The Freight Logistics business unit at Rhenus encompasses the Road as well as Air & Ocean units. That means we offer logistics solutions for all modes of transportation, whether via land, water or air. Plus, we move a diverse range of goods across the globe at terms to suit all needs. And one thing is for sure: we do it with extreme professionalism, quickly, safely and reliably. To find out the kind of tasks and challenges our people are confronted with, take a look behind the scenes from four different perspectives.
Local or long-distance transportation? This is down to which department within dispatch at Rhenus takes on the job. Local shipping is handled by dispatchers who coordinate transportation using our own vehicles or those of partner companies. Whether the order is for a carmaker or supplier of household appliances, dispatchers always have to keep an eye on maximum load factors for our trucks. The aim is to deploy a minimum number of vehicles to transport the goods while avoiding empty runs. To optimize capacity planning, the delivery area is divided into separate regions with fixed routes always served by the same drivers. Additionally, dispatchers have a special transportation management system to help them check consignment distribution. Of course, quality is just as important as getting the most out of vehicle capacity: Were the goods delivered on time? Did drivers meet a specific quota of deliveries? Were there disruptions such as poor weather conditions or strikes? Keeping tabs on all these things is a highly demanding job. That is why our first dispatchers get to work at 1 am to start planning. Loading gets underway between 5 am and 6 am. By 10 am, all the drivers should be en route. The first trucks reach their destination for unloading from 2 pm. It is essential to have a good grasp of geography coupled with flexibility and organizational flair.
For an accurate picture of Freight Logistics' operational and strategic position, you need to ask a good many questions: How has the business area developed over the last 12 months and what future trends are emerging? What impact would prospective customers have on overall transportation volumes? Our controllers deliver the answers-drawing on internal key performance indicators. They combine operative figures such as the number of consignments, weights and volumes with selected financial indicators from the business area. The findings help managing directors and brand managers to reach business targets. Additionally, controllers can determine, for instance, how costs are impacted by changes in transportation weights, or how the shipment of goods between sites affects the network as a whole. These figures allow specific measures to be drawn up that are instrumental in costing new projects. So what makes a good controller? The ability to work professionally with numbers, of course, but also a highly analytical mind.
The automobile control station for the Road Freight business area has its work cut out-coordinating and supervising all pan-European shipments of components as well as finished and replacement parts for an automotive plant. Narrow timeframes only make it all the more challenging. After all, missing the window can mean that production lines grind to a halt. Making sure everything that goes into producing a car gets there on time calls for the control station and customer to be on exactly the same page. That is why we have measures in place including a special Internet portal allowing us to access all the manufacturer's up-to-the-minute data. Via this system, dispatch advices are issued for goods from all over Europe, which are then delivered to on of our transshipment center. At any one of our transshipment sites, some 2,500 consignments comprising up to 15,000 different parts are processed daily. Hitting the mark in terms of quantity, quality and timing is critical. It is also vital that changes in the carmaker's product planning are factored in-for instance, when a number of engine options call for different parts. Without the control station's utmost flexibility, the wheels would soon start turning slowly. Flexibility is fundamental to a lasting customer relationship built on trust.
To keep Rhenus on the competitive cutting edge, it is essential that we streamline processes across borders and establish common standards for all branches. This is where the network team comes in. Not involved in day-to-day business operations, it provides support at a superordinate level, serving as a vital link between the operational areas and management. The team's responsibilities include standardizing partnership agreements, setting basic tariffs as well as establishing and expanding our international network of partners so that our transportation services provide blanket coverage. To this end, operational data is fed into the internal IT system as the basis for further analysis and assessment. The network team also takes care of analyzing the entire route network and developing new route concepts for the future. At the end of the day, everyone benefits from the network team's efforts because they are free to focus fully on operational matters. Here, too, whoever wants to get ahead as a member of the network team has to be razor-sharp analytically.