The H.Essers E-Desk: easy registering across our sites
At H.Essers, we’re happy to provide dozens of clients with advanced warehousing solutions. As a result, our multicustomer sites can be quite the hustle and bustle, with new trucks arriving non-stop to load or unload their goods. To improve the organisational structure and registration process, we decided to implement an ingenious solution: the E-Desk. We spoke with Robin Ceunen and Tine Timco to hear all about the details of this project.
Four years ago, a dedicated H.Essers team got together with digital innovation experts to find a practical solution for the challenging logistics at our site in Boom, near Antwerp. “As a trusted partner to many clients, we are dealing with multicustomer warehousing sites that can service the logistics of up to 10 different clients at a time”, says Robin Ceunen, Supply Chain Innovation Expert. “And this is where things become quite complicated: trucks arrive all day long, each with their own time slot, papers, shipment data, etc. It requires incredible coordination to guide
everyone to the correct warehouse and dock.” That’s why, in collaboration with Peripass, we implemented the E-Desk: a self-service kiosk where drivers can register their scheduled arrival, fill in their contact details and get instructions on where to wait, load, or unload.
The E-Desk doesn’t just improve coordination, it also facilitates clear communication. “When a driver arrives at the E-Desk, they are asked to fill in some information and confirm their time slot. The E-Desk is available in 13 languages, which is an amazing feature for our drivers coming from all over Europe”, Tine says. “As soon as a driver gets registered, the warehousing employees are automatically notified of the impending arrival.” This tool has simplified the registration process in more than one way. Robin: “We have noticed how the language barrier has vanished completely. Before, drivers who were unfamiliar with the site would often sign up at the first warehouse they spotted, unaware of where they really needed to go. It would take valuable time for administrative staff to try to process an order that would eventually bounce, because it wasn’t available in the system. Only to then try to explain this to the driver in a language they don’t master. The E-Desk helps us communicate much more efficiently and avoids confusion.”
Dry Port Genk
Due to the success in Boom, a 2.0 version of the E-Desk was recently deployed at our Dry Port site in Genk. Tine: “Thanks to the previous version, we were aware of some of the flaws we had to fix. For example, in Boom, drivers would get a receipt after registration, which they needed to access certain site areas and communicate about their load. But a piece of paper is easily lost. At Dry Port, we decided to work with a digital code.” Additionally, the system asks drivers to indicate the type of load and truck
they are bringing in, so they can be assigned to a specific type of dock. During the first three weeks after implementation, student employees were present to help guide new drivers in using the system. “But it’s actually quite intuitive”, Robin adds. “And if a driver does have questions, they can always push a help button and speak to someone on the intercom.”
Digital access notifications
One of the biggest differences the E-Desk has made since it was launched in Genk is the ‘relative’ calm near the docking areas. Previously, nearly everyone who arrived at the site was able to enter it and there was a lot of manoeuvring. “Since we have digitised the sign-up process, drivers who arrive early are guided towards a temporary parking area and will receive a text message with permission for their access to the docking site once their loading or unloading time is imminent”, says Tine. “The texted dock number will help them find their spot in no time.” This has increased the safety of loading and unloading as well as pedestrian movement across the site.
It won’t take long now before the third E-Desk is going live at the newest H.Essers site in Lommel. “And we are definitely looking into more rollouts at some of our other sites”, Robin states. “We are thrilled to see the difference it makes for everyone: our drivers receive clear communication upon arrival, our employees are notified when a load that concerns them arrives, and overall, there’s just a safer and calmer working environment for everyone involved. And let’s not forget the added benefit to our customers: their goods are handled even quicker and more efficiently than ever before.”