Simacan Control Tower for DailyFresh Logistics
Alberdine van Velzen is managing director at DailyFresh Logistics. Simacan talked to her about the daily operation of DailyFresh logistics and the implementation of the Simacan Control Tower.
DailyFresh Logistics originated in 1998 from a cooperation between Norfolkline, Post-Kogeko en Visbeen, three parties that all transported similar cargo along similar routes to customers in the UK. They decided to join forces to prevent trips by trucks that are half empty. Together with DFDS (previously Norfolkline) they formed a unique chain in logistics. Since then, DailyFresh Logistics has grown to become of the largest Dutch transporters in fresh produce to the UK. Right now, Simacan is working to connect DailyFresh Logistics to the Simacan Control Tower. They expect to be deploying the entire Control Tower early 2018.
What was the occasion for DailyFresh Logistics to search for a tool such as the Simacan Control Tower?
“As I embarked with DailyFresh Logistics in 2015, we were at a crossroads. We already were one of the largest Dutch transporters in our section, but we had some trouble facilitating healthy, sustainable growth. And as we wish to remain one of the largest, we had to do something. I focused my attention on the IT-landscape of the company, amongst others. Modernisation on that score means one can consider either of two options: either one seeks to maintain the current conduct of business, but with less people, or one aims at enabling growth with the same number of employees. Of course, we strove for the last option. To accomplish that, we needed to look for an IT-solution that could simplify and accelerate the overview of the entire operation. We think we found that solution in the Simacan Control Tower.”
DailyFresh Logistics is the largest transporter of fresh produce from the Netherlands to the UK. What’s the picture?
“We collect pallets of primarily fruits and vegetables with the growers, exporters and wholesale markets in the Netherlands. This is done with trucks and trailers operated by Post-Kogeko and Visbeen mainly. These pallets are then unloaded at our warehouse in Hoek van Holland, where they are redirected on the correct route through crossdocking. Next, the trailers are moved onto the ferries, either operated by DFDS or by StenaLine. In the UK the trailers are picked up by Dutch and British drivers on British trucks, and delivered to the customers. These may be supermarkets, wholesale businesses, but also merchants at the market, sometimes even multiple stalls at the same market. Trailers are loaded for the journey back with cargo for the Netherlands. The trucks bring the trailers back to the ferry, and in the Netherlands, our trucks take over again.”
A rather complex operation, isn’t it?
“Yes, you can say that again! Our transport is distributed over several phases: collecting the produce, shipment overseas, and then transportation in the UK. For every phase we use a different IT-solution: one system for order intake, one for trip planning to our producers and yet another one for planning trips to our customers. To keep an eye on all those phases is quite a challenge for us internally, let alone to be able to communicate to customers any unexpected changes that may occur in the processing of their delivery.”
How did your search lead you to Simacan?
“In our search for a solution for this problem, we ran into several difficulties. None of the vendors of our multiple planning software packages had a ready-to-use answer to our question, while comparable solutions often only offer the option to trace trucks, whereas we want to keep an eye on the trailers instead. Post-Kogeko suggested Simacan, as they had quite some positive experiences with the Simacan Control Tower, from using it during shipment they execute for Ahold. Contacts were established and both of us turned out to be rather thrilled about the idea. That is how it came about.”
What changes will you be facing?
“A lot! During peak season, we execute up to a 100 trips each day. Until now, we keep an overview by systematically checking an excel-list of all trips, looking up information manually through board computer data. Whenever something goes wrong during a trip, we are dependent on the information returned by the driver (either by phone, board computer or on a no-news-is-good-news assumption). And sometimes it may take a long time before we check the same trip again, which may cause a large gap between the moment an incident is reported and the moment we are able to inform our client about a change in the expected time of arrival of their delivery.
In the Control Tower, we will be able to see in the blink of an eye which trips are late, in the exception list. We will also be able to take action immediately. Communications will be much more transparent, as mutual announcements will be made and shown within the Control Tower, not only to us, but also to the transportation company involved and to customers. In the near future customers will be receiving a notification about the expected time of arrival of their delivery as well. By doing so we will of course be able to notify customers about changes in a much more timely way.”
How are your experiences up until now?
“Right now, Post-Kogeko’s trailers have been connected to our planned trips in the UK, within the Simacan Transport Cloud. Visbeen’s trailers will follow within the coming weeks. As we are not yet able to track all our trailers on those routes, we mainly still make use of our old system of checking. For Post-Kogeko’s trailers, we can compare processes of the old and new systems. This enables us to give thorough feedback to Simacan on the functioning of the Control Tower. Moreover, this gives us time to check whether our customer’s addresses are located correctly and if our vehicle movements are correctly registered within automated geofences connected to those addresses. We may insert changes when necessary.”
Any future plans?
“When both our transporters are connected, we will first be working with the Simacan Control Tower to monitor trips from the UK harbour to our customers over there. As I said, customers will be receiving notifications about the expected time of arrival of their delivery in the near future. On top of that, we want to automatically monitor the temperature in our trailers, which of course is crucial for the quality of the produce we ship. We want a trip to appear in our exception list not only when it is late, but also when set temperature parameters threaten to be exceeded.
For now, we can hardly wait to set out working with the Control Tower!”
Alberdine van Velzen will be speaking at our launch event for the Transport Cloud at ICT & Logistiek on wednesday 29th of november, from 11:00 tot 11:30h. Register here to join this event!