Priority Freight’s investment in helping to protect the environment
In partnership with the University of Kent, Priority Freight, a leading emergency logistics provider based in Dover, Kent, has developed a tool that identifies opportunities to combine loads and shipments to reduce the number of vehicles needed to successfully deliver our customers’ consignments. As a result, Priority Freight aims to be able to lessen the environmental impact of our services, whilst still providing our clients with the service levels for which we’re renowned.
The tool was developed during a project forged through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), which is a government-led programme that’s been supporting businesses for more than 40 years. KTPs provide a cost-effective way of enabling companies to benefit from the skills of a recent graduate as well as accessing the knowledge within a university department. The idea is that linking with a university and having access to graduate expertise enables a business to undertake a specific project designed to improve their competitiveness and productivity.
The KTP project was planned in five stages, enabling Brian Gutierrez, our graduate KTP Project Manager, to first understand our business, then create a pilot model. The third stage was to develop the model, and in the fourth he put it through testing and validation. Finally, he will deploy and integrate it with our transport management system.
Brian says, “It’s been an incredible project to be involved in. What we have been able to achieve by working with the KTP is promising for Priority Freight both in terms of cost saving and reducing CO2 emissions. During a recent ten-week test period the tool identified solutions with a total potential saving of 113,000 kilometres –that’s nearly three times the Earth’s circumference!”
Brian’s project involved detailed and complex calculations, but the desire that has driven it is a simple one. As a leading logistics company, we want to be able to plan disparate loads more effectively, so that we can reduce the number of vehicles directly engaged in transporting our customers’ products. Doing this cuts down on CO2 emissions and reduces our environmental impact, and also cuts down costs so that we can offer a better value service.
Brian says, “During the test, the tool identified 14% of the jobs from the Dover office as co-load or transhipment opportunities. In the same period, just 4% were identified manually.”
Brian’s pragmatic and determined approach to this complex project has resulted in everyone working with him developing a high degree of confidence in its outcome. Not only that, but also a belief that there is more to come from the project.
As Andrew Austin, Group Operations Director, says, “The KTP project is both an exciting and significant development for the company. It has allowed Brian to focus on a specific area of improvement for our business – to systemically create an algorithm that will compute the most effective loading permutations on a daily basis, across the whole range of collection and delivery requests that we receive.”
Together with Priority Freight’s Managing Director Neal Williams, Brian recently presented the aims, latest results and benefits of the project to an audience at Kent Business School, where the technology was well received. The discussion highlighted how smarter, analytics-driven decision making has helped Priority Freight both by achieving short-term performance improvements and by guiding long-term planning.
Neal said, “I am very proud of what has been achieved as a result of the KTP scheme. The University of Kent’s Business School has encouraged and supported our Priority Freight’s ambition to innovate and do things better. Working together has enabled knowledge transfer that is helping not only to drive our business forward but also to develop the knowledge, expertise and careers of our team.”