User case: Bolk Transport

“The paper consignment note? Old fashioned. The eCMR is the future”

With more than 180 vehicles, the truckdrivers of Bolk Transport collectively drive two times around the globe each day. If you drive that many kilometers, it saves time to arrange the associated paperwork digitally. Knowing where the transport is located and when it is signed, makes the process more efficient. That’s why Bolk Transport chose for the eCMR of TransFollow. Frans Savenije is Manager Operations at Bolk and tells about the transfer to the eCMR in collaboration with Beurtvaartadres, Dutch distributor of TransFollow.

For more than eighty years, the logistic company Bolk provides various transports within Europe, like international transports, distribution transport and exceptional transport. Bolk also supports companies with storage and transshipment, warehousing and container transshipment.

Pushing the boundaries

Bolk Transport started in 1934 as Looms & Bolk, a carrier company focusing on the beverage and coal trade with the same name in The Netherlands. Over the years, they grew considerably in the field of hospitality distribution. Bolk executed the transports of one of the largest beer brewers in the Netherlands for years.

In addition, Bolk took their first steps in the container transport, general transport and exceptional long-distance transport (e.g. Italy). The transport company also transports on a project basis for, amongst other things, silo projects.

Over the past twenty years, the transport company got into the transportation of wind turbine components. Bolk is constantly exploring the limits of dimensions and weights.

Time to innovate

All these transports, need accompanying documents. Frans eplains: “For the majority of the transports, we still use the paper consignment notes. But there is something laborious about that. Sometimes, the paper document is filled in incorrectly, gets lost or becomes unreadable, for example, because of the rain. With all the digital possibilities these days, it also feels old-fashioned.

In some cases, nobody is present at the place of pick-up or delivery to sign the paper consignment note, which is obligated. This is very unpractical, if you want to move quickly. “And it is a pity, especially for drivers on a truck-mounted crane. They can load and unload the freight themselves, even when there is nobody on sight.”

Reduced risk, more efficiency

Frans had already heard of the digital consignment note; the eCMR. In the beginning of 2019, he contacted Beurtvaartadres. “During the first session we decided to deploy the eCMR during transport with a truck-mounted crane. Thanks to the signing option ‘Sign the document without approval of the counterparty’ the eCMR is very efficient for these type of transports. Drivers can load, unload the goods independently and sign the eCMR themselves. This results in a reduced risk of delay and failure costs”.

Let’s get digital

This was a good first step towards digitalization. “In a company and industry in which a lot is done in the traditional way, digitization is quite exciting. It is not so effective if you are the only one who is using it. Your entire supply chain needs to participate. That’s why we decided to start with the use of the eCMR within one part of our company.”

The specialists of Beurtvaartadres supported Bolk during the process. “If we had a question, they knew the answer. They were operating in the background and our processes at the front continued as always. When we got used to the new way of working, we quickly noticed the TransFollow mobile app’s great advantages”.

Despite the limited deployment of the eCMR at Bolk, Frans is satisfied. “We have more insights into our data. With the digital consignment note, you can register the times of loading and unloading very structurally. Everything is directly digitally available, which means no more unnecessary actions that needs to be taken. And you can follow the transport in realtime. The drivers have everything accessible via the TransFollow App. They can get back on the road immediately after loading or unloading the freight. 

Implementation partner

In order to implement the use of the eCMR in the entire process, the team of Beurtvaartadres (the distributor of TransFollow in The Netherlands) acts as a the implementation partner. “They help the supply chain partners with the transfer to the eCMR. They also keep in contact with the technical support team to set up everything as quickly and smoothly as possible. The software transforms all the data to the TransFollow platform. Our drivers get notification with important information which is very convenient. Beurtvaartadres instructs them about the use of the eCMR.”

The entire implementation process will take approximately until November 2019. Ten months in total. “Thanks to the help of Beurtvaartadres, we finished the implementation faster than expected. And they’re still there for us when we need them.”

Digitization is the future

Bolk wants to deploy the eCMR for more transport operations. “We want to transfer the processes from paper to digital step by step. Now we choose to work with supply chain partners who are as exciting as we are about the digital consignment note. With the results, we hope to make the other supply chain partners excited as well and to take the step to fully manage our transports digitally. We want to keep up with new innovations and learn to apply new techniques. This way, we are well prepared for future developments. Digitization is the future.”