Efficient use of resources using the example of the transport service provider Gebrüder Weiss.

The transport industry faces great challenges and opportunities due to digitization that can be transposed into new business models. The automated generation of shipment information, the secure processing of this enormous amount of data as well as the targeted use of information for resource planning offer great potential for the economic design of the transport. The transport and logistics company Gebrüder Weiss GmbH operates a large logistics network for consolidated freight in Europe and for air and sea freight worldwide. Gebrüder Weiss enables just-in-time shipments with short transport times. The goods are collected in advance, consolidated in the local branches, forwarded to the destination terminal in the main run and delivered promptly. Due to the enormous number of short-term transport orders there is a high volatility in resource requirements. A lot of the required information either does not exist or can only be considered rudimentarily in resource planning, which leads to great uncertainties in the capacity planning for delivery transports. The dispatchers must therefore rely on experience in order to create appropriate resource plans. As a result, either shipments are delivered late due to insufficiently planned vehicle capacities, or high empty costs arise due to unused vehicle capacities.

Using the example of Gebrüder Weiss, the HOPL research project demonstrates how the uncertainty of capacity planning for delivery in groupage freight traffic can be substantially minimized by targeted processing of large amounts of data and their use in forecasting models and calculations.

The starting point is shipment information, which is available in the Gebrüder Weiss “data world” with a great deal of detail. Based on a traffic light classification by virtue of their accuracy for planning in “green”, “yellow” and “red”, schedulers can be provided with accurate shipment information regarding weight and volume in a decision support system.

From “green” shipments, all the necessary information is present and they have a very high probability of actual delivery on the planning day. “Yellow” shipments are available in Gebrüder Weiss’ “data world”, but the information relevant for planning is not yet complete. These shipments are only considered with a certain probability for the planning day. From the analysis of multi-year past data, it is possible to derive residual quantities or shipments that are added in the form of a forecast model to the well-planned “green” and “yellow” consignment quantities in absolute or percentage figures. This percentage is displayed as “red” shipments in the decision support system. Appropriate visualizations of the categorized transport quantities support the dispatchers with a simulation-based approach.

The developed method succeeds in increasing the security of the relevant information from the current 30% to almost 90%. This can be avoided on the basis of proper resource decisions empty costs or penalties due to poor delivery quality.

Image: © Gebrüder Weiss