'Lost' trailers no longer burden logistics player Distrilog

"The logistics service provider Distrilog was always looking for its trailers. Literally. Trailers were parked somewhere without Distrilog having a clear idea of the locations of its trailers. Thanks to the IoT solution from Sensolus, that overview is now available. "
Portrait Philip Salaerts
Interview with Philip Salaerts
Operations Director at Distrilog

Optimizing transport by complete visibility

Distrilog Group is a modern family company specialised in transport and logistics and offers an integrated solution for its clients‘ entire supply chain. Since its establishment in 1991, the company has recorded solid growth. 
With more than 1,500 employees spread over 18 sites, 385,000 m² of warehouse space, its own fleet of almost 400 tractor units and more than 600 trailers, Distrilog has the capacity to take on logistics projects of any size.

It was a real challenge to know where the trailers, which can be stationed at different sites in the Benelux, were exactly located, especially during busy periods. „More than once we urgently needed empty trailers so that the supply chain of our various customers would not run into trouble. I would often drive by car parks to see which trailers were still available,“ says Philip Salaerts.

© Distrilog

IoT platform, trackers and temperature sensors

Distrilog lacked an overview of deployable trailers and their location. Manual counting and logistical challenges such as disputes with drivers or customers resulted in costs. The IoT solution from Sensolus brought a cure.

The entire fleet of trailers was equipped with the trackers and connected to the Sensolus IoT platform. From then on, accurate information about the location of the stationary trailers was available. In addition, all electric transport pallets were equipped with a tracker. These assets, which are prone to theft, no longer ‚disappear‘ from the map.

„IoT makes it possible to monitor non-powered assets, which have a lower value in terms of cost but are extremely valuable in the logistics chain. On top of that, additional sensors can be added, which are directly visible in the Sensolus platform. Distrilog, for example, equipped its refrigerated trailers with a temperature sensor,“ explains Michiel Raat, responsible for Sales & Business Development at Sensolus.

Salaerts continues: „When the temperature rises too high, we receive a notification. Now we can avoid high costs and food waste by intervening immediately when there is a temperature difference. Besides, installing the trackers is very simple. Just as simple as placing a sticker.“

“IoT makes it possible to monitor non-powered assets, which have a lower value in terms of cost but are extremely valuable in the logistics chain. Additional sensors can be added, which are directly visible in the Sensolus platform.”

- Michiel Raat, Sales & Business Development at Sensolus.

Tracking is knowing

The clear overview of the assets, in this case the trailers, puts an end to the high costs that were inextricably linked to the sometimes inefficient search for available trailers. At the same time, there is a time gain as drivers no longer have to report in person at a counter on arrival or departure.

The temperature sensors and the notification system prevent defrosting problems. If errors still occur, Distrilog can rely on the data stored in the IoT platform to show who is responsible.

„Everything starts with knowing where our trailers are,“ says Salaerts. „Are trailers not standing still for too long? Do drivers handle the trailers correctly? Are subcontractors working properly according to the contract? Is it necessary to buy new trailers? Until recently, such questions remained unanswered.

Now a huge database is being built up, from which we get factual insights that enable us to make informed business decisions. That makes the investment in the Sensolus platform more than worthwhile.“

“We are now building a huge database, from which we gain factual insights that allow us to make well-founded business decisions. That makes the investment in the Sensolus platform more than worthwhile.”

- Philip Salaerts, Senior Operations Manager at Distrilog.
© Distrilog

Intuitive platform

On top of that, the tracker itself is very energy-efficient. The built-in accelerometer detects movement and activates the tracker only when the trailer leaves or stops completely. As a result, the battery lasts at least five years, which completely convinced Distrilog.

The Sensolus platform also provides a notification when a tracker needs to be replaced. „The platform is very intuitive and user-friendly, you get around with it quickly. Moreover, I find it very strong that it continues to develop with regular updates that bring new functions,“ says Salaerts.

Start of a long-term cooperation

Distrilog is convinced that a long-term cooperation with Sensolus has been set in motion. Salaerts: „The connection with Sensolus was immediate. They realised immediately that together we could develop a strong project. Our trailers can now be used more often and more efficiently. That way we can continue to grow without having to buy extra trailers too often.“ 

The next step for Distrilog is to integrate the data on trailer locations into a bigger picture and to evolve towards thorough yard management. Then it’s not just about where trailers are, but also whether they are empty, loaded and, if so, with what goods. „Just because several integrations are possible in the platform, Sensolus will be able to work with us on this. Their hardware and software work as they should,“ concludes Salaerts.

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