Lean fleet management using logistics solution from Trimble.
Telematics is used by many forwarding companies to enhance route planning and to simplify the documentation of the transport chain. For Schleswig-Holstein-based forwarder mnts, on the other hand, it forms the basis of a successful business model which is built on managing a large fleet with low staffing levels for a global business operating between Germany, Denmark and various neighbouring countries. The company provides service both to shippers and other logistics service providers. The processes required for this purpose are formed by mnts using the CarCube on-board computer from Trimble Transport & Logistics which, among other services, speeds up communication between drivers, dispatchers and customers and also drastically reduces the amount of time required for the actual fleet management.
Keep costs under control thanks to the CarCube
"Our telephone costs alone meant that the purchase price of the CarCube paid for itself straight away."
The head office is in Germany whilst the fleet is based in Denmark. The company does not own its own trailers. What sounds like cross-border vehicle theft is absolutely not a concern for forwarder mnts based in the town of Harrislee which is very close to the German border with Denmark. The short trip across the border between Germany and Denmark is an everyday occurred in the high north. And mnts has made a genuinely consciously decision not to keep its own trailers. The whole thing is completely normal.
The logistics service provider has specialised in full load transport services to and from Denmark. The differences in business practices directly affect the work of the full 55-strong workforce of mnts. In the more northerly of the two countries, for example, trailer swapping is an everyday occurrence. That often goes hand in hand with disputed questions relating to trailer damage or adverse effects on the goods. “That used to be a massive problem. Load securing, damage reports and securing the load condition. All of these were often included in negotiations despite the fact that it was everyday practice”, says Finn Schulz, Dispatch Manager at the logistics service provider.
Market analysis decides on telematics supplier
Mnts uses an integrated telematics solution from Trimble to make fleet management processes relating to fleet management, route monitoring and documentation perfectly transparent. The CarCube is an all-round device which includes functions for navigation, communication with drivers and the supply of telemetry data. The large number of documentation methods and the possible analysis which the device provides are also central. “We used the CarCube for two months on a trial basis in two vehicles to enable us to screen the market properly. After the trial we were totally convinced", continues Schulz.
One of the main aspects that convinced the logistics service provider based on the Danish border was that the investment in software and hardware paid immediate dividends. The CarCube and the Fleetworks software package meant that order delivery, track & trace and monitoring of driving and rest times are now all supported by IT. “We can see where our tractor units are at any time. Previously we had to get on the telephone. That costs time and money. The telephone costs alone, particularly when calling another country, meant that the purchase price of the CarCube paid for itself straight away”, says Schulz.
Moreover the drivers can now communicate with the customer better which in turn takes the strain off the dispatch staff, makes mnts different from its competitors and makes the company more attractive to potential new customers. Parameters such as driver action, load condition or the location of the load are supplied automatically by individually programmed interfaces. In addition, short messages can be sent or telephone calls made using the actual system. The shipper can see the status of his load at any time without having to phone the dispatch staff or driver. That means that drivers are free to use their driving times more effectively. And it also prevents possible language barriers when dealing with international partners through the use of standardised program settings.
CarCube increases dispatch efficiency
Overall, communication is extremely important, in addition to Finn Schulz the mnts office is manned by just two other staff. Things are calm. There is no panic, no rush and there are absolutely no lorries to be seen in the yard. “We have very few staff available for managing our fleet – without the telematics system our business model would be absolutely impossible. That enabled us to use the benefits of the CarCube from the very outset", says Finn Schulz. Just the possibility of being able to read the lorry’s tachograph and memory unit remotely saves the dispatch team a good deal of time which can then be used to improve routes or to document individual processes.
“If our fleet is ever at a standstill, it will be in Padborg in Denmark", says Schulz. From there the company organises cross-border transport throughout Germany and neighbouring countries. One of the key accounts is the global logistics and transport company DSV based in Brøndby, Denmark. “Our lorries drive past us all the time, but there is no longer any need for us to check the tachographs personally”, says Schulz. Thanks to the innovative Trimble software, the tachographs can be read fully automatically, even whilst the lorry is moving – and the tachograph remains firmly installed in the vehicle. That means that not only can the company analyse driving and rest times at any time it also means that the wages section can start the work required to calculate expenses. “And all this before the trucks cross the German-Danish border near Harrislee again”, adds Finn Schulz.
|Number of employees||
38 tractor units (before the implementation of CarCube the company had 22 vehicles with the same number of staff in the office)
Industry, manufacturing, trade and services
Germany, Denmark and various neighbouring countries