Business profile: Findatruckload

By: Vivienne Haldane, Photography by: Vivienne Haldane


A freight management company, Findatruckload (FTL) uses modern technology to create sustainable transport solutions.

FTL directors, Walter Ormsby and Andrew Bishop, started their business in 2009 as a response to the number of trucks running empty on the roads. Not only was it costly but it was also inefficient, and they figured there had to be a better way to operate.

FTL also aims to reduce carbon emissions, which, statistics show, can be reduced up to 25% if transport companies and freight senders collaborate.

FTL’s online marketplace, findatruckload.co.nz, is a platform whereby both freight owners and transport companies can connect by either advertising a load or to find a load.

Carbon emissions can be reduced by 25% if transport companies and freight senders collaborate
Carbon emissions can be reduced by 25% if transport companies and freight senders collaborate

Senders and carriers

FTL brand manager, Hamish Ludbrook, explains, "Businesses who regularly send freight typically use a handful of different carriers who they can trust to ship their freight around the country. Trust in the performance of the carrier is one of the key reasons why businesses are reluctant to move away from the small group of carriers they use. However, developing relationships with only a handful of carriers often leads to limitations of supply and creates inefficiencies within their own supply chain.

"We can add efficiencies to their supply chain by offering multi-modal solutions such as shipping and rail and also utilising the empty carrier capacity of our networks and quickly adapt to any changes in our customer’s freight transport needs. 

"The key to our offering is that we’ve taken time to develop an extensive network of trusted and vetted carriers, and if a carrier doesn’t perform as expected and goods are regularly damaged or delayed, they are removed from our network. This provides our customers with a lot of reassurance."

FTL changed their business model early on to support transport operators to ensure capacity is filled at the right price.

"There was a common perception that backloads should be relatively cheap because the truck is already going that way. In effect, this drives the owner-operators and other freight companies into the ground because no matter where the truck is going, it’s still business," says Hamish.

Flexibility

When transport operators register, they tell FTL where they run regularly.

"We primarily utilise our network to create long-term relationships between senders and transport companies, rather than supporting one-off requirements. Senders want a reliable supply transport company that can pick up even when it’s busy. If something out of the ordinary happens, we quickly transfer it to another carrier, which is where our key strength lies. Senders would need to call other carriers themselves, and it’s often difficult to know the good ones from the not so good. At the end of the day, businesses just want their freight delivered to their customers on time and in full to ensure the relationship with their own customers is protected. This is what drives us."

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Linehaul loads

Linehaul makes business more sustainable says Hamish.

"Going from A to B without stopping reduces emissions. We focus on half truck loads or more; it does cut out a large percentage of the market, but we don’t want to try and do everything for everyone. We focus on what we know works best and what we excel in.

"Point-to-point is what we pride ourselves on; there are no central depots. The transport company that picks up the goods is the transport company that typically delivers the goods to the destination unless it’s multi-modal. As soon as another point of contact is involved, there’s more chance that freight is handled twice and more chance it will be delayed or damaged. This is why we focus on point-to-point delivery wherever possible."

Business growth

FTL has now served more than 2500 businesses across 80,000 plus loads across New Zealand and have more than 500 trusted and vetted transport providers within their carrier network.

"Because we have a huge network of trusted carriers, we’ve also got a significant network of senders, so we know who sends along the route that the transport company is about to go on, and we can match them up quickly to gain the best of both worlds: senders get great service and carbon emissions are reduced by filling an empty truck and eliminating the need to put another one on.

"On top of that, our website streamlines processes and makes paperwork easy. Drivers typically get into the business because they love driving their big rigs, but they need to keep their trucks running full and paying well to keep them on the roads. They often tell us they don’t like selling and just like driving, so we tend to sell their capacity for them for a win-win for both parties," says Hamish.

Technology

Technology is central to FTL’s operation and enables everything to run seamlessly.

"We created a load board that matches freight and carriers automatically. Until recently that’s been a public forum, but now that our focus is more around the development of long-term relationships between senders and trusted transport providers and improving our customer’s entire supply chain, we use it as an internal tool to quickly match senders with available capacity for the one-off freight transport requirements."

When the company began, the online portal was public. When it looked like becoming a price war and they saw the trucking companies being undercut, job notifications and tendering became private.

The price the Transport Providers quote is the price paid by FTL, who then agree on a rate with the sender with a small margin factored in.

At your fingertips

One of the most recent innovations that FTL clients are enjoying is the Findaload app, currently released for Android and awaiting approval on iOS.

"The app benefits owner-drivers or transport companies that have five or fewer trucks. They are the ones struggling the most to find loads to match their freight and keep their trucks moving.

"We developed the app because drivers are not often in front of their computer. Most of the time they are driving, and when they stop, they jump onto their phones. Therefore, we decided to follow what they traditionally do and made our product available to match their behaviour."

Feedback to the app so far has been positive, but Hamish adds, "We’re releasing it slowly because we want to ensure we have the freight available to users when they require it.

There may be occasions when the owner-drivers say, ‘yes we have capacity for going from Auckland to Wellington, but we don’t have any matching freight’, and then they might lose interest in the app. We’re making sure we’re balancing it for both parties."

Dedicated team

All those who work for FTL have years of experience in the transport industry. Working from their home offices around the country, the team catch up on Monday via video link to go over the past week’s progress and set the agenda for the next week. They also get together twice a year. The business has always operated this way.

"It allowed us to sail through the COVID-19 lockdowns very well," says Hamish. "A few customers came to us during this time and wanted to know what tools we were using and how we were coping remotely. We were able to give them some tips."

Working remotely also fits with FTL’s overarching strategy; it cuts down on the expense of owning or renting industrial space and also aligns with the company values of family, trust, and lifestyle.

Andrew Bishop (second from left) and Walter Ormsby (second from right) at the Deloitte Fast 50 awards. Findatruckload made the cut.
Andrew Bishop (second from left) and Walter Ormsby (second from right) at the Deloitte Fast 50 awards. Findatruckload made the cut.

"We are all about those things. No one is looking over your shoulder; we trust you are working. If the sun is out or the surf is up, you’ve done your work for the day, go out and do it. The more you enjoy life and make your work, work around you as opposed to working around your work, the more likely will be the team’s success. So far it works well," says Hamish.

FTL moves more than 15,000 loads per year. The team works like a well-oiled machine to calculate costings beforehand.

"Most of them have been with us for a long time and have about 20 to 30 years’ experience in the industry. They usually know off the top of their head which options are going to be more efficient and affordable for our customers."

Helming the team are directors Walter and Andrew. Hamish, who came on-board in November 2019, and has a background in brand and business start-ups, explains, "The baton changes between the two. Currently, Andrew is acting CEO and is responsible for the whole company and Walter looks after the operations team. They change it up now and then to get a fresh perspective. Walter lives in Cambridge and Andrew at Papamoa Beach. He’s a keen surfer, so this suits him perfectly."

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