Thursday, 13. April 2017

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riha WeserGold Controls Its Supply Chain With OPHEO

Beverage manufacturer riha WeserGold controls its supply chain with the integrated transport management and telematics system OPHEO.

Long waiting times for trucks are now a thing of the past at riha WeserGold in Rinteln, Germany. Without forwarders having to book slots or do anything else, the medium-sized beverage manufacturer has managed to streamline its processes considerably. This was achieved using transport management and telematics system OPHEO introduced in 2016, which was integrated into the existing processes at riha WeserGold. The software from initions AG is connected to the ERP system Trend SWM via an interface, resulting in highly automated processes.

Much More Productive

The delivery orders, most of which are recorded in Trend SWM, are transferred to OPHEO, where they are processed into optimized tours for the company’s 109 own trucks. Furthermore, there are the tours for around 80 subcontractor vehicles and the third-party orders entered directly in OPHEO. “Every day, we process 150 to 200 orders with four dispatchers at the Rinteln site alone,” notes Dispatch Manager Alfons Tebben. In the near future, however, the workload distribution is going to change, as one of the dispatchers will retire in 2017. “OPHEO and its easy-to-use Dispatching Cockpit helped us to achieve significant increases in productivity, so that we will use its successor primarily for obtaining additional freight,” Tebben states.

Time savings were achieved in several areas by using OPHEO. Planning data is available in the ERP system even before the orders are transmitted to the trucks. This is where the data is used to control the fully automated high-bay warehouse. Automatic picking and staging of the tour is started at the push of a button after the driver has reported to the dispatching department. “By the time the truck has docked at the gate, the first pallets are usually ready to load and in the right order so that the loading process can begin immediately,” Tebben describes.

Communication with third-party forwarders is very efficient as well. They receive their transport orders the day before with specific instructions as to when the tours will be ready for loading. “We can specify in OPHEO whether we want to send the transport order to the forwarder by e‑mail or fax”, Tebben explains. In any case, these automatic messages ensure the short handling times mentioned earlier.

Estimated Arrival Time

Thanks to the integrated telematics solution OPHEO MOBILE, communication with the drivers is now much more rational. All order data is transmitted directly to the tablets installed in the vehicles at the touch of a button. This provides drivers with clear information that usually requires no further consultation. Instead, orders are processed in the specified sequence and reported back to OPHEO with the respective current shipment status. PTV Truck Navigator which is integrated in OPHEO MOBILE is used for navigating.

“Our phones are ringing much less often now and when customers ask about their orders’ whereabouts, we are able to provide information immediately without any prior consultation”, Tebben confirms. In this context, the Dispatch Manager particularly emphasizes OPHEO’s forecasting function, which calculates the exact time of arrival depending on the current traffic situation. “Only OPHEO could offer us this advantage,” Tebben recalls. He had analyzed several transport management systems in detail before making the investment decision.

Transparent and Consistent

“In the summer of 2015, we knew definitely that initions AG could offer us the best-suited overall solution,” says Managing Director Thomas Mertens. After that, the implementation of OPHEO took its course. “Our collaboration with initions AG was always very constructive and professional, so that we stayed on schedule and within budget,” Mertens continues. Rinteln went live with the solution in January 2016. The Dodow and Waibstadt branches followed in February and May. In October, the Swiss branch in Zurzach went live, as well.

Due to telematics and the Dispatching Cockpit, dispatchers can now also assign suitable third-party orders much more easily. “Now I know at a glance which truck is in the vicinity of a potential return load”, Tebben says. If the suitable vehicle belongs to another plant, all that is needed is an informal coordination with the colleagues via live chat. Then, the new order can be dispatched with a click and is immediately visible to all dispatchers at all three locations. “Having this level of transparency and uniformity is another great benefit of OPHEO”, Tebben states. He and his staff can now quickly understand their colleagues’ plans if necessary, which is very helpful when employees are unavailable at short notice.

Automatic Reminders

Another advantage of the telematics solution OPHEO MOBILE is its interface to the telemetry data system Fleetboard all riha WeserGold trucks are equipped with. During the tour, Fleetboard collects the currently available driving and rest times and makes them clearly available in the Dispatching Cockpit via OPHEO MOBILE. The data is then displayed in the Dispatching Cockpit. The same goes for the OPHEO-integrated driver-card-control feature. Expiration and control dates for all 140 drivers were stored in OPHEO’s master data. As soon as a due date approaches, OPHEO automatically generates a reminder message, which then only needs to be forwarded to the respective driver tablet.

The same applies to the upcoming workshop, inspection and maintenance work on the vehicles: Shop appointments that have been entered manually are automatically taken into account in the scheduling process. The trucks and trailers concerned are then no longer available for dispatching for the duration of the scheduled workshop visit.

By the way: besides saving time, riha WeserGold now also saves a lot of paper. Only the delivery notes are still being printed, as the recipients still insist on this document. Everything else is done digitally. In particular, the picking slips, which used to serve as a basis for planning, have been saved. According to Tebben’s estimates, his team now uses around 85 percent less paper than before the new software was introduced. However, the Dispatch Manager says he will only be able to make precise statements about the cost effects of route optimization and the associated CO2 savings in a few months’ time. By then, the OPHEO reporting module shall be introduced and compare the actual kilometers traveled to prior tour legs. The only thing they already know for sure is, that they will achieve substantial savings in this area as well.


Background Information: riha WeserGold

riha WeserGold Getränke GmbH & Co. KG is a medium-sized manufacturer of non-alcoholic beverages, whose roots go back to 1934. Headquartered in Rinteln, Germany, the company produces a variety of mineral waters, juices, nectars, lemonades, spritzers and tea beverages at three German and four foreign sites. riha WeserGold’s manufacturing locations outside Germany are in Spain, Poland, Switzerland, and Costa Rica.

The three German riha WeserGold plants in Rinteln, Waibstadt and Dodow feature a total production surface of more than 70,000 square meters, more than 52,000 square meters of indoor storage space and 89,000 square meters of outdoor storage. Rinteln’s daily capacity of 2.3 million cartons and 1.9 million bottles is significantly higher than that of Waibstadt (1.5 million cartons, 1.4 bottles) and Dodow (700,000 cartons, 1.5 million bottles). riha WeserGold operates its own truck fleet with 109 semitrailer trucks for the supply and disposal of its German production sites. In addition, riha WeserGold uses 80 third-party trucks.

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