Win-win: How visibility platforms can benefit all chain partners

Jun 26, 2020
Innovation

The introduction of a real-time transportation visibility platform made it possible to achieve an optimal supply between fruit-based beverage manufacturer Eckes-Granini and German hypermarket chain Kaufland. With a combination of big data and machine-learning, Shippeo managed to calculate the optimal delivery chain between Eckes-Granini’s warehouses and Kaufland’ sites. This ECR Award-winning initiative led to some impressive results and an interesting opportunity.

Data platform benefits all chain partners

A small-scale, yet successful, project for the sharing of transport space grew in a short space of time at Eckes-Granini into a much larger initiative. The manufacturer of fruit juices wanted to stimulate cooperation in the chain and therefore adopted a platform based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) from Shippeo. It was mainly about two important things. "Collating valuable data was the most important thing. Only then were we able to figure out how this project could lead to a result that would benefit every party in our chain: Kaufland, our transporters and ourselves".

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Visibility platform

Steffen Riedel, head of logistics at Eckes-Granini, has the floor. "We are a family business and consider sustainability of paramount importance. That also means that we work together with our partners on a sustainable basis". That's how it went in this project. Planners from Eckes-Granini and those from customers sat down together for coordination. They looked at the effectiveness of the various orders and the corresponding volumes. These issues were incorporated into the real-time visibility solution.

Carriers have provided input. The real-time insight provided by the platform helps to see when a carrier arrives to load or unload cargo. By providing an exact time, the planners or warehouse staff know that they have to be ready or that they can finish another job first. In addition, the carrier is better served and can start his next activity faster. By using accurate data, the load factor of trucks can be increased.

In September 2019, Shippeo, Eckes-Granini, and Kaufland won the ECR award for their cross supply chain collaborative project helping to share transport space to avoid empty runs and idle times in logistics. They successfully reduced their CO2 emissions by 25 tons per year and lowered their transportation needs by 40%.

"We now know whether a carrier will arrive early or late."

Early or late

Prior to the project, Eckes-Granini faced a number of important challenges. Riedel: "A very important one was the quality of the outbound deliveries. The retailers we serve have strict slots. But because we now have much more insight into where something is going well or not going well, we are also better able to consult with them. We now know sooner whether a carrier will arrive early or late, so we can discuss whether another slot may be available". Traffic jams, work on bridges, varying volumes and seasonal influences have not all changed, but according to Riedel, the platform ensures that there is no longer a blind spot for operations. Moreover, there is now much less calling going on between Eckes-Granini, carriers and retailers.

Shorter loading and waiting times

The real-time visibility platform then pinpoints which vehicle is located where. Thanks to this data, inbound processes can be better attuned to the moments when carriers actually arrive. "We have three goals we want to achieve," Riedel emphasizes. "The first is to improve efficiency at our sites by reducing loading times and streamlining processes. Secondly, we want to increase retailers' satisfaction by reducing waiting times at unloading locations. We do this by actively using pushed ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) notifications. Thirdly, our aim is to improve the efficiency of the carriers. We want to achieve this by reducing downtime and the number of empty runs".

All data in view

Eckes-Granini is now rolling out the relatively small project further. The company now also deploys Shippeo for mapping transport flows to and from other customers. The aim is to map all data and transport movements of the 35,000 annual deliveries to the 650 customer locations over the next few years.

A next step will be to use the platform to provide predictive and real-time insight into the deliveries of goods. AI plays a key role in this. The system then learns for itself which actions are and are not successful and which way of communicating with which person within which chain party is the most effective. Looking back, the customer support team in particular spends much less time on consultation. "It is still too early to indicate precise cost savings, but the efficiency gains should be between three and seven percent. The savings potential on the delivery side is probably greater, ten percent or even more", says the logistics man from Eckes-Granini.

(Modified version of translated article “Data platform helps all chain partners” written by Ferdi den Bakker for logistiek.nl on 13 jun 2020)

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