Delivery peaks for incoming goods smoothed out
Transparency over all external goods receipts
Administrative costs saved
TRAVECO Transporte AG, founded in 1998, is one of the largest logistics companies in Switzerland and a 100% subsidiary of the Swiss agricultural cooperative fenaco. The cooperatively organised company is active with other subsidiaries in four strategic business areas - from agriculture and the food industry (e.g. as a beverage producer) to energy trading (AGROLA) and retail (LANDI and Volg).
TRAVECO is on the road with more than 350 trucks as a logistics service provider for LANDI Schweiz AG, among others, which operates around 280 sales outlets in Switzerland. In the field of warehouse logistics, TRAVECO also provides its customers with large staging areas in the cross-docking/transhipment warehouse and more than 60,000 pallet storage spaces in block, rack and open-air warehouses.
Due to the Corona pandemic, TRAVECO has had to cope with a significantly increased volume in transport and warehouse logistics since 2020. For this reason, the company launched a major digitization project under the leadership of Christian Clauss (Head of IT & Digital Transformation) in order to replace the more than 1 million paper delivery bills that have been used to date with a digital process in the future.
The first talks between TRAVECO and TradeLink took place in September 2021. As part of the digitalisation project and the first task, TradeLink was to digitalise the notification and planning process in the goods receiving area of the TRAVECO logistics centre. This was previously a warehouse with five ramps in the inbound area, an external warehouse and a rail siding. All inbound transports were registered by the suppliers by phone, email or PDF and then manually entered into a central Outlook calendar by TRAVECO employees.
This resulted in a greater expenditure of time and was also prone to errors. In addition, there were sometimes severe delivery peaks with an offset of up to three hours between the planned and actual arrival time. The end result was waiting times at yard, traffic jams in front of Sites and, last but not least, numerous overtime hours for employees and external staff.
Emons, a globally operating company in the transport and logistics sector with over 121 locations and 3700 employees, stands for services in the fields of transport, contract logistics, air and sea freight, customs, rail freight and digital logistics. Represented in 16 countries, Emons serves over 7000 customers and operates a transport network comprising more than 30 partner companies.
In 2022, Emons identified goods-in transparency as one of its top priorities for digitizing contract logistics. After a market screening and trade-offs between internal solution development in its own Emons | DIGITAL incubator and an external service procurement, Emons came across TradeLink. The first talks immediately revealed the same understanding with regard to digitalization in logistics and opened the discussion around joint synergies. In November 2022, both sides decided to launch a collaborative initiative to jointly drive logistics collaboration. After all, this is how both companies complement each other in their business areas and expertise.
This includes, in particular, the exchange of know-how between logistics, forwarding and digitization experts for achieving better efficiency and transparency over the movement of goods at all Emons locations, as well as improving digital collaboration with all customers and stakeholders in the supply chain.
Head Marketing & Digitalization | Emons
"This is a necessary collaboration between traditional and new companies in the logistics industry and beyond. This collaborative approach brings together many benefits and promises data-driven advancement of products and services on both sides."
The first, operational focus was on the introduction of the TradeLink platform at two different locations. The two warehouse locations in Markgröningen and Thurnau were selected. Both sites are typical multi-user warehouses, but with different starting points in terms of processes. Markgröningen already had an existing notification obligation for all suppliers, while Thurnau operated as a new site without a notification process.
The start with these two locations combined different advantages. Each local warehouse logistics has its own processes and peculiarities, so one forced the direct comparability in a more complex initial situation. In addition to the common denominator, the measurement basis for recognizing the added value was created. On the other hand, Emons thus reduced the operational costs for the project management.
Under the leadership of Julian Bausch, Logistics Manager Markgröningen, the platform solution was rolled out at both sites. In the first step, we started by setting up the site and created user accounts. This can be realized within 24 hours and lays the foundation for a successful roll-out.
In the first joint workshop, we started to define a common goal and a success plan. In doing so, we defined the clients' key delivery partners and agreed on a fixed deadline by which they should be live. Operational goals included increasing the number of pre-delivery documents by 40% by June 2023, halving truck wait times by April 2023, and reducing peaks in deliveries.
In the second step, we focused on internal adaptation. In a one-hour training session with all key operational staff, all stakeholders were introduced to the platform and how easy it is to use. This was recorded to be shared later within the organization. The key users also took on the role of trainers to pass on the knowledge internally.
In the third step, we created a communication plan for the joint partner onboarding starting in the second week. One responsible person per site was named for the roll-out and processes and milestones were agreed with TradeLink. The top 20 partners were invited within 2 weeks. Templates for the approach were personalized and sent out, followed by the appropriate invitations. We monitored the success of the invitations in a regular check-in.
With the rapid partner go-live, the platform could already be used operationally without any problems with the most important supply partners from the 4th week. From now on, open topics and observations will be discussed in regular check-ins until we reach the routine phase, in which a comparison with the initial objective follows every 3-6 months and new objectives are defined.
Logistics Manager Markgröningen | Emons
"Thanks to the support of the project participants from Thurnau and Markgröningen, the involved delivery partners as well as the TradeLink team, above all Lucian Berkmüller, we were always one step ahead of the defined success plan. As a result, we were able to implement a delivery reconciliation solution at our Thurnau site for the first time in record time and completely replace the previously used tool with TradeLink at the Markgröningen logistics center at an early stage."
