Würth – Once Decided and Stayed
In 2009 the screw dealer Würth in Künzelsau discovered the time slot management system by Cargoclix for itself. Since then, truck traffic jams on the ramps have become a history. A decade later the company is still relying on the proven tool, which has been expanded with additional applications. A balance after ten years.
What do you get today for 50 cents? A roll at the baker’s. Or 20 steel nails at the hardware store around the corner. Or the booking of a time window for unloading a truck at the software provider Cargoclix. While bread rolls and steel nails have become more or less expensive in the past ten years, the booking of a slot for loading or unloading a truck on a ramp has remained with customers of the Freiburg IT company. But the price is only one argument why customers have been relying on the tool for many years, as the example shows of the screw dealer Würth, based in Künzelsau, Germany.
The Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG has been one of the major specialists in the trade with assembly and fastening material for decades. More than 600,000 customers, from craftsmen to industrial customers, rely on screws, dowels & Co. from Künzelsau. 125,000 products are listed in the assortment of the family business. Every day, 600 tons of goods and 35,000 orders arrive in the company’s system. And 40,000 packages and 1,500 pallets leave the company. 55,000 square metres of logistics space are available for handling. For the more than 900 employees, who work in two shifts, this means every day anew: Let’s get to work.
What is true today was also true ten years ago. But then there was a decisive difference in logistics compared to today: At the factory gates in Künzelsau, up to 20 trucks would pile up at seven in the morning to unload incoming goods. Richard Wunderlich, the then head of incoming goods, did not want to put up with this situation. And even Reinhold Würth, the son of the company founder, personally dealt with the ramp problem at that time.
At the beginning of 2009, the waiting of the truck drivers came to an end. The company decided to introduce a time slot management system. At that time, such a tool was not yet widely used even by larger medium-sized companies. The situation escalated especially at the central warehouse ramps of some retail companies. This prompted the Federal Office for Goods Transport in Germany to recommend the introduction of electronic timetables. In a special report on the situation at the loading ramp, it was even said that the allocation of time slots was the most “promising” measure to defuse the problems.
The principle of the tool is easily explained. In such a web-based platform, a trading or industrial company enters its free loading dates and ramp spaces. Logistics service providers book their desired delivery times and pay a booking fee for this – in the case of Cargoclix 50 cents per booking. The carriers do not need any extra infrastructure, Internet access is sufficient for the system.
After several providers had been compared at Würth, the logistics managers decided on Cargoclix. The provider from Freiburg is known for its tendering platform for logistics. The second business area is the time window solution “SLOT”. Across all branches of industry, companies such as Alnatura, Bosch and Heidelberger rely on the solution. Würth belongs to the pioneers.
The arguments why Würth decided a decade ago in favor of Cargoclix and no other provider are summarized in a nutshell by Martin Roll, department manager for incoming goods: “The system is flexible and modular, the decision and implementation times are short,” says the logistics expert from Würth. Further arguments: a user-friendly interface and low investment costs. The costs of 50 cents per booking also played a role in the considerations. After all, Würth did not want to demand more from its 40 permanent and numerous sporadic logistics service providers than necessary.
Technically, the systems offered on the market work similarly. The tools are offered with interfaces to the ramp operator’s ERP system or as a so-called stand-alone solution. The shippers only need Internet access to access the web-based system. The recipient of the goods enters his free loading times at the ramps into the tool, the logistics service providers book their desired times and pay a small contribution. This includes all booking procedures, data transfers as well as free support for industry, trade, freight forwarders and carriers. Ramp operators pay a small fee for the installation of the system, after which it is free of charge for them.
After the introduction of the time slot management system initially met with sceptical reactions from a few forwarders and carriers – most were happy about a solution to the ramp problem – its acceptance is now very high at 85 percent. Only 15 percent of all time slots are not booked today. However, companies that want to unload spontaneously may have to accept longer waiting times.
The high level of acceptance is also an advantage because the company’s growing sales figures have been accompanied by an increasing number of slot bookings. In 2009, the Würth logistics experts counted around 80 bookings per day; today, the 40 regular and some irregular service providers book between 120 and 150 slots. The ramps are busiest in the mornings between 7 and 14 o’clock.
In Künzelsau alone there are ten ramps as unloading points. DB Schenker handles 60 percent of the general cargo transports, the rest is handled by Dachser. In the parcels segment, DPD holds the lion’s share of 60 percent, GLS handles 35 percent and the remaining five percent is shared by providers such as DHL, UPS or TNT.
The forwarder makes the time slot booking in advance of the tour; the time slot is activated after the arrival of the truck at the gatekeeper. This is followed by further steps: Retrieval from the trailer parking lot, entry, unloading, finished unloading and leaving the site. If a truck drives off the yard, the process is complete.
