Visibility key for smooth operations

In Product Profile, July 20227 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 13, 2022

Ensuring supply chains run smoothly with clear visibility for all stakeholders is critical for the transport sector. Traffic and roading challenges, last-minute changes, multiple communication channels and site congestion can all cause major headaches for transport operators.

Andrew Smith, general manager of M2X New Zealand, says utilising a transport management system provides all parties in the transport supply chain with transparency, reducing the risk of unwanted surprises.

“The M2X system provides consistency, helping carriers and the enterprises who work with them to digitise and optimise their transport flows,” he says. “It makes it easier for carriers and enterprises to work together to be more efficient. This means fewer kilometres driven on roads and less time taken, which is better for everyone.”


When operating a complex supply chain, businesses can experience multiple pain points, including disparate communication channels, manual interventions and workarounds, as well as site congestion, causing inefficiencies for them and their carriers.

The M2X system is designed to resolve these issues.

“All information is in one system, which is then available to all the parties in the supply chain,” says Smith. “The visibility – this transparency of information – addresses one of the key pain points for companies.

“We help improve the efficiency of a fleet. This means we optimise the capacity of the available trucks because of their ability to group jobs together and get that information to a driver in an efficient manner, meaning they are potentially earning more dollars per kilometre they drive,” he says.

“With a booking slot system, carriers can see how busy sites are in real-time. Instead of getting to a site to unload or load products and waiting, they get to digitally ‘peek over the fence’ to see how busy the site is at certain times. They can then either book in a spot or go in when that site has time to serve them, which means companies can utilise that truck better.”

“If you’re waiting at a job for two hours, it can affect all the other jobs you’ve got that day. What would have been waiting time is now another job, and this allows fleet operators to plan more effectively.”

A win-win

New Zealand’s oldest fertiliser co-operative, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, operates a network of 36 service centres, four hub stores, 90 consignment stores, 10 self-service silos and three animal feed mills across the country.

Kent Clark, product flow and transport manager, says the M2X transport management system provides visibility across Ballance’s entire network of freight tasks in an easy-to-understand, easy-to-use online platform.

“Distribution of product to sites is critical to keep the business running, particularly during the peak of the season, and Ballance relies heavily on its network of about 120 carriers to ensure sites are always well-stocked and ready to serve customers,” Clark says.

“If our freight tasks change, if we want to change a delivery day, change tonnage, change a product – we can do that live, and that message can be pushed through to our carriers without the need of a phone call.

“It saves a lot of time, it’s really flexible, and communications are nice and clear for our carriers. We wanted the technology to be a win-win for Ballance and our carriers,” he says.

M2X gives Ballance’s carriers access to a next generation transport management system that provides real time updates and a digital receipt of bookings, greater visibility on forward transport requirements, as well as reduction in administration around invoicing, reconciling and payments. The system also provides comprehensive dispatching functionality, a driver mobile app as well as route optimisation, all of which can be leveraged to serve Ballance effectively, but also the carrier’s entire customer base.

“Ballance had multiple channels that carriers were using, and for a large corporate, that isn’t very efficient,” Clark says. “So, what we were able to do was provide a channel that everybody could use.”

“Ballance now has much more insight into our transport. We’re talking to 120 carriers around the country in the same way through the same system, which provides a clear view of the operations in real time.”

He says working with M2X is a partnership. “We’ve worked really well together to improve the product and make it work for both us and our carriers, fine-tuning the solution to address our specific challenges.”

Smith adds: “We don’t just give customers a solution at the start and say, this is our software, use it, see you later… We are regularly catching up with Ballance and carriers to look at ways to solve further issues that they face and improve the transport process for both the carriers and Ballance.

“There are a lot of economic factors at play at the moment that are causing quite a difficult environment, so we’re always looking at ways we can use tech to improve their business.”

M2X was named a finalist at the 2022 NZ Hi Tech Awards in two categories – Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software Solution and Most Innovative Hi-Tech Agritech Solution. Their software helps carriers and companies in primary industries to digitise and optimise transport to save kilometres, time, costs and carbon emissions. Winners will be announced in August 2022.