Tielbeke offers excellent customer service thanks to accurate arrival times
- Measure punctuality to increase transparency and accountability
- Improve ETA calculation and automate delay alerts
- Assign ramp slots flexibly
Companies are becoming inreasingly demanding when it comes to arrival times. They no longer accept vague arrival estimates such as "sometime in the afternoon"; they want to know exactly when the delivery vehicle will arrive at the ramp. That's why Tielbeke wants to offer its customers an improved Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). Tielbeke, a Dutch logistics service provider, is the first company in Benelux to use PTV Drive&Arrive.
Connecting TMS with route planning
Discipline and punctuality are two key values in Tielbeke's transport activities, and IT systems are essential to excel in these areas. The logistics service provider uses TAS – the Transport Management System from Wolters Kluwer Transport Services for its order and route administration and its invoicing. As this is linked to their Transics on-board computers, the company is able to monitor every route, enabling complete tracking & tracing.
Tielbeke operates in a close network with the logistics companies Teamtrans and DHB. They share buildings, depots and a common software environment. Alongside the TMS, they have set up a web order entry & information system (WOEI). The three companies can manually enter item shipments into this online system or import them from their own systems. "All transport orders placed through the WOEI go directly into our TMS, and the TMS immediately divides them up: Which orders are for delivery in the Teamtrans or DHB networks, and which orders are for our own region? We then plan our routes based on the orders for our own region," explains Hessel Jonkman, ICT and Relationships Manager at Tielbeke.
Tielbeke relies on PTV Group's logistics software for its route planning: "Manual planning is impossible if you need to deliver 3000 items every day. It simply takes too long. With route planning software the scheduling can be done by a single planner," says Jonkman.
Punctuality is crucial for the entire logistics chain. Customers hold Tielbeke accountable for punctual deliveries. However, Tielbeke itself relies on its partners Teamtrans and DHB to perform well. And Tielbeke's performance plays a crucial role in the other carriers' customer satisfaction levels. That's why all partners rigorously measure their performance and charge each other based on it. "Every evening, we come up with an estimated arrival time (ETA) for each stop. The actual delivery time may differ from the ETA by a maximum of one hour, but sometimes that leads to problems. For example, in our planning we assume that a lorry will leave at 6 am, but for one reason or another, it sometimes ends up leaving a bit later. If the lorry leaves at 8 am, every stop will be two hours late," explains Jonkman.
Improving ETA calculation with PTV Drive&Arrive
In order to provide even more accurate ETAs, Tielbeke has launched a pilot with PTV Drive&Arrive. This is a service based on an online platform through which carriers can plan a route, including all the stops. The platform assigns a unique ID number to every route, and PTV Drive&Arrive then continuously calculates the current ETA. Thanks to the unique ID number, the new ETA can be communicated automatically to both the carrier and its customers. Customers can specify exactly when and how they want to receive these updates – e.g. via email, text message or the WOEI platform. After all, recipients don't want to be sent a new ETA every five minutes, especially if it's virtually or exactly the same as the previous time. PTV Drive&Arrive can be configured so that customers only receive a message if the ETA changes by more than half an hour, or an hour.
Assigning docks based on the ETA
Tielbeke is initially uploading routes manually to the PTV Drive&Arrive platform, but it could be completely automated. TMS supplier Wolters Kluwer Transport Services has already begun implementing the API connection that PTV has provided for this. "Drive&Arrive is exciting, not only for our customers, but also for us. If we know what time a truck will arrive at our warehouse, we can assign a dock to that truck in advance and automatically send a message to inform the driver," explains Jonkman.
Other carriers showing interest
Because PTV Drive&Arrive is a cloud-based solution, the ETA calculation can be performed using up-to-date traffic information. The calculation is based on the same algorithms that form the core of PTV's planning solutions. PTV Group charges 15 cents per route for the use of this service. "We are the first company in Benelux to use Drive & Arrive, but other carriers in the Teamtrans and DHB networks are now also showing interest in it. This is particularly the case for the carriers in the DHB network, who are all already using planning solutions from PTV Group," mentions Jonkman.
Just like Tielbeke, the other carriers are also interested in improving their customer service. According to Jonkman: "That's the most important reason to start using Drive&Arrive. We want to be able to keep our customers better informed, which they are also asking for. We currently provide ETAs with a margin of two hours. If we will soon be able operate more accurately, then we might be able to reduce that to one hour, or even less."
The Dutch logistics company Tielbeke provides transport, distribution and warehousing. Local and regional deliveries account for around half of its revenues. The other half comes from dedicated transports to large retailers such as Lidl, Albert Heijn and Kruidvat. The company owns around 220 vehicles and 240 trailer units and operates in a close network with the logistics companies Teamtrans and DHB.