Manufacturing & Logistics IT looks at how the Buhr Group moved into the fast lane by using TimoCom’s TC Connect interface.
It is more important than ever for the transport and logistics industry to simplify work processes and improve their efficiency. Data flow has to increase at crucial points along the line. Interfaces are the answer.
The Buhr Group is a family business that has been operating and expanding since 1989.
Today, it has 130 employees, 65 articulated trucks and special equipment used to transport goods from Bergen in Lower Saxony to the entire world. “Our company initially focused on agricultural disposal transports,” says CEO Walter-Christoph Buhr. “Over time, we have continued to specialise, and we now transport paper, wood, beverages, construction materials and oil.”
Logistics today requires quick decisions made without delay to ensure optimal transport conditions. Which is why the Buhr Group decided it needed to focus on quick and simple contact with its transport partners.
What problems did the Buhr Group face?
“Entering and maintaining transport offers in our database took up too much time,” continued Walter-Christoph Buhr. “We ended up having to type in every offer twice. Once into ‘Gehr Dispo SP’, our internal Transport Management System (TMS), and then again into TimoCom. It was annoying, and it took up too much time.”
The process required optimisation, it had to be sped up. The company decided to use the TC Connect interface from transport platform provider TimoCom. Gehr Datentechnik, which developed the company’s internal transport management system (TMS), was assigned the task of setting up the interface. The plan was to save time and money by using TC Connect. Optimising return freight to avoid empty runs was the secondary goal. After all, empty runs increase costs.
What IT obstacles did Gehr Datentechnik face?
The biggest challenge for the developer was creating a balanced relationship between function and application. In other words: complex systems were ok, but only provided they were easy to operate. The most comprehensive system in the world is useless if it cannot be used efficiently. And of course, the interface had to be kept as simple and automated as possible. Which is why the Gehr Datentechnik developed a set-up assistant to send installation instructions via mail to the TimoCom customer.
What advantages have the dispatchers noticed? What has changed? Walter-Christoph Buhr describes the function of the new interface. “These days, our freight assignment employees only need to tick a box. The data is then transferred effortlessly to the TimoCom database. No more duplicate entries, no more wasted time.”
Not only that, completed tasks are removed so that they no longer slow things down. For example, once the right transport partner has been located, the freight offer is automatically deleted. This saves even more time and provides space to concentrate on other steps in the process. Another advantage: additional customer requests are simply easier to take care of with this new time saver.
The TimoCom interface TC Connect now allows for automatic transfer of the recorded orders (e.g. as a batch transfer). “Thanks to the seamless cooperation with our software developer, Gehr Datentechnik, and TimoCom, setting up and implementing the interface was easy as pie,” says Walter-Christoph Buhr, clearly pleased.
TC Connect has created a noticeable difference in the time it takes to carry out work processes. “We are saving about four hours each week,” says Walter-Christoph Buhr. Gehr Datentechnik, the TMS system provider, also profits from the digitalised process. It now has a competitive advantage as compared to TMS systems without a direct link to TimoCom.
TC Connect even provides a crucial return freight optimisation feature. The Buhr Group was able to create an established pool of transport partners, which in turn won them a whole host of new customers. And led to significant increases in profit.
A great example for the entire transport industry
The Buhr Group example provides a clear picture of the advantages of the interface connections (also known as application programming interfaces or APIs) offered by TimoCom. Lars Küpper, Solutions Manager at TimoCom says in summary: “They increase efficiency and speed within the daily work flow. And this is one of the most crucial points within the digitalisation process for the transport and logistics industry.”
It is easy for other companies to imagine that what worked for the Buhr Group, saving time and speeding up processes, might also work to optimise their work flows. “Industry awareness of digital solutions is rising, which is why more and more customers are asking TimoCom for help,” Küpper adds.
Digitalisation is not just some abstract word from academia and the press. It is happening within companies and is already helping to improve working conditions.