By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller
Supply chain issues.
It is a phrase we’ve all become familiar with, and it has been blamed for everything from empty shelves at grocery stores to delayed construction projects.
Milwaukee-based Renaissant has created a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that gets trucks on the road quickly and works to bridge gaps in the shipping system that is an essential part of the supply chain. As Co-Founder and Vice President of Business Development Patrick J. McGartland says, “There are bottlenecks along several of these pathways, but wherever you can help improve the turn and the speed of freight movement you have an impact on the overall supply chain.”
Founded in 2019 by McGartland and Tom Dean, CEO, Renaissant has created driver and yard management technologies that reduce labor costs while improving efficiencies across the shipping pipeline.
The solution is nothing short of revolutionary to a system that remains largely paper-based and relies on handwritten data inputted by individual drivers. The new system fully automates the process, allowing for contactless driver check-ins and provides data ready for analysis.
Drivers benefit from having the communication displayed in the language of their choice, which eases communication barriers and improves the accuracy of the information provided by the drivers. Additionally, they are issued the paperwork they legally need to travel with electronically, making the documents easy to locate and display at checkpoints along their routes.
All of this data allows companies for the first time to know precisely where their inventory is on each leg of its journey. It also provides a great deal of predictive data that allows unprecedented workforce management opportunities throughout the supply chain.
“We can tell customers with a high degree of certitude, based on our machine learning and algorithms, what percentage of drivers will show up late, or early, or without the proper equipment,” McGartland said. “That information can help ensure the warehouse has the correct number of employees to handle the incoming deliveries and outgoing shipments on a given day.”
McGartland explains that this kind of data collection can be used in any number of industries, giving the example of hospitals predicting the patient demand for emergency rooms and states. “Past data is a great predictor of future behavior, so that is what we are doing with driver behavior,” he said.
Renaissant is also streamlining the supply chain with a yard inventory management solution that tracks and manages trailer loads. Through the implementation of electronic data, shipping yards using the solution have reduced the time drivers spend in yards picking up load to ship from 90 minutes down to 16 minutes.
The impact of the improved process has wide-reaching benefits. Not only do these new efficiencies cut labor costs, but they also help keep frustrated truck drivers employed in an industry that desperately needs them.
“There really isn’t a driver shortage,” McGartland said. “There is a retention of driver shortages and there’s a retention and dwell time challenge that many shippers face.”
Drivers are typically only paid for their time on the road, so time spent waiting in shipping yards to complete paperwork or finding loads is often uncompensated time. “If we can turn trucks faster, we can reduce that pain,” McGartland said. “We can make drivers happier so that they don’t leave the profession. We can have them be paid more because they get paid when they’re rolling.”
The software company sees a strong need in the market for their product. “There’s a real pain here in the global supply chain space,” McGartland said.
He notes that in the past, warehouses and loading docks were not places where companies would invest in new technologies: “If you needed to improve the speed or the efficiencies of those operations, you’d simply hire more people.”
The labor shortage put an end to that practice. “There’s nobody to hire,” he said. “You can’t throw bodies at this problem any longer …You need to bring to bear technologies that can solve these problems.”
Renaissant is ready to be one of the solutions the supply chain needs in order to rebound. The company completed a successful funding round in March 2022, raising $1.07 million dollars in capital. With a fully completed product already working in the field, the influx of money is earmarked for marketing.
“Within a matter of weeks, we can have 50 or 100 people trained in our system, ingesting data from other sources to seed our system, so that we can begin to deliver value, to reduce that dwell time and improve the overall shipping times and for our clients,” McGartland said.
To learn more about Renaissant and their supply chain solutions, click here.