Full service provider: everything covered, from notification to emergency concept

Stefan Seufert, CTO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
A forklift truck driver at work, while he is smiling.

Notification software, track and trace modules, a transport management system (TMS) that constantly exchanges important data with logistics partners – countless systems and tools ensure that everything runs smoothly in the background, from the production of the goods to delivery to the recipient. However, these systems must be regularly maintained and updated, constantly adapted to the company’s requirements and, above all, protected against cyberattacks so that they are reliably available 24/7. To ensure that logistics continue to function even in a state of emergency, there are, for example, emergency systems that keep the business running. This article gives more information about the important role full service providers play here.

EIKONA Logistics Cloud

Software for recipient notification

With EIKONA Notification you announce the delivery or collection of a consignment - as if by itself via e-mail, SMS or automatic voice call.

Notification makes the difference: inform recipients in good time

Handling and dispatching consignments quickly – that is the aim of freight forwarders, so that the goods take up as little storage space as possible. However, a few points need to be taken into account at the notification stage to ensure that this works. If customers are offered the option to book a preferred date, this is the first step: if they are included in the date-determination-process, this increases the likelihood that the consignment can actually be delivered. Smart notification tools also use all channels to reach the recipient, and not just once. If the voice computer can send notifications via both mobile numbers and landlines, this increases the likelihood of the message arriving. SMS and e-mail further increase the chances.

Cascaded notifications are the factor that makes the difference if the recipient is not reached the first time. If there is no response after the first attempt, you can use the EIKONA notification module to initiate further notifications, for example two, four or 24 hours later, if necessary, via a different communication channel. A negative status is only generated if the notification fails repeatedly. If delivery sequences are reported, the system can automatically derive rules for possible time windows. This means that only those dates are scheduled for delivery of the goods that are likely to be successful. You can read exactly how this works in this blog post.

Better be safe than sorry: making IT security a priority

But it’s not just systems such as notification software that ensure that consignments are handled smoothly, and your logistics run as scheduled. IT security tools should also be used in the background to protect the entire digital infrastructure 24/7. After all, what good is the best software if it can’t withstand a cyberattack?

Trojans, malware, viruses – they all ensure that hackers can quickly gain access to company data with just one wrong click on an email attachment. Such an attack is not always noticed immediately, so the consequences are often all the worse. Especially in logistics, where many companies along the supply chain are constantly exchanging data with each other, the failure of one of the parties involved can paralyse the entire supply chain. If critical systems such as the TMS no longer work, communication with partners is impossible, shipments can’t be handled and no data is stored or exchanged – in short, chaos breaks out.

Securely set up: Thanks to application hosting, your systems are always ready for use

To ensure IT security, it is worthwhile using a full service provider who also takes care of hosting the systems. The advantages are obvious: highly trained staff who have learnt system hosting from the ground up take care of your digital infrastructure, which is hosted on protected servers. All applications and data are securely managed and constantly monitored with application hosting. Important issues such as back-ups, updates and data security are automatically taken into account so that your systems are always ready for use and fully available. If a problem occurs with one of the applications, you as a customer can rely on 24/7 support, where errors are rectified immediately. This significantly reduces the workload on your own IT staff.

In most cases, the WiFi also fails in the event of a cyberattack, meaning that mobile devices such as hand-held scanners that rely on the wireless network can no longer transmit data. Back-up systems are therefore essential. Alternative methods of data transmission such as mobile networks and self-sufficient devices (mobile phones, emergency laptops) ensure the flow of data even if the logistics WiFi fails. It is therefore worth having the WiFi infrastructure set up by network professionals so that backup solutions for emergencies are also considered and implemented. A full service provider also takes care of this step: all systems are designed holistically and their functionality is constantly checked.

Business Continuity: Auch im Notfall sämtliche Daten vorhalten

A business continuity system does exactly what the name promises: business can continue safely, even in the event of cyber crises or other system failures. IT service providers proceed as follows to implement such a system: Firstly, an in-depth analysis is carried out to determine which processes are business critical. Based on these results, the professionals develop a customised concept that includes a back-up TMS and an emergency app. To ensure that employees know what to do in the event of an emergency, they must be trained for the system transition. Regular practice is essential for this, and the technical infrastructure must of course always be up to date – another argument in favour of full service providers, as they take care of updates.

Because the business continuity software comes from the cloud, it is independent of the company’s own IT structure, which may be interrupted in an emergency. The back-up system can be activated at the simple press of a button in an emergency. During normal operation, this software runs as a secondary system so that it is continuously fed with data and is always up to date. If a cyber emergency occurs, the business continuity system can seamlessly replace the actual main system. This means that all partners can still see which consignments are stored in the system, even if one partner’s TMS is down. Business continuity systems also ensure that follow-up programmes such as notification software with an integrated call centre option always run optimally: they can continue to be controlled via manual processes so that work can continue as normally as possible despite a cyberattack.


Always up to date: full service providers keep your logistics running

In order to deliver properly as a logistics service provider, one cog must mesh seamlessly with the next in all processes. And that means a lot, because there is hardly any other economic sector in which so many processes and partners are involved in the success of a service as in logistics. Even if all your systems are in order: If a partner’s TMS is broken, chaos quickly ensues in the daily routine and all subsequent processes cannot start as planned.

It is therefore immensely important to link the tools used with each other to ensure constant data exchange and protection. Full service providers are perfect for this, as they think of all systems as a holistic complex, meaning there are no weak points anywhere. Support that is available 24/7 allows all IT managers to sleep soundly, as the company’s integral systems are constantly monitored and the IT service provider acts proactively if something is wrong. From notification tools and application hosting to a business continuity system – a good IT service provider covers the whole range of topics and thus protects your entire logistics chain.

Stefan Seufert
Stefan Seufert
CTO / Vorstand

Wie kein Zweiter fuchst sich der Software-Entwickler als Meister des Konzepts in die Anforderungen von Logistikdienstleistern. Informationen sicher und effizient auszutauschen und damit auch den physischen Logistik-Prozess zu beschleunigen, ist seine Leidenschaft.

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