Wednesday, 20. May 2020

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Transparency via ETA and SMS

Austrian building materials and tiles trader C. Bergmann KG has switched its tour planning operations at its Traun headquarters to the digital transport control center and telematics system OPHEO, significantly improving customer service and efficiency.

Changing established workflows is usually met with resistance from employees. The power of habit is strong and it is rare that people are really open-minded towards new processes and solutions. However, the employees at Austrian building materials trading company C. Bergmann’ headquarters stand out as an exception to this rule. When the integrated digital transport control center and telematics system OPHEO was introduced in February 2019, employees came up with some crucial suggestions and ideas for improvement.

Fully Digitized

The three warehouse foremen, for example, immediately recognized the opportunities digitized dispatching would offer them. After all, one of the foremen’s main tasks is to control the twelve forklift drivers who are responsible for the picking operations for the up to 80 daily tours. “Thanks to OPHEO, not only our tour plans but also the truck arrival times at the warehouse are now completely transparent“, graduate engineer Margit Oberbramberger, Head of Organization Development and IT, explains.

This transparency is the result of fully digitizing all processes, from order entry to delivery. At C. Bergmann KG, delivery requests from customers and pick-up orders from suppliers are continually transferred from the ERP system to OPHEO and combined into optimized tours with up to 18 places of unloading. These are sent to the TomTom Telematics PRO 8375 driver terminals mounted in the trucks via mobile radio and then executed by the driver. Alongside the company’s own four vehicles, 17 vehicles belonging to freight forwarders were equipped with the compact on-board computers and the OPHEO Mobile telematics app installed on them, which plays a central role in the overall solution. Drivers receive order data via OPHEO and delivery addresses and can use the integrated truck navigation to be guided to the next destination. Any reached shipment status as well as the current location data is documented and transmitted to the head office at the push of a button.

Increased Space Thanks to ETA

Wit this information, OPHEO can calculate for each shipment its arrival time at the customer’s, when the tour will be finished and when each driver will be back. At C. Bergmann, not only the dispatchers benefit from this but also the foremen: in the warehouse’s office, a widely visible ETA monitor was mounted, which displays the sequence and the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) times OPHEO calculated for the trucks that will be arriving soon. In addition to the ETA monitor, the foremen can view the planned tours on their PC.

If further tours are planned for that day, the goods can be staged precisely, which minimizes waiting times for the trucks at the warehouse. “We also gain valuable space in the staging area, as now only the building materials needed at short notice are parked there for loading,” emphasizes Rainer Baumschlager, who is responsible for the fleet and transport logistics division at C. Bergmann KG. In the past, pickers lacked clarity regarding the dispatch priority of the orders planned for the respective day. As a result, some tours were already staged in the morning that did not have to be loaded until the afternoon.

SMS In the Lead

Also sales staff have been excited about OPHEO from the very beginning, because customers are now informed about upcoming deliveries with the help of OPHEO. The message is sent automatically as soon as the truck moves within a certain distance of its destination. “This offers us a real competitive advantage,” says Margit Oberbramberger, who conducted a customer survey in the run-up to the IT project. “The prompt notification about an hour before delivery is particularly appreciated by our construction site customers, who can allocate their personnel optimally and create space based on our information,” she explains.

OPHEO also offers the possibility of an e-mail notification, but C. Bergmann intentionally opted for using SMS transmission. “This is because an SMS is not overlooked as quickly as an e-mail in the hectic day-to-day work on the construction site,” says Rainer Baumschlager. He shares his office with the dispatcher and is therefore aware of the current delivery status at all times.

An Easy Career Change

Up to the OPHEO Go-Live, the dispatcher had been working as a driver and did not have any previous experience of working in an office. The quick and smooth transition from driving a truck to working at a desk was made possible by the easy-to-understand structure of the OPHEO Dispatching Cockpit, which significantly simplifies such a career change. He is supported in his work by graphical user aids.

Efforts are currently being made to achieve maximum transparency for automatic cost allocation. This plays a major role in so-called mixed tours, when goods from the different business areas for building materials, civil engineering and tiles are transported on one and the same route. Up to present, allocation was still done manually with the help of a reporting sheet that the driver filled out. The automatic cost allocation supported by the system clearly simplifies working procedures and provides more cost accuracy than the drivers’ estimates.

Roll-out Planned

Conclusion: after 8 months of using OPHEO in practice, this integrated digital transport control center and telematics system has definitely proven its worth at C. Bergmann KG’s Traun headquarters. Apart from the improved service quality, efficiency, transparency and employee satisfaction could be significantly increased and the company is already thinking about rolling out the solution to its larger subsidiaries.

Background Information: C. Bergmann KG

Bergmann is one of Austria’s largest and longest established building materials traders in Austria. Founded by Carl Borromäus Bergmann in 1860, the family-owned company operates in the wholesale of building materials, tiles, glass and doors, as well as in concrete and glass production.C. Bergmann KG has approximately 300 employees at its seven Austrian locations Traun, Linz, Salzburg, Graz, Villach, Rankweil and Brunn/Geb. and generates annual sales of more than € 100 million.

For more information, please visit www.c‑