Case Study: Procter & Gamble’s on-demand advantage
For years, consumers worldwide have enjoyed the convenience of using apps to transform how they travel. Be it Uber, Careem, or Ola, the ability to hail a ride by the press of a button on a smart device has disrupted the public transportation space.
The natural evolution of this solution is being implemented and trialed in the logistics space, and in the Gulf, innovative technology firms such as LoadME are setting the stage to make it mainstream, alongside Procter & Gamble as the first organization to share and adopt LoadME’s vision and proposition.
Designed as an online marketplace for both truckers and load owners, LoadME’s application is designed for use with GPS-enabled smartphones. The application allows truckers to bid on haulage jobs beforehand, effectively improving their haulage percentage, reducing the number of empty return trips, and enabling them to earn more. This innovative offering is proving increasingly useful to firms such as Procter & Gamble, who are looking to improve both supply chain reliability and transparency.
Sebastian Stefan, LoadME’s CEO and Omer Awan, associate director, supply chain operations for Procter & Gamble, Arabia & Pakistan.
“When we first came across LoadME, we were instantly attracted to the idea of linking our supply chain directly to truckers through technology,” says Omer Awan, associate director, supply chain operations for Procter & Gamble, Arabia & Pakistan. “It is obvious thinking about it, but we asked ourselves then, ‘if we use apps like Uber when we want to get from A to B, then why not do the same to disrupt the logistics industry?”
It’s not hard to see why organizations such as Procter & Gamble would want to partner with LoadME to innovate their supply chains. The company has an extensive logistics operation across the Middle East, with two factories in Saudi annually exporting over US $500-million dollars-worth of brands to more than two dozen countries from the ports of Jeddah and Dammam. The company also ships overland, receiving goods through its operation at Jebel Ali Port, which are then trucked across the Gulf region.
“The Gulf is a key market for our operations, both in terms of sell-in to consumers as well as export across our Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa region,” adds Awan. “Dubai is the base for our regional headquarters, and the country has become a hub through which we access this wider region.”
The company ships between 400 and 500 truckloads of goods a month via its UAE operations into Saudi Arabia. For over a year, Procter & Gamble’s logistics team have been using LoadME’s system to ship a percentage of goods across the border. So far, the results have been promising, according to Procter & Gamble’s Khalil Benchekroun, associate director, purchasing operations for the Middle East and Africa.
It is difficult to have visibility when it comes to identifying truck availability and pricing, says P+G
“We saw potential in LoadME, and how it can be used to organise our shipping routines. It is difficult to have visibility when it comes to identifying truck availability and pricing. LoadME has turned this on its head, and we are now able to proactively schedule trips weeks ahead of time. We are also more aware of when to expect a drop or surplus of availability, and we’re able to plan accordingly,” he said.
It’s not only conglomerates such as Procter & Gamble who are benefitting from LoadME; the application has proved to be invaluable to commercial vehicle owners too. It has allowed them to reach a bigger market of load owners, in real time, enabling them to pre-book loads for both their outbound and return journeys. LoadME has helped to bring efficiency and sustainability to a market which has rarely been touched by innovation.
“The logistics market in the region hasn’t changed for years, and we wanted to create an online marketplace solution that would benefit everyone,” said Sebastian Stefan, LoadME’s CEO. “A couple of years back, 80% of the trucks were moving around without load. Every vehicle that is running empty on the streets is generating unnecessary pollution and traffic.”
“Each truck will run thousands of kilometers without load every month and we estimate that more than 10-million tons of CO2 emissions could be saved by online load matching platform, that can match the empty trucks with cargo ready for loading within their area in real time, a tool that was missing in the region,” he adds.
To Stefan and his two co-founders, the timing seemed right to create an application that would revolutionise logistics. They wanted to ‘Uberise’ the supply chain, and realise an opportunity to create efficiencies across the region’s supply chain sector.
“Approximately 30,000 trucks cross the Saudi-UAE border every month, and most of them return back empty within a few days,” says Stefan. “Over 80% of truck drivers have a smart phone, so we thought about creating an app that would enable them to return full. What we’ve done is transform how transporters, load owners and agents communicate.”
“We can, in theory, connect load owners with up to four-fifths of the truckers in the UAE,” he adds. “Truckers are able to communicate and book loads through the app, and corporations can track their location through GPS. Companies such as Procter & Gamble now have access to a platform that allows them greater control and transparency, both to ensure that they’re able to access both trucking capacity as well as the best pricing.”
From its side, Procter & Gamble had been looking for tech-based partners to improve its logistics management. The company began working with LoadME before the rollout of its corporate product, to see how the service could be integrated into their existing setup.
“We have worked with similar concepts globally, and we had a number of questions that we had to answer before deploying LoadME internally,” said Nawfel Mejou, regional logistics purchases senior manager at Procter & Gamble. “First, we are the world’s largest FMCG, with existing technologies and processes in place. We needed to be sure that the app and the online marketplace would integrate with what we already have in-house. The other concern was, are the drivers ready to operate in this new environment and be available on their mobile apps?”
By working together, LoadME and Procter & Gamble’s teams found the solutions. Nermine Ragab, the company’s imports and gulf transportation manager, who oversaw the integration process, credits Stefan and his people for showing agility and innovation. “They showed a great deal of flexibility, which is what I love about engaging with start-ups,” he says. “They helped us with setting up workflows that enabled us to integrate the tool into our systems. LoadME have also been proactive when it comes to training and preparing the drivers to be part of their network through explaining the app and its benefits.”
For companies like Procter & Gamble, who operate logistics across markets such as Africa and the Middle East out of Dubai, Awan believes that LoadME has the potential to be used across the entire emerging world.
“We serve a market of two billion people, and logistics is the one hurdle to getting finished products onto shelves and into the hands of consumers. We trust in LoadME and what it can do to innovate the supply chain function. It’s about time that we all bring technology to bear on logistics. We’ve seen what it’s done for the public. Why can’t we do the same for logistics?”