How to increase revenues in LTL logistics? How to optimize load factors and prevent overloads on outbound freight trucks? Mobile weighing can be the answer. A business case on implementing RAVAS scales on forklift trucks and electric pallet trucks.
Weighing data in cross docking operations
Recently, RAVAScarried out a business case study with a global logistics provider. The main goal for the project was to obtain the exact weight of each pallet in its cross docking operation with the least possible impact on its offloading and loading procedures. The generated data on material flows has been integrated in the current software applications of the logistics company, with the least possible changes made to the customer's TMS.
With this specific business case, the logistics provider wanted to achieve an optimization process in two different result areas. On the one hand, revenues should increase by re-invoicing surplus pallet weight. So when customers declare a certain weight for their pallet loads and the real weight turns out to be higher upon arrival, the costs can be re-invoiced. On the other hand, the logistics company wished to optimize load factors and prevent overloads. By knowing the exact weight of every pallet, truck loads can be planned exactly, maximizing load factors while avoiding overloads.
RAVAS' customer invested both in hardware and software. First of all, a number of forklift trucks and electric pallet trucks were equipped with a RAVAS scale, integrated in the forks. The weight display on the truck included a WiFi module to communicate with the TMS (Transport Management System) over the wireless network of the customer. The weight scales were certified 'legal for trade', to allow invoicing of the weight measured. Handheld devices that emulate the TMS were already in use on the trucks. Together with RAVAS, an app was built as communication interface between the TMS and the scale fleet.
New work cycle
The approach of this business case has resulted in a new, more efficient work cycle for the logistics provider. In the new situation, pallet weights are obtained while offloading the inbound pallet, without taking the goods out of the process, in the flow. All the truck operator does, is scan the label on the pallet for ID. The weight sampling is automated. The added weight sampling procedure has minimal impact on existing cross docking operations. Here are the steps in chronological order.
At the start of a shift, the handheld device scans a barcode on the scale display. This barcode holds the IP address of the WiFi module in the scale display. In the TMS, this handheld device is now linked to a specific scale. The two remain linked in the TMS until the device scans a new IP address.
The scale truck lifts a pallet, the weight of the pallet immediately appears in the display.
The truck operator scans the pallet label for the pallet ID. This opens the data set for the shipment in the TMS and triggers the TMS to interrogate the scale linked to the handheld device for the pallet weight. The pallet weight is added to the data set for the shipment.
This is repeated for each pallet that is being loaded or offloaded.
Return on Investment
Two ROI studies were conducted by the customer. One was done before investing, as part of the business case. Another was done sometime after implementing the first batch of scales. Both studies proved a significant benefit from using the RAVAS scales. For that reason, the customer has continued to invest in scales on their forklifts for three years now.