Full Truck Loads - On Power Lanes through Europe
Full Truck Loads (FTL) are becoming increasingly important for the international food industry. Over recent years the Nagel-Group has noticed increased demand. Is the trend becoming more marked? What challenges and opportunities does this present?
Distribution structures in the European food industry are changing. Interest in FTL is growing constantly. Retailers are experiencing a long-term trend of concentration on a few large suppliers. A parallel look at consolidation on the manufacturing side paints a picture of what bundling effects and economies of scale are likely to occur and be used. Logically this means that the size of shipments will tend to rise for deliveries to the retail trade’s central or regional warehouses.
What exactly does FTL mean?
Whereas for general cargo the aim is to bundle together consignments from different customers and transport these to the recipient via several transhipment warehouses, with FTL transport a load is taken on at a loading location and usually delivered by the most direct route to a single recipient, or occasionally two to three recipients. FTL services are suitable for various different product groups covering all temperature ranges in the food industry.
In the Nagel-Group, high-volume routes, so-called “power lanes”, have been defined throughout Europe to support the efficient transport of full loads. These highly frequented corridors for large-volume shipments generally link production sites and distribution warehouses.
At the right time at competitive prices
At the Nagel-Group, we concentrate in the Full Truck Load segment on integrated solutions. It is not just about offering FTL reliably, but about presenting the customer with solutions using additional services. “Our FTL segment is characterised by special supplementary services such as Central Order Management (COM) and the “Control Tower”. Our aim is also to make paperless handling possible, as well as centralised billing if required. As far as possible we want logistics processes,” says Ben Klaassen, Manager European Full Truck Load. It is crucial that the necessary load capacities are offered at the right time at competitive prices.
Although the question of cost has an important role to play, the Nagel-Group never wants to compromise on quality or sacrifice the individual nature of each customer. “Our selection criteria for FTL are cost, service, quality and sustainability,” says Janko Hrebik, Transport Manager at Mondelez. “To make sure that products are transported on time, we also have to be able to adapt quickly to the need to transport raw materials and semi-finished products between our factories and external logistics firms. That guarantees additional demand for more capacity from our logistics firms.”
Loading capacity for 66 pallet spaces
Up to 225,000 Full Truck Loads are moved through Europe every year by the Nagel-Group. Modern trailer units with low emissions are used. The vehicles have special features. By preference we use double-decker trailers with loading capacity for 66 pallet spaces - instead of the 33 spaces in a standard trailer. Multi-temp vehicles or trailers are also used to transport hanging meat.
To guarantee a fast and transparent flow of information between the eight individual FTL centres, the Nagel-Group uses our own software specially developed for this purpose. “All FTL centres in the Nagel-Group work with the same software and are therefore networked. With greater transparency, we create better decision-making options for our dispatchers. The customer benefits from this, as we can react more quickly to his enquiries and make suitable capacity available,” explains Ben Klassen. Customers can also obtain more precise information about the status of their FTL loads, and directly access documents relevant to them. This creates transparency and at the same time increases trust.
Fast communication in over 15 languages
Technology alone is no recipe for success. The Nagel-Group’s FTL solutions are based above all on our people, who ensure day in, day out, with their commitment and creativity, that processes run smoothly, and unexpected challenges are quickly resolved. “Our FTL dispatchers are close to the market, both on the despatch and also recipient side,” says Ben Klaasen. It is not only competency and experience which count here, but also the chemistry has to be right. Employees from all over Europe work in the FTL centres, and cover over fifteen languages. This international diversity makes an important contribution to fast and smooth communication between everyone involved in the transport chain.
Customers whose production sites are scattered all over Europe generally want a centralised contact point to shorten and simplify communication routes. One very important factor is therefore guaranteeing proactive communication. With the Nagel-Group’s FTL solutions, the customer can view all the information on the current status of their transport contract as required. The core thinking behind this kind of concept is: acting instead of reacting. This concept is becoming increasingly important, particularly for customers acting internationally.