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Breaks in communication when exchanging packaging — not with the logistics shop!

Dr. Philipp Hüning
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Exchange account reconciliation or a story about system breaches, IT islands and communication in the 80s

Who doesn't know that, at the end of the month, the idle exchange balance reconciliation of packaging with an exchange partner is due again. The bookings recorded over the month, arrivals or departures of the load carriers are offset and “passed on” to the exchange partner. It starts with the “playback”. You send the first person the Excel file, the second the balances as text directly in the email, the third a screenshot from your own booking tool, the fourth a PDF file from the master system and the fifth you enter it into their portal — because after all, you don't just have an exchange partner.

Anyone who thinks that the work is done is wrong — the voting is only just beginning, because the balances are not only returned via a wide variety of communication channels, but are also very delayed in time. Some call, others correct the Excel file, mark the PDF file and others print it out, edit it in writing and send it back by fax. Every single vote must be traced by the exchange partner — pure waste! As if that wasn't enough, the new ones for the following month are already pending before the last vote — pure frustration!

The grievance is due, on the one hand, to the fact that pure recording tools (such as Excel or software products) are misused and also used to communicate exchange processes. On the other hand, and this happens much more frequently, both exchange partners use their own IT systems such as WMS or TMS for packaging collection, which, however, cannot communicate directly with each other due to a lack of interfaces. In some cases, the maladministration is also based on even more absurd causes. For example, a practical example shows that in one company the Eurowood pallet is referred to as “EPAL1”, while another company uses the abbreviation “FP” (flat pallet) instead — confusion is therefore inevitable!

The Logistikbude's software stands for open and at the same time standardized communication for exchange account reconciliation

The logistics shop places particular focus on guided and uniform communication in coordination and thus eliminates the time-consuming and nerve-wracking process of re-recording for both parties to the exchange. The ideal case is, of course, if both exchange partners are registered with the logistics shop. They then connect their exchange accounts via a digital “handshake” and are connected via a joint account after just a few clicks. Both exchange partners can now record the transactions, the algorithm balances them accordingly and informs the parties of similar or duplicate bookings. In this case, the exchange documentation is continuously automated from the time of initial entry (“at the ramp”) via QR code to coordination. In “this world,” coordination is completely omitted, because the software provides both partners with the exchange processes in real time and visualizes them as balances in dashboards.

But even if only one partner is registered, the logistics shop's software offers enormous benefits. The registered user can enable an exchange partner to view the exchange processes via a web link, which the partner can use to make any corrections or provide attachments. In this case, not only is the initiation of voting automated via web service, but the return route in voting is also standardized. This saves the user of the logistics shed from having to complete re-recording.

So now only the second case remains (“IT systems that do not speak to each other” of the respective exchange partners). But here too, the logistics shop provides a solution with “automatic reconciliation” and plays the role of “translator” for both systems. When set up for the first time, the logistics shop's algorithm is taught in which format the data is transferred via the interface, which synonyms stand for which packaging material and whether the booking values are to be understood as a claim or credit note. The intelligent algorithm then pulls the data from the respective system to the corresponding exchange account of the two parties, checks for anomalies in booking values, interprets them, matches them against each other, balances the same transactions and notifies the partners of the different exchange processes. Not magic, but already reality! — Thanks to individual interface programming, this can already be simulated via a CSV import. For this purpose, the two extracts from the master systems are uploaded as CSV files to the logistics shop software. A short step-by-step process leads through the automatic reconciliation and reconciles the data — that's how exchange voting works today!