The estimated time of arrival is an important factor in the logistics chain

Time plays a key role in logistics. The estimated time of arrival is known as ETA for short. It dictates whether cargo is handled smoothly and how goods are transported onward in transport chains. In production, parts deliveries are often scheduled on a "just-in-time" (on time) or "just-in-sequence" (at the right place at the right time in the right order) basis. ETA plays a big role in both cases. It has to be met in order to initiate downstream processes in time. Consignees schedule around the ETA. Still, the ETA is just an estimate. Current conditions have to be factored into ETA calculations. That makes the estimate as realistic as possible. Factors include:

  • Current weather conditions
  • Route types
  • Route choice
  • Speeds
  • Detours
  • Traffic volume
  • Laws and regulations for transport

How is the expected time of arrival calculated?

A car that takes two hours to get from A to B and leaves at 2:00 pm has a calculated ETA of 4:00 pm. The ETA calculation is based on current information about vehicle speed and traffic conditions. The more factors are included in the ETA calculation, the more realistic the calculated value is likely to be. In the above example, different values will have to be used for a truck. Trucks are subject to restrictions such as maximum speed, axle load, width, height, dangerous goods regulations. Drivers also have to abide by driving and rest times. In short, a truck cannot meet an ETA of 4:00 pm in the above example. That makes it necessary to entrust the calculations to specialised navigation systems that use GPS signals and special truck maps.

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