SER Blog  Customer Stories & Use Cases

Kombiverkehr and Doxis SaaS – information management in logistics

Julia Pedak

"In 2015, a situation like today's would have caught us off guard – and we wouldn't have been able to work because everything was paper-driven, from filing to banking. With Doxis, we are fortunately able to ensure our business continuity," says Christian Franz, Managing Director at Kombiverkehr. With Doxis SaaS, the transport company manages virtually all business processes digitally. From order processing to claims and receivables management to invoice processing, employees can work on processes regardless of location. Thanks to lean processes and intelligent information management, Kombiverkehr fulfills its customer promise even better and provides one of the safest and most reliable shipping options in Europe.

900,000 truck shipments per year are moved by Kombiverkehr across a road-rail network that stretches from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and from the Atlantic coast to Eastern Europe. Companies use Kombiverkehr’s services that want to free up employees, avoid delays caused by traffic jams and tolls, and at the same time are looking for an environmentally-friendly carrier solution. Multiple documents are required for each of these transports: contracts and order confirmations for customers, documents related to the shipment, customs documentation and invoices for the use of the rail network – all of which can include up to 5,000 pages per document. Until 2015, Kombiverkehr processed all of this on paper, which they found was not a sustainable business model. "We were looking for a digital solution that, compared to a conventional document management system, could do more than just archive. For us, 70 percent was about mapping business processes," explains Christian Franz. At the same time, it was clear to the logistics company that it wanted to rely on a sustainable, resource-efficient solution: "We determined that we needed a SaaS solution, because we see it as a success factor that our new system is not located in Kombiverkehr's data center. This ensures disaster recovery and guarantees business continuity," says Christian Franz, adding: "Today we can see that this was the right decision, in a time when all employees can easily relocate to work from home at any time. We would always choose Doxis again as our SaaS solution."

Cross-border transport that saves time

Working digitally is indispensable for Kombiverkehr, especially in times of contact restrictions. In the past, customs documentation such as T1 transit documents for cross-border goods transport or carriage documents for the transport of hazardous materials were handed over personally by the truck driver in paper form to the carrier at the train terminal for every transport. They accompanied the train on the entire route in a pouch on a freight car. Today, the documents can be handed over in a completely contactless process: Kombiverkehr receives the relevant documents digitally by email and archives them with Doxis in the proper context for the business partner and order. "We also archive the email because it contains data for indexing the documents, such as the LE and MRN numbers, the main reference for the customs declaration," states Christian Franz. Because the documents are available in digital format, Kombiverkehr can also ensure that none of them are lost during transport. "Unfortunately, that used to happen repeatedly. If a customs document is not available at the border, the cargo is not allowed to cross the border and the customer has to provide the document, which is time-consuming. In the worst case, the freight car with the cargo has to be uncoupled from the train, which results in significant lost time," explains Christian Franz. The damage caused by such delays can now be avoided with Doxis: with a fully digital order process, the documents are available promptly. If they are incomplete, this is detected at an early stage and the affected cargo is then not even shipped.

In the future, handing over the shipping documents should be even easier: After loading at the terminal, the drivers of Kombiverkehr customers will soon be able to upload customs documentation online in the booking portal, which is then linked to Doxis. Doxis archives these documents and attaches them to the order process in the CAT ordering system. "It is particularly important for us to be able to set up the interfaces between Doxis and CAT, as well as the upload platform, to ensure high process uptime, because a disruption could lead to liability situations," says Christian Franz. This requirement can be implemented with the standard interfaces of Doxis. As a result, up to 2,000 users will soon be able to upload their documents to Doxis via the portal, and be able to access their invoices, contracts and claims reports.

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Better service through digital claims management

In addition to damage caused by delays, with over a million orders a year, transport-related damage to property is also inevitable. This could be a tear in the tarpaulin of a truck, damage to the load itself, or a leak in containers with hazardous materials. "We need to know about such damage as quickly as possible so that we can be proactive in notifying our customers," says Christian Franz and adds: "We used to have our own paper folder for each claim, in which 80 percent of the incoming digital information, e.g. emails with photos of the damage, was printed out and filed." Such an operation was hard to manage and it also made it difficult for sales employees responsible for different countries to share information. If a customer ships in several regions, the sales staff has to know whether claims are piling up in certain regions and take this into account in customer service. Today, they can simply check the customer's digital claim file and find all the incidents at a glance. Claims processing with the insurance company can also be initiated more quickly and provides transparency for the customer.

As a result, the company can find out immediately whether the damage occurred while in transit with Kombiverkehr or before that: when loading at the terminal, photos of all incoming cargoes are taken, also when unloading at the destination terminal. The on-site employees send these immediately in digital form so that damage can be quickly detected and processed or, in the case of liability issues, proof of undamaged transport is documented.

30 hours per week saved in accounting

When truck deliveries are transported by train instead of by road, Kombiverkehr has to pay for the use of the rails and terminals. With 770 trains per week, it pays to process the associated invoices digitally and, above all, automatically, especially since the majority of the invoices are received electronically already. "It used to be very time-consuming to chase down the paper documents and printed out electronic invoices throughout the company, to clarify the status of open items with the sales department, and to manually check and post the invoices promptly," Christian Franz remembers. The process was thus mapped digitally, streamlined and automated with Doxis. The partner DATAGROUP helped implement the cloud solution. The results are measurable, as Christian Franz emphasizes: "In accounting, we have saved a total of 30 hours of work per week thanks to automated invoice processing with Doxis. Employees now dedicate their resulting free capacities to the topic of digitalization and, for example, further optimizing accounts receivable management."

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