Aramex New Zealand is a leading local courier provider with over 40 years of industry knowledge and franchising expertise. Aramex is headquartered in Napier, with a fleet of around 30 linehaul trucks and 30 Linehaul trailers and up to 500 vans. Their network includes 18 Regional Franchises and over 280 franchise partners across the country, from Kaitaia to Bluff and almost everywhere in between.
With EROAD telematics installed across their fleet of 60 linehaul vehicles, and EROAD Where Asset Management installed on their entire inventory of 1740 freight cages, Aramex’s National Logistics Manager, Tristan Bernie says EROAD is fundamental to helping him do his job. “It's the first thing I open in terms of my job every day is EROAD”, says Tristan, “I look to see where my trucks are, what time they arrived at each of the depots and my geofences, have a look through that, and make a plan for the day on servicing. It's actually kind of my dashboard for the day, so it’s a real important tool.”
COVID-19 changed the game for couriers everywhere. Aramex had a 20-30% jump up in deliveries in 2020 as the pandemic hit – and those huge volumes are now the norm says Tristan, “the world changed a little bit in terms of how people buy stuff, so that's been really good for the courier industry. We're sitting at levels that changed in 2020. They’re still sitting up, so it's great for us. It’s the new norm now”.
In Auckland, their busiest location, they had a 78% jump in volume in the last lockdown in 2021, but this came with challenges too. “There's costs associated with finding labor, finding drivers, buying new vans. You know, you jump 78%, well, you're probably doubling your fleet and doubling your staff. So trying to find all those people and resources in COVID times was pretty hard,” adds Tristan.
Having full visibility of his fleet and assets with EROAD gives Tristan the ability to make data-driven decisions to keep up with these huge volumes.
Aramex, like most freight businesses, use cages in their linehaul trucks to transport their freight. Most of their volume comes out of Auckland, so every truck leaves Auckland stacked with cages full of parcels. Getting those cages back to Auckland used to be a tough job for Tristan, “I’ve had to pay for a truck to pick up just the empty cages and send them back.”
Empty loads are a killer for productivity. Tristan and his team would spend significant time every week calling up depots to chase them, asking them to confirm the number of cages and trying to find enough around the country to get them back to Auckland in time. The visibility he gets now with EROAD Where is a game changer.
“We've got 1741 assets that we’ve tagged. Being able to know where they are, so we can reposition those assets back to Auckland to get all our freight out is key,” says Tristan, “It’s saved us quite a bit of time in terms of chasing assets around, trying to get them back to Auckland. It’s now just the click of a button, we know they’re there.”
Tristan hasn’t had to send a truck just for empty cages for well over a year now because he can see exactly where his cages are through EROAD Where’s Asset Management software, “Now we can ring up and go - you've got 150 cages, put them on a truck and send them up cause we’re gonna run out. So we've got full control and visibility on that side of things.”
When cages weren’t being returned, not only did it result in issues getting freight out of their depots, it was also costing the company. In 2019 they spent $180,000 replacing cages that had gone missing. As Tristan explains, “We’d keep doing stocktakes, and keep coming up short. One day we’d be 300 short, then we do another stocktake and be 150 short. Then we do another stocktake and we’d be 220 short. So it was never an accurate stocktake 'cause you rely on these people all across the country to do it”.
Tristan was determined to find a better solution. Having EROAD telematics in their trucks, Tristan had visibility of his fleet, and when EROAD Where launched, he saw the potential for his cages too “When EROAD Where came out it was cost effective, and we stuck them on all of the hire cages as well. Boom. We suddenly had a real stocktake.” And it’s easy too, adds Tristan “you just log in and click a button and there it is”
Using EROAD Where, Tristan was able to build a picture of how cages were being managed in different areas. “We could see where they were going and all of a sudden started seeing some of the behavior that was causing issues”. By having the data from EROAD Where, Tristan is now able to have a conversation with depots, and can easily share screenshots so that everyone’s got the same view. Now, they can spot any issues straight away, “if we know they're sitting there and not moving, we know they've been used for something else”, adds Tristan.
Accurate stocktakes, and easy asset tracking means Tristan no longer runs out of cages in Auckland, enabling Aramex to maximise trailer capacity, stack freight more safely and remove plastic and cost associated with shrink-wrapped pallettes. “The instances of running out of cages in Auckland has reduced because of EROAD Where. Which is huge for our business. You imagine all our little bits of freight - trying to move that without cages! Well, that means we gotta put it on a palette, shrink wrap it. It can’t be stacked as high in the truck, so we lose all this space and we have to hire more trucks.”
Tristan ensures sure Aramex is running a safe, productive and efficient freight business. A big part of that is also having a good handle on compliance.
“In the old days you’ve only got 5 vans and it's pretty easy to control 5 vans, but in Auckland we’ve got 97, you know. It's a big compliance job to keep a handle on all that, and the more automated it can be, the easier it is.”
EROAD’s automated RUC solution saves paperwork, but it also saves them cost. Tristan has set up geofences around all of their depots so when the trucks are driving within those geofences, they’re clocking up off-road KMs which are eligible for RUC refunds – and it’s all there in MyEROAD.
As someone who’s been in trucking a long time, Tristan knows things have changed a lot for drivers over the years, especially for those with decades of experience. “They’ve driven for 40 years and they’re used to there just being no rules”, he says, “I’d hear stories when I was younger of guys driving from Wellington up to Auckland and back to Wellington.”
It’s a different world now, as Tristan says “it’s just absolutely unacceptable”. EROAD’s Leaderboard is more than just a metric to Tristan, it’s actually making a difference to driver and fleet safety, “the leaderboard has been a big mover in the way we've increased safety. We were pretty low in the rankings 'cause it was never really looked at. Now we actively manage it every month and the guys are getting emails and letters and phone calls. And now we're in the top 20%.”
When you reduce speeding and harsh driving incidents, you not only improve safety for drivers and the vehicles, you also reduce wear and tear on the brakes and tyres, and reduce fuel consumption. Considering some of their trucks clock up 700km or more every night, that adds up quickly.
Aramex New Zealand have been in the courier business for 40 years. Tristan believes the key to that success is the franchise model, and the owner’s mindset that comes with running your own local franchise.
“Every branch is owned by different people. It means everyone’s hungry to be successful in all those areas, and because they own it themselves – they aren't gonna want to lose money every year. They've got skin in the game.”
The same goes for the owner-drivers that run their linehauls too “some of these guys have 4 trucks at 350k each, plus a couple of trailers – that’s like $1.5m - $2m worth of gear”. For them, trucking is more than a job, “it's a little bit of a lifestyle subculture. It'd be like if you were a racecar driver, you know? Your race cars probably your pride and joy, it's not just your workplace.”
Aramex is going from strength to strength. This month, they’ll take delivery of an additional 420 freight cages, which will all get EROAD Where tags, taking their total assets to over 2000.
With EROAD Where, they’ve turned an inefficient, manual stocktake process into a slick, automated one that’s resulted in no more empty cage loads and potentially saved them thousands of dollars in lost assets.
Tristan knows how valuable EROAD has been, and knows that there’s also so much more it could do for them, “in terms of what we get out of it and the potential I see with it, I feel we probably don’t use half of what it could be used for!”