Loadie is a logistics marketplace that allows people to upload their deliveries and connect them with available delivery drivers. It’s a fully automated system that is managed through a customer management system and a mobile app for the delivery drivers.
The whole process is completely seamless through the app. A driver can find a job, either through the map or through notifications. They get taken to the job, proof of delivery, and paid via the app, so it’s totally seamless. Everything is done on the app, so this means no invoicing, and no paperwork.
So, tell us about Loadie…
Simply put we are the first exchange / logistics marketplace that offers a seamless straight through automated process from collection to delivery including full tracking, PODs, invoices and payments all in one system.
Our system works like Uber for freight in that you can access local available (pre-vetted) drivers in real time, track them to the collection, then your clients are able to track them to the delivery point. All the paperwork including the PODs and invoices are handled electronically, and payment is made instantly to the driver’s app wallet on completion of the job. The funds then made available to withdraw within 72 hours. (This is to protect against fraudulent activity)
All these features mean that the process is faster, simpler and easier to manage for both the customer sending the load and the driver taking the load. Customer complaints and enquiries are dramatically reduced as they can see where the driver is on screen in real time, and drivers can contact customers directly if they are having issues.
All in all, we wanted to create an application that gave everybody in the supply chain a huge advantage over what is currently out in the market, and with Loadie we have done that. For customers it’s free to upload jobs, fast and reduces hassle due to the superior level of transparency as well as the option to pay via credit/debit card or by pre agreed credit terms. For drivers it’s free to download with no subscription fees, no bidding system and the price you see is the price you accept! Price you see and accept is the price you get paid.
Tell us about how Loadie developed…the history/how the idea came about and how you developed it as an idea, and then how it formed into the platform it is
The process started around 10 years ago when one of our founders was working in logistics planning for a large manufacturer. When his contact book ran out of options to move urgent loads he was left high and dry. This made him think of a platform not unlike existing exchanges / job boards, but he took a job overseas and put the idea on hold. After moving back to the UK, he discussed the idea with an ex-colleague and one of his contacts who had a background in e-commerce and technology. As the exchange model had been done already the question was how to take the next leap and create some truly innovative technology to give the customer and drivers a system that was better than anything else on the market – So we created Loadie!
How does Loadie work?
The customer (anyone who needs to send goods) can add their load on to www.loadieapp.com after signing up on the system. They can either pay for the load using a credit/debit card (don’t worry – we only take the money from escrow once a POD has been signed!) or they can apply for a credit account in which case we pay the driver and bill the customer on negotiated credit terms.
The customer then inputs the usual details including how much they want to pay, destination, and special requirements, etc and the load instantly goes live on to the system where pre-vetted drivers who’s vehicle credentials match the load can view the load details including destination, price and special terms via a text notification or via the map on their smart phone. Before a job is accepted the driver is only given the first part of the postcode & town/city. We do not give the full address or any customer details until the job is accepted.
The driver (using the mobile app) then accepts the load and from that moment on can be tracked as soon as they are on the way to pick it up. The driver can then choose to take the job now or later depending on the timing needed for the load, but as soon as they say they are “on the way” the customer is informed via an automated email, and the driver becomes trackable.
The customer will also receive notifications when the driver is within 10 miles of the drop off point, so they can be ready & help eliminate waiting times. The proof of delivery which can include pictures of the goods is taken and then all the relevant paperwork including invoices are automatically emailed to the relevant parties and the driver then receives the funds instantly into his app wallet.
How do you think Loadie will impact the freight industry?
I think the industry is ripe for innovation.
The majority of solutions out there for finding drivers are effectively static job boards – you may be able to find a job via your location but that’s where it ends. The level of tracking and automation in Loadie is bound to influence customer expectations. Just as consumers expect time slots and transparency in their deliveries nowadays, warehouse managers and business owners, once they know the technology is available, will expect the same.
One of our end customers is Harrods, they love the fact that they know exactly when their goods are arriving and get notified as soon as they are picked up for delivery. The Amazon effect also means that B2B delivery windows will get shorter, and fines for non-compliance will only become larger and more frequent. If you supply companies like this having immediate access to available vetted drivers is a huge plus, and the GPS tracking also means fines can be contested, as the proof of collection/delivery timings are for all to see via the automated POD everyone receives.
We’re also making a difference to the freight industry’s impact on the environment. The freight sector counts for a significant portion of the UK’s air quality impacts from transport (26% of the UKs greenhouse gases to be precise). Despite significant investment in technology, the number of empty backloads continues to increase. In the last 10 years alone, they have increased from 28% to 31%. Right at the heart of our technology is a system that allows drivers and businesses to create a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of empty journeys on the UK’s roads.
What is your biggest achievement through the making of Loadie?
Making it work!!! It has taken a lot of time, money and bumps in the road to get there but we think that we have produced a system that is genuinely better than anything out there. That is not to say that we are not constantly thinking of ways to improve the system and innovate for the logistics industry generally but getting to the point where all the major USP’s of the system actually work was tough! We were also amazed at how quickly the drivers had taken to the application as within the first two weeks of beta testing over 300 drivers had signed up for the application without any marketing campaigns, just Facebook and word of mouth.
How did you overcome your biggest challenge?
Testing, Testing, Testing – being very pedantic about the customer journey and keeping the drivers informed of everything we were doing. Social media is a great tool for acquiring customers and drivers but it’s also a great tool for people to shout about any mistakes you have made! Being calm under fire and making sure you are completely transparent about what you are doing has served us well.
Where do you want Loadie to be in a year?
The largest B2B logistics marketplace, looking at European integration and possible global franchises.
How would you define your business culture?
We try to encourage a fun and flexible culture at Loadie. Modern day life is tough enough, so we try to ease some of the strain work can bring by making Loadie a fun place to work. We want our team to feel comfortable at work and enjoy what they do – This way we will see the best results. We encourage everyone to bring new ideas to the table so we regularly have our famous ‘beer and brainstorm’ days which have often born some our best ideas.
How do you get the best out of your team?
Everyone at Loadie has their own clear and defined roles. We trust we have the best people in each position to do the best job possible so we simply allow the team to get on with their work. We work very closely as a team though and all pull together when we need to. A good team morale definitely helps to get the best out of everyone. We are very lucky to say we have that.
Overall, how has the production & making of Loadie been?
Hard work but also fun. We knew disrupting a marketplace would be hard, creating completely new technology from scratch was bound to be. It probably took 8 months longer than we first expected but as with all things brand new, when you test something you don’t know what the reaction will be, you take feedback, refine and make it better. I think this approach will serve us well in the future as the relentless focus on getting it right for both customers and drivers will lead to commercial success.
Is there any advice you’d give to companies working on a similarly challenging project?
Whatever developers or engineers tell you in terms of timelines – double them! Whatever you think it will cost – double it! – seriously though complicated problems require complicated solutions and they cannot be rushed – small things can put an entire project out by weeks if they are not planned and thought through beforehand. So, test your ideas out on customers early and use the feedback wisely! The customer is indeed always right.