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How EcoCarrier AG e-cargo bikes benefit from our product

Author:
Dr. Philipp Hüning & Carmen Riehemann
Posted on:
18.4.2024

Who is EcoCarrier?

An e-cargo bike from EcoCarrier

EcoCarrier AG (www.ecocarrier.eu) is a specialist in last mile logistics and operates in major German and Austrian cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Salzburg and Vienna. Their customers include parcel services, online grocers and freight forwarders. EcoCarrier provides its customers with services such as delivering goods, operating logistics and advising on setting up and operating city hubs. EcoCarrier primarily uses electric-powered cargo bikes, so-called e-cargo bikes and street scooters, to deliver deliveries.

How did the collaboration come about?

The means of transport used by EcoCarrier must be managed. In addition to inventory management, this also includes documentation of the status of repair processes. To implement this administration, a system provider was sought who could provide and operate tracking technology, app and platform. From EcoCarrier's point of view, it was important that the system was as easy to operate as possible and can be used without its own infrastructure.

While researching a suitable provider, Christian Kühnhold, a partner at EcoCarrier AG, made use of his contacts from the load carrier industry and came to the logistics shop as a result. In the beginning, cargo bikes were mentally quite far removed from load carriers, but the initial discussions showed directly that processes and data requirements are almost congruent: For example, turnaround times of load carriers analogous to operating times of cargo bikes and the status of load carriers are nothing more than damage documentation.

In line with our DNA, EcoCarrier also embodies flexibility, trust, speed and simplicity in its corporate values. After getting to know each other for the first time in Cologne, it was clear to us that EcoCarrier was not just a customer for us, but a partner with whom we wanted to grow together. Thanks to the flexibility of our solution and the trust of EcoCarriers, it was no problem for us to track and manage even unusual load carriers such as “bicycles” with our software with minimal adjustment effort.

The success story is primarily the simplicity of our software solution and

attributable to the cloud-based approach. After the first meeting in summer 2021, the software was already ready for use at all locations in December.

“The collaboration left nothing to be desired. Any problem that arose was resolved immediately. Communication with the young team at the Logistikbude has always been super easy and quick. The branch managers at the sites also had nothing to complain about, which once again confirms the good cooperation. ”

Sebastian Wolf (EcoCarrier Project Manager)

What did the joint implementation look like in practice?

Like most customers, EcoCarrier initially used an implementation phase, during which employees were trained and minor adjustments were made. In addition, employees on the customer and logistics store side get to