2017.1 All about Stückgut
Logistics providers do not believe in retropia
Dear Business Partners and Friends,
If we are to believe the populists, everything was better in the past. Depending on political leanings, some looks back for the 1970s, others for the 1950s – and some even for the early days of industrialisation. These statements and proposed solutions represent backwards-looking utopias, retropias, itself a contradiction in terms. The goal of this thinking is reactionary, remaining in the past.
However, standing still and moving backwards have never led to a furthering of society with regard to social or technological aspects. As logistics providers, we always experience the forward impetus of technical and social developments first hand: Industry 4.0, shifting flows of goods, the growing significance of sustainable supply chains are just some examples. Admittedly, technology and societies sometimes move too fast, or in directions that some do not like, because they are unable to keep up with the pace of development and the effects of far-reaching changes on our everyday life are hard to foresee.
What can we do?
As early as 2004, the philosopher and economist Peter F. Drucker urged businesspeople to intervene in society. Prophetically, he declared that, „Performing responsible management is the alternative to tyranny and our only protection against it“. Increasing numbers of logistics companies and businesspeople are already acting responsibly by applying the concept of sustainability to their logistics activities, as VTL and many VTL partners do. Alongside the 3 pillars of sustainability we also need to work to protect political culture and freedom of society at this time. This requires what the German philosopher and economist Karl Homann refers to as discourse responsibility.
Let us not wait for politicians and solely adopt the position of the observer. Let us do something ourselves. No major campaigns are required for this, merely ongoing dialogue with employees, colleagues, partners and customers.
Take a position, not just in trade discussions, but also regarding current social and political issues in our liberal society. Let us act as role models and promote civilised interaction with political themes. In this way we can actively counter sceptical attitudes regarding democracy and the future. To ensure that peaceful progress is also achieved in the future – for the benefit of everyone!
VTL Vernetzte-Transport-Logistik GmbH
Top performance with maximum quality
What has to be observed? What is difficult, what easy? Hans-Peter Häberle and Christian Zink have answered these questions.
Mr Häberle, as a founding member of the VTL general cargo network, quality is especially important to you. Certified to ISO 9001:2008 since 1996, the middle of this year will see your company recertified according to ISO 9001:2015. Is this a simple exercise for you, or more of a challenge?
Hans-Peter Häberle: Certainly no simple matter, but quality management is part and parcel of our everyday activities. Because in 1994, with no external pressure, we decided to implement a QM system, with certification following two years later.
In our daily interaction with customers we have to prove ourselves a reliable partner that delivers on its promises. To put it another way, we need to be 100 percent sure that the service that we provide satisfies the agreed criteria in all forms.
Beyond this, our goal is to inspire our customers. We regard finding the best solution in open and direct dialogue with the customer to be a unique selling point of ours. ISO 9001 supports us in this. The requirements of the new standard in the field of risk management pose a challenge for us in one area in particular – the most important factor for us – the human one, self-motivated employees.
„Delivering top performance with maximum quality“ – that is a significant promise.
Hans-Peter Häberle: Yes, this is what we want to promise and deliver to our customers. Because we transport sensitive goods. Our hazardous goods and thermo logistics, particularly in the field of pharmaceutical and healthcare products, require particular attention and the highest quality. This is why it is so important to work with general cargo partners such as VTL in addition to direct routes. Because VTL is familiar with the requirements and knows what it means to deliver daily quality in this highly-competitive sector.
Being responsible for quality in a general cargo network can‘t be an easy task, Mr Zink. Where do your challenges lie? Does the new standard help
Christian Zink: The standard helps us to check our destinations and acts as confirmation. Because even before the switch to ISO 9001:2015 we already had a standardised quality and risk management system, the „House of Quality“, which the revision is comparable to. As a result, we were already well prepared and our current 130 partners use the system on a daily basis.
How do you satisfy the high quality requirements in your everyday operational activities?
Christian Zink: Twice a month VTL assesses the performance of each system partner, such as the development of shipping volumes, service and information quality and delivery performance. This information and many other data flows into the specially-developed VTL early warning system. Further programmes such as the deployment of a VTL task force, audits, targeted coaching and the strengths of selected locations make a key contribution to increasing quality. Part of this work is carried out by our partners on site, promoting collaboration and ensuring the enduring success of the measures.
Where do the problems or greatest challenges lie?
Christian Zink: Human components play a key role, in my opinion. Implementing standardised processes with 130 medium-sized partners with differing characters and interests of their own is a daily challenge.
