Communicate sales volumes digitally and bill faster
What is the challenge?
The CARBO Group uses its own fleet of vehicles to supply liquid carbonic acid to beverage manufacturers, food producers, industrial companies and others. These companies then use the naturally occurring gas in a variety of applications – to carbonate fizzy drinks, for pest control when producing dried organic products without toxic pesticides, in greenhouses to accelerate photosynthesis or to produce dry ice for cooling food or vaccines. Delivery drivers need various bits of customer-specific information to supply customers without a hitch. This includes, for example, carrying the appropriate connection adapters, having a loading certificate issued at the filling point if requested by the customer, and knowing the capacity of the recipient’s tank beyond any doubt. The provider summarised all these tasks in a driver’s manual that was carried in every driver’s cab. Even with all this meticulous preparation, process errors would still happen and end up costing CARBO valuable time and money. As an example, drivers would repeatedly return to the filling station because they had forgotten the loading certificate. In addition, invoices could not be issued to the customers following the filling process until the delivery note physically arrived at CARBO’s administrative office. With its digital end-to-end process, CARBO speeds up procedures and minimises the risk of user error.
A digital solution had to be found to replace the driver’s manual, which would also reduce the amount of training required before deliveries. In addition, CARBO wanted to seamlessly upload delivery volumes from the vehicle “measurement loops” to the accounting system without having to re-enter everything. This would prevent document losses and transmission errors when transcribing volume data. The new solution was to implement a digital workflow that would guide the drivers through every single decision:
- Carry the appropriate adapter piece for the receiving tank.
- Request a filling certificate when loading per the customer’s request.
- Identify and use the appropriate connector piece in the field.
- Show the maximum fill volume in the receiving tank.
- Transfer the delivery volume to the transport management system after filling.
The most important goal in implementing the new solution was to digitalise all possible work steps in a way that would eliminate virtually all process errors. Everything had to be seamless with no data re-entry.
Instead of analogue workflows, CARBO implemented an overall digital process built around the HABBL app. The mobile workflow management software guides delivery drivers through every individual step of their delivery route. Their mobile device shows them directly which connection piece they will need at their destination and tells them right at the start of the trip whether a filling certificate will be required. On the way to the unloading point, the HABBL app automatically checks the vehicle’s position data and calls ahead upon reaching an agreed distance from the destination. The software also supports drivers in the field: As they rarely find fill volume information on the recipients’ tanks, the app reminds them of the maximum container volume immediately before filling starts. When filling is complete, the HABBL app prompts the drivers to take the reading of the fill volume from the vehicle’s calibrated meter and transmit it to the carbonic acid manufacturer's transport management system. CARBO has retrofitted the dashboards of its vehicles with a Bluetooth data transfer module for this very purpose. To receive the information by radio data transmission, the developer team has also programmed a Flow app that sends the reading to the HABBL app. From there, the data is transmitted directly to the company’s headquarters and stored with the customer order. This process also automatically initiates the billing process for the order. In the past, it would take up to two weeks for a delivery note to reach the carbonic acid manufacturer’s accounting department. “We’ve managed to implement the digital processes that I had been wanting for more than ten years. The software has given us the means to do it. HABBL and the Flow app have enabled us to digitalise every possible work step during distribution and have a state-of-the-art overall process. Now, the only function where we can still add seamless communications is in billing, where we could transmit the data via EDI instead of email. That will have to be our next goal,” said Dreeser.
The CARBO Group is headquartered in Bad Hönningen and maintains numerous branches and sales partners throughout Germany with 170 employees. The CARBO team has been supplying customers in Germany and neighbouring European countries with liquid carbonic acid in tank trucks or as general cargo in compressed gas cylinders and dry ice boxes since 1910. CARBO is one of the largest manufacturers of natural carbonic acid of volcanic origin and also sells biogenic carbonic acid from renewable raw materials as well as recycled carbonic acid from chemical processes in order to meet the high quality requirements of its customers and ensure a sustainable carbon footprint. CARBO offers its customers – who hail from sectors such as hospitality, brewing, beverage production, food processing and pharmaceuticals – an all-round service: a one-stop shop from everything from application equipment and installation to maintenance and supply.