Case study: Integrated GPS Tracking for Transport Logistics of the Future

How Spedition Schwarz increased service quality dramatically with one simple interface.


Erkrath, Germany, 2017-11-28 - How do you automatically transfer information on the position of a truck belonging to a short term transport partner into your own TMS (transport management system)? The large company and ELVIS - member of Spedition Schwarz - approached TimoCom, who run Europe’s largest transport platform, with that very question. Together with the internationally active IT specialist Arvarto Systems, TimoCom developed not just a solution for this particular use-case, but rather for a key problem in today’s transport industry. The result is an interface that enables GPS data from contracted transport service providers to be received and processed at any time - improving the service quality and customer satisfaction for transport orders.

What was the challenge?

Spedition Schwarz covers 80 percent of their 80,000 annual transports using their own vehicle fleet of 250 trucks. The remaining 20 percent of the jobs are covered by transport partners from the TimoCom platform. With up to 350 journeys a day, up to 100 additional providers are engaged by the company using the platform on busy days. Unlike their own fleet, these transport partners use a variety of telematics providers which transfer data in different formats. Integrating all of these interfaces would have been extremely complex and expensive. But Spedition Schwarz are certain that this information is essential for monitoring transports.

 “Just like with our own vehicles, we want to integrate positional data of our transport partners into our TMS in order to calculate arrival times. To be exact, it is extremely important to us that we recognise issues early, so that preventative measures can be introduced immediately. If that is not possible, at least we can proactively inform the customer of the potential late arrival”, explains Oliver Ocker, Authorised Representative and Key Account Manager at Spedition Schwarz. 


How was it solved?

Spedition Schwarz’s request was exactly the right challenge for Luise Thönnes and Philipp Schmidt, Product Managers at TimoCom. After all, ever since the introduction of the tracking function in 2013, TimoCom has also worked as a hub for positional data on platform user’s vehicles. This was achieved by integrating more than 230 telematic providers. To allow Spedition Schwarz to further process the positional data of their transport partners, TimoCom built an interface which allows other systems to access the GPS data and query it in a unified format. Within this framework, the transport management expansion “best4log-x”, which Spedition Schwarz uses, was expanded by Arvato Systems, the provider of the program. “Supporting our customers in their daily work is our primary goal. With our pilot-partner Spedition Schwarz and Arvato Systems, their IT specialist, we were able to implement the desired interface within a month. Everyone was very welcoming, there were no problems at all” says Luise Thönnes from TimoCom. Arvato Systems also sees added value in implementing the new interface: “Thanks to the GPS interface from TimoCom, we were able to further upgrade Spedition Schwarz’s TMS and better support digital workflows” says Dirk Tiegler, Key Account Manager at Arvato Systems.


What does it do?

“Unntil now, we had to call transport service companies using a different system to us and ask about the status of the delivery, then enter all the information manually into the TMS. It took a lot of time, and the information was not always 100 percent accurate”, reports Oliver Ocker. Philipp Schmidt agrees: “As long as exchanging data requires manual steps, the process is not just more expensive, as it is more time intensive, but also subject to errors.”

Thanks to the GPS interface, Spedition Schwarz can now automatically see if a transport partner has been delayed, and inform their customer directly. Considering that there are up to 100 trucks hired by Spedition Schwarz via TimoCom every day, the interface saves the company a lot of time. “The most important thing, however, is that the trust and satisfaction of our customers has risen”,  says Ocker pleased.

Conclusion: application paves the way for other platform users

To use the interface, customers require the tracking solution TC eMap®, , available free of charge to all TimoCom users. Even smaller companies can increase their competitive edge, as Oliver Ocker confirms: “Granting tracking permission via TimoCom is simple. And has a strong effect! As a transport partner, I immediately appear more trustworthy and reliable. And it is important not to forget that tracking helps protect against cargo theft.” 

Other interested customers now also have access to the TimoCom GPS interface. “The interface functions like a universal plug that can quickly and easily dock with your system,” Thönnes explains. For the transport industry, this means that even short term transport relationships can be automatically and digitally tracked using the interface. In turn, this helps both business partners to achieve higher transparency, quality and security.


You can find more information on the TimoCom telematic interface at https://www.timocom.co.uk/Tracking/Vehicle-localisation

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