Teleroute and Wtransnet, Freight Exchanges part of Alpega Group, leveraged Stream Chat and its auto-translation capabilities to streamline the logistics of European goods transport, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and enable freight carriers to communicate effectively without language barriers.
•Published: Sep 26, 2022
Challenge: In an effort to modernize an industry rooted in years of tradition, Teleroute and Wtransnet needed an in-app chat solution that would appeal to a diverse user base while simplifying multi-lingual communication at every step of the transport process.
Strategy: The freight exchange platform referenced its agility, cost, performance, user experience, and infrastructure criteria to evaluate Stream against six other chat solutions. It also weighed the option of building a messaging functionality in-house.
Result: Stream’s React Chat SDK proved to be the perfect complement to Alpega Group’s Freight Exchange software. It not only offered top-notch UX and customization, but its auto-translation abilities resulted in greater transport efficiency, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and more deliveries.
About Alpega Group
Alpega Group is a leading global logistics software company that offers end-to-end solutions that cover all transport needs, including transport management services (TMS) and freight exchanges (FX). The company has specialized in solving logistical challenges for its clients by leveraging automation and real-time tracking tools to increase transport efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints for over thirty years. While Alpega Group’s technology has made serious advancements during this time, the way its customers leveraged it to conduct business largely remained the same.
Beyond Borders, Language Barriers, & the Status Quo
Head of Product Management, Giacomo Fedele, has been with the company for ten years, the last four of which have been dedicated to Freight Exchange. He says, “Thirty years ago, the Internet was brand new, and there weren’t any chat solutions. Freight companies relied on paper contracts, email, and phone calls to conduct business.”
Here’s an Example: A carrier from Italy has a shipment to transport to the Netherlands. But once the delivery is complete, the Italian’s truck is now empty. To make the most of their drive home, they must quickly connect with another freight company in the area to see if there are any deliveries they could make on their return route. However, the opportunity to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and carbon emissions is lost if the Italian and Dutch transport professionals cannot quickly communicate due to a language barrier.
While three decades worth of process is a formidable opponent to change, Fedele says, “It is not easy to introduce a new feature like chat because you have to change customers' habits. But we thought it would be interesting to see if it would work and if we could make chat more attractive than a phone call or email to them.”
The Answer to Alpega Group’s Build vs. Buy Decision
Fedele knew it was possible to make transport deals easier for Alpega FX customers by leveraging a chat solution with auto-translation capabilities, top-notch UX, scalability, and reliable performance. He weighed the option of building a solution, “We usually develop everything in-house. Our technical team is very experienced, and a project like this (building chat) excites them, but I needed them to continue focusing on our core transport business.”
Fedele was confident that one of the many ready-made chat solutions on the market would be able to satisfy the needs of Alpega Group’s FX platform. He developed a list of must-have chat features and used them to evaluate a list of vendors in addition to assessing their working styles. “We are agile. We expect our partners to be, too, for us to move at the same pace,” Fedele adds.
Why Stream Chat?
After careful evaluation, Alpega Group found Stream Chat to be the best fit for their product. The decision came down to a few factors: UX, reliability, and cost.
Fedele says, “Our user base is extensive and diverse. It represents many different ages, cultures, and languages. An intuitive interface and straightforward UX is essential.” Alpega Group also put Stream’s React Chat SDK to the test by building a prototype. “The initial mockup Stream created was very impressive to our designer, who can be very picky! But by testing it for ourselves, it was clear that we were a good match, not just on paper,” he adds.
According to Alpega Group’s criteria, Stream proved to be the most performant and reliable solution.
“Most transport companies in Europe connect to our product daily. We cannot afford downtime. The exchange of freight can happen in seconds. It was important that our chat solution could handle that,” Fedele says.
Unlike traditional cloud infrastructure, the performance of the Stream Chat platform doesn’t rely on users' proximity to a regional data center. That means Alpega Group’s FX platform can enjoy lower latencies and fewer errors caused by poor WiFi or mobile connectivity.
The final criteria Fedele evaluated chat vendors on was cost, and Stream Chat’s affordable pricing structure is what sealed the deal with Alpega Group. Fedele explains, “I’d be lying if I said cost wasn’t a factor. Another vendor actually offered better pricing, but if we wanted to scale and eventually integrate chat with our other product, Stream’s pricing made the most sense for us.”
The Integration Process
It only took Alpega Group two weeks to fully integrate Stream chat with their FX product. Fedele describes it as,
“Easy, it was just easy. The code was super clear, and the engineering team was very responsive on Slack whenever we had questions.”
He’s referring to the shared Slack channel Stream provides to customers, adding on, “We always got a response from the Stream team in Boulder, CO, and later Amsterdam, in a couple of hours if not a couple of minutes. We already use Slack internally, so it was a natural extension of our communication. It was like working with one of our team at Alpega Group.”
Fedele was extremely satisfied with the native chat interface Stream provided, saying, “you could launch chat without touching any piece of code.” But, Alpega Group wanted to customize its solution beyond simply adding its brand colors.
They tailored the chat interface to serve their customers better and simplify complex situations (like the one from our example of the Italian driver earlier) by adding an advanced company profile feature. It enables carriers to see all of the company details instantly, as well as contact information and a proprietary rating system for critical business information, like if they have a reputation for timely payment.
The Impact of Stream Chat on Alpega Group
Since implementing Stream Chat, Fedele shares, “Our sales team is in love with it since it provides value to our customers while being super easy to demo.” Adding a reliable, performant chat interface has transformed the functionality of Alpega Group’s FX product, which is not only a game-changer for internal teams but customers, too.
Fedele reports, “It is amazing. We have received feedback from our clients about how it has made their lives easier.” He says that customers have been exchanging more messages over the new chat interface, allowing them to effectively prevent inefficiencies in transport and work towards the company’s ultimate mission to reduce carbon emissions by ensuring only trucks carrying freight are on the road.
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