Skilful application of IT tools is of crucial importance for entities involved in transport management. TMS class solutions (Transportation Management System) help plan, monitor and settle transport with manufacturers, distributors and carriers. This is the case, for example, with RailRunner.
RailRunner is a well-known company specialising in transport organizations for almost four decades. At first, it operated in the United States, and for several years it has been providing its services in Asia, Africa and Europe. Its domain is bimodal transport (use of two means of transportation, e.g. road and rail without transhipment). It enables shippers to combine the economics of rail transport with road transport flexibility, while at the same time connecting directly to the international container transport network.
RailRunner constructors themselves design specialist vehicles (chassis, rail cars) to facilitate the transport of trailers and containers both on rails and on the road. This technology is gaining popularity both in America and Europe, but also in India and South Africa, so everywhere where bimodal transport is becoming increasingly important.
RailRunner intermodal trains use compact, specialist rail vehicles called “bogies”.
Assembly of the train does not require lifting of the transport container; it is economical and straightforward, and also faster in comparison to the time of loading the container unit onto the traditional means of transport. The chassis and container are connected to the bogie. A road vehicle becomes a rail vehicle in a matter of minutes.
The original RailRunner® Terminal Anywhere system consists of specially built chassis for rail and road transport, capable of transporting containers of all sizes, as well as the so-called standard bogies.
The “intermodal terminal” itself, in which the means of transport is changed, can be located almost everywhere, all that is needed is a suitable railway siding, gravel or concrete on slopes and a relatively small manoeuvre area.
Such a system of transport and their organisation requires much less capital involvement, related to, e.g. the construction and operation of common terminals (it does not require, for example, the use of relatively expensive reach stackers or cranes, usually used in intermodal hubs). All this translates into money and the developers of the technology point that it allows reducing overall logistics costs by 15-20%.
RailRunner has its vehicles and provides services to its partners. Recently in Europe, it has implemented TMS CarLo, a solution for planning, management and control of transport processes – from quote calculation, order management, to transport planning, freight calculation and statistics. The solutions, therefore, cover all stages of the transport chain, from receipt of goods to deliver to their final destination.
In the case of RailRunner Europe, they are to streamline the company’s and its contractors’ processes in international transport, multimodal transport, but also in services related solely to road or rail transport.
The order management area allows for quick order creation or its import through an adequately configured interface.
It is also possible to prepare quotes and reuse them in the form of ready-made quotation templates. Various functions are available to facilitate the daily work of the dispatchers, such as automatic checking of dates, vehicle loads (capacity, weight or place), driver’s rest periods or control of restrictions on the transport of a particular type of goods.
Part of the system is the module for order management and billing, as well as preparation of transport documents and invoices (depending on the needs they can be printed, sent by e-mail or exported to external systems).
The solutions can be fully integrated with both an accounting system and telematics
This allows for monitoring transport orders and their statuses, delivery times, messages, drivers’ working times, document workflow, information on load units. It is also possible to optimise routes (e.g. the order of “visiting” individual points), even if a specific request is already in progress.
A new feature is the inTOUCH telematics solution integrated with TMS, which enables seamless order management process – from accepting an order, through affixing the recipient’s signature on the screen, to the exchange of photos and documents. It also has all the functions of traditional telematics: GPS position, geofencing navigation, message exchange and management of working time and breaks.
Dispatched shipments and routes are forwarded to the mobile device of the truck driver. All the necessary route information is displayed on the screen of the smartphone or tablet. The application is available in multiple language versions. In addition to inTOUCH, the critical elements of the CarLo TMS class software product family include CarLo inMOTION for fleet and cost management, the exCHANGE logistics platform and the inSTORE warehouse management system. The inTOUR module is, in turn, independent software for route planning and toll cost calculation.
Christian Gielke, RailRunner Europe’s project manager, stressed that both the training and implementation of the system takes very little time, the installation itself does not involve any special programming skills or special requirements.
-Thanks to the data already available in the system, we are able to efficiently monitor our turnover. This solution is very helpful when it comes to reporting (internal/external reporting), as it enables us to identify potential savings more quickly. In addition, we have already been able to significantly streamline our daily processes. Internal procedures have been made more stable, simplified and improved. We can still improve our procedures and processes. In the short to medium term, we are planning to finally configure the load-carrying equipment module,” Christian Gielke informed.