SMS Gateway supports logistics

The logistics department at the Bitburger Brewery Group, together with its IT department, was faced with the challenge of optimizing communication between truck drivers and the logistics team in yard management. Previously, drivers were notified via an electronic display of where to pick up the goods to be transported. As a result of a conversion in 2017, the old solution no longer met the company’s needs. A new communication solution had to be invented.

The popularity and widespread use of smartphones meant that the solution was obvious: communicate with the drivers using SMS. After all, each driver carries a smartphone with them.  

In order to inform the driver seamlessly via SMS, the Bitburger Brewery Group has opted for the SMS gateway. The ease of sending SMS messages via the HTTP API and/or email is what sets the SMS Gateway apart. The connection to the SAP system also allows the driver concerned to be informed via SMS from the system.

The following well established process is now in place for when the truck drivers collect the goods: 
The truck passes the entrance to the parking lot and is detected using a camera. This takes a photo of the truck and scans the license plate. The truck driver then parks in the parking lot and goes into the reception building. There, the driver logs on at a self-service terminal, where they select the photo of their truck using a touchscreen device, and then enters their data, guided in their language of choice. At the same terminal, the safety briefings take place as required by law . These are either upon visiting the plant for the first time or after a period of time has elapsed since the last loading event at the plant. 

The driver then takes a seat in the waiting room or returns to their vehicle. This can be flexible, as they will be informed by SMS of when and where they should collect the goods. In parallel, internal employees are also directed and notified via SMS to receive their work instructions and information on the appropriate freight and gate for loading. 

“During peak times, it is crucial that the SMS reaches the driver reliably and quickly, and that they pick up the goods promptly at the specified location. The SMS gateway impressed us in this respect with its reliability and speed, and is now in use at other locations,” said Patrick Roth, SCM expert at the Bitburger Brewery Group.

The large number of drivers involved and the continuing change of devices employed by the drivers meant that a mobile app installed on the devices would not have been effective. Sending SMS messages with the SMS gateway helps to provide resilience and independence of the devices in use, since all commercially available devices are able to receive SMS messages. This means that internal processes that have changed are quickly and easily adapted. Simultaneously, it creates independence from cloud service providers and the high monthly fees associated therewith. 

The Bitburger Brewery Group is a family-owned company employing around 1,600 people. The company is based in Bitburg in the southern Eifel region. The group includes Bitburger Brauerei in Bitburg (Rhineland-Palatinate), König-Brauerei in Duisburg (North Rhine-Westphalia), Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei in Bad Köstritz (Thuringia), and Licher Privatbrauerei in Lich (Hesse). The group holds a portfolio made up of national and regional brands.

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