V-FRET, an agile response to transport issues

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The transport sector, which has come to the forefront during the health crisis, but which has been weakened by its effects, has demonstrated its essential character. Among its major players, the freight forwarder Viapost and its V-FRET solution have notably distinguished themselves. A look back at the benefits of this new "just-in-time" freight offer.

Road transport of masks, hydro-alcohol gels and medicines; Pharmacy delivery operations; controlling the flow from the airport to health facilities... Viapost, a specialist in logistics, maintenance and transport, has showed its effectiveness during the Covid-19 crisis. "It was necessary to be particularly agile and responsive to set up essential logistics and transport operations in times of a health crisis. In particular, we have worked on processes to collect stock, identify carriers and control deliveries," explains Nicolas Petit, Viapost's National Director of Transport Operations. Services offered by Viapost as part of the V-FRET offer, designed to meet the transport needs of  "just-in-time" pallets in France and Europe. And it was this notion of "just in time" that made all the difference during the crisis : "The shortage of drivers was significant. Fortunately, throughout the year, we have a large network of carriers that has helped us meet the urgent needs of our customers" says Nicolas Petit.

Good transportation management translates into economic as well as environmental factors. That's why we are working to maximise NGV * links and we are planning to set up a dedicated station at one of our logistics sites in the Ile-de-France region in early 2021.”

V-FRET comes in addition to two BtoB existing offers. The first, called V-UNIT, concerns palletized couriers and allows to manage up to three pallets in regular or occasional routing. The second, V-REGULAR, allows the regular delivery in batches and complete lots of 4 to 33 pallets. To complete them, V-FRET handles exceptional shipments of goods on pallets at a rate of 4 to 33 pallets per vehicle, to and from one or more sites in France and Europe. "The idea is to be able to adapt to all the needs of our customers, regardless of the industry (retail, DIY/gardening, office equipment, dry food products, health operators, etc). The V-FRET freight offer has been around for some time at Viapost, but the advent of  customer  centric, the need for increased responsiveness of  companies as well as the search for both ecological and economic optimization of transport operations has pushed us to develop the offer, which has become essential for companies."  

The flexibility of a small business backed by the strength of a network

In concrete terms, V-FRET makes it possible to provide its customers with a vehicle to and from France and Europe, via a network of five regional freight hubs in the Ile-de-France (North and South), Tours, Lille and Lyon. It includes a service offering negotiation, purchase, organization and supervision of transport from the point of departure to the point of arrival. The company owes this feat in particular to its long-term partnership with 700 carriers in France: "We have been carrying out multi-customer transport for many years. This has allowed us to establish a close relationship with many carriers. In case of urgent need, we know who to negotiate with and who will have the capacity to meet the requirements," explains Nicolas Petit.

In addition to this network, there is also a digital tool that has become an essential tool in the management of transport flows, the TMS, Item Care. The latter offers V-FRET users end-to-end visibility of the transport chain: order of transport, delivery follow-up, billing, fuel consumption management, indicators and dispute management, all in real time.

At the same time, V-FRET offers two modes of pricing, one under a contractual agreement which gives a stable price for 12 months or else via a listing. "On this point, we are committed to responding within two hours for urgent requests, and no later than within a day for others. And in order to ensure full follow-up and service, we benefit from multilingual teams 24/7. Finally, we also offer many customized solutions. All these provisions allow us to support our customers to develop their business and alleviate the transport shortage. A factor which made all the difference during the containment period." This flexibility, combined with the strength of the La Poste Group of which Viapost is a subsidiary, not only allows Viapost to offer greater agility to its customers but also gives it a real competitive advantage in terms of costs : "La Poste delivers daily flows. When we buy transport, we do it for the Group but also for our external customers, a peculiarity in which we are particularly competitive in terms of costs" underlines Nicolas Petit.

A competitive and responsible charter

In addition to its operational and financial management strengths, V-FRET also enables its user clients to integrate a sustainable development dimension into their transportation operations. The company thus favours CNG and LNG links, regularly conducts checks on carriers' Euro standards and offers the monitoring of CO2 consumption through its TMS Item Care. "Good transportation management translates into economic as well as environmental factors. That's why we are working to maximise NGV links and we are planning to set up a dedicated station at one of our logistics sites in the Ile-de-France region in early 2021", said Viapost's National Director of Transport Operations. At the same time, the transport commissionaire hopes to open new charter hubs to further develop geographical proximity to its customers and partners.

* NGV: Natural Gas for Vehicles

Source : Voxlog