Hövelmann Logistik GmbH & Co.KG, a founding member of New Silk Road Network (NSRN), adopts digital solutions as a means to become competitive in the logistics industry. Frank Maslock, branch manager of Hövelmann Logistik in Haldensleben, Germany, views digitalisation as the need of the hour to ensure the long-term profitability of a company. As a medium-sized family business, the company has gradually implemented feasible digital practices. They aim to remain innovative, future-oriented, and on the path towards "Logistics 4.0".
All of Hövelmann's trucks were equipped with telematics within a short period, which is a high-precision system for location, navigation and communication, enabling efficient fleet management. Real-time data on position, traffic flow, driving- and rest times or driving behaviour are registered and analysed as well. The drivers receive the optimal route based on travel time and costs. Hövelmann records data on driving style and performance, which are used for training drivers. To carry out this task, Hövelmann has hired two driving instructors. "If these measures mean that our drivers use one litre less fuel per 100 kilometres, it matters a lot at over 27 million kilometres per year," says Mr Maslock. They have also digitalised scheduling plans which allow tours to be planned digitally using forwarding software and even transfers orders to the vehicle directly via telematics.
The processes in the warehouses are optimised with digital support called "Pick by Voice". This storage system simplifies 'picking' by giving the employee information via headphones and eliminating the need to use paper or scanners. Since the beginning of this year, a new warehouse control system has been implemented in their logistics centre in Hohe Börde, close to the city of Magdeburg, Germany, which offers an interface to the freight forwarding software and further simplifies the processes.
However, there are obstacles for any medium-sized company when adopting digitalisation of processes. Mr Maslock states two issues that act as obstacles to digitalisation. First is the lack of time and human resources to set up these systems. The second is convincing employees to accept new processes and give up established regulations. Although consequently, digitalisation is the way for the logistics industry. Mr Maslock adds that digitalisation is a constant process, where they examine new ideas and see how to position themselves for the future. The ultimate goal is to have consistent and open interfaces so that a single record can be used throughout the entire supply chain industry.