Tanks or stores filled, sales slip signed, wait a few days for the invoice to arrive: around a third of Germans currently heat with petroleum or wood pellets and are familiar with this process. This is because the fuels, like all liquids, gases, and bulk goods, are sold in bulk and invoiced according to the quantity delivered. This is an area where paper receipts and carbon copies are still commonplace. Yet the processes can be easily digitalized with mobile apps for logistics.
The transport of bulk goods is associated with special requirements that make storage, transport and handling costly. This is because the goods require such special means of transport that traders often have their own fleet of vehicles. After all, the dump trucks, sliding floor trailers and silos have to be equipped with all kinds of special technical features. Scales for solids, measuring sections and fittings for tank and silo vehicles. And in any case a receipt printer. Because unlike packaged goods and general cargo, bulk goods are not simply delivered, but sold directly from the vehicle. For this, the recipient has to confirm the delivery quantity on a delivery note, which is then invoiced at the agreed price. A process that requires additional manual effort: the handing in of the delivery notes by the truck driver, the transfer of the sales quantity into the customer file, the invoicing according to the offer and finally the sending of the invoice.
Digital processes for the transport of loose goods
Yet it could be much simpler. With the use of mobile apps in logistics, powerful applications for the documentation of processes have finally developed. They not only transmit delivery notes and receipts directly to the operative systems such as transport management (TMS) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). They also guide the driver through his tour, transmitting status data and estimated times of arrival (ETA). They can also provide the driver with valuable guidance on each customer and each individual unloading point, for example on registration processes or special equipment required for delivery. Thus, some tanks require a special type of connection adapter for fittings. And for fuel deliveries of heating oil or wood pellets, individual households need particularly long hose lengths that require a special vehicle. The only missing connection for completely digital processes in the transport of loose goods is currently still the transfer of quantity data from scales or measuring sections. This is a task that has long been technically feasible via contactless interfaces such as Bluetooth.
Apps improve efficiency in the transport of loose goods
With the appropriate connection, the processes involved in transporting loose goods can be made much more efficient. A driver then documents departure checks and, if necessary, compliance with the ADR regulations (Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route) when transporting dangerous goods digitally, directly linked to the relevant orders. He receives efficient routes from the dispatching department in his mobile device. On site during unloading, the delivery quantities are transferred directly from the calibrated device (scales or measuring track) into the app and acknowledged by the recipient on a digital delivery note. After the signature, the data is immediately available in the trader's ERP and automatically triggers the billing. The manual printout of delivery notes as well as their return and submission are no longer necessary. In addition, there is neither the danger of losing delivery notes before settlement nor the risk of transferring the data incorrectly.
Mobile apps reduce process costs
It is obvious that working paperless significantly reduces process costs. If only because the time-consuming processing of delivery notes is no longer necessary. The direct data transfer speeds up the process considerably by:
- immediate data exchange with the production systems
- automatic digital billing
- accelerated receipt of payment
In this way, the digital process helps to improve liquidity and reduce capital commitment. Because it also eliminates the need for time-consuming document handling, it increases the potential for outsourcing. For a simple paperless processes, freight forwarders offer themselves as a sensible and economical alternative to the factory fleet.
No more carbon copy: transporting loose goods efficiently
The time has come: digital and automatic processes are indispensable today even for the transport of unpacked goods. The potential for improvement through the process advantages outlined above is too great. At the same time, the commercial risk decreases considerably, and the data transfer becomes a customer service – because incorrect invoicing hardly ever occurs anymore. Mobile apps efficiently control the transport and sale of loose goods. Therefore, not investing now is too expensive in the long run.