In addition, the recruitment and training of qualified personnel for the demanding transhipment work is difficult. Because the highly-diverse structure of goods – ranging, for example, from bulky motorcycles and machines to well-packed Euro pallets with sensitive pharmaceutical products and on to loose-loaded flat-screen televisions – calls for careful thinking and action on the part of every employee. In addition, our customer-friendly product range requires a high degree of expertise and process thinking.
CFL and VTL – quality assurance for satisfied customer
CFL logistics, formerly known as Lentz multimodal, is a subsidiary of CFL multimodal and a partner in the VTL general cargo network. Mr Rau, as Deputy Director at CFL logistics you also support a major CFL customer, a well-known manufacturer of flooring.
What tasks does CFL undertake and carry out for this customer?
Michael Rau: We were initially responsible for the transport of general cargo to Germany, over the course of five years we also acquired further relations such as Belgium, the Netherlands and partially also France. In addition, we also conduct shuttle transport between various production sites of the manufacturer and also handle part and complete loads as well as the general cargo shipments.
In early 2017 we also took on the complete logistics for the customer in Luxemburg. This includes the handling of import containers, transport from the port to our central warehouse, storage and inventory control as well as order picking and preparation for shipping.
What role does the new central warehouse play in this?
Michael Rau: Our new central warehouse in Dudelange literally plays a „central role“ in the development of our logistics activities. Alongside the combination of different sites and the associated
synergy effects, we also benefit from a highly-modern infrastructure, satisfying the needs and requirements of our customers and our network partners, such as the VTL cooperation. Quality is always to the fore in this.
Assuring quality is not always easy. You have acquired some experience regarding this with your customers and VTL.
Michael Rau: Yes, this developed positively, thankfully. Processing and shipping were not entirely trouble-free to begin with. In 2015 we were struggling with high loss rates within the VTL network, which was questioned the collaboration itself.
The VTL system headquarters in Fulda responded to the problem in exemplary fashion, however: after numerous meetings and telephone calls with our customers, a comprehensive cause analysis was carried out. This also included inspections of the HUBs in Fulda and Gelsenkirchen. Christian Zink, the head of quality at VTL, and I wanted to show our customer the night transhipment with its high speed. In the course of the joint inspection it rapidly became apparent how and why the palleted, fragile goods were being damaged. As a result, suggestions for improvement and corrective measures were introduced – for CFL logistics, the VTL network and the customer. The improvements to load securing, increased sensitivity in transhipment and transport brought the desired success. The situation became stable in a short time and was able to be elevated to a normal level.
What was it that ultimately persuaded your customer to continue with the cooperation?
Michael Rau: He found the openness of VTL very positive. The problems were discussed very openly at both the system headquarters and the regional HUBs. In this way we were able to find and implement swift and practical solutions together. And the fact that our customer met VTL employees that were highly familiar with his product and who made suggestions for improvement during the course of his visit convinced him that VTL and CFL logistics are the right partners.
Central multi-purpose warehouse at the Eurohub-Süd
The new multi-purpose warehouse of CFL multimodal, in which the company centralises its logistics activities, was opened at the end of 2016. It is located on the site of the logistics park Eurohub-Süd in Dudelange (L), with direct links to the motorway network, the intermodal terminal, the platform of the highway on rails and the marshalling yard. The new facility covers a surface area of 30,000 m² (100 m x 300 m), with a roof height of 20 m, and has 64 loading ramps.
VTL for trainees. Career success in a growth sector
Ms Wassermann, you are responsible for trainees at the VTL headquarters in Fulda. What training opportunities does VTL offer?
Kristina Wassermann: We currently have four young women and one young man in training as clerks for freight forwarding and logistics services. Another young man is currently being trained as an IT specialist for system integration.
In your opinion, what is it that makes VTL attractive to trainees?
Kristina Wassermann: On the one hand, the sector itself undoubtedly plays a role – even though logistics still suffers from a less than ideal image. The increasingly important role in the economy, the exciting tasks and the numerous career opportunities no-netheless attract students and arouse interest. The annual „Logistics Day“ is a good opportunity to find out more about this branch and our training opportunities. On the other hand, we are very committed to a varied education. This does not focus purely on vocational facts, but also to a great extent on personal development.
Could you illustrate this or give an example?
Kristina Wassermann: The highlight for many of our trainees is the trainee exchange. Our European general cargo network with its numerous partner companies enables a foreign placement for trainees from the second year of training onwards. This is both exciting and personally enriching. Getting to know the country and people, promoting language skills and self-reliance is a challenge for many.
We want our trainees to take responsibility for themselves and work independently. This is why we involve them in projects. For example, in the organisation of the fair only for trainees here in Fulda. Here they can get involved with the events and take questions from interested pupils. We also encourage them to help at open days, for example by giving a presentation on their training company.
