How logistics of dangerous goods profits from consistency and mobility
In today’s logistics, mobility is for granted. But to make the own IT independent, regardless of time and place, still is a major challenge for many companies. Transportation company Kiessling now achieved, through the use of rugged tablets, to make their commission and storage strategies consistently digital and mobile.
The privately owned transportation company Donau-Speditions-Ges. Kiessling mbH & Co. KG, headquartered in the German city Regensburg, is part of a pan-European transportation network with 75 centers in Europe and 3,000 daily used vehicles. Kiessling earned its very good reputation as hazardous logistician. They transport and store almost all kinds of dangerous goods. They have about 17,000 pallet spaces, gas cabinets for gases and specially protected storages for flammable liquids. Especially pharmaceutical and chemical companies rely on the experience and services of Kiesling.
Storage of hazardous materials - a challenging business
The storage of hazardous substances is a very complex task. The requirements are extremely high and frequently updated. Alone the various combinations of different materials that are allowed to be stocked in a single fire area complicate the planning immensely. Regularly, the stored IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Container) must be checked for proper functioning. Each of it has its own inspection date. Furthermore, Kiessling has a strong seasonal business since many pesticides are handled. Parallel, other materials are stored for more than a year – fast moving and long-term business overlap constantly.
These were the reasons for Kiessling to think about a real mobile IT infrastructure. Accessing all data and information on the corporate network from the whole premises and even during transportations has to be possible. Data availability should be ensured via WiFi and VPN. Such infrastructure requirements per se are nothing unusual. More difficult: the data access on the road. Standard notebooks and tablet PCs have been proven to be very susceptible to failure and especially during outdoor use in wind and weather the consumer devices often failed in service. They are neither protected against rain and snowfall, nor against drops or low temperatures. Encountered bright sunlight these devices with their standard display technologies quickly reach their limits.
Mobility is rugged
Therefore Kiessling sounded out the range of robust devices on the market. The choice fell on the Fieldbook B1 from Logic Instrument, one of the leading manufacturers of rugged tablets. In addition to appropriate qualitative workmanship and ruggedness, the Fieldbook features a sunlight readable 10-inch display with FieldView technology, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi and 4G LTE mobile broadband.
In addition to the robustness, another important argument for Kiessling’s IT management was a full Windows operating system to integrate the tablets as simple as possible into the existing structures. Since the active directory could directly be applied with the existing group and security policies, the access and authorization concept could be consistently implemented.
The Fieldbooks were installed with vehicle mounts on industrial trucks (floor-borne vehicles) that offer power supply to the docking and enable an optimal access to the devices. A wireless connected barcode scanner is used for reading barcodes on goods and shelves. Thus the staff can work even few meters away from the Fieldbook.
From document-based consignment to an IT-supported system
Thanks to this combination Kiessling could make an evolutionary leap. The old document-based consignment was replaced. With the database-driven system, all individual steps can be planned and documented - from the transit, through loading unto the storage space. All time-tables and transportation plans are visible to all employees. Therefore the system is able to provide the local staff with storage strategies for the dangerous goods, conform to law and regulations.
For each IBC the EAN-number is linked to the examination date. Thus the employee knows which container he can use for what and for how long, even in between the bearing series. The training for the new IT system carried out in advance and the switch to touch controlled devices went smoothly.
"The Fieldbooks have proven in daily practice", concludes Richard Schrott, the responsible project manager. Many processes could be simplified and became therefore more efficient. The training of the stuff is fun because the system supports different font sizes as well as Unicode, for example Eastern Europe character sets. The employees appreciate the screen size and brightness, and the improved information on the display compared to the smaller hand-held scanners.
"We met all our expectations and objectives", indicates Mr. Schrott satisfied. The company is currently discussing whether the loading and un-loading checks for the international freight forwarding business may also be optimized with the Fieldbooks. "Through standardized systems we can create added value - and our customers benefit.", reads the strategy of Kiesling.