The company approaches the topic from two sides. On the one hand, with a focus on improving internal processes, and on the other hand, with regard to continuous networking with customers and partners via interfaces. "We can already see from this rough division that digitisation is not synonymous with flipping a switch that sets it in motion", emphasises inTime Managing Director Gerd Röttger. "Rather, we're dealing with a bundle of restructurings that may seem isolated in themselves, but in the medium term create a unified picture." Ultimately, everything is about improving work processes, automating them and thus gaining time and capacity. "Of course, in those issues where it is possible," says Gerd Röttger. "Entrusting a specialist with scanning paper documents simply doesn't make sense if an IT system takes over and assigns it via photo recognition." Especially since, in times of a shortage of skilled workers, inTime wants its experts to work on more complex tasks where automation has not been possible so far.
Fleet management as one of the most important learning areas
"How long can you work today?" It was not long ago that the dispatcher asked the specialist behind the wheel this question on the phone. At inTime, this is a thing of the past with the introduction of a driver app and the software solution for fleet control "RIO". It is the central platform on which inTime collects the necessary data: Driving style, fuel consumption or driving and rest times. "We map our entire fleet here," says Gerd Röttger. "We evaluate the collected data via Business Intelligence (BI) tools. This includes working hours, for example. We have an overview of fuel consumption or can identify training needs for our driving personnel." The same applies to the processes on the transshipment hall. "Almost every physical process on the hall must also be represented digitally. Even if, for example, the performance of the forklift driver is manual," says Kai Wischeropp, IT manager at inTime. "To this end, we have initiated a warehouse logistics project. We track all movements of warehouse items from goods receipt to goods issue. But that alone is not enough. We feed this information into our self-developed software Cargosoft to make it usable for many.”
Full networking with customers
This also includes external dialogue partners. In relations with customers and transport partners, the idea of digitalisation has long since become part of everyday life. The keyword is "interface". "We provide a large part of our services for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and 1st and 2nd tier companies from the automotive industry", emphasises Gerd Röttger. "The business relationships have grown over the years. Just like the trust to keep working on refining solutions. This together with the customer, because both sides have the same interest in simplification." Gerd Röttger cites order transmission as an example. In the beginning, this was done by phone call, but then structured e-mails were gradually added, which, however, were also transmitted via software in a rather time-consuming way. "Today, the order is sent via an interface that allows us to seamlessly transmit status reports, delivery receipts and even the final invoice," says Gerd Röttger. "What's the saying? We want to be paperless," adds Kai Wischeropp. "Every document that can no longer be printed out is symbolic of a growing degree of maturity in digitalisation. However, this still has to get into the heads of many comrades-in-arms and partners", says Wischeropp. "We say quite clearly: the customers who communicate with us quickly via the interface automatically move up in priority. Especially in times of scarce freight space, this is a very big benefit," says Gerd Röttger.
Processes mean cultural change
The human factor remains crucial because employees have to be integrated into the change. "While everyone uses digital media as a matter of course in their private lives, in the business environment it is necessary for colleagues to recognise the advantages for their area of responsibility," emphasises Gerd Röttger. Therefore, it is the task of the specialist departments beforehand to analyse the overall process with IT and to consider contingencies. "If a driver records the delivery digitally via photo, it simplifies his work. But this photo also serves as proof for the customer or triggers the billing process for us," says Kai Wischeropp. "You have to define in advance which benefit who should have along the digitalised chain and in what form." "Digitisation in itself is always possible. But since we live in a networked world, the company that leads the way can also come up with the best new solutions. That's what we want to be," says Gerd Röttger. But one thing is clear to the Managing Director: "We will always have areas that we cannot completely digitalise. But together as a workforce in the company, we have to adjust to the fact that digitalisation will change our task structures." In many areas, the requirements will become more specific because specialists will take over the part where digitisation is simply not sensible or possible. This can only be done step by step. Digitisation is a process. "In logistics, there is still no uniform digital supply chain. There are a lot of media discontinuities. We have to come to a uniform standard here," says Kai Wischeropp. "We still have a lot of plans and want to continue to become the drivers of innovative processes in logistics," adds Gerd Röttger.