Automatic communications per VDA 4945 and 4996 at Mercedes-Benz
What is the challenge?
The Schnug Logistic Group is one of Mercedes-Benz’s regional contract freight forwarders and regularly transports automotive parts from Zwickau to the Mercedes-Benz lorry plant in Wörth. Vehicle loads are scheduled for just-in-time delivery at the production site. Exact progress updates on the lorry transport allow the vehicle manufacturer and its internal logistics specialists to better prepare the production processes. This reduces the turnaround times of the vehicles making deliveries at the plant. This requires a direct, simple way to communicate between the destination plant and the lorry.
To obtain the kind of precise information needed for production control purposes, Schnug wanted a communication solution to connect the vehicle and logistics schedulers in a single process:
- Digital sign-in of the lorry at the start of the trip
- Regular, automatic status updates (every 15 minutes)
- Calculation of estimated time of arrival (ETA)
- Electronic authentication upon entering the plant
- Automatic dock assignment
- Digital destination routing with waypoints
An integrated communication process was created based on VDA Recommendations 4945 and 4996 for electronic data interchange (EDI) in the automotive industry. This process runs alongside the plant’s inbound traffic control system. To utilise the process, Schnug Logistic Group drivers sign in to the trip on their smartphone using their license plate and cargo manifest number.
Every 15 minutes, the vehicle communicates its current position in the HABBL app and – based on current traffic conditions – the estimated time of arrival to the time slot management system at the production plant while en route. When the vehicle reaches a predefined distance from the destination site, the HABBL app announces that the delivery is about to arrive. The destination site then instructs drivers to drive up directly to the gate. The system takes its cues from how busy the loading docks are: If the vehicle will probably have to wait to unload, drivers will be given plenty of advance notice before the arrival so that they can take their next break early. Immediately before arriving at the destination, the plant’s control software sends a barcode to the HABBL app so drivers can authenticate themselves at the gate. Once they have passed the gate, they receive navigation instructions and a digital map for the best route to their unloading point. Drivers no longer need to personally sign in separately. “HABBL always keeps our dispatchers and the plant logistics team in Wörth updated on the progress of the trip. As a result, we can collaboratively manage the processes to minimise the time lorries spend behind the plant’s gates. That makes it much more likely that drivers can pick up a backhaul load after making the delivery. Furthermore, we handle all the communications for drivers so they can devote their full attention to the road,” said Maximilian Leven.
A family business in its fourth generation, Schnug Logistic Group provides transport, warehousing and contract logistics services. The Solingen-based company also offers logistics solutions and individual services for a wide range of challenges.