Kaup GmbH & Co. KG, a manufacturer of add-on components for forklifts, produces around 30,000 such attachments every year at six locations in Europe and maintains a retail network that spans the globe. In other words, the company never runs out of things to ship.
Stuck with manual work
Kaup’s manual efforts in shipping packages used to be significant. One of the company’s courier service providers, for example, would provide self-adhesive labels that needed to be attached to each individual package and the accompanying documents.
In addition, the corresponding barcodes didn’t include routing labels, making it impossible to provide track-and-trace information to key customers wanting to check the status of their orders. Kaup’s other service providers made this information available through Web portals, but the shipments first had to be entered into their systems.
Having already implemented the customs solution M.ATLAS from the SAP partner and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) specialist Mercoline, Kaup made the decision to optimize its shipping processes with the courier service providers DPD, UPS, and DHL with the company’s M.TransportCommunicator solution in mid-2010.
“Mercoline has been providing us with streamlined, easy-to-use enhancements for our SAP system. We’re also integrating more and more business partners into our processes – in this case, in shipping services,” reports Wolfgang Euler, head of IT at Kaup.
Next page: Benefits and results
Since going live with M.TransportCommunicator, Kaup has seen all of the necessary data – in standard cases, delivery data – flow from a series of sources in its SAP system directly into its shipping notifications. Thanks to the architecture in place, it’s also possible to access other information directly, such as delivery notes and transport orders.
For over 90% of all of Kaup’s shipments, the data required is already available. Meanwhile, SAP’s output determination functions enable M.TransportCommunicator to gather delivery information in the background and fully automate label printing in the final packing-station step – the weighing process.
The labels, which are specific to each of the shipping services Kaup works with, are then applied to packages ready to ship. This level of automation eliminates the need for training, as the blank labels the company used previously have been replaced by those generated after weighing.
For Kaup, the increased transparency in its shipping processes has proven to be a major advantage. Instead of having to search for information in each shipping service provider’s system – assuming it was available at all – every authorized SAP user can now ascertain a shipment’s status based on the corresponding original document in Kaup’s SAP system.
“Now, our sales department can answer customer inquiries regarding the status of their deliveries in no time without needing to contact their colleagues in shipping. This helps us respond more proactively to problems and increases customer satisfaction,” Euler explains. In the future, Kaup plans to take the next step by establishing the data M.TransportCommunicator provides in its SAP system as a basis for assessing and negotiating with its shipping service providers.