At Würth, the length of the time window depends on the number of pallets. The logistics service providers only have to book a time window and specify how many pallets they deliver. The tool then automatically calculates the length of the time window required for this number of pallets.
With the solution by Cargoclix, however, not only the ramps are planned per time window. All other vehicles are also recorded in the system at Würth. For example, visitors who drive their cars onto the premises are assigned a time window by the gatekeeper.
Truck drivers like to drive to the Würth premises. They know that they can drive to the unloading site quickly thanks to the time window management. They also know that truck drivers have a high priority at Würth. In contrast to other companies, they are offered well-equipped social rooms where they can take a shower, get refreshed and relax after long journeys. And their truck is safe because the parking for the vehicles is guarded. In times of an enormous shortage of drivers, freight forwarders and carriers are happy about every customer who invests not only in digitalisation but also in attractive social rooms and sanitary facilities. Experts believe that many years will pass before the fully autonomous truck becomes reality. Until then, truck drivers are urgently needed.
One decade after the introduction of “SLOT”, the number of users at Würth has risen from 30 at the beginning to 35. Over time, the logistics experts implemented applications such as sending SMS messages or controlling the management of empties in addition to the basic functions. The people from Künzelsau also took a look at the calculation of the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) based on telematics data. “At the moment, we don’t see any need for this at our company, but we are keeping an eye on the possibility,” reports Roll.
The advantages of “SLOT” have become known within the Würth Group over the years. Würth Industrie Services in Bad Mergentheim, for example, introduced the tool in January 2019 in order to optimize the infeed control for the C-parts range. The aim there is to avoid fluctuations in the volume of incoming goods and to distribute the number of incoming pallets evenly throughout the week. In addition, the company also wants to reduce the downtimes of service providers.
Ten years after the tool was launched in Künzelsau, Roll draws a positive conclusion: “We are satisfied with the solution and will continue to work with the supplier”. Incidentally, the price of 50 cents per booking also applies to 2019. And Prof. Dr. Victor Meier, consulting partner at Cargoclix, is currently not considering a price increase.
Table: Comparison: Ten years of time slot bookings at Würth in Künzelsau
|Incoming goods (in tonnes)
|Number of products
|Time slot booking per day
|Users of Cargoclix SLOT
|Price for a time slot booking
CARGOCLIX SLOT is a web-based time window management system for the optimisation of loading and unloading processes at the ramp. Recipients of goods can set free loading dates, forwarders and carriers book their desired delivery time and pay a booking fee per time slot. Internet access is sufficient for booking by forwarders and carriers.
Cost per slot booking: 50 cents.
- Interface to the ERP system or as a stand-alone solution
- Variable ramp opening times and flexible time window lengths according to number of pallets, tons, vehicle type, etc.
- Individual setting of break and holiday times, shift changes, booking limits, etc.
- Storage of capacity limits such as personnel, forklift or processing capacities
- Layouts and assignment of rights for rebooking and changes
- Plausibility checks of booking data by doublet check, comparison of number ranges, etc.
- Event-based notifications and alerts
- Recording and evaluation of incoming goods flows with punctuality and handling times
- Real-time comparison of booked and unbooked time windows (prerequisite: ERP interface)
- Tracking of loading and unloading processes in real time with selectable screen display as schedule with ramp view, tabular booking list, traffic light system with colour symbols
- Recording of incoming goods flows with planned/actual time per truck, quantity and quality per delivered shipment as well as comparison of delivered actual and target quantities from contracts
- KPI-Tool “CARGOCLIX Logistics Monitor” to control ramps by means of individual KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
- “CARGOCLIX ETA App” for dynamic arrival time calculation at the ramp
- “CARGOCLIX TERMINAL” Implementation of “Gate 4.0” without the use of personnel
Cargoclix is a neutral Internet marketplace for the electronic tendering of transport and logistics services, as well as a provider of modular time slot management systems.
The range of services offered by the logistics platform “Cargoclix TENDER” includes worldwide tenders for contracts for transport by road, rail, air freight, sea and inland waterways, courier express parcel services as well as logistics services such as warehousing. With over 28,000 registered members from industry, trade and forwarding, TENDER is one of the leading international tendering platforms for transport and logistics.
The central product of the time slot management business unit is the modularly adaptable software “Cargoclix SLOT” for the optimization of processes at the ramp. With more than 50,000 members, SLOT is one of the most widely used time slot management systems.
Cargoclix is a trademark of Dr. Meier & Schmidt GmbH. The company was founded in 1998 and has its headquarters in Freiburg i.Br. www.cargoclix.com
The Würth Group is a group of companies operating worldwide, mainly in the wholesale trade with products of fastening and assembly technology. It developed from Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG with headquarters in Künzelsau. In 2018, the Group with its more than 77,000 employees recorded sales of EUR 13.6 billion according to the preliminary consolidated result, compared to EUR 12.7 billion in the previous year.