Top performance in any terrain
Camso specializes in off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks, and track systems for commercial and powersport vehicles. To reach its customers in Europe as quickly and efficiently as possible, the company entrusted its logistics management to DACHSER as Lead Logistics Provider—a solution with a future.
When things get really slippery, muddy, gravelly, or slick, that’s when thick pneumatic rollers, rubber tracks, and hard rubber tires prove their mettle. They’re indispensable for the high-performance equipment used in material handling, on construction sites, in agriculture and quarries, and even in outdoor powersports. The message is very clear: the more demanding the terrain, the better.
And that’s precisely what Camso, a Michelin Group brand, specializes in. A global leader in the development, manufacture, and distribution of industrial tires, wheels, and rubber tracks, Camso has more than 8,000 employees in 26 countries across the globe, primarily in Asia, Europe, and North America. It also operates four research and development centers, 23 manufacturing facilities, and an international distribution network in more than 100 countries.
This setup puts as many demands on Camso’s logistics operations as the areas of application put on its products. To keep the company on track for growth and to tap the full potential of digitalization, Camso began reviewing its global and European logistics network some time ago. “Having ten local distribution centers in Europe, each of them independently managed, was no longer in keeping with the times,” says Pierrick Bouf, Supply Chain and Logistics Director EMEA at Camso. “As a result, we reorganized our network around three main distribution centers: one in the UK, one in Germany to cover northern Europe, and one in France to serve southern Europe.”
A reliable partner
The French distribution center in Grans, located near the Mediterranean port of Fos-sur-Mer northwest of Marseille, is operated by DACHSER. “Its location, logistics capacities, and groupage network made it a good fit with our plans to be able to deliver goods to the French market within 24 or 48 hours,” Bouf says. This cooperation would prove successful and resulted in DACHSER being included in the discussion about handing over responsibility for all logistics services to a Lead Logistics Provider (LLP).
"The close collaboration with DACHSER as LLP has made our processes significantly easier and increased our responsiveness in extremely turbulent times", says Pierrick Bouf, Supply Chain and Logistics Director EMEA at Camso.
The LLP would be tasked with orchestrating twelve different transport service providers and ensuring that they deliver an average of 170 shipments per day from the three central shipping warehouses to the target customers in Europe with maximum efficiency and transparency. “In parallel with this new logistics organization, we wanted to improve our services by centralizing and standardizing them and having a knowledgeable point of contact for all logistics-related questions,” Bouf says.
But first, an explanation of the term and the underlying concept is in order: a Lead Logistics Provider is a logistics company that acts as a neutral party in organizing all or at least the essential logistics processes for its customers, regardless of which service provider carries out the operational activity. LLPs are deeply integrated in their customers’ (logistics) processes. After all, this comprehensive service approach isn’t restricted to conducting transports or performing terminal handling or warehousing services; it also involves designing, implementing, and organizing supply chains, optimizing transport and warehouse planning, coordinating suppliers, and integrating the latest (communication) technologies. Customer-specific services such as customs clearance, packaging management, and value-added services also fall under the range of LLP responsibilities.
The “premiere league of logistics”
That’s why Stefan Hohm, Chief Development Officer (CDO) at DACHSER, considers LLPs to represent the “premiere league of logistics”: “The LLP concept requires a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the customer’s supply chain and all associated processes. Using the network and IT expertise that we have acquired and grown over the years, we continue to develop and refine this system to create sustainable complete solutions that our customers need for their business model. In addition to the shipments transported by DACHSER, our portfolio will also incorporate the transparency and management of other logistics providers.”
This made Dachser an obvious choice as Camso’s LLP. “In our collaboration to date, Dachser has proven that it’s capable of organizing and allocating transports exactly the way we want. Following our shared experience with the Dachser-operated Camso distribution center in France, we then began working to expand the LLP solution to the other two distribution centers in the UK and Germany,” Bouf says. “Dachser is very familiar with our products and how we work, and it understands our special service-level requirements when shipping to another country.”
On the DACHSER end, the various strands of the Camso LLP project all converge in the hands of Martin Poost, Department Head Lead Logistics Provider. “All supply chain information flows into the DACHSER LLP Control Tower,” Poost says. “That’s the center where all data, independent of company and location, is pooled and monitored. To do this, we transform the physical supply chain processes and the specific customer requirements into an appropriate IT logic. We then display all relevant data in a transparent and traceable format on the DACHSER Supply Chain Visibility platform, where it can be accessed at any time.”
For this to work, the Camso and DACHSER systems have to be able to “talk” to each other and allow data to be shared in real time without losing information. According to Poost, this is a demanding challenge that, together with Camso, DACHSER succeeded in transforming into a practical solution. Paving the way for this success was a working group with IT teams from Camso, DACHSER, and technology partner Siemens. “Working closely together, we were able to design the interfaces and the data structure in a way that ensures that communication between our ERP system and the DACHSER Supply Chain Visibility platform functions securely,” Bouf says.
An integrated overall concept
Camso had formulated clear expectations for DACHSER as LLP. It wanted an integrated concept for warehousing, distribution, and management of the various transport providers handling the groupage shipments, partial and full loads, and package deliveries. To this end, DACHSER was tasked with managing and controlling all transports and service providers, including transmitting shipment data to everyone involved, printing barcode labels, and managing proofs of delivery. And last but not least, the LLP is responsible for validating invoices. In other words, it was entrusted with the entire portfolio of highly developed and practical supply chain management processes.
For the Dachser LLP team led by Martin Poost, and for their partners at Camso, working together to draw up the detailed requirements and specifications once again showed very clearly that DACHSER could provide the orchestration of all required logistics services far more efficiently and reliably than if Camso had to create a suitable structure itself.
A glance at the Control Tower and the functionalities of DACHSER’s Supply Chain Visibility platform shows just why that is: “Here, all transport-related data, independent of company and location, is pooled together in one system and presented graphically, making it practical for use in different media,” Poost says. “This enables us and customers, regardless of location, to see where any shipment is at any given time and to intervene if necessary.” Thanks to DACHSER’s proprietary Supply Chain Visibility platform, everyone involved in the transport has access to the latest information and can contact other parties directly if desired, regardless of which type of transport is used. “We cover full and partial loads as well as groupage and parcel services. And it’s all part of a single solution for procurement and distribution logistics,” Poost says.
Easy to use
As the logistics experts know, digitalized and automated processes are only as good and worthwhile as their level of acceptance in day-to-day operations. “That’s why we pay particular attention to user acceptance of all the tools we use,” Poost says. It’s crucial that solutions be easy to use, for example via smartphone, app, and special web services.
If, for example, a rubber track needs to be sent from Germany to France, the Camso systems transmit the shipment data via an EDI to the Supply Chain Visibility platform, which Camso uses to control and release the shipment. The platform then transmits the data to the selected transport provider, who ultimately accepts the shipment. This system is used in transport scheduling, in the transit terminal, and by the drivers. “This means everyone can always see where the track is on its journey through Europe,” Poost says. That’s more than conventional tracking and tracing. “The major advantage of consolidating all shipment data in a single system is that it enables us to work for and with customers from an early stage to plan all transport services. For example, to arrange delivery in accordance with the recipient’s available time slots.” After the rubber track is delivered in France, the proof of delivery is transmitted, enabling the immediate final review of the transport costs indicated on the transport provider’s EDI invoice. “This carrier management,” Poost says, “is a well-oiled process and everyone has their part to play in it.”
The Control Tower and the DACHSER Supply Chain Visibility platform also provide tangible benefits when it comes to analysis, for instance when creating reports or Excel tables and forecasts for such things as order planning and timely provision of container and transport capacities. And last but not least, Poost says, another key aspect of the Control Tower is quality assurance. “When evaluating the services agreed with suppliers and transport providers, an appropriately qualified LLP partner has the professional and technological edge over customers when this evaluation can be explicitly ‘based on daily practice, for daily practice’.”
Poost’s and Bouf’s preliminary verdict on the Camso-DACHSER LLP partnership is thus a positive one. “Especially during the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis, the close collaboration with DACHSER made our processes significantly easier and increased our responsiveness in these extremely turbulent times,” Bouf notes with satisfaction. This also includes the parties having long since established a trusting and mutually appreciative connection on a personal level. “Since the start of our collaboration more than five years ago, we have had weekly operations meetings where we can discuss the events of the previous week and plans for the coming week, and where many potential problems can be anticipated and addressed proactively,” Poost says. “For all the technology it uses and all the progress it is making toward digitalization, logistics is still and will remain a ‘people business’—even, and especially, for a Lead Logistics Provider.”