Innovation: a big bang or modest improvements every day?

Friction is something we all come up against in the logistics sector, but no one seems to have discovered the magic formula for dealing with it – and nor will they, because there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for eliminating friction. Innovation occurs in small steps or, as Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Dutch minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, says:“The ‘Easy Solution Department’ has closed”. Unquestionably, there is plenty of room for improvement in the logistics sector. IDS is putting a number of small-scale innovations into practice that can create a world of difference.

 

Temperature-sensitive shipments

If, in their drive to improve efficiency, all companies implement just-in-time (JIT) delivery aimed at getting goods in the right place at the right time, it can result in planning bottlenecks and conflicts of interest. Such friction has an especially big impact in the case of JIT deliveries of temperature-sensitive shipments. At IDS, in partnership with selected carriers, we are therefore using devices fitted with temperature sensors to monitor what happens to such those in transit. This gives us greater insight into changes in the temperature along the way and the associated effects on the product quality. We then use the resulting data to further optimize subsequent temperature-sensitive shipments.

 

Track and trace

Talking of data, the automatic integration of the data from the carriers’ on-board computers into our transport management system (TMS) enhances the tracking and tracing of shipments. This significantly improves the transparency of all freight movements.

 

Transport forecasting

As a 4PL partner, IDS coordinates the entire transport chain. The more data we have, the better we can prevent friction. That’s why at IDS we are working on solutions for not only temperature-sensitive shipments and track & trace, but also for transport forecasting. By continuously analysing the data from multiple shippers, carriers and warehouses, we can gain insight into which capacity will be required and immediately reserve it with the relevant carriers. This is one way in which we are constantly fine-tuning our data models to further improve the reliability of forecasting the transport needs.

 

e-CMR innovation

When looking to prevent friction and improve supply chain efficiency, it can be easy to forget the administrative aspect. In the world of international transport, it is not unusual to have to wait two weeks for a signed waybill. That’s why at IDS we are innovating with the digital waybill (e-CMR) which is processed directly in the transport management system. Faster invoicing, automatically up-to-date administrative records and far fewer errors. These are just some of the ways that a modest innovation can make a big difference.

 

If you would like to know more about these and other new developments, contact Arno Spoek via arno.spoek@idsnl.com.