Zufall – Nothing left to the chance
Traffic jams at the ramp, secondary roads blocking up with trucks, and stressed drivers: all of this has long been a matter of the past at Kandel site of Zufall logistics group. The logistics company has been using the SLOT time slot management system from Cargoclix since 2010 – and after ten years, the company has achieved an overall positive result.
Freiburg i.B., 23 January 2020: Rainer Schlothauer, head of the Zufall logistics group site in Kandel, still remembers the summer of 2009 well. On 15 April, the logistics service provider opened its site there for the contract logistics of a large Swabian automotive supplier – more than ten years ago now. Three months later, the site was already fully up and running – actually a perfect start. If only one thing hadn’t thoroughly disrupted the harmony: “In the morning, 15 to 20 trucks were suddenly parked in front of the door, all the side streets were blocked with vehicles, the atmosphere was tense, everyone wanted to unload at the same time,” reports Schlothauer and sighs. “We did everything we could – and still the entire area was filled with goods, we couldn’t keep up.” The situation at the ramp was also more than unsatisfactory for truck drivers at that time. The waiting times for unloading were long, very long. In some cases, they lasted several hours.
A solution was needed, effective measures against the congestion at the ramp of the 40,000 square meter warehouse, a time slot management system. The decision was quickly made in favor of the cloud-based software solution “SLOT” from the Freiburg-based provider Cargoclix. “Both Zufall and our customer already had experience with SLOT – so it made sense to go with the same system,” says Schlothauer. The process of implementation was mostly handled by the customer, who also informed the suppliers accordingly, and step by step the software was implemented. It then took about a year before everything was running smoothly. But since then, drivers or their clients have been able to book their ramp time slots in advance for just 50 cents per time slot – at any time, at short notice up to around 3 p.m. the day before or already for any date in the coming year, as a one-time event or on a regular basis, for example for every Wednesday at 12 pm.
Around 80 trucks are now handled daily with SLOT without congestion, approximately 40 of them in incoming goods and the same number in outgoing goods, a total of four to eight ramps each – that makes around 800 vehicles per month. The cost of 50 cents for booking the corresponding slot has remained constant for 10 years and is borne by the freight forwarders themselves.
A decision that has paid off down the line. “Since we started using SLOT, there are almost no more waiting times,” says Schlothauer. 15 minutes before the scheduled time, the drivers have to arrive in Kandel, hand in their papers and receive an assigned gate. Ideally, unloading begins immediately and takes up to 30 minutes, depending on the volume – there is no longer any comparison with the past. Schlothauer recognizes two huge advantages above all: “Cooperation with the service providers has improved considerably, and the situation for the drivers has also eased significantly,” he adds. Stress at the ramp? In Kandel, thanks to the introduction of SLOT, this has been a thing of the past.
Those Who Book Incorrectly Have to Wait
Now delays only occur for truck drivers at the ramp if there are delays along the way. In such cases, the drivers are required to report to their client and the latter contacts the customer’s Transport Management Center (TMC). Zufall tries to assign the driver a new time slot and possibly bring forward another vehicle. It becomes critical mostly when a driver arrives at the site much too late at the end of the day and does not give notice. In this case, Schlothauer is strict: “Anyone who doesn’t get in touch and announce that they will be late, will have to wait – in the worst case until the next day.”
It is also problematic for Zufall logistics group when bookings are made incorrectly. If there is only a short time slot left, the company announces a driver with five load carriers and in the end he arrives with 50. “Even in such a case, you have to wait until there is enough time to unload,” says Schlothauer. Those who are properly booked and are on site on time can be sure that this deadline will be met. And if that happens again and again with a service provider? “Then we seek a conversation with the customer’s TMC. The employees there then approach the transport company to explain why proper booking is so important,” the site manager continues. One reason is that the length of the required time slots is calculated automatically. The relevant factor here is the number of pallets transported.
Rainer Schlothauer would definitely recommend SLOT to colleagues without any hesitation. “The introduction and the use is not magic,” he makes clear. However, he says: “It is always important to remain in conversation with all parties involved, to talk to everyone involving them.” “You have to communicate that the introduction has only advantages for both sides – for the company itself, but also for the service providers.” Since then, he says that the days are much easier for Zufall to plan, and they know exactly what quantity of goods will be delivered at what time. But the service providers also benefit. “It runs like a flow, the acceptance has changed very positively,” he adds.
And the introduction of SLOT has had another major impact on operations: at Zufall, nothing is really left to chance anymore when it comes to ramp management. “We can already plan the following day 80 percent of the time the day before and prepare for the work ahead,” explains Schlothauer. Conflicts among drivers because of long waiting times, crowding and a tense atmosphere – such scenarios have been a thing of the past at the Kandel site for ten years now.
CARGOCLIX SLOT is a web-based time slot management system to optimize loading and unloading processes at the ramp. Recipients of goods can set free loading times, forwarders and carriers book their desired delivery time and pay a booking fee per time slot. Internet access is all that is required for booking by forwarders and carriers.
Cost per slot booking: 50 cents.
- Interface to ERP system or as stand-alone solution
- Variable ramp opening times and flexible time slot lengths according to number of pallets, tons, vehicle type, etc.
- Individual setting of break and vacation times, shift changes, booking limits, etc.
- Storage of capacity limits such as personnel, forklifts or processing capacities
- Layouts and assignment of rights for rebookings and changes
- Plausibility checks of booking data by means of duplicate checks, 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 slots (requirement: 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 color 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” for controlling ramps with the help of individual KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
- “CARGOCLIX ETA App” for dynamic arrival time calculation at the ramp by intelligent calculation of the “Estimated Time of Arrival”.
- “CARGOCLIX TERMINAL” realization of the “Gate 4.0” without the use of manpower.
Cargoclix is a neutral internet marketplace for electronic tendering of transports 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 road, rail, air freight, sea and inland waterway transport, courier express parcel services and logistics services such as warehousing. With over 28,000 registered members from industry, trade and freight forwarding, TENDER is one of the leading international tender platforms for transport and logistics.
The central product of the time slot management business unit is the modularly adaptable “Cargoclix SLOT” software for optimizing processes at the ramp. With more than 65,000 members, SLOT is one of the most widely used time slot management systems.
Cargoclix is a brand of Dr. Meier & Schmidt GmbH. The company was founded in 1998 and is based in Freiburg i.Br. www.cargoclix.com.
About Zufall logistics group
Zufall logistics group is a logistics service provider with more than 2,000 employees. The family-owned company is present at ten locations in Germany and active worldwide. Its range of services includes truck transport, air freight, sea freight and express services, as well as customs services and contract logistics. The company was founded in Kassel in 1928. Today, Zufall logistics group’s headquarters are located in Göttingen.