Logistics provider Gefco held a meeting in the French capital Paris last week to provide details of its ongoing digital supply chain strategy and the launch of two new services that support the freight and finished vehicle sectors: Chronotruck and Moveecar.
L to R: Emmanuele Delachambre, general manager, Gefco France; Luc Nadal, CEO, Gefco; Rodolphe Allard, founder and CEO of Chronotruck; Emmanuel Arnaud, executive vice-president of sales and marketing, Gefco; Dominique Masutti, CEO, Moveecar
Chronotruck, described as a digital road freight marketplace, is the product of an independent start-up company that Gefco acquired in July this year. Acting as a regulated digital broker the service connects shippers and carriers through a platform built on four artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms designed to accurately allocate loads and reduce empty truck miles.
At this week’s meeting, Emmanuel Arnaud, executive vice-president of sales and marketing at Gefco, explained that while an average company usually works with between 40 or 50 preferred transport providers, the Chronotruck platform logs several thousand transporters. Customers can select them according to need based on several criteria including: vehicle availability, proximity to the loading area, distance to be travelled, the space available in the truck, the transport company’s ability to reach one destination or another.
51% percentage of Europeans ready to buy a car online
60m cars sold in Europe annually – 45m used and 15m new
43% percentage of companies in Europe and US using digital freight platforms
66% percentage of those that are SMEs using digital freight platform
7,000 registered carriers with Chronotruck
9,000 active shippers using Chronotruck
In fact, Chronotruck currently has 7,000 registered carriers and 9,000 active shippers, and according to its founder, Rodolphe Allard, now CEO of the division, 95% of requests on the platform find the transport solution.
“We have an intuitive platform that enables a customer to place a transport order in less than two minutes,” he said. “It is very simple and is a totally digitalised service, from ordering to the choice of the carrier, to the quote and transportation tracking, down to the invoicing.”
Gefco is offering the service to automotive and non-automotive shippers. Regarding automotive, the service has applications for inbound and aftermarket but there is also scope for using it as an answer to finished vehicle shipments within a dealer network, according to Luc Nadal, CEO of Gefco.
“Importers or dealers take care of transport from a central location and plan for the new vehicles with the provider to the compound or main dealership, but internal movement in the network is managed locally,” said Nadal, and that is where the opportunity lies.
It is early days for the Chronotruck application but according to Nadal, 2020 will be “an interesting year” to test whether certain more traditional parts of the transport industry adapt to an IT-driven service.
“Some trucking companies are not used to these sort of IT solutions and to bring those guys into the system will require a cultural change,” he said.
Currently available in France, Chronotruck is being rolled out to Poland and Belgium in the first quarter of next year, and wider Europe in the second half of the year. Gefco has Russia, North African and South America in its sights for 2021.
Extending industrial services
For independent used car shipments to the end customer Gefco has introduced its Moveecar service, another sort of cultural change, according to Emmanuel Arnaud, and one based on “the knowhow of geeks”.
Again, Moveecar is a digital platform but is aimed at value-added logistics services throughout the lifespan of the car. According to Arnaud, Gefco caters to around 70 final assembly plants in Europe at which it loads thousands of vehicles every day. Each of those cars has a specific addressee, the local consumer who bought the car, and Gefco is using Moveecar to extend its industrial services to those end consumers.
It is part of the third stage in Gefco’s overall five stage business strategy, specifically aimed at developing second-hand vehicle logistics and services.
“Moveecar is a platform that will make each of the industrial services that Gefco provides [to its OEM customers] available to the individual buyer,” explained Arnaud. “It will allow us to cater to the needs of the 70 final assembly plants but more importantly the needs of the 60m annual buyers in Europe – 15m new cars and 45m used car buyers.”
Each of those customers has specific delivery needs, including storage requirements, vehicle inspection or repairs for instance, and Gefco is extending the services it offers for volume shipments to the last mile, part of a B2B2C process, going from production plant to the end user. “Right from the outset we can customise the service,” said Arnaud.
Car as a service
Importantly, Moveecar also makes provision for a future based on new mobility patterns in which car use is more likely to be based on fractional ownership schemes, such as leasing by the hour, and not seen as a product that is owned but ends up sitting idle for 84% of the time.
“This is crucial for us because today a car remains with its owner for three to four years on average but in the future a vehicle will be used three to four hours by its user before changing hands.”
Dominique Masutti, CEO of Moveecar, explained that the service supported the rise of the “car as a service” with its own dedicated supply chain solutions based on its Staart concept (see box).
Storage – Optimise inventory cost using Gefco compounds
Transport – Manage single or mass transport with real time tracking
Appraisal – Inspection and assessment of vehicle
Administration – Simplified and secure administration
Repair – Improve appeal and maximise pricing through cost and lead time
Travel experience – Enjoy travel experience with in-life service
“In the future people will think about whether they want the same car at all times and they will be tempted to move in different ways – a weekend, a couple of hours and not always in the same type of vehicle – and we will address mobility operators,” said Masutti. “What is important today is this massive transformation to the car as a tool for mobility.”
Using Moveecar, Gefco is now creating a European network of partners to offer a range of integrated digital services aimed at making the purchase or lease of a vehicle simple for the user.
Moveecar is currently available for single car delivery and inspection in France, Portugal and the UK. From November this year repair services will be added in those markets and in Germany, Italy and Spain, and from December cross-border services will be added in those markets and to Benelux, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In the first half of 2020 a full range of services will be available in all of those markets with the addition of administrative services, and concierge/car care services will be added in the second half of 2020.
“We want to deliver this service with a network of partners on a European scale that is efficient,” said Masutti. “And we want to ensure that our customers are able to benefit from all of the services across Europe, which is the real challenge of the digital platform. It is about the integration of a digital platform with the physical services we deliver,” something Gefco is referring to as a ‘phygital’ service.
“People will see that in entering into a relationship with Gefco they can sign a contract and have an automated relationship through the platform,” added Arnaud. “This will be at the heart of our services as we become digital.”
Look out for further details of Gefco’s digital supply chain strategy in our forthcoming interview with the company’s CEO, Luc Nadal