EIKONA Logistics launches ETA for CargoLine customers

Bastian Späth, CEO/Vorstand EIKONA AG

ETA brings precision to delivery planning

CargoLine is expanding its service to include estimated times of arrival (ETAs) for both industrial customers and consumers. The alliance thus gives shippers and their customers the opportunity to better prepare for deliveries and effectively coordinate downstream processes.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to give companies more certainty for process planning with an accurate ETA? And private individuals could reliably manage their time based on the predicted arrival of the garden shed that they ordered? Providing precise updates on the delivery process has been rather uncommon for general cargo. However, CargoLine is now taking the service to a new level by giving its customers access to an ETA module.


Informed early on

The estimate is based on an arrival time calculation for the main run. It verifies that a shipment qualifies for same-day delivery as expected. To obtain this data, CargoLine has equipped its entire inventory of approximately 3,000 swap bodies with geotrackers. "Because our ETA calculation starts so early, we can proactively intervene if there are signs that we cannot deliver within a stated time slot. This gives us the opportunity to change the itinerary and change our overall trip management over the medium term," said Sebastian Grollious, Head of IT at CargoLine.

The partner network uses the main run ETA to estimate the arrival time at the recipient's location (whether B2B or B2C). The ETA is shared with CargoLine customers and their recipients in the Cepra customer portal, because "planning certainty clearly benefits logistics processes as well as end recipients' attempts to manage their holiday time," Grollius explained. The portal can also send notifications out at the customer's request.


Large data stock ensures precision

To provide data with the required accuracy, the freight forwarding association initially tested a number of different procedures together with EIKONA Logistics, its IT service provider. The most effective procedure uses a combination of live data from the delivery vehicles, vehicle profiles with definable parameters and statistics from past deliveries. The general cargo network uses this information to constantly perform approximation computations of the estimated time of arrival.

In addition, it can show a recipient the position of their shipment on a map during a trip and tell them how many more stops the vehicle will have to make before reaching their address. "What sounds quite simple – just predicting the arrival time of a shipment – is actually a complex combination of several factors. In addition, the collected data has to be converted into a single format and approximation computations have to be performed constantly," the alliance's Head of IT explained.


IT strategy: rapid evolution through microservices

The estimated times of arrival are determined by a microservice that is connected to the OCTOBUS IT platform as a module. EIKONA Logistics handled the technical implementation of the service. The company was already significantly involved in the development of OCTOBUS. CargoLine links all its operations over the central data hub. It also controls more than 20 task-related microservices, such as ETA calculation. The purpose of introducing this agile IT architecture in 2018 was to speed up further developments. "This new software module once again confirms our flexible IT strategy," said Sebastian Grollius with satisfaction.