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Optimized network control in transport logistics

As Germany’s leading specialist retailer for system construction materials for floors, walls, ceilings and special systems, SIG Germany, together with its brands WeGo Systembaustoffe GmbH and VTI Vertrieb Technischer Isolierdämmstoffe, focuses on efficient transport and delivery processes. The company relies on an innovative and SAP integrated software solution from inconso for all locations. The result: interactive planning tools, optimized transport processing and digital proof of delivery including the exact location via an app.

With approximately 1,300 employees in Germany, SIG Germany has a comprehensive network of companies and locations in Germany. It includes over 50 locations and the WeGo online shop for own brands and products from well-known manufacturers such as Knauf, Isover, ROCKWOOL, Armacell and fermacell. SIG Germany GmbH thus generates several hundred million euros in revenue per year through its subsidiaries.

Optimized transport processing thanks to inconso
The importance of logistics at SIG Germany has gradually grown over the last ten years. With a solution from inconso, SIG Germany decided on a comprehensive digitization initiative to optimize the entire outbound delivery process. Together, a comprehensive project plan was developed and the entire transport process was digitized. Even on the last mile, consistent information on the status of each outbound delivery is now possible. With inconso, SIG Germany is now in a position to plan and optimize trucks nationwide.

A combined approach
This is made possible by a combined approach: the implementation of inconsoS/TPS (transport planning & scheduling) together with the cloud solution inconsoPOD (proof of delivery). This makes transport planning and transport execution on an operational level much more efficient. inconsoS/TPS, an SAP based add-on, enables both single and multilevel transport planning for sales orders, outbound deliveries, stock transfers and returns. All transport-related processes can be monitored and controlled graphically on the map, in the Gantt chart and table via the central transport dashboard. However, that is not all: The joint database allows for cross-location planning, which improves vehicle utilization.

On the last mile, inconsoPOD provides support via the portal and app that generate and track proofs of delivery. The driver app makes it possible to confirm delivery notes on header or position level. It is also possible to record returnable and empty goods exchanges. At SIG Germany, returnable and empty goods such as Euro, plasterboard or fermacell pallets are declared as so-called packaging materials. SIG Germany can view all relevant information in SAP in real time and can use it for process optimization. The inconsoPOD app integrated in TomTom also provides time stamps, position data or image documents, thereby ensuring complete end-to-end mapping of the outbound delivery process. The completion of an outbound goods delivery is confirmed with a digital signature that is combined with delivery notes and saved with the SAP documents. 

Optimized acorss the board
Due to the template approach chosen, SIG Germany was able to comprehensively implement the solution in a very short time. In preparation for the cross-location rollout, workshops were held to teach all employees how to plan orders and use the mobile app. In 2019, inconso and SIG Germany jointly organized the cluster seminars. They provided on-the-job training to facilitate the handling and acceptance of modern technology and modern devices.

Opportunities of real-time control
Thanks to the successful teamwork of both companies’ trainers, all SIG Germany GmbH locations in Germany have been working with the inconso solution since April 2019. Using the solution has reduced transport costs, shortened planning time and optimized the required fleet capacity through better vehicle utilization. At the same time, customer service has also been improved. Thanks to efficient planning tools, customers receive their goods earlier on average and can access accurate information about the outbound delivery status at any time. 

SIG Germany even went one step further. The consistent tracking and tracing of shipments has boosted the expansion of the online customer portal. SIG Germany creates added value through service features that impress large companies in particular.  Entire order lists, processing procedures or the current shipment progress of individual deliveries converge in the central platform. Completely centralized, SIG Germany ensures that service quality continuously improves and creates lasting customer loyalty.

 

In our case, transparency of information has turned wquivalent to booking directly and relying blindly on a system.

 

Interview: Markus Müller-Mertes, Head of IT at SIG Germany

 

inconso: Mr. Müller-Mertes, what motivated you to initiate such a comprehensive project?

Markus Müller-Mertes: We have been using an ERP for ten years that had a weak spot in supply chain execution. It concerned paper-based processes or isolated solutions at individual locations, since no comprehensive system was used. This functional gap also resulted in high freight costs for the 250 plus trucks we use, which revealed enormous optimization potential. In search of a suitable solution, we got in contact with inconso and were quickly certain the company was the right choice. The IT concept that was presented was functionally perfect. Also, we found a partner that was capable of thinking on a small and large scale and and thus able to provide the necessary know-how for a cross-location project.

inconso: Which process areas improved the most? 

 

We are very satisfied with what has been achieved on the part of the IT management and management board as well as planners and drivers.

 

Markus Müller-Mertes: The greatest benefits resulted from the implementation of a solution that was fully integrated with ERP, unlike an unconnected route planner, for example. The system allows for comprehensive planning and control of our transport processes, from incoming orders to proofs of delivery and vice versa. Its process structures are familiar to building material retailers or technical retailers. The deciding factor was the added value that results from an integrated approach in this environment. Data integration is worth its weight in gold if you want to be able to rely on a consistent flow of information. In our case, transparency of information has turned equivalent to booking directly and relying blindly on a system.

inconso: How did you feel about implementing the project with inconso?

Markus Müller-Mertes: inconso displayed two strengths that were reflected in its deep ERP process know-how and profound cloud expertise. These competencies complemented each other wonderfully, something I have never seen before. In addition, the project team’s dedication and agile approach were extraordinary. This is the reason we have continued collaborating with inconso and are now preparing for switching to SAP S/4HANA. The e-warehouse concept now also includes the interface between the warehouse and transport. Through the years, inconso has supported us in all matters related to supply chain execution.

 

The system allows for comprehensive planning and control of our transport process, from incoming orders to proofs of delivery and vice versa.

 

inconso: How satisfied are you with the results?

Markus Müller-Mertes: We are very satisfied with what has been achieved on the part of the IT management and management board as well as planners and drivers. Internally, the solution has received a lot of praise because it provides exactly what our commercial needs require. Using truck navigation, we are doing what is necessary to supply interface functions to all of our locations. All in all, everyone involved thinks the project was beneficial. It may not be possible to measure this quantitatively, but (for a total of 11 clusters) it is reflected in the considerable improvement in fleet utilization and telemetry at all locations – causing SIG Germany to progress by leaps and bounds.

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