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Food producers rely on DHL FoodLogistics to manage their supply chain perfectly. The highly efficient system is called: Control Tower. This allows troubleshooting in food logistics long before recipients even notice a disruption – especially helpful in the COVID-19 crisis.

Food logistics under COVID-19 conditions

Following extremely strict hygiene rules is part of everyday life in food logistics – with or without COVID-19: “Often the delivery is handed over without personal contact anyway,” says Stephan Sauter, Manager Operations at DHL FoodLogistics. “What may have been a change for industrial drivers delivering to construction sites or factories – wasn’t new for our people”. Except for the masks. DHL immediately equipped all its teams with them.

“We also helped our customers supply their employees with protective masks by organizing a special shipment from China,” adds Stephan Sauter’s colleague Miso Masic.

Maximum health safety is part of everyday life in food logistics

The fact is: With standards and quality-control tools such as ISO 22000 and HACCP, food safety procedures, audits and documentation are regulated in detail.

  • The international standard ISO 22000 covers all aspects of food and animal feed safety. It applies to all participants in the production, storage, transport and trade of food.
  • HACCP stands for “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points”. HACCP is used systematically and preventatively to ensure safe food. This includes: identifying hazards to food safety, adapting processes, determining control points, and monitoring them regularly.

The Control Tower stands for efficient, tailored customer service

In addition, it is about optimal solutions for each customer. After all, every foodstuff makes different demands on transport. Many DHL FoodLogistics customers have an enormous range of products. The challenges, for example, at a major producer of packaged food and pet food:

High transport volumes: Up to 50 trucks a day deliver to supermarkets in Germany.

  • From rice to confectionery to pet food, one truck transports very different goods: Odors and aromas must not be allowed to transfer between products.
  • That’s why it has to be fast.

The Control Tower is a system that provides customers and dispatchers with real-time information on the status of each transport order, for example, among other things:

Customer and transport companies are connected via electronic data exchange.

  • All processes, from order to handling, run seamlessly and automatically.
  • This applies to the entire domestic or international supply chain, regardless of the country of origin or destination.
  • In this way, the Control Tower offers enormous advantages in terms of transparency, efficiency, and convenience.

Annika Fischer, Dispatch Control Tower at DHL FoodLogistics reports: “There is a single point-of-entry for all orders from a customer. This makes ordering very easy. And any anomalies are immediately apparent to me”.

Supply chain visibility: Thanks to the Control Tower and personal commitment

A lot can happen on a long haul. For example, military conflicts such as the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh require special efforts when it comes to deliveries to Azerbaijan. Here Annika Fischer personally ensures that everything runs as smoothly as possible at the border and on the way to the destination. But, even in everyday transport within Europe, there are delays, excess pallets, and complaints. Annika Fischer keeps an eye on everything, thanks to the Control Tower. She is available for her customers around the clock, clarifies questions and solves problems.

Annika Fischer values a direct line to the client. In addition to the functions and services of the Control Tower, there is a regular exchange of information shared with the shippers and other stakeholders. For example, in the case of one particular major customer, Annika and her contacts meet for a conference call every week. Other business partners of the customer are then also present. In this way, the parties involved solve current challenges together. “It is a very trusting and productive collaboration,” says Annika Fischer.

These are the advantages of the Control Tower

A control tower in logistics is a system that brings together all digital information between the client and the transport company in a data cockpit. This allows a real-time overview and fast response to incidents. The requirements:

  • electronic data exchange between customer and transport company,
  • uniform access to the supply chain network,
  • coordinated workflows,
  • a minimum transport volume.

The parties involved benefit from consistently automated processes. In practice this means:

  • There is a single point-of-entry.
  • Communication is almost instantaneous.
  • All participants are involved – even internationally.
  • Synergies between all participants and capacities can be easily identified and utilized.
  • The system seamlessly maps the supply chain and ensures efficient processing.

The Control Tower is a tested and successful concept in food logistics

DHL FoodLogistics has been using the Control Tower concept since 2012, and it has proven to be particularly effective for large producers of packaged food. “The efficiency gains pay off for all sides, it’s a win-win situation,” says Stephan Sauter.

Even in the COVID 19 crisis, the food supply for retailers and consumers should run as comprehensively and smoothly as they are used to. The DHL FoodLogistics experts are not currently experiencing any sudden bursts in demand, such as for pasta or yeast in the spring. Nor are there any breaks in the cross-border supplier system, as was the case during the complete lockdowns in a number of EU countries. “When everything has been delivered and everyone can fill their shopping bags, as usual, our goal is achieved,” says Miso Masic. “The Control Tower ensures that the processes behind the system run smoothly.