With WANKO, things are taking off
Austrian Post’s transport logistics are controlled by the PraCar route planning system and the PraBord telematics solution from Wanko, from scheduling to route feedback and billing. Even in times of crisis and boom, the solution proved to be absolutely fail-safe in around 10 years.
The dimensions are impressive: with more than 1,500 truck tours and a daily mileage of over 280,000 kilometers, Österreichische Post AG is by far the largest carrier in the Alpine Republic. All 379 retail outlets and each of the 1,350 Post Partners, every delivery base and, in addition, some corporate customers are served daily within fixed time windows. To cope with this task, 10 parcel and 6 mail logistics centers have been established in Austria.
"Even in 2020, when we were working at the breaking point due to huge increases in parcel volumes, our PraCar transport software ran like Swiss clockwork."
Andreas Schulreich | Project Manager, Austrian Post
The entire dispatching here has been based on Wanko’s PraCar route planning system since 2014. A system failure would have serious consequences. As far as the stability of the software solution is concerned, however, Austrian Post is very relaxed. “Even in 2020, when we were working at the limits of our capacity due to the enormous increase in parcel volumes, our PraCar transport software ran like Swiss clockwork,” recalls Andreas Schulreich, who has been in charge of the system on behalf of Austrian Post since 2019 – back then, the number of daily tours was still around 1,100. “I have yet to experience a failure that was Wanko’s fault. I attribute this extraordinary stability to Wanko’s many years of experience with major customers,” Schulreich continues.
The system administrator for the transport logistics area is responsible for the smooth functioning of the software used in the logistics centers – including Allhaming.
There, Austrian Post put a 50,000 sqm, 80 million euro expansion into operation in October 2022. Since then, the maximum sorting capacity has been 30,500 packages per hour. Allhaming is thus the largest parcel logistics center in Austria. From here alone, an average of 260 tours start every day, formed on the basis of framework tours the day before by just four dispatchers. In addition, there are 2 to 15 special tours for corporate customers, which only arise on the day of delivery.
“PraCar is very user-friendly and easy to understand for any employee with knowledge of Outlook and Excel. In addition, colleagues can work very individually without fixed workflows and can set their screen masks according to their needs, depending on the task area,” explains Werner Kreimer, who is responsible for the “Central” region – consisting of Upper Austria and Styria – as head of transport logistics. While the dispatchers need detailed information for each order, simplified input masks for recording quantities and loading meters are sufficient for the employees in the logistics center in loading.
The planning processes running in the background, on the other hand, are very complex and took up a lot of space during the software rollout in 2014. “Wanko has done a lot of development work for us,” confirms Thomas Fellner (below), who manages transport logistics throughout Austria. Finally, a large part of the tours is completed by articulated trains, whose trailers are parked in strategic locations in between. Such stops can be easily mapped in PraCar. As another example, Fellner cites various constellations of encounter traffic, in which sometimes the entire truck is exchanged, but in other cases only individual swap bodies with letter mail or parcels.
Open for special requests
“In any case, it is important that the handover of containers or vehicles is also tracked on the handhelds,” confirms Kreimer, who has fond memories of project handling and cooperation with Wanko. “The introduction of PraCar and Pra-Bord at Austrian Post has gone well and we have not regretted the decision to go with Wanko,” says the regional manager. He said that the fact that Austrian Post is seen as a very important partner at Wanko played a major role in the tendering process. “Wanko was willing to accommodate our many special requests,” Kreimer affirms.
The very complex software adjustments are not noticeable to the user: creating a tour with PraCar is simple in principle. Only the driver and the pickup and delivery orders need to be assigned. The data is then sent to one of the approximately 1,000 “Bluebird” handhelds with which all vehicles or drivers have been equipped. Each terminal features the PraBord telematics app, also developed by Wanko. The solution differentiates between Austrian Post’s permanent drivers and those of the carriers. While the “own drivers” receive the tour data directly after logging in on the handheld, the subcontractor drivers have to scan the respective tour report for it. “This distinction was necessary because we do not know the drivers used by the carrier beforehand,” emphasizes Günter Pfann, who is the group manager for freight transport and logistics in Allhaming. Even the 150 or so station-owned trucks are not always driven by the same chauffeur. The trucks, which are deployed in three shifts, roll up to 14 hours a day and are driven by up to 12 different drivers.
"The implementation of Pracar and Prabord at Austrian Post has gone well and we have not regretted the decision to use Wanko"
Werner Kreimer | Regional Manager, Austrian Post
Their tasks include not only driving, but also collecting data on the handheld. The main focus here is on the exact data of the parcels picked up en route, which are then immediately available in the system for further disposition. “In the old days, this recapture was laboriously done by colleagues in the office after the driver had finished his tour,” Pfann recalls. When the tour is running, the handheld also transmits the GPS data back to PraCar so that the actual kilometers driven can be calculated on this basis. This value in turn forms the basis for settlement with the carriers, who are remunerated using the credit note procedure. Here, too, PraCar plays a key role in the entire process chain and ensures greatly simplified processes. “Drivers no longer have to manually record mileage readings, which has eliminated a major source of error,” says dispatcher Jürgen Pillinger, who is responsible for all billing with all carriers in Upper Austria in addition to his planning activities. For Upper Austria alone, this involves seven-digit amounts that have to be transferred reliably and quickly to the transport partners.
Conclusion: The rational invoicing with the carriers and the reverse recording of the tours via Bluebird alone has ensured a rapid amortization of the investment at Austrian Post. “Without PraCar and PraBord, we couldn’t possibly manage our workload in Allhaming with just four dispatchers,” Kreimer is convinced. However, the project was not only about cost, but above all about quality. With the help of the data collected in PraCar, for example, a punctuality report can be compiled at any time and, thanks to traceability, accusations against drivers can be quickly refuted in case of doubt.
Österreichische Post AG – ÖPAG
Österreichische Post AG is an internationally active postal, logistics and services group. Swiss Post bundles its business activities into three divisions: Mail & Advertising, Parcel & Logistics and Branch & Banking. Internationally, Swiss Post has a selective presence in the markets of Germany, seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and Turkey.
More info at www.post.at
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