Three-year collaboration results in integrated planning and management platform, app for truck drivers, and services for material and transportation planners.
Every morning at 7:30 a.m. sharp, a truck leaves the Bosch plant in Homburg. It travels to a number of suppliers in sequence, all located within a 60 kilometer radius of the plant, picking up goods that Bosch requires to manufacture hydraulic components. Knowing whether the truck has reached all its stops on time, whether it is stuck in traffic, or whether the loading process is behind schedule is important for the material and transportation planners at the plant. “Thanks to the IT platform and new mobile app we developed for truck drivers as part of the ProveIT research project, material and transportation planners can monitor the plant’s entire supply chain and know how to respond if there is a disruption,” said Dr. Markus Bauer, program manager for logistics IT at Bosch.
Pooling real-time data
Using the app, the driver records all important incidents: departure time, arrival, the beginning and end of a loading process, onward departure, and delays in transit. This real-time data is pooled and made available on the ProveIT platform.” Bauer headed up the three-year research project ProveIT (production plan-based recovery of vehicle routing plans within integrated transport networks), which aimed to create a system for the smooth operation of connected logistics chains. In addition to Bosch, six further companies and institutions took part in the publicly funded project, which has now been successfully completed, with tangible results. Besides the ProveIT platform and the app for truck drivers, these include services for material and transportation planners.
Is an extra trip really necessary?
A deviation management feature built into the platform weighs up a variety of options and their consequences. For example, if a truck is stuck in a traffic jam, the platform calculates whether it makes sense to complete the route in spite of the delay, or whether a second truck should be sent straight to the suppliers whose goods are needed most urgently on the shop floor. The platform computes which decision makes most economic sense. Researchers have developed a range of disruption services for this issue. Such services include emails sent to transportation planners’ inboxes, or notifications that appear on their computer screens. “Using our digital tools, companies can improve utilisation of their trucks’ capacity, decrease transport costs, lower their CO2 emissions, and make their transportation planners’ work easier,” Bauer says.
A strong partner in the project group
Seven partners were involved in ProveIT: the software developers PTV and LOCOM, the industrial enterprises Bosch and ZF, the logistics company Geis, and the Research Center for Information Technology (FZI) and the Institute for Materials Handling and Logistics (IFL), both of which are part of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The research project was headed up by Bosch and supported financially by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Further development of the app
Following the completion of the research project, Bosch entered into an alliance with FZI. The two partners want to develop additional applications such as digital freight documents, and to incorporate these into Bosch’s transport processes.