The Silicon Economy community is also growing constantly by getting more industrial partners involved in the development projects. From the beginning, NOSTA Logistics GmbH has been part of the »Digital Consignment Note« team and will test the solution in practice. Two company representatives explain why they are involved.

Christian Hammacher, COO Road of the NOSTA Logistics GmbH, and Thore Arendt Head of Project & Innovation Management of the NOSTA Holding GmbH, have a lot of good reasons for why the full service logistician from Osnabrück is participating in the »Digital Consignment Note« project – from the close contact and discussions with the Silicon Economy project managers at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML and the specific participation of company representatives in the project to an extremely exciting future-looking topic for the company and its customers. 

Which benefits does the digital consignment note lead to for logistics?

Christian Hammacher: The term »Digital Consignment Note« falls a little short in my opinion. Digitizing the consignment note is neither enough for process optimization at our company nor for our clients because, as we know from our daily business, there are a lot of other documents that have to be given to the drivers in paper form, because original signatures, neutral delivery bills or customs documents are needed. The aim is to create a framework or an ecosystem with the digital consignment note that considers all the accompanying documents required by our clients, at the loading points or at our clients‘ customers. If all these documents are digitized, all parties involved in the supply chain will benefit as the manual effort and error tolerances can be reduced and things will speed up massively.

Thore Arendt: The digital consignment note is also of great interest from the government point of view. In this context, we are actually the beneficiaries who in the future – if a digital version were to become mandatory or certain regulations were to come into effect – already fulfill the prerequisites and have helped develop them. That is one of the reasons why we are involved in this project. Another reason is that we can achieve scalability by means of a digital document folder. This can include everything from the digital delivery note to the digital consignment note.  

Which challenges or special characteristics have to be taken into consideration during the development of this digital consignment note?

Christian Hammacher: One challenge arises from the complexity and the question of how comprehensive the solution ought to be. The key is to strike the right balance between covering 80 percent of standard cases and not putting unnecessary effort into covering edge cases, but still creating a comprehensive solution that can be used by everyone. We must succeed in developing a solution that is freely available and that promises real benefits to everyone. 

Thore Arendt: From a practical point of view one challenge is to work towards a change in the way of thinking. The paper-based approach is so well-established, stamps and signatures are sometimes explicitly requested by customers. The right dose of usability and legal guidelines must be achieved. The development will take a long time, but if a solution becomes established and you manage to map uniform documentation in digital form – maybe even across all modes of transport – you will quickly reach a point where the process is much simpler. 

How are you and your company specifically involved in the project?

Thore Arendt: The project team, that is mainly made up of programmers, has a clear idea of what tasks the solution should fulfill and what the whole thing should look like, and takes a very iterative approach to developing it. I.e., they keep coming back to us, asking questions and developing the software solution based on these questions. Afterwards, they present their results. As a participating company, we have the possibility to contribute to the implementation and use it after development. However, the idea will be freely available to the market afterwards.

Are there already thoughts or plans for implementing the digital consignment note at the NOSTA Group? 

Christian Hammacher: As soon as we have something presentable on hand, we will talk to our clients and look for pilot customers. We also know that the topic is relatively complex. Of course, our customers will in turn have to talk to their customers before a later test phase can take place in order to replace the original receipts, delivery notes, pallet notes, etc. mentioned above with digital solutions. I am confident, however, that we will succeed in this together with our clients.

Photo: Nosta Group