At first glance, the logistics industry presents itself as it has been doing for decades: the picture is dominated by containers, cranes, gigantic ships and endless freight trains. But behind this façade, global data networks and highly specialised computer programs have long been the most important tools for keeping global goods traffic going.
“The digital revolution in logistics opens new opportunities for the entire manufacturing industry through higher delivery reliability and shorter turnaround times,” explains Monica Rintersbacher, Managing Director of Leitbetriebe Austria, on the occasion of the “Logistics and the Digital World”-Day, organised by Leitbetriebe Austria, cargo- partner and Ennshafen, Upper Austria.
By tracking the transport goods and information platforms, through which all players in the logistics chain – suppliers, hauliers, ports, transporters, receivers, etc. – can access data, the possibilities of digitisation are far from exhausted. The globally operating Austrian forwarding company cargo-partner now supports its customers under the name “Purchase Order Management” in controlling the production process at suppliers in order to further increase delivery and scheduling reliability.
“Many customers just do not have their own employees on the spot, to check, for example, in Asia, whether the production of ordered goods is also on schedule. We carry out these checks for our customers and then respond automatically to a change in the transport planning in case of problems, for example by offering air or rail alternatives to an originally planned sea transport,” said cargo-partner CEO Stefan Krauter. The logistics chain will thus be integrated even more closely into networked production processes, thereby creating more planning security for customers.
Werner Auer, Managing Director of Ennshafen OÖ GmbH, is in the same vein: “Capacity planning in the port is now also heavily influenced by the networking of information. It is not enough to wait for what we are told by hauliers and freight forwarders, but we ourselves have to do our part. We are currently working as one of three Danube ports on a cross-company Port Community System. This ensures us the earliest possible information about expected deliveries and increases port operation efficiency. “
Otto Hawlicek, Managing Director of Container Terminal Enns, who manages container handling in Ennshafen, explained that the rapid pace of digitisation in logistics is the result of a large number of individual measures, which in total led to a completely different unaccompanied combined transport handling system today, as compared to just a few years ago. “We have accelerated and optimised virtually every part of the work process and have significantly improved our performance. These include, among other things, tools for direct communication between terminal, customers and service providers, automated container handling at the gate, and optimised crane driving. In the coming years, other major projects are on the agenda, such as slot management for lorries, to prevent overloading at the terminal through targeted information or autonomous driving of industrial trucks.