Visualization: The Digital Turnaround in Logistics
Reap the Digital Harvest
Visual systems, information from business software and intelligent interface technology – these are the ingredients for trend-setting solutions in the areas of security and process optimization. Medium-sized companies in particular can look forward to an efficient and yield-increasing entry into digital transformation. Geutebrück, a provider of video surveillance solutions, has already proven this with numerous solutions for the intelligent linking of video and process data.
With a constantly growing portfolio of intelligent visualization solutions and services, Geutebrück has been addressing the needs of the international logistics industry. The integration of state-of-the-art interface technology makes it possible to link information from the ERP system with the camera data in real time and to generate highly efficient solutions from this – a rewarding path to digital corporate transformation for medium-sized businesses. Time-consuming, personnel-intensive and error-prone manual processes continue to dominate day-to-day business in many companies. However, the digitization hurdles perceived by logistics companies can increasingly be counteracted by modern technology.
In the longer term, for example, autonomous means of transport should help to ease the shortage of skilled workers. Even more directly, intelligent technologies and strategies can reduce companies’ own efforts in digital transformation. As CEO Christoph Hoffmann explains: “The connection between cameras and data creates immediate transparency. It enables companies to react quickly to unusual situations, to document critical process steps (particularly important when clarifying liability issues) and to proactively prevent bottlenecks, emergencies or downtime through real-time communication. Highly developed interface technology, such as that implemented by Geutebrück with years of experience in digitization projects in various industries, is indispensable. It facilitates the integration of hardware and software systems from a wide range of manufacturers and standards into a single infrastructure.”
Images and Data
Video surveillance solutions from the German-based family-owned firm support companies in the logistics industry both in securing assets and in optimizing their business processes. The solutions, which are tailored to the respective situation, protect the forwarding area from intruders, vandalism or damage for example. In combination with data from the company software, the systems independently identify authorized and unauthorized entries or exits.
The various entrances to the site are secured by cameras that automatically record the license plates of all vehicles entering and leaving the site and compare them with data from black/white lists. The condition of loaded vehicles can also be documented, which is crucial for clarifying possible liability issues: the number, condition and type of goods are visually documented at goods receipt. In the event of irregularities, a quick comparison of the (tamper-proof) image with the target state stored in the business system, realized via bar code and an ERP interface, shows whether the number and state of the goods correspond to the specifications. Third-party systems such as bar code scanners, access control or merchandise management systems as well as new and existing analog or IP cameras can be integrated just as easily via appropriate interfaces.
Visualization technologies originally developed for security purposes with their combination of process and image data are now increasingly being used in logistical processes in the supply chain. Intelligent interface technology makes it possible to immediately detect and eliminate errors in the process sequence (e.g. in package conveyor belts or in the material flow). The technology is used in vehicles, among other things, for quality assurance: interfaces to the weighing station or to the cooling system allow deviations from the standard state to be detected. Information such as the actual temperature of the goods or weight is added to the video image in the system and documented. A target value, which is also stored, immediately reveals any deviation. Image and process data enable analysis of the situation and identification of possible sources of error.
Artificial Intelligence as a Competitive Factor
The advancement of such technologies through the inclusion of artificial intelligence enables the transition to a proactive process: for example, the incorrect placement of an object on a conveyor belt can be detected, evaluated and reported in real time so that intervention is possible before expensive conveyor belt downtimes occur. This opens up countless new fields of application. These include, for example, automatic video monitoring of packaging processes in a wide variety of industries, networked via interface technology with merchandise management, planning or building management systems or the control of material flow in production.
CEO Katharina Geutebrück says, “Real-time visualization – a decisive component of Logistics 4.0 – leads to noticeable time and cost savings and therefore to an increase in earnings in the value chain. We’re talking about value imaging here. The use of intelligent visualization solutions brings considerable financial advantages and an increase in competitiveness. Existing infrastructure can be further used by efficient interface solutions; new technology can be integrated into the architecture without problems. This guarantees investment protection, backward compatibility and sustainability at the same time. High expenditure as an argument against the digital transformation is increasingly becoming a lame excuse.”