St Helens-based tech start-up DriverNet has successfully secured £100,000 of co-funding from Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation agency.
The new funding will support the development of DriverNet’s mobile app for delivery drivers, which solves many of the problems faced in logistics operations, making deliveries more reliable and efficient, saving time and money for both the deliverer and the customer.
DriverNet digitises the antiquated processes still in place in logistics operations by providing drivers with three core services in one solution: precision navigation, live customer alerts and information on delivery locations.
These services combine to remove many of the problems faced during deliveries - from locating the right address, blocked access, finding the correct entrance or a place to park, queuing up or waiting for customers to attend.
The end result is that deliveries become more efficient and environment friendly, whilst improving driver and customer experiences. The Android app is accessible to any driver regardless of who their employer is.
DriverNet Chief Executive Ant Chisnall said: “Logistics is often referred to as fragmented and behind the scenes there’s still a huge amount of paperwork, print outs, posters, phone calls, emails, verbal updates, briefs and queues to get through on a day-to-day basis.
"Most people now own a smartphone, but drivers still don’t know precisely where they’re going, and customers don’t know exactly when they’re arriving. The situation is made worse by driver’s using Satnavs or apps designed for cars, which direct them to the front of a store as opposed to ‘goods in’. DriverNet removes all this uncertainty.
"When drivers do arrive, Interaction with customers is still reliant on verbal and manual processes. We looked at how contactless payments, Oyster cards and online check-ins reduce queuing, and then applied a similar approach to our app, which fast tracks vehicles on to sites in seven seconds, as opposed to two or three minutes."
The prototype for the app was trialled with logistics giant Kuehne & Nagel in May this year at their CentrePoint depot in Trafford Park, Manchester as part of a Department for Transport Technology Innovation project. DriverNet’s final report identified that their app could save up to 30p per minute in wages and fuel costs, and 0.23kg of CO2 emissions per minute of queuing.
DriverNet’s founder, Ant Chisnall, grew up in Eccleston, St Helens. After a 15-year career in Logistics, he started out in deliveries for a local carrier in 2000 before progressing to site manager and moving on to IT systems and customer facing roles for clients such as M&S, BP and Starbucks.
The company is now growing from strength to strength after receiving its third innovation award in four months. This has led to the creation of two new full-time positions, and the team will expand to six from August. The company is also being accelerated through the Open Future_ North programme run by Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future_.
Ant added: “Where many fleet management systems focus on tracking assets and gathering data, DriverNet coordinates deliveries by connecting people in real time. A business’s greatest asset is its people, so we developed our product for the drivers and customers on the ground level, not just management teams back at base. User feedback so far is extremely positive.”
For more information about DriverNet please go to: www.driver-net.com/contact.