Specialized software has been created to improve logistics activities in handling the groupage cargo. One example is the TMS (transport management system) which facilitates transport operations. Programs are also used to support warehouse employees in the handling of groupage cargoes. For example, the WMS (warehouse management system) allows to reduce the number of mistakes and accelerates the time of complementation, while helping to better manage the storage area.
The means of transport are not „rubbery” and the optimal arrangement of cargo, especially in the case of groupage cargo, affects both transport costs and their safety. Not everything can be „put in” in the palletized form and an optimal layout is of special importance when it comes to loads with unusual dimensions and weight, as well as different priorities.
In groupage transport, IT solutions help to plan and load
PackViz multifunctional software is available to help you determine the best patterns of capacity utilization, taking into account the specificity and priority of individual groups of goods, as well as their optimal location in the container. Loading phases can be displayed graphically and printed (the loaded container can be presented in two or three dimensions).
The program gives the possibility of grouping packages according to specific codes or priorities (i.e. goods for the same recipient), which facilitates unloading at the destination. In the calculation of loading patterns, the weight of individual packages, the permissible way of placing them (i.e. in the case of brittle materials), calculation of the maximum safe stack heights, calculation of the center of gravity of the container as precise as possible for a given transport (stability during transport) are taken into account. A special function facilitates, among others location and identification of each shipment included in a given transport, which in case of groupage cargo is particularly useful. The instructions provided by PackViz can be sent electronically to the destination point before the container arrives.
Cape Pack also has many features, helping to determine the best size of products, the size of bulk packages, their layout on the pallet layer and the way the pallet is loaded. The Pallet module calculates the pallet system for existing packaging, and the Arrange module determines the optimal size of packaging and the placement of products in these packages and helps to place more products on a given pallet. There is also a Design module, which helps to design packaging sizes so that it is possible to place a larger number of them, i.e. on a pallet.
Optimization of vehicle loading is (apart from route optimization) one of the two basic areas of the APO module, integrated with the route planner. It is possible to adjust manual plans in 2D and 3D mode. Based on the data of the loading units – length, width, height, weight and the goods stacking matrix data, the system generates a charging scheme in the selected space (vehicle, pallet).
Optimization of the cargo space
Among the simplest optimization solutions is goodloading.com, a tool available online, allowing you to quickly calculate whether a given load will fit in a truck. The application also allows you to put packages on the vehicle according to their order on the list.
Minimizing inventory in a warehouse
Striving to minimize inventory, companies are increasingly outsourcing the transport of their goods to groupage cargo operators. These, in turn, introduce new, specialized services addressed to specific industries, such as retail and food, and launch regular international transport. They also implement projects to increase the efficiency of groupage transport, as well as faster data flow to customers.
An example is Spedimex, which has implemented a project of mobile terminals for handling groupage shipments. – The data flow takes place in real time, so the information goes to the customer almost immediately after delivery of the parcel. The customer receives an electronic confirmation (e-POD) with an indication of the delivery point on the map, a specific reception time and signature of the receiving person, and in the event of an anomaly also a photo documentation. In addition, thanks to work automation, the data is reliable.
Every day we issue several thousand consignments, printed in several copies. The implementation of terminals will largely translate into the elimination of paper documentation – explains Sławomir Lewandowski, director of distribution.
Portable terminals allow to quickly collect and transfer data. They also enable their processing, analysis, and creation of reports. In addition to the standard parcel scanning feature, the terminal has a number of additional options such as a telephone, a camera, and GPS. The combination of these functionalities allows registering all kinds of events, such as localization of couriers, which translates into better management of shipment distribution by leading forwarders.
These devices, until now mainly associated with courier services, are now used in handling of groupage shipments. – The process is supported by an integrated IT system and clients have access to a whole range of electronic services, such as: placing orders via a web browser, printing labels for shipments, generating reports, electronic delivery confirmation (e-POD), tracking shipments – adds Sławomir Lewandowski.
The implementation has also significantly improved the work of drivers. The terminal application controls the carrier’s work, helping him to correctly execute a large number of orders. Terminals automatically create loading lists, indicate planned delivery routes, remind to collect documents or returnable packaging.
Another operator, FM Logistic, implemented an integrated transport status management system (e-BOK), automating also the process of reporting deadlines to the customer.
An important factor in groupage transport is high frequency and constant capacity of deliveries, as well as the ability to precisely determine the delivery time of parcels. Polish exporters are also increasingly looking for operators to whom they can entrust the entire logistics process, including in the scope of additional services at the last stage of deliveries, such as unpacking goods, utilizing packaging, and return management. At Dachser, we successfully carry out such services. We use one IT system throughout Europe that provides access to information on each of our clients’ shipments in real time. The delivery to the recipient is always scanned and confirmed electronically, thanks to that information about the delivery of the parcel is in the system after a dozen or so seconds. The customer therefore has reliable information about the status of his shipment from the moment it is sent to its delivery. In Europe, each parcel also has only one number – says Grzegorz Lichocik, President of the Board, Dachser.