Digital technology and the key to business success

Digital technology and the key to business success

Telematics, connectivity, data analysis – Digitalisation and automation provide logistics companies with an array of options for making sure their businesses stay economical and environmentally-friendly.

The logistics industry is facing enormous challenges. Be it the high cost pressure, increasing customer expectations when it comes to sustainability, or international competition for the ever-more valuable resource of drivers – the conditions required to remain successful in this business are hotting up everywhere. To add to all these issues, competition in the transport industry is also changing: large shipping agents and online retailers who used to be transport customers themselves are now developing their own logistics infrastructure. In some studies, logistics experts are predicting these new competitors will become even more important than ship- or rail-based transport.

If logistics companies don’t want to miss out, they need to find ideas and solutions for transporting goods from A to B while still making a profit. Digitalisation and automation can be of assistance here. While automated high-bay storage systems are already par for the course for any progressive logistics firm, automation on the road – for instance in the form of automated motorway driving or automated vehicles at the depot – has not reached its full potential. In contrast, logistics companies are already able to generate a range of positive benefits for their business through digitalisation.

Logistics moves to digitalisation 

Compared to businesses in other industries, logistics companies tend to already employ a relatively high degree of digitalisation. Be it in the warehouse, during the transport process, or in the office, almost every area of the logistics sector is going digital. Warehouse management systems, digital fleet management tools and digital signatures are particularly commonplace. 

The efficient, cost-effective and sustainable combination of warehouse management and scheduling of truck and trailer movements is the key skill required by every quality-focused logistics and transport provider. Modern telematics systems provide schedulers and drivers with all relevant data from the truck and trailer in real time. This offers a wealth of benefits: data can be used to help drivers to improve their driving style, saving fuel and CO2 as a result; routes can be planned for maximum efficiency; vehicles can be sent to the workshop on time for maintenance or can even issue automatic warnings about potential future damage (predictive maintenance).

Networking adds value

Customers and schedulers can receive real-time information on the arrival and condition of goods. Particularly in the case of refrigerated goods and pharmaceuticals, the use of digital tools to permanently monitor the cold chain and trailer provides valuable assistance when it comes to complying with statutory cooling requirements or preventing theft and vandalism. These benefits have long spread far beyond the logistics companies themselves. Now, modern interfaces enable freight agents and shipping companies to connect with one another and transfer transport jobs from one transport management system (TMS) to another without any problems.

For many years, Schmitz Cargobull has been demonstrating just how strongly the company believes in digitalising its products for the benefit of its customers. For instance, the S.KO COOL refrigerated semi-trailer is not only equipped with Schmitz Cargobull’s own TrailerConnect® telematics system as standard, it also meets the requirements in the TAPA TSR1 standard for security equipment in refrigerated trailers thanks to a digital acoustic alarm system and an electronic door locking system to protect goods inside the trailer. Closely modelled on the S.KO COOL, the fully electric S.KOe COOL is fitted with the electric cooling unit, the S.CU ep85, which extends the running time with energy regenerated by the installed electric axle and also reduces the time needed to recharge via the mains grid. Critical here is the telematics portal that can be used to monitor the status of the system (charge status of the battery, remaining range, remaining charge time, etc.). An intelligent battery charging management function also ensures that the battery charge level remains as high as possible to provide greater reliability when the trailer is stationary, e.g. in traffic jams. Thanks to three pre-defined modes (ECO, STANDARD and SAFE), the trailer can be optimised according to the customer’s usage conditions and objectives directly by the scheduler.

Furthermore, maximum transparency in the supply chain with full data control is provided by the TrailerConnect® Data Management Center developed by Schmitz Cargobull combined with the TrailerConnect® TourTrack service.