Cost awareness is as much a part of the logistics sector as warehouses and warehouse technology. In this interview, Dirk Matura, Managing Director of Industrial Solutions GmbH, explains how to achieve savings of up to 35 percent, and why many companies struggle to reconcile commercial and technological imperatives.
When it comes to spending on technology, it is not uncommon for two mindsets to collide: On the one hand you have the engineers and logistics specialists, on the other the clerical and financial staff. One camp focuses on the technology, whereas the other focuses on the costs. But you need to take a holistic view to find the most efficient – i.e. most cost-effective – solution over the entire lifecycle.
The usage cycle of material handling vehicles is one example. Finance departments often still work with asset depreciation tables, and their forecasts are based on a depreciation period of ten years. This is hardly a fair reflection of the actual use, which often involves two-shift or three-shift operation. As a result, there is significantly more wear and tear and the asset needs replacing sooner than anticipated. And before that happens, the repair costs and downtime will increase. To counter this, the logistics manager will have defined a higher requirement from the outset, but this also means that the material handling vehicle fleet is not used at 100 percent capacity. The bottom line is that you not only have rising maintenance costs but also too much equipment, making it difficult to achieve an optimum cost structure.
The first step is to use the right method when measuring costs, which is why we apply the established TCO concepts of the major industrial associations. The second step is to get the procurement and finance departments and staff with operational responsibility together around the table. We help those in hands-on roles to express processes in numerical terms, and those concerned with finance and administration to see the full picture. This comprehensive advice provides the foundations for our work, and we also take care of implementation and active technology management.
In the first instance, we analyze and optimize our customers’ technology investments: Which manufacturers should we consider? Which types and categories? How will the asset capacity be used? And under what circumstances? We look at the entire lifecycle, from vendor-neutral procurement strategy to operation and remarketing. We purchase the assets – forklift trucks, robots, or automated guided vehicle systems – and make them available for use by our customers. At the end of the optimum useful life, we take the assets back before they become uneconomical to run and remarket them sustainably.
Thank you for talking to us today.