Career Changers Welcome
GIMA, a trading company specializing in plastering and painting supplies, has digitized its entire logistics process. The company thereby succeeded in reconciling a significant reduction in workload for dispatchers with a noticeable improvement in customer service. All of this became possible thanks to the integrated digital transport control center and telematics system OPHEO.
Around 50 truck tours per day with up to 30 places of unloading: even experienced dispatchers have great respect towards such kinds of requirements. Add to that a mix of commercial and residential customers, and the choice of suitable employees usually becomes quite narrow. This makes the experience of trading company GIMA, a specialist in plasterer and painter supplies, all the more astonishing.
The medium-sized family business has a fleet of 30 trucks at its four largest locations, which operate on the said 50 tours in local and long-distance traffic. Most of them start at their headquarters in Neunstetten, Germany, home to 12 vehicles and a central warehouse. The trucks are dispatched by four employees whose workplace has already been largely digitized.
An Easy Launch
This was possible thank to a software solution GIMA had already introduced two years ago: the digital transport control center and telematics system OPHEO from initions AG. “We chose OPHEO because of its many excellent references in the building materials market and its tried-and-tested interface to the ERP system Unitrade,” Florian Wahler recalls, who is jointly responsible for the IT department at GIMA. Among building material suppliers,OPHEO is almost considered an industry standard.
The introduction of OPHEO went quickly and smoothly between the kickoff date in October 2015 and the “go live” in January 2016. Between November and December, there was enough time for a comprehensive testing phase and for the two-day training of the dispatchers. Following the start-up at the headquarters in Neunstetten, the rollout to the Brandis, Maisach and Nuremberg branches consequently also followed shortly thereafter. The other 19 sites each only operate one vehicle, so that introducing the software has not yet been worthwhile.
From Driver to Dispatcher
What convinced GIMA of OPHEO besides from its efficient way of tour planning using the in-house-developed Smart Planning technology, was its integrated telematics app OPHEO MOBILE and its exceptional ease of use. “I started out as a total newcomer who had never been involved in dispatching before,” Jürgen Tillmann acknowledges, who is planning the local transport tours at Neunstetten. OPHEO makes the changeover easy for him. “Once you understand how the software works, you can start planning tours immediately,” according to Tillmann, who had first started his career at GIMA’s warehouse. His colleague Marius Zahner who is handling long-distance transports expressed a similar opinion: “After a short training on the digital transport control center, you feel confident using OPHEO very quickly, as the software handles a lot of the calculations like a co-pilot, makes suggestions and double-checks all decisions,” says Zahner, who had previously worked as a truck driver at GIMA before moving to the dispatching department.
The visually supported tour planning is easy to use via drag & drop, with OPHEO calculating the optimum sequence of unloading points upon request. When it comes to precise tour planning, OPHEO has often taught me better,” confesses Zahner, who now only intervenes in the digital process in the case of special customer agreements.
Three Tours to Choose From
During the software rollout, all trucks were equipped with OPHEO MOBILE. This solution essentially consists of a telematics app that can be installed on commercially available Android smartphones or tablets. GIMA opted for Galaxy Tab4 tablets which can be mounted in a clearly visible position in the cockpit using a holder. As soon as the driver receives the tour created using OPHEO via cellular radio, he confirms this by pressing a button and subsequently starts navigation to the first place of unloading. The PTV Truck Navigator is used for navigation. “One of the solution’s special features is that each driver can choose from three possible tour variants,” Zahner points out. This allows the drivers to participate in the decision-making process and contribute their personal knowledge about ongoing roadwork sites to the planning process.
It was this point that increased employee acceptance of the solution, as did the fully automatic and accurate recording of work and break times which is now achieved via an interface to GIMA’s fleet management system TomTom Webfleet. As a result, the current driving time and rest period information from the tachographs is transferred directly to OPHEO. OPHEO MOBILE completes this data by adding the actual work times, so that all information is digitally available for the payroll.
Accounting Department Relieved of Strain in Terms of Payroll
“Our accounting department’s effort were reduced by 70 percent concerning the drivers’ payroll“, Wahler states. However, the drivers benefit as well: on the one hand, they do not have to enter their data manually anymore, and, on the other hand, no more work time is lost through the minute-by-minute documentation. “For most drivers, this resulted in a salary plus of two to three working hours”, Zahner reports.
The interface between fleet management and OPHEO is also beneficial for dispatchers: the current driving and rest times are immediately available in the dispatching cockpit where they are evaluated for tour planning and forecasts for the day. This integrated forecasting feature enables very early detection of impending delays which allows the dispatcher to reschedule or inform the customer.
Dispatchers are additionally supported by the automatic notification feature which automatically informs customers via e-mail or sms about the delivery time of their impending delivery. This notification is triggered as soon as a truck is less than a predefined distance from its destination. For this purpose, the vehicle positions from the telematics app are continuously transmitted to the OPHEO server and evaluated.
Verdict: OPHEO enabled GIMA to boost the company’s digitization on several levels all at once. In addition to the dispatchers, transparent and accelerated processes also benefit drivers and customers as well as the central administration.
Background information: GIMA Gipser- und Malerbedarf GmbH & Co
Plasterers and painters supply GIMA Gipser- und Malerbedarf GmbH & Co Groß- und Einzelhandels KG is a medium-sized family-owned company based in Herrieden-Neunstetten, Germany. Their product range covers everything painters, plasterers, plasterers and drywallers need. In addition to commercial products, GIMA also sells in-house developed and produced soffit panel systems. GIMA has around 200 employees and 19 subsidiaries, a fleet including 30 trucks, as well as a central warehouse. Founded in 1966 by Heinz Zahner, the company is owner-operated by Roman Zahner already in the second generation.
For more information, please visit www.gima-spezial.de