Convertible Trailer Manufacturing Worldwide (CTM) is signing a three-year agreement with German software specialist Inform with the aim of gathering information on OEM outbound and inbound flows to solve the finished vehicle sector’s wasteful ‘turn and burn’ approach to distribution.

CTM has a patented design for car carrying trailers that convert to flatbeds or a combination of the two to carry other cargo. This can be anything from traditional containers, high and heavy equipment or its own Autobox, which is a dry collapsible container for the movement of any sort of goods.

According to the company’s CEO, Bill Pawluk, the finished vehicle sector is wasting $75 billion a year in running empty 42% of the time on average. The industry could recoup those losses by loading other freight. To do that intelligently requires data on inbound and outbound flows from the OEMs.

To date the industry has not had the hardware that could enable inbound and outbound logistics departments to collaborate in maximising logistics efficiencies.

“The partnership with Inform is basically to start understanding what the actual benefits are going to be and who will benefit,” said Pawluk, at this week’s Automotive Logistics Europe conference. “We hope that everyone can benefit from this, the loss the industry is making applies to everyone.”

Inform designs and implements software to manage inbound and outbound flows and the companies are now working together to combine these two sets of data to support CTM’s hardware activities. This requires information from the carmakers and others working in the industry.

“It means collecting all of the historical data and perhaps even the projected figures from the OEMs out there and helping them understand where return flows can benefit them,” said Pawluk. “That benefit belongs to everybody who is willing to work for it. I believe this idea will change the industry but we have to do it intelligently and we have to be able to scale the concept.”

The application of the new technology does not conflict with existing software used by individual companies but is designed to be an additional tool for participants to find new ways of optimising their distribution activities, according to Pawluk.

With the data the partners want to find out where the inbound and outbound crossovers are and where the automotive business can collectively benefit and close the gap on empty miles.

Further news and coverage from the Automotive Logistics Europe conference will be posted online. Videos of the main sessions are also available here.