Are there opportunities to develop further after the completion of training?
Kristina Wassermann: We currently employ a student in dual-studies Bachelor of Arts. After training as a clerk for freight forwarding and logistics services she acquired a few months of experience working at VTL before commencing studies in Logistics Management at university in Fulda. The shift between theory and practice phases, support in daily working activities and on project work provide highly practical preparation for working life. However, it is also possible to study parallel to employment. VTL offers different working hours models here in order to support this.
Transhipment without stand still – the task force paves the way
Each night over 60 employees process the approximately 130 trucks that arrive at the central hub in Fulda. The largest volumes are transhipped during the peak time from 10 pm to 2 am. These are about 7,500 packages per night. Throughout the VTL system, with HUB North and West, this amounts to around 6,000 consignments with an average weight of 2,400 tonnes.
Naturally, this all needs to be coordinated, controlled and continuously optimised. The head of the main transhipment point (HUB), Mirsad Omeragic, and his deputy, Angelo Ravalli, work closely with David Vey here. As HUB controller, he coordinates the movements of the transport equipment drivers and monitors the loading and unloading of trucks. The team also includes Thomas Straka, EU safety consultant, who supports the HUB controller and carries out ADR checks.
Together the team, including forklift and other transport operators, has undertaken a number of operative alterations, which have already resulted in positive changes after just a few weeks: for example, five-metre-wide unloading zones have been established between gate and route. And for those travelling the route defined channels have been created to ensure the flow of traffic without jams occurring. The new one-way system has already served to reduce damage and make transshipment more effective. The damage to ground conveyors has also been reduced significantly.
They identify and fix bottlenecks and redistribute goods. The conveying equipment operators are also responsible for distribution where required. This means that their tasks extends beyond the mere loading and unloading of trucks. Overall, in addition to improving cooperation within the team, the changes that were introduced at the end of 2016 have had a positive influence on the
Shoulder to shoulder
VTL and ILN – all about Stückgut
Stability, network security and transparency are decisive factors in the groupage segment. Transport services need to be provided in a seamless and reliable form at all times.
Interview with Andreas Jäschke and Hubert Staroske.
Two acclaimed groupage cooperations are appearing together at the largest international logistics trade fair. What is the idea behind this?
Andreas Jäschke: Shared goals, longstanding trust and lots of know-how. This is why „All about Stückgut“ is our fair motto. Together we have decades of experience in the general cargo segment. We observe the changes – consolidations, as well as the start up of new cooperations. In this volatile general cargo market we aim to be a dependable player, joining forces to ensure seamless transport services.
Hubert Staroske: It is important that we guarantee this, particularly in view of depot changes in the network, we need to make sure that stability and network security are maintained. Not just for
consignors – we also aim to create stability for our network partners, which currently total 349. To achieve this, at the beginning of the year we even established a joint company at the Mannheim site.
Do you mean MAVIS?
Andreas Jäschke: Yes, until now this economically strong and interesting metropolitan region has been under-represented in both networks. Changes in the depot landscape have led us to found a joint freight forwarding company, MAVIS.
Hubert Staroske: Mavis is not just a new site for our networks, we will also offer our services to others, so yes, it‘s a kind of test with regard to further developments on the market that we aim to respond to jointly in the future.
Are there other reasons or market changes that have led you to work together so closely?
Hubert Staroske: One thing is certain – new impulses are only generated through closer cooperation: the hub & spoke organisation of VTL differs significantly from the decentralised transshipment point (TSP) direct transport philosophy of ILN. Both have their advantages, and we can make optimal use of these through the internal sharing of success factors.
Are you able to report any initial experiences in day-to-day operational co-operation?
Andreas Jäschke: It‘s working really well – one initial operative experience is the integration of partners into the respective other network. In addition to the tying-in of a number of VTL depots into the ILN network it has also been possible to integrate a VTL partner as service provider for a new TSP, which serves to further promote the interlinking of the two networks. The reverse situation is similar. ILN depots now also function as VTL depots at a number of sites.
VTL Vernetzte-Transport-Logistik GmbH
D – 36041 Fulda
Telefon: +49 661 9768-0
HERZIG Marketing Kommunikation GmbH
Kristina Wassermann, VTL Vernetzte-Transport-Logistik GmbH
Werbeagentur Rembrandt Hennig
Kristina Wassermann, VTL Vernetzte-Transport-Logistik GmbH
PDF-Download: Newstrailer 2017.1 All about Stückgut (english)