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Flock Freight builds a more efficient, resilient and environmentally sustainable shipping supply chain on Google Cloud

July 18, 2022
Casey Bright

Sr. Director, Demand Generation, Flock Freight

David Keitel

Director of Infrastructure Engineering, Flock Freight

Commercial trucks often travel partially empty because many shippers don’t have enough cargo to fill an entire container or trailer. Although offering available space to other shippers helps minimize carbon emissions and reduce operating costs, most trucking companies can’t efficiently schedule, track, or deliver multiple freight loads.

Companies have always struggled to ship over-the-road freight efficiently. However,recent economic events have created an unprecedented logistics and transportation crisis that continues to disrupt supply chains, delay deliveries, and significantly raise the price of basic goods. Since some stores can’t keep their shelves fully stocked, many people across the country are finding it more difficult than ever to buy the things they need at an affordable price. 

Although exacerbated by the pandemic, many of these supply chain issues have existed for decades. That's why, in 2015, Flock Freight was started with the mission of reducing waste and inefficiency from the supply chain by reimagining the way freight moves. First to market with advanced algorithms that enable pooling shipments at scale, we create a new standard of service for shippers, increase revenue for carriers and reduce the impact of carbon emissions through shared truckload (STL) service. 

Our technology helps lower prices compared to full truckload (FTL) by enabling shippers to only pay for the space they need—and maintain full control over pickup and delivery dates. Flock Freight also optimizes travel routes to speed up deliveries compared to traditional less than truckload (LTL), while eliminating unnecessary shipping hub transfers to minimize damage to cargo.

Today, thousands of shippers and trucking companies across the U.S. use Flock Freight to schedule shared truckloads, lower shipping costs, quickly deliver and track goods, and reduce their carbon footprint by up to 40%. Flock Freight further offsets carbon emissions by buying carbon credits for every FlockDirect™ guaranteed shared truckload shipment—at no extra cost to shippers.

Moving Flock Freight to Google Cloud

We founded Flock Freight with a small team based in southern California. We soon realized we needed a more scalable and affordable technology stack to support our rapidly growing platform and team. After joining the Google for Startups Cloud Program and consulting with dedicated Google startup experts, we decided to move all our data and applications to Google Cloud.

The highly secure-by-design infrastructure of Google Cloud now enables thousands of Flock Freight customers to move their freight faster, cheaper, and with less damage than traditional shipping methods. Specifically, we rely on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to support the combinatorial optimization and machine learning (ML) algorithms and services that identify, pool, and schedule shared truckloads. We also leverage GKE to rapidly develop, deploy, and manage new applications and services.

In addition, we leverage Cloud SQL to automate database provisioning, storage capacity management, and other time-consuming tasks. Cloud SQL easily integrates with existing apps and Google Cloud services such as GKE and Pub/Sub. Lastly, we use Compute Engine to create and run virtual machines, optimize resource utilization, and lower computing costs by up to 91%. These cost savings allow us to shift more resources to R&D and rapidly develop new solutions and services for our customers.

Building a greener, more resilient, and responsive supply chain

The Google for Startups Cloud Program and dedicated Google startup experts were instrumental in helping us manage cloud infrastructure cost and maintaining very high SLAs,  helping Flock Freight to focus on developing a comprehensive shipping platform that powers shared truckloads and drives positive industry change. 

We especially want to highlight the Google Cloud research credits we relied on to launch Flock Freight and make rapid progress toward transforming the shipping industry. To this day, we continue to work with Google Cloud Managed Services partner DoiT International to further scale and optimize operations on Google Cloud.

We're proud of the results we're delivering for our customers. For example, a home improvement importer now enjoys faster, safer, and easier shipping with 99.9% damage-free service and a 97.5% on-time delivery rate. A packaging supplier continues to maintain a 99% on-time delivery streak and decrease carbon emissions by 37%, while a mineral water company consistently reduces delivery expenses upwards of 50%. 

Nationwide demand for shared truckloads continues to increase as the shipping industry works to lower costs and alleviate supply chain disruptions. With the Flock Freight platform, companies are building a more sustainable and resilient supply chain by efficiently combining multiple shipments into shared truckloads.

If you want to learn more about how Google Cloud can help your startup, visit our page here to get more information about our program, and sign up for our communications to get a look at our community activities, digital events, special offers, and more.

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