Linebooker has changed transport in South Africa forever
Interview with Linebooker CEO and founder Naudé Rademan. This innovative platform manages transport operations for businesses.
Q: Disruptor normally refers to early stage or small start-up type businesses. How would you describe Linebooker’s current stage?
NR: In early 2017 Linebooker was at start-up stage, creating some disruption in the industry. Over that time Linebooker has seen significant growth and today has more than 162 customers, among them several large SA blue chip companies and brands, mega farmers, mining businesses, and other businesses large and small. With a combined fleet of more than 11000 trucks and over 251 transport companies active on the platform. Linebooker has moved well beyond the start-up phase.
Q: What has Linebooker done differently to earn disruptor status?
NR: We did not set out to disrupt, and the central business idea is not complex, but getting the idea translated into a total online solution was a different story. It was a very simple change that caused the disruption – the platform created instant transparency in a marketplace that up to that point had very little.
We have all worked in the supply chain industry for most of our working lives and have experienced first-hand the frustrations around traditional ways of working. Depending on the volume a specific client moves, this process can keep an entire team busy every day.
With Linebooker’s technology, the process is fully transparent and live. Clients can manage all their current operations via the Linebooker platform and publish load requests that are immediately seen by most of the transport companies in SA, and they can respond confirming truck availability and cost within 30 minutes with no other interference possible. A client pushes one button to confirm and trucks start moving to loading points with all updates visible on the platform.
Q: What is the value for customers using Linebooker?
NR: For customers, lower costs are always important, and the transparency and large network on Linebooker certainly deliver significant savings. But we know that the real long-term benefits for a customer sit in the efficiency created by the technology, outside of lane rate cost only.
Customers see much better vehicle supply consistency, as they can communicate efficiently with current service providers, or request trucks within 30 minutes out of the large supply base active on Linebooker. The technology allows customers to consolidate all transport related communication, plus gives access to additional supply. This eradicates old school implementation processes and costs, as most transport service providers are already on the platform daily.
Customers suddenly have a much faster solution at lower cost, and more flexible supply chain, which gives them a competitive edge in the market.
Q: All innovators face major obstacles – what were a few Linebooker had?
NR: We still face daily obstacles, but a couple of early obstacles come to mind immediately. Potential customers like and understand the idea instantly, but we faced the perception that the platform would not be able to consistently supply vehicles for large volume customers, especially during seasonal peaks. We normally follow up with the question: Did you have good supply during the past season with your current solution? The answer is inevitably no.
We had to prove the concept with real results. Luckily, we now have several large volume customers and data that confirms the platform delivers better than market vehicle supply, and at a consistently better price. We understood that customers couldn’t risk their businesses on theory. We had to demonstrate the concept with real results.
Q: What type of customer and transporter can register with Linebooker?
NR: I think this is one of our critical enablers. There is no sign-up fee or monthly fee, although transporters must go through quite an extensive vetting process to be allowed on the platform, as Linebooker carries the service risk on all loads.
Q: What changes has COVID-19 generated (so far)?
NR: Things have changed for sure. We cannot be 100% sure what triggered it, but activity has increased significantly during COVID-19. The need for businesses to be able to operate remotely is possibly one of the bigger drivers.
Some customers also experienced a sudden change in their business volumes that could not be handled by their current transport infrastructure, and they turned to the Linebooker network. Other customers suddenly had to change the type of routes and trucks they required. Without Linebooker they would have had to find providers they potentially knew nothing about, and somehow open accounts during lockdown, whereas they could register on Linebooker and process requests via the platform within one hour.
Q: What are your longer-term plans for Linebooker?
NR: We are very fortunate to have very competent and supportive investors in Patrice Motsepe’s Africa Rainbow Capital via Gemcap, as well as Venturen.Partners. We will continue to assess new opportunities as they present themselves.
To register as a customer or transporter and get immediate access, visit our website www.linebooker.com