a professional in tolls, human resources or minimal wages to get proper and valid results. Thanks to PTV Map&Guide, you can focus on your customer’s requests and requirements again. Our solution delivers proper results with a high level of reliability and automation. This increases your efficiency in calculating the total route costs, determining accurate selling prices and measuring the resulting profits.
Compass: For whom are these features for?
Mark Ulrich: The new features were designed for hauliers and transport companies planning with their own vehicles as well as with external sub-contractors. In particular we support customer service managers and transport managers who are responsible for transport cost calculations and proposal management. It is also designed for operational managers who want to optimise their transport routes based on costs, turnover and resulting profit.
Compass: How do you view the new EU directive on minimum wage laws, especially for international road hauliers?
Mark Ulrich: Administrating the existing laws is already difficult, as the regulations and also the minimum wage classifications do not follow a standardised European model. Some countries like France and Germany passed their official minimum wage laws, while others like Austria have defined collective agreements.
Everybody who plans international HGV transports through countries with existing minimum wage restrictions, faces a major challenge. On the one hand, you have to manage the reporting side towards legal entities properly – otherwise there is a high risk to be fined or even to have your driver and vehicle stopped within the country. On the other hand, you have to calculate the additional wages and also the resulting staff costs to be payed per country – this is where PTV Map&Guide comes into play. PTV Map&Guide delivers the total staff costs per country and per trip which optimises the complete calculation and proposal phase!
Compass: In your opinion, what tends to be the biggest factor in inefficiency?
Mark Ulrich: Customer service and transport managers are influenced by several administrational topics today. Toll cost calculation and minimum wage administration should be named in this context, as a lot of complexity has to be handled and a lot of time has to be spend without creating additional value for the customer. Such time killers involve the risk, that you do not have enough time for your most important tasks which normally has a negative impact on efficiency, quality and costs. In the nearer future the lack of resources will also be seen with the dispatchers. This increases the demand to optimise existing processes by reducing complexity without letting IT-infrastructure costs explode. And this is exactly what Map&Guide does!
Compass: What are the next steps to trying the new and other great features Map&Guide is known for?
Mark Ulrich: Register, test, improve and don’t forget to give us feedback!