Close relations with customers is very important to the Raiffeisen-Warengenossenschaft Niedersachsen Mitte eG (RNM). This is meant symbolically and logistically in equal measure, as RNM, being a dedicated partner to agricultural businesses, delivers products ranging from animal feed to fuel oil to its members every day. The company hauls 1.1 million tons with its own fleet of 29 vehicles and 62 drivers every year. Up to 15 vehicles from freight companies are used to transport bulk goods every day.

  

The Challenge of Efficiency

“Scheduling used to cost us a lot of time,” reports Steffen Leseberg, the head of Logistics. “We had to call the drivers for each item of information. If a customer wanted to know where his goods were, then we first had to end the discussion, call the driver and then inform the customer. That was very time-consuming.” Added to this is the fact that the schedulers could not always keep an eye on their drivers’ times. They had to count on the statements made by the drivers. The recordings on the driver cards were read out in the office once a month. Exporting the vehicle data every three months using a stick in the vehicle was similarly time-consuming.

 

A System That Manages Everything

A fleet management system was the solution to remedy this situation, one which could present information quickly and with a clear layout, simplify communication between the schedulers and drivers, and make logistics processes more efficient. “We therefore tested systems from different vendors. In the end, we decided on FleetVisor,” says Steffen Leseberg. FleetVisor is the comprehensive fleet management solution from VDO, a Continental Corporation product brand.

 

The Driver, Scheduler and Customer All Benefit.

The schedulers use a tracking function to keep tabs on their vehicles and drivers, and can intervene in the transport process directly. DriverLinc is used for communication – it is a type of tablet PC for the driver’s cab. This gives the driver all relevant information by text message, and also allows them to send notifications of their own. “We need to make far fewer calls since then. In fact, we have now even removed all cellphones from our vehicles,” as Steffen Leseberg is pleased to add. The cellphone bills have decreased by 95 per cent, and the time savings have given efficiency a ten per cent boost in scheduling. The customers are already noticing the improved service: “When someone asks where they goods currently are and we can provide an answer straight away, they are often pleasantly surprised at how we were able to find it out so quickly,” reports Steffen Leseberg.

The TIS-Web is an Internet-based data management system that also makes a legally compliant archiving of the drivers and vehicle data possible. Both drivers and schedulers are sent these data quickly and in a manageable form. These include information of fuel consumption, braking maneuvers, driving and rest periods or any speeding that has occurred. Steffen Leseberg is delighted about the positive effect: “From one day to the next, fuel consumption fell by three percent.” At the same time, schedulers have less fear of legal violations. When drivers do not adhere to their rest periods, or drive too fast, then the schedulers immediately receive a notification from the system. “Our violations have been zero since then,” as Steffen Leseberg states. The fact that the drivers also have current traffic reports sent to the tablet means that the time lost to construction sites, traffic jams and detours has been reduced by five per cent.

A major plus for RNM is the navigation as well. Many of its customers are based in rural areas. The access roads are often gravel roads, not all of which are shown by navigation systems. “FleetVisor was the only system that could meet this requirement, as the navigation system uses latitude and longitude,” as Steffen Leseberg reports.

 

Fast to Get On Board.

RNM has been operating with FleetVisor since November 1, 2016, and is impressed by the cost effectiveness, increase in efficiency and dependability, and the Continental service. Even the installation ensured that the RNM employees were able to benefit: Everything was ready to use within one hour per vehicle. In order to be able to operate the functions offered by FleetVisor accordingly, Continental also held a detailed training course for all schedulers.