Thanks to the successful and efficient project management, all relevant delivery partners in Markgröningen were connected to the TradeLink platform in less than 8 weeks. This quickly led to the desired reduction in internal inquiries about delivery information and the processing time for each incoming and outgoing goods.
In Thurnau, all relevant supply partners were also connected in the same time despite the lack of notification processes. In addition, a successful notification system for supply partners was introduced for the first time, which improved capacity utilization and smoothed out delivery peaks.
Logistics Manager Thurnau | Emons
"Even in the first workshop, you could sense that everyone involved wanted to go in the same direction. TradeLink and Emons benefited from each other's know-how and practical relevance. In the end, this was also the basis for the rapid implementation.
Despite increasing order volumes at the site, waiting times per ramp contact were significantly minimized and processes streamlined. The tool's ease of use across virtually the entire transport chain met with a very high level of acceptance among suppliers, freight carriers and our customers."
The implementation of the TradeLink platform also provided real-time visibility into the current delivery, yard, and ramp situation, as well as increased availability of digital delivery documents prior to delivery.
Tracking and reporting of delivery quality has been improved and the processing time in inbound and outbound has been reduced by 30 minutes per day per site. In addition to the operational improvement, more than 10 potentials for improving coordination in the logistics centers were identified, one of which has already been implemented on the TradeLink platform.
At the Thurnau site, the partner roll-out for Emons customers in Hall B will now follow. An important step here is the introduction of a mandatory document upload for all partners before the actual announcement. This will make it possible to holistically increase transparency in advance and achieve valuable time savings in work preparation. In addition, one will now be able to measure and compare important key figures such as the measurement and optimization of the processing time in inbound for each delivery.
At the Markgröningen site, the focus is on the onboarding of clients. They are given their own view for transparency on incoming and outgoing goods at the outsourced logistics location. From now on, important key figures such as the aforementioned processing time will also be measured and optimized here for the first time at inbound .
As soon as empties management is available on the TradeLink platform, we plan to digitally simplify and automate this process as well.
The successful roll-out at the first two sites can be chalked up as a successful first step towards a uniform toolbox and the path to structured logistics data around delivery movements at Emons. In addition to the optimization and coverage of further use cases at both pilot sites, a rapid roll-out at the other Emons sites is planned.
The fact that cooperation does not have to end at Sites was shown, among other things, by the extensive double interview with DVZ in April 2023, which addressed how logistics companies and startups can work together without threatening each other at the same time. We were much more pleased about the joint panel appearance at the Emons Demo Days in Cologne in the same month.
The initiative continues to thrive on regular exchanges and workshops between the two sides in order to build on what has already been achieved and identify and promote further mutual potential. We support each other not only in finding ideas, but also in implementing them through the targeted exchange of information.
To smooth out these delivery peaks, TRAVECO had previously tested a home-made Excel/Outlook solution and later tried to map the delivery processes in its ERP system. Since both only worked to a limited extent, the company looked for external solutions.
The decision in favour of TradeLink was made due to the software's wide range of functions combined with intuitive user interface. With the support of the digitalisation team at TRAVECO, TradeLink was implemented in the logistics centre within 24 hours.
This was immediately followed by the rollout to all external supply partners. TradeLink's Roll-Out Manager Lisa Mischke had surprisingly little to do: "Thanks to the great IT team at TRAVECO, we had to provide very little support. TRAVECO carried out the process completely independently, and the customers also adopted TradeLink immediately of their own accord!"
This also impressed Patrick Müller, who was responsible for the implementation as Head of Projects at TRAVECO: "Now we are TradeLink's biggest fans!" he says happily.
As part of the implementation of TradeLink, TRAVECO has introduced laptops at inbound . With them, delivery bills are uploaded paperlessly at the ramp and status points are set for all deliveries so that they are visible to everyone in the system.
In addition, all processes carried out with TradeLink are analysed: This creates transparency not only for TRAVECO itself, but also for its customers.
It quickly became clear that the digitalisation process with TradeLink at TRAVECO was a complete success. Today, waiting times in the logistics centre are a thing of the past. Because all external customers and their delivery partners are integrated on the platform, the notification rate for external inbound transports via TradeLink is now 100 percent.
And this has - through better smoothing of delivery peaks - reduced waiting times to almost zero. The efficiency gains are considerable: staff can now be allocated according to the actual volume of deliveries.
Thus, not only have the throughput times of the deliveries been optimised, but the administrative effort has also been significantly reduced.
The fact that customers and delivery partners now book themselves in independently saves a lot of time that would otherwise be lost in coordination.
TradeLink is an important part of TRAVECO's planned logistics digitalisation process. The next joint milestones include the creation of an interface to TRAVECO's TMS (Transport Management System) and WMS (Warehouse Management System). Furthermore, the TradeLink check-in terminal is to be rolled out in the logistics centres.
TradeLink is currently also being implemented there for all internal and outbound transports. The move to the new logistics centre in Nebikon will take place in summer 2022.
This goes hand in hand with a doubling of warehouse capacity to over 60,000m² and incoming and outgoing goods at what will then be 27 ramps, all of which will be mapped on TradeLink.
As part of the digitalisation initiative at TRAVECO, TradeLink was initially intended to streamline the processes in the logistics centre. There, delivery peaks were occurring with longer traffic jams on the yard.
With strong support from TRAVECO's IT department, the inbound transports were converted to TradeLink in just 24 hours.
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