DigiHaul’s Carrier Engagement Director, Rebecca Platts, is motivated not by the technology of the digital freight industry, but by what it can do for the people and businesses it serves. She explains how listening to carriers and understanding their needs is helping to shape the future of road transport.

You’ve worked in logistics and transport for the last five years and have several years’ project and transition management experience across different sectors, can you tell us about your career so far?

After starting my career in financial services, I did a business degree which piqued my interest in how IT can enable businesses to be more efficient. I went on to work in the IT sector and although I was never techy, I always saw the value in utilising technology.

In 2015 I was headhunted into a role in aviation to lead a cultural change programme – it was my first experience of working in logistics and a whole new area for me that I’d never thought about before. My role was to manage the introduction of EasyJet’s auto bag drop at Gatwick Airport.

After this I moved to DHL, where I looked at how we could add more value for our customers and went on to manage large contract transitions and start-ups. This involved leading every possible aspect with a strong focus on people, recognising that active engagement with people at ground level, addressing their queries and concerns that might get lost in the bigger picture really helped to ensure colleagues were fully engaged.

I’m proud of the best practice that we developed, we were able to bring everyone on the journey with us from day one, which resulted in a minimum disruption in service.

When DigiHaul was created I managed the transition of the DHL Supply Chain volume into the business. It was another change for me as I hadn’t worked in road transport before but our main focus was to minimise disruption for both our shippers and our carriers. Achieving good levels of service while disrupting longstanding shipper/carrier relationships and ways of working was a real balancing act as we grew the business but we made significant progress in a considerably short space of time.

Why did you join the DigiHaul team?

I’ve had experience on a lot of projects and I love seeing tangible improvements, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to not just deliver results but to constantly strive for better, to build a model with a long-term plan.

My team have a wealth of experience from the transport industry, I learn from them all the time and trust them to have the in-depth knowledge that we need. My role is to help bring it all together and make it work for us, and for our carriers and shippers.

I’ve worked with many great individuals throughout my career but I can honestly say that the whole team at DigiHaul is brilliant. Every single person shares a passion and a drive to be the best that we can be.

What does a typical day look like in your role?

My remit is all things carrier, no two days are ever the same! My team has end-to-end ownership of carriers from onboarding, compliance and monitoring, to ongoing relationship and change management. We’re also responsible for developing the best transport solutions for our customers – this is a blend of pre-procurement work and our dynamic transport solutions business, taking into account variable volumes and how we can support our carriers who don’t have contracted work.

We have dedicated Carrier Relationship Managers and we’re making a big investment in getting to know our carriers one-by-one, understanding their business and how we can best work together.

I often go with my team to visit our carrier partners so that I can really get a sense of what’s important to them and bring it back into the business. We’re working on how best to capture all the valuable information that our carriers are giving us in a database so we can feed this into our operations, maximise mutual benefits and identify complementary work.

How has your experience help shape DigiHaul’s carrier engagement strategy?

In many ways the UK’s road transport industry hasn’t faced much change over the years and a large proportion of carriers are happy with their ways of working – taking an analogue approach has always worked for them in the past. What’s important to us as a business is that we start to digitise some of those transactions so that we have more visibility of what’s happening in the network, while taking great care to maintain the focus on relationships at a strategic level with our carrier partners.

We’re always evolving and looking at how we can do things better and we have lots of developments in the pipeline that will help us work smarter with our carriers.

What’s next for you and your team?

Having real-time visibility of job progress and providing automated job confirmations to our customers is a key element of what we offer as DigiHaul. We’re about to launch a carrier campaign focused on increasing the level of transparency through increased app usage or integration with carriers’ telematics systems. We have refreshed self-help and support materials to give our carriers the best chance of success and will be making real-time dashboards available within our Carrier Portal so our partners can see what key metrics are important to us and proving full transparency over how we measure and categorise them within our Carrier Framework. Later in the year we will also be making some improvements to our app to make it even easier for our drivers!

What’s the one thing that motivates you when you go to work?

I love the culture, the pace and the can-do attitude of our business. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come in a short space of time – we’re very dynamic and if something isn’t working well, we all lean in to fix it and make it better. When we’re all aligned and committed to the same goals there’s nothing we can’t do.

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