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Dock & Yard Management

Collaborative Inbound Logistics: More Efficient Procurement Processes Thanks to Software

Robert Ibisch

Logistics has changed significantly since the times of the ancient trade routes. From the caravans along the Silk Road to today's ultra-modern supply chains, inbound logistics in particular has emerged as a crucial part of the supply chain. However, this brings with it new demands on yard management that can no longer be met with outdated methods. Instead of logistics chains, collaborative networks that create transparency between logistics partners are required - but this is easier said than done. The necessary support is provided by modern tools in the form of IT and software solutions.

Inbound Logistics: Goals and Processes

Inbound logistics is at the beginning of the supply chain before the warehouse or production and therefore also before the yard. It includes all processes from procurement to the dispatch of goods. It follows a simple principle: only if the delivery reaches the logistics yard at the right time can production or goods handling continue on time or seamlessly. However, this uncomplicated principle conceals many individual processes with their own challenges. On closer inspection, these can be divided into four aspects that should be considered in parallel:

 1. Integration of Different IT Systems and Data

The inbound process usually starts with an order or a delivery call-off. The supplier usually receives this (or these) from the customer's ERP system. Once an order confirmation is received, it is up to the supplier to provide the goods in accordance with the Incoterm. In the case of a collection clause such as "Ex Works", it is the client's responsibility to collect the goods from the supplier. This is usually done by a forwarding agent. If an arrival clause such as "Delivery at Place" applies instead, the supplier is obliged to transport the goods to the shipper.

Infographic Incoterms EXM & DAP

2. Cooperation

If the client and supplier agree and come to a deal, the supplier notifies the delivery by sending information such as the number and type of products, containers and the delivery date. This data is crucial in order to be able to provide the required number and type of transport vehicles. If the customer is responsible for transportation or commissions a forwarding agent (Incoterm: EXW), he can now collect the goods from the supplier's premises. Otherwise (Incoterm: DAP), the latter must arrange for delivery. The person responsible for transportation then books his appointments with the shipper at best and the goods leave the supplier's yard.

3. Real-Time Transportation Visibility

Once the order is on the move, attention is required: if delays such as traffic jams or accidents occur, the person responsible for transportation should know about them immediately. However, this is only possible if they can keep an eye on their fleet at all times. In this way, they can forward the delay to the shipper immediately if necessary. How the shipper ultimately receives the information is a question of visualization.

4. Visualization

Only when the client is sufficiently informed can he plan reliably. To do this, he needs periodic updates on the whereabouts of his order. Without further information, he can only rely on the booked time slot. Transparency is therefore particularly important when it comes to transportation by a carrier or supplier. The most important information therefore includes business, process and object information transmitted at an early stage, which the client can compare with his time planning - keyword: tracking & tracing.

Example: Inbound Thrives on Transparency

The worst-case scenario has occurred: the truck has had an accident and the carrier forgets to inform the client out of sheer annoyance. Nevertheless, he sends a new vehicle to deliver the goods as quickly as possible despite the delay. His client is still counting on a delivery within the agreed time window - in vain. When the truck arrives at the logistics yard almost three hours late, the planned storage space is already occupied by another item.

Waiting Worker

This scenario can be prevented with transparent communication between the logistics partners: the delay caused by the accident is annoying, but the supply chain is far from broken. If the carrier were to inform the shipper of the incident, the latter could keep the storage space free and accept the delivery later without any problems. The short message would therefore only be a small effort, but it would make a big difference to the overall process.

Benefits of Seamless Inbound Processes

If, on the other hand, there are no delays or the client is informed of them in good time, inbound logistics can proceed according to plan. This opens up many advantages for the shipper, supplier and freight forwarder:

Transparent Processes

Transparent processes are not only a prerequisite for inbound logistics, but also a major advantage. All parties can rely on the fact that they have a complete overview of the processes and are immediately informed of any changes.

Planning Reliability

Planning reliability also goes hand in hand with an increase in performance: companies can plan their personnel and resources in advance and optimally for the tasks ahead.

Satisfied Employees and Customers

If the announced delivery arrives too late or not at all, the employees have come to work for nothing and the customer is also waiting in vain for their order. A premature receipt of goods in turn causes stress in the logistics yard. The situation is different with scheduled inbound logistics. This allows staff to finish work on time and the customer receives their goods on the promised delivery date.

New Optimization Potential

In a smooth supply chain, it quickly becomes clear in which process steps there are delays despite the otherwise problem-free process. Tracking and evaluating these delays can help to identify new potential for optimization that previously remained hidden under the logistics chaos.

More Flexible Processes

Fluctuating market conditions and seasonality require maximum flexibility in logistics. If companies lack the necessary overview of their own supply chain, they cannot react to everyday changes in the market in good time. Conversely, first-class management of your own inbound logistics improves your competitiveness.

Safety

We've all been there: the delivery is damaged and the blame is quickly shifted to the other party. Instead, early quality control and documentation of the process steps help to trace the damage quickly and reliably.

Stronger Supplier Relationships

Reliable planning not only has advantages for the shipper. Delivery drivers can also set off for their next order on time without long waiting times. Seamless inbound processes save time and money for everyone involved and strengthen the business relationship.

Mastering Inbound Logistics with Software Solutions

The countless inbound process steps and multi-layered levels can seem intimidating at first glance - especially if you have previously relied on Excel lists that are difficult to keep track of. However, in order to benefit from the advantages mentioned above, a holistic overview of your own supply chain is crucial. The necessary support is provided by digital solutions in conjunction with a well-maintained master data base. As is so often the case, which software is best suited to the individual use case depends on the requirements of the respective logistics or industry. Nevertheless, there are some functions that are essential for the optimal management of inbound logistics. For example, the system used should make it possible to communicate easily with logistics partners. Automatic documentation of information and process steps also helps to track critical processes and errors.

Secure Inbound Logistics through Complete Tracking

The ability to integrate upstream systems is also a more than advantageous function in the inbound area. On the one hand, this allows the software to obtain the required data fully automatically via the interfaces. On the other hand, the feature provides an essential basis for the complete tracking of pre-carriage, main carriage and onward carriage, which also benefits outbound logistics. The data from the upstream systems, such as the transport management and ERP systems, could be used to track the individual goods items instead of the corresponding load carriers or vehicles. As a result, the shipper would always be informed about the status of their orders and could plan reliably. However, the seamless integration of upstream systems is often not possible for various reasons. This is where the myleo / dsc logistics solution comes into play, which provides precisely this basis.

Ideal Inbound Logistics with myleo / dsc

As a collaborative platform, myleo / dsc combines all the key features for managing inbound logistics. The supply chain partners can exchange information as quickly as possible in the form of digital status messages or inquiries. The system clearly displays the current process flows for each user so that it is clear where the delivery is currently located. To this end, myleo / dsc offers comprehensive tracking overviews for road and rail transport. In addition, all established upstream systems such as SAP or Oracle can be easily integrated into the software. This means that the system can not only pull the required data automatically, but also provides an essential basis for detailed tracking of the pre-, main or post-carriage.

As a service provider, myleo / dsc also supports its customers with its many years of expertise in the field of interfaces. Do you want to sustainably strengthen your inbound logistics with myleo / dsc? You can find more information about our yard management solution here: Dock & Yard Management

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