27.1.2012

DB Schenker Tracking Every Delivery

DB Schenker Finland "Tracking every delivery" – Article in Microsoft Circle Magazine

TRACKING EVERY DELIVERY
Logistics is a central part of all business. When goods are delivered, picked up and stored efficiently, considerable cost savings and competitive advantages can be achieved. The new location data system allows a metre by metre tracking of the trucks – in real time.


DB Schenker Finland transports a vast amount of goods every day. The company annually takes care of approximately 7 million general and courier shipments. The dispatch managers take care of the planning of the shipments, ensuring that they are transported using the most direct and fastest route possible – a process in which each delivery and pick up, as well as each  truck, is moved in an optimal manner.


To boost its logistics processes and competitive edge, DB Schenker Finland has deployed Celesta mobile resources management and tracking service that has been developed by Identoi Ltd. The Celesta service operates on the Microsoft Azure cloud service platform, using Microsoft’s Bing Maps service. Celesta enables the dispatch manager to follow the progression of each delivery or pick up on its way to the destination in real time, using a web browser. The drivers  are all equipped with a hand terminal – a total of 1500 are used at the moment – each with a third generation GPS tracker, sending location data in every delivery and pick up report as well as in regular time intervals, even in every 30 seconds.


”During the past decade, we have made major investments in the real-time tracking of our transports. Having a real time view on the map enables us to further speed up and boost our delivery and pick up services, to optimize the routes, to cut down driving and the CO2 emissions, and to achieve cost savings in fuel expenses” states Mr Juha Uusitorppa, IT manager of DB Schenker.

FULL CARGOES IN EVERY DIRECTION
According to Mr Uusitorppa, the possibility to improve the volumetric efficiency of the transport is the greatest benefit of the new Celesta service. The dispatch manager can use the Celesta service to monitor each truck during its different process phases. In the morning, when the delivery is starting out, the cargo spaces of the trucks are full. During the day as the delivery is progressing the cargo spaces are gradually emptying. The service informs the dispatch manager when the drivers can start doing pick up orders i.e. collecting goods from the customers, which fill up again the cargo spaces. A better volumetric efficiency of both delivery and pick up allows the boosting of the entire logistics process. In addition, the service uses the location data to provide information on which trucks and trailers are being used and which are being parked at the depot. This allows the dispatch managers to improve both their planning and the usage rate of the fleet.
The Celesta service receives up to 600 000 location positions per day from the fleet. This data helps to find out the routes, on which the schedule is too tight. Real time tracking improves monitoring processes and enhances quality control. The history data, viewed against the current situation, also enables a more exact prediction and planning of future delivery volumes, thus providing for a better and more efficient customer service.


”In the future, the service will be able to predict the number of the trucks required based on the customer orders in the system while considering the special order requirements: For example, two orders may have an equal weight of 150 kg, but not being of same size and shape, thus requiring a totally different cargo space” says Mr Uusitorppa, with a smile on his face.

CLOUD SERVICES FOR ENHANCED DEMOCRACY
In addition to employing drivers directly, DB Schenker also uses a large number of transporters as sub-contractors. As Celesta tracking system runs on Microsoft cloud service, DB Schenker can connect their subcontractors easily and securely to the service. These 400 external transporters are able to track of the movements of their own trucks which improves the co-ordination of all transports.  


Identoi, the Finnish developer of the Celesta cloud service, regards cloud services as a step towards enhanced democracy. Cloud services provide new channels towards globalisation for growing Finnish technology businesses. In addition, innovative and cost-efficient cloud services provide a competitive advantage in global markets.
”The system provides stress free test use, the services allow quick scaling in production use, and the accessibility of the cloud service can be guaranteed. Cloud services are easy to use and also flexible from the viewpoint of small and medium businesses, owing to the fact that standard services are available at low monthly rates, for example. The system also allows employees to use their own mobile phones as terminal devices, which is another factor which lowers the start-up costs” states Mr Sakari Vaara, CEO at Identoi.

Text Nora Hallberg Pictures Wilma Hurskainen

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