Yesterday, at an online specialists’ forum hosted by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and Fraunhofer IML, representatives of numerous associations and companies discussed the requirements for the »Digital Consignment Note« which is currently being developed within the Silicon Economy.

Consignment notes, as accompanying documents for freight in national and international freight traffic, are often still created manually and on paper today. In practice, there is still no uniform design for either the national consignment note, or the consignment note in international road transport. This is exactly where the team behind the »Digital Consignment Note« development project comes in. By discussing this with specialists in associations and the industry, the researchers wanted to ensure that the focus of their solution is on the specific market needs.  »In fact, we are reaching out to the logistics community at this early stage to gather and consider as many requirements as possible«, Dr Michael Schmidt of Fraunhofer IML, responsible for strategy development in the Silicon Economy, welcomed the attendees. »In this way, we want to ensure that the service that results from this finds the greatest possible acceptance on the market.«

Paperless along the entire transport chain 

This development project started in May this year as one of the nine projects currently running in the context of Silicon Economy. Product owner Patrick Becker gave an overview of the current state of research and implementation at the event. »With the digital consignment note, a digital service is being developed that enables the generation, storage, and distribution of digital consignment notes that can be read by both humans and machines», he explained the goals of the open source project in the context of the Silicon Economy. The NOSTA Group, a medium-sized logistics service provider based in Osnabrück, has already shown great interest in this work. In the specialist discussions, Thore Arendt from NOSTA explained why the company was motivated to contribute their first-hand, real world requirements to the project: »We are very much interested in the open source approach for the digital consignment note as we really do not need any more solutions or platforms in logistics. This open source approach finally provides us with the opportunity to cover the transport chain in a completely paperless way.«

In the specialist dialogue that followed, the participants also had the opportunity to point out the challenges and requirements that they see and to name factors and obstacles beyond the technical implementation itself. The lively discussion showed one thing above all: development must be supported by as many logistics players as possible for it to gain acceptance. There was broad agreement on the fact that the free availability of the open source solution can accelerate widespread use.