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Platform for efficient freight across all modes

Bisham Consulting has played a key role in new platform that will be interoperable across different transport modes to increase the efficiency of moving goods, leading to greater supply chain collaboration and reduced environmental impact.

Bisham Consulting has played a key role in developing a new freight logistics interoperability software platform that aims to reduce the total number of UK annual road freight movements by 1.5% – that’s over 1.5 million movements – by 2017. Furthermore, it will ensure freight is moved by the most cost effective and environmentally considerate method on a rural, local, regional, national and international basis.

Called TAILgate, the platform will be interoperable across different transport modes to increase the efficiency of moving goods across the road, intermodal rail and, ultimately, short sea networks. Freight companies will be able to optimise vehicle capacities irrespective of type, size and number of fleet vehicles and so reduce road congestion as well as environmental impact.

Launching initially in the UK, TAILgate is a joint venture owned by OmPrompt, the Transport Exchange Group (TEG) and ELUPEG. Bisham Consulting is supplying its expertise for the specification of the rail-focussed portal, a vital element in providing seamless intermodal capability.

By supporting traditional logistics systems the platform will allow a seamless realtime exchange between thousands of different information feeds and create complete visibility of freight movement across the supply chain. The intermodal interchange hub will be accessed by linked portal interfaces to take realtime, unstructured information – such as paper and fax documents – automatically from participants’ existing systems, and transform this into highly accurate data within TAILgate. The cost and time to build interfaces is negligible.

Generic document templating is used to transform unstructured documents into data in realtime. A data profiling tool will understand intelligently sample data messages enabling it to construct a syntax map of the data format in realtime. With the right data, TAILgate can then match individual loads and consignments with the most appropriate available asset.

Removing costs from back office processes in a low margin industry means TAILgate is particularly beneficial to SMEs. With limited procurement leverage, SMEs also gain the visibility to engage with very large hauliers. Furthermore, payment blockages are alleviated through invoicing on clear POD rather than on despatch.

Derek Bell, director of Bisham Consulting, said: "There is a clear need for increased consolidation of loads and a reduction in empty running but it requires a step-change in technology integration and collaborative thinking to change user behaviour. Tailgate is designed to deliver this by targeting both freight transport users (manufacturers and buyers) and providers (hauliers, rail companies and ultimately short sea operators) by delivering up to date information on spare capacity. Users get more efficient services and operators gain through optimised capacity and lower operating costs. Through joined up planning the whole existing transport network can be optimised and this will reduce environmental impact. Furthermore, by facilitating communication and connectivity across the supply chain, the platform will also help encourage collaborative logistics practice."

TAILgate is currently being trialled in a live environment and is targeting 5000 subscribers – both asset based carriers and pre-qualified shippers – by 2017.

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