Smarter transport through technology

Miles: Sustainable innovation in the parcel industry 

Every day, throughout the country, couriers drive with empty vans. They are not fully loaded or return empty after a delivery. The current situation is not efficient and certainly not environmentally friendly. The smart ‘Miles’ app, developed by MSG, makes the parcel industry much more sustainable. “With Miles we want to ensure that every courier in the Netherlands drives efficiently. It reduces the time needed, is cheaper and more sustainable,” explains marketing & communication manager Veertje Heemstra.

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In short

  • Most courier vans are not fully loaded or return empty after a delivery. This is not efficient and certainly not environmentally friendly.
  • Miles is the solution: a smart app that aims for every courier in The Netherlands driving efficiently.

Until recently, the parcel industry was fairly traditional. A customer would call MSG, a courier company, for an (emergency) transport. The planners would then call one of the 300 affiliated couriers in the country. At the time of calling, however, the planner would not know the courier’s location and availability. “In a world where almost everything can be done online, this way of working is cumbersome and old-fashioned. That’s where the idea of Miles was born: a smart app that matches supply and demand using GPS,” Heemstra explains.

 

Now that the app is up and running, one can wonder why it has not been invented earlier. 

 

Miles is smart through its simplicity. In the app, couriers can indicate that they are available for a ride. Thanks to GPS, Miles knows exactly where they are. As soon as a customer requests a transport (via the website or app), Miles automatically selects the most suitable courier based on location, loading possibilities and other customer wishes. All arranged in a jiffy.

Fewer empty rides

Miles makes transport not only fast and easy but also more sustainable. Not only does Miles reduce the distance to the pickup point, but it also is able to match with new customers for the return journey. “Simply put, the number of empty trips can be halved, thus having 50% fewer empty kilometres,” Heemstra calculates. Customers sign up quickly because of their good experiences with MSG over the years. Of course, we aim to grow even further. We now focus on emphasising the reliability of our new system. Miles is a start-up, but the people behind the scenes bring 25 years of courier and transport experience to the table. It is important for our customers that the transports are carried out by reliable and qualified people. We see that major customers such as the wholesalers Solar Nederland and Duursma, but also Drukwerkdeal and Sikkens are already interested in the innovative possibilities of Miles. It is interesting for them because they need couriers often, and the efficiency of Miles is associated with time savings and therefore, lower costs.”

Quick match

Heemstra, therefore, expects a substantial increase in the number of users and couriers who use the app. “Humans can never make a match as quickly as Miles can. I truly believe that in a while, all of us will start wondering why the cumbersome system stayed in existence for so long. Nowadays, everything can be arranged using apps: banking, ordering groceries or arranging a taxi. I believe the transport market is following that development.” The Apeldoorn location of wholesaler Duursma is satisfied. Location manager John Testerink was one of the first users and recognises the great benefits of the smart courier app. “The system is modern and innovates the courier market. Additionally, it works just like we run our webshop: customers indicate what they need, and the system automatically selects the appropriate product.” Ease of use is a major satisfaction factor. 

 

“As a manager, I have a clear overview of all current orders in the Miles dashboard. It is ideal to see all statuses of all orders at a glance. I don't want to be flooded with emails or phone calls. Now, I have everything in one place.”

 

The new way of working takes some getting used to. “I notice that, as a matter of habit, our sales staff pick up the phone instead of using the app or website. Transitioning takes some time. It would be nice to see that the sales staff embraces Miles as well. In any case, I am enthusiastic: it is a great system, fast and logically built.”

Date: 4 July 2019
Source of tekst: INN'Twente
Author: Frederike Krommendijk
Audio / video: Lars Smook