May 17, 2020

How to Unlock Optimisation and Control of Logistics Processes

African Logistics
4 min
South Africa is becoming increasingly receptive to telematics
Follow @SamJermy and @SupplyChainD on Twitter.South African cargo transport faces a number of challenges with companies in the sector having just one ov...

Follow @SamJermy and @SupplyChainD on Twitter.


South African cargo transport faces a number of challenges with companies in the sector having just one overriding objective; move their cargo as fast as possible to where it is required.

But infrastructure problems make this a difficult task, and often cargo transport companies are simply unable to move the cargo as fast as they are receiving it, causing backlogs, inefficiencies and a host of other challenges.

Telematics solutions have become increasingly common as a way of mitigating this challenge. However these solutions often differ from supplier to supplier, and thus are limited by an inability to integrate.

In order to optimise and gain maximum control over logistics processes, access to integrated real-time information is critical – which requires a platform to bring disparate telematics together.

The cargo transport sector is one that deals in precision. When containers arrive at the various ports in South Africa, they need to be moved quickly to their destinations.

The cargo ships themselves have schedules to meet, and the trucking companies need to deliver goods to customers within a certain time frame, particularly if the goods are perishable.

However, moving cargo from the ports, through cities, across provinces and to different areas relies on limited road and rail infrastructure, which often causes bottlenecks. If there are delays at the harbour, or accidents along the roads, or if the trains are not running on schedule, cargo is delayed.

Truckers may have to wait outside ports, or on roads, potentially causing traffic congestion. In addition, they are being paid for their time but are not productive due to delays. These are but a few examples of the many challenges these companies face.

Having the necessary information in real time about every aspect of the cargo value chain can assist logistics companies to gain greater control and optimise their processes, helping them to deal with these challenges more effectively. 

 Telematics solutions have become increasingly common in the transport and logistics sector as a way of providing this much-needed information. However, when trucks and trailers from different suppliers with different telematics systems are combined into a single convoy, valuable information may be lost, as manual reconciliation between the different systems is required.

Often, different systems from various suppliers cannot work seamlessly together. In addition, individual systems do not provide any benefit to any of the stakeholders outside of the owners of that system.

The key to unlocking the value of telematics lies in breaking down these siloes to deliver visibility between the different providers. In order to gain a full understanding of the entire cargo transport chain, integrating multiple systems into a portal that offers full end-to-end visibility is critical to efficiency.

In order to effectively tackle the challenges in the cargo logistics sector, siloes need to be broken down using an integrated, cloud-based, vendor-neutral aggregation platform to bring together information from various telematics systems in real-time.

A standardised interface, with dynamic central data visualisation that is independent on vehicle manufacturer, telematics provider or stakeholder, will create visibility throughout the value chain. This enables all stakeholders to obtain the information they need to monitor and track cargo throughout the value chain, in real-time.

For example, using such a solution, it can be ensured that trucks are only sent to cargo yards for a pickup once cargo has been offloaded and is ready to be moved. This will reduce backlog and improve planning and turnaround times.

Another example is if adverse weather conditions or road accidents cause delays, all necessary stakeholders can be notified. Information can also be made available to improve journey times and gain an accurate view of arrival times, alleviating congestion and disruption.

Systems for monitoring cold chain goods can be put into place to deliver automatic alerts should temperatures fall outside of acceptable range. Customers can even use these systems to track and trace items in real time, particularly if RFID chips are used as part of the shipping process.

There are endless possibilities for the data stored within telematics solutions – it is all about how this data is managed, and the ability to break down siloes to deliver real-time information to stakeholders when and where they need it.

This in turn helps to close the gap between transport and logistics providers and their customers. Bringing all stakeholders closer together, providing effective services and minimising frustration, will help cargo logistics organisations achieve zero distance with regard to customer service.

However, achieving any of these goals requires that siloes be broken down, as operating in isolation will never deliver the required visibility.

Integration and real-time information into the flow of goods throughout the transport and logistics sector, and a platform to aggregate the data from the many points in the value chain, are critical in delivering optimisation and control of processes.

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Jun 24, 2021

Kuehne+Nagel cuts carbon footprint by 70% for Honda China

2 min
Road-to-rail logistics solution will reduce carbon emissions at the automaker by 70%, stripping 16,000 tonnes of CO2 from its supply chain

Around 16,000 tonnes of CO2 has been cut from supply chain of Honda's China-based manufacturing division through a road-to-rail transformation in partnership with logistics leader Kuehne+Nagel

The programme was developed through KN Sincero, the joint venture between Swiss headquartered Kuehne+Nagel and Chinese automotive logistics firm Sincero, established in 2018. 

KN Sincero worked with Honda China to develop an integrated solution to convert much of its domestic long-haul trucking to train lines, using regional hubs to improve supply chain performance and further reduce carbon emissions. The programme delivered consolidations as well as value-added services, including sorting, scanning, repackaging, GPS track and trace, and recyclable container management. 

"Kuehne+Nagel has always been a supply chain partner that we can rely on, to help us improve our supply chain performance whilst also achieving our environmental goals,” said Mr. Jiang Hui and Mr. Takuji Kitamura, Joint General Manager of Wuhan Dong Hon, the logistics affiliate of Dongfong Honda Automotive. 

After six months of shifting to the road-to-rail model, new supply chain reliability and efficiencies are expected too trip 16,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The carbon savings represent an enormous 70% reduction in total. 

"Automotive is one of the most important sectors in contract logistics, particularly in China, the world’s largest automotive market,” added Gianfranco Sgro, member of the Management Board of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, responsible for Contract Logistics. “I am glad that Kuehne+Nagel and Honda share a common vision of service, innovation and sustainability.”

Kuehne+Nagel’s Net Zero Carbon programme 

Kuehne+Nagel announced its Net Zero Carbon programme in 2019 with a dual purpose to reduce CO2 output in its own logistics operations, as well as partnering with organisations to minimise their own impact on the planet. Kuehne+Nagel reached carbon neutrality globally in 2020 throughout its own, direct emissions, and is now focused on developing its capabilities to serve partners. 

Dr. Detlef Trefzger, Chief Executive Officer of Kuehne+Nagel International AG, said the programme is “a package of measures to fight CO2 emissions and provide sustainable and innovative supply chain solutions – hand in hand with our suppliers and customers”. 

As part of the initiative, Kuehne+Nagel established its own nature projects in Myanmar and New Zealand, and invested in ‘nature-based’ carbon dioxide compensation projects to strip harmful emissions from the environment. It is committed to being CO2 neutral for shipments in its network of transport suppliers by 2030. 

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