Quick start with Business Process as a Service

Stefan Seufert, CTO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
Truck whizzes by on a highway, representing the efficiency gains of Business Process as a Service

Implementing new processes: A really big task for many logistics companies, involving many people working together over a long period of time. It is quicker if the forwarding companies can buy in ready-made processes and software, such as automatic notification, task management or the app for two-man handling in delivery. Introducing the new processes using ready-made software as a Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) shortens the implementation time considerably.

Supply and demand are changing ever faster everywhere in the economy – and logistics feels all the effects of this immediately. This is why freight forwarders and logistics service providers are under considerable pressure to change and must themselves constantly meet new requirements quickly and integrate services and service offerings into their portfolios. A step that until a few years ago was associated with enormous investments for the industry and would have cost courage accordingly. With the development of specialised logistics solutions, which companies can purchase as software as a service from the cloud, the hurdles for the introduction of such offerings have been significantly lowered. This allows freight forwarders to improve their customer service or even enter into fulfilment for the coordination-intensive private customer business without much effort. In doing so, they benefit from technically sophisticated applications that are made available to them ready for operation via Platforms. Business Process as a Service is the term for such solutions, which in practice allow ready-made processes including software solutions from external data centres to be introduced into the supply chain at short notice.

Introduce complete service packages as a ready-made business process

In distribution logistics, freight forwarders have achieved great advantages with flexible software solutions, especially in the coordination of deliveries. Arrange appointments, offer and control value-added services, organise loading and unloading processes: With the knowledge of process experts, applications have been developed whose control relies on standards – but which also support the requirements from individual processes. For example, freight forwarding networks have developed delivery services for ordering large household appliances, consumer electronics and small furniture. Through ready-made notification solutions, branches not only coordinate the delivery of shipments and thus speed up their handling. They also delegate the driver's notification to voice computers based on time or position. A workflow-based process that the software supports at every single step. Applications for the allocation of time slots have considerably accelerated the handling of trucks in outgoing goods. The easy availability of powerful IT solutions from the cloud has thus not only absorbed the speed of change in the logistics market, but has once again significantly increased it. Turnkey processes thus increase the competitiveness of service providers and allow small SMEs in particular to operate on an equal footing with international corporations. BPaaS represent a significant improvement that has only been achieved through the new structure of the shared economy.

Business Process as a Service: Implementing complete workflows with IT support

It is the clearly defined process that characterises the new BPaaS applications: With predefined workflows, they control the operations . With these well-founded specifications, new employees or even temporary staff can carry out logistics processes at the same high level as the established regulars. In this way, the prefabricated process solutions even help logistics service providers and freight forwarders to cope with the shortage of skilled workers. Because through Business Process as a Service they receive:

  • support for individual workflows
  • professionally sound process models as standard specifications
  • programming interfaces for data integration in neighbouring IT systems
  • real-time information for all authorised stakeholders
  • status transparency at every stage of the process
  • integrated rights management according to professional function and company affiliation
  • seamless networking with connected customers and business partners

The combination of technical process modelling and operational IT support for ongoing tasks allows logistics networks or freight forwarding companies to get off to a fast start in new service areas.

Concrete example: Business Process as a Service in Time Slot Management

In practice, many logistics processes are subject to resource-oriented self-control. For example, a transport company sends its trucks to pick up new orders directly when they have unloaded and are available with free loading space for the next transports. This is a logical procedure for the haulage contractor, who thus saves standstill and waiting times. In production logistics, however, this event-driven approach can disrupt process planning. For example, the company's shippers have to interrupt their work steps for the provision of the goods in the warehouse if a collecting vehicle appears too early in the ongoing process and the shipping order has not yet been prepared. As a result of this postponement, the subsequent work processes in the forwarding dispatch also get mixed up. Small cause – big delays. In contrast, by using Time Slot Management, companies can rely on the orderly sequence of pre-planned processes: Hauliers must reserve a loading slot in good time. Their trucks are automatically assigned a ramp where the packages intended for transport are ready on time according to the production sequence. The precisely timed software solution thus improves the efficiency of the logistical processes around the production enormously. Without the need for any elaborate preparation.


More efficiency and a broader service portfolio through Business Process as a Service

For freight forwarders and logistics service providers, the flexible process solutions from the cloud offer enormous advantages: they are implemented quickly, have a high technical depth, are flexibly scaled and are billed on a transaction basis. Thus they improve the efficiency of workflows and increase revenues. In addition, they make it possible to flexibly expand the range of services. The service providers' customers also benefit from this development: they receive extensive service information from their value chain directly at the push of a button and can choose from a larger pool of service providers for their logistics. Business Process as a Service has established itself as a model with many winners.

Stefan Seufert
Stefan Seufert

As a design guru, the software developer delves into logistics service providers' requirements like no other. He is passionate about exchanging information securely and efficiently and thus speeding up the physical logistics process.

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