Top gear: U.S. regional trucking company boosts delivery efficiency & cuts waste by partnering with start-up Baton

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Trucking company Andrus Transportation Service Inc. (Andrus) has made major improvements to the efficiency and punctuality of its delivery services by partnering with Baton, a logistics technology start-up that handles the “final mile” of deliveries.

Garrett Costley, Operations Director, Andrus, said, “In a 30-day pilot project, we reduced the average “dwell time” of our drivers waiting to unload cargo in the Los Angeles area from an average of 3.2 hours per load to 30 minutes.”

“Baton delivered 72 loads at 98.6 percent on-time. On-time performance and better use of our drivers’ hours – definitely a win/win”, he continued.

Dwell time is a major problem for trucking companies. Every hour wasted can equate to more than $100 in lost revenue, and result in unhappy drivers, which can further dent productivity.

In the past year, trucking companies have strained to meet increased demand for deliveries due to a boom in online retail during the Covid-19 pandemic. A shortage of truck drivers has increased their salaries and therefore costs for truck companies, which are looking for new ways to cut costs and improve efficiency.

“Our partnership with Andrus highlights the growing appetite among trucking companies for technologies that can provide a competitive advantage,” said Erik Malin, Head of Operations, Baton.

“The first and final mile are the most inefficient parts of long-haul trucking,” he continued. “The Andrus project shows how the right technology and logistics can cut waste and increase trucking companies’ productivity.”

San-Francisco based Baton, which is used by four of the top 10 trucking companies, currently operates in in Los Angeles. It will soon expand to Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas.

Earlier this month (March), Baton announced that it had raised $10.5 million in Series A funding, led by Maersk Growth and 8VC with participation by Prologis, Ryder Ltd, and Lineage Logistics. The investment will help Baton grow its technology team, expand in Los Angeles, and launch in new markets.

Baton is aiming to disrupt the transportation and logistics industry by using its technology and logistics know-how to improve productivity and streamline supply chains.

It makes software that coordinates and optimizes the first and final mile of long-haul truck routes via a tech-enabled network of drop zones and local drivers. Truckers drop off and pick up their cargo at Baton’s secure network of drop-off zones near major metropolitan areas.

Baton’s network of local drivers shuttle loads between drop zones and the final warehouse for pickup and delivery.

Baton estimates that its software and drop-off service can increase customers’ “asset utilization” – a key metric in trucking – by between 25 percent and 50 percent on delivery day.

Wasted hours during idle time and inefficient planning of freight loads have long been a challenge for the trucking industry. This problem has intensified because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused massive shifts in U.S. supply chains.