The Path to the digital future

Be it freight lists on tablets or orders at the push of a button – digital work processes have become essential to shipping companies. With its own IT department and extensive investments, LOXX has spent the last few years preparing itself for digital transformation.

Axel Kridde, head of the IT department at LOXX, often wonders which activities will still be done by humans in the next years. "Everything is constantly changing in the world of IT, that's just part of the industry. It's exciting but it does keep us on our toes", he notes. Axel Kridde knows what he's talking about. He's been with LOXX for more than 30 years and leads the IT department, which now has a team of eleven people. A trained freight forwarder, he's been interested in computers since the early 1980s and has worked his way into the subject. “The technology of today offers so many possibilities. It's even more important that we know what we can use to optimise our processes  and services. Otherwise the best hardware and software won't do us any good," says Axel Kridde.

Introducing new transport management system
The introduction of a new transport management system at the end of 2018 constituted an important milestone for further development and counted among the largest IT investments. Its introduction took a good two years and caused many sleepless nights for Axel Kridde and his team. “While it was being introduced we were available to colleagues in shifts at each stage 24/7. Of course when the drivers were on the road all the information had to be available,” says Axel Kridde. In addition to the effort involved, every transition offers an opportunity to reflect, that is to say question the existing process. This enables processes to be further optimised. When the new software was being configured it is important that, for example, order and shipment data were recorded in full and without errors to allow the subsequent process to follow on smoothly. The new software enables LOXX to define and control new or modified processes independently, and largely without programming. Deviations from the defined process are displayed to the responsible employee proactively. The employee can then react and initiate further measures.

Well positioned from a digital standpoint
LOXX has already converted numerous processes to enable them to function digitally: these processes include package tracking, document management, order entry by electronic data transmission or the LOXX data centre, or purchase invoicing, everyday operations have been almost paperless for a long time. During the Coronavirus crisis, Axel Kridde's team was able to react at short notice and enable many employees to mobile work. Many processes in the warehouse are also digital. An example of this would be employees receiving freight lists directly via transport management system on a tablet which they can use while moving around in the warehouse. The information on shipments and delivery deadlines is thus synchronised with the details stored in the system by the dispatchers at all times. Using a traffic light system, employees can see which shipment has which priority level at a single glance.

Continuous shipment tracking
But customers should also be able to keep an eye on their goods at all times. "We want to offer our customers the information on their shipment throughout the entire transport route as transparently and easily as possible," says Carsten Battenberg, Head of European Land Transport. At the logistics location in Gelsenkirchen, each package can be tracked via GPS scanning and cameras, but not everywhere in Europe is tracking and tracing possible. In some areas the technical infrastructure does not meet the requirements.
To be able to provide customers with information on their shipment which is as complete as possible, we also require truck GPS data. Data on the location of the lorry or truck is currently collected locally by various providers. LOXX is working on a solution to enable the data to be collected centrally in a portal where it can then be made accessible. “GPS tracking is an important part of shipment tracking. After the new transport management system, this counts among the major IT projects for the near future,” states Axel Kridde.

You can find the complete article in the eXXpresso 11/2020.

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