Turning weather forecasting into improved asset utilization

As any truck fleet knows, weather can be a game-changer when it comes to making that on-time delivery. But a new entry into the transportation and logistics markets is hoping to minimize that risk.

Riskpulse, an Austin, TX-based firm, has been managing weather for nearly a decade and is hoping to turn that expertise into useful information for truck fleets and shippers.

“Our goal is really to build out a suite of products,” Matthew Wensing, co-founder and CEO, told Fleet Owner. “Whether they have a [transportation management system] or not, everyone is affected by weather.”

Since its founding 2007 as Stormpulse, Riskpulse has been providing weather tracking information for users – which numbered some 6 million by 2012.

Its flagship product is Sunrise. With Sunrise, users can help mitigate the risk of weather threats to the supply chain. Maps are provided to help define the risk you wish to take based on your tolerances when sending a vehicle into potential weather, and it will also provide tailored visuals based on needs. With this information, a fleet or shipper can react to potential forecasted threats, the company notes.

Sunrise will also create a weather forecast based on a specific lane and offers instant communication with a view of weather and operational status across the enterprise. Customized reporting is available along with detailed historical analysis and daily, weekly or monthly risk summaries.

According to Wensing, fleets can use this information to, for instance, re-route a truck away from a route that includes potential severe weather in the days ahead. But, the solution can also be used to better utilize assets.

“Timing is everything, so what we do is [ask] what things are trying to shelter from,” Wensing says. “For instance, if you [have to decide] between a dry van or a reefer [due to weather conditions] if you have that flexibility, we can do a temperature variance.

Wensing adds that “we are finding is people are paying for over-protection” such as running a refrigerated van when the outside temperature in the area would be sufficient to sustain product inside a dry van. That means the fleet is not using its assets to full advantage.

This also costs shippers more to move goods, Wensing contends.

“Fortunately, we live in an economy where smart decisions are rewarded,” he says. “Shippers might be paying more because [assets] are not available because it is tied up somewhere else. We are starting to see carriers incentive” shippers to make smarter decisions.

Sunrise is delivered as a Software-as-a-Service product and is available in a variety of formats, from maps to spreadsheets to APIs. Integrations with leading transportation management systems is coming.

What makes Riskpulse stand out, Wensing believes, is its ability to deliver a core product focused on weather. With meteorologists, science officers, technology and logistics experts on staff, the firm has a bevy of expertise to tap into in building a complete solution.

“Nobody else has the same mission and product focus we do,” Wensing says. “Many people who have systems have weather components…but most often what they have is a home-brewed solution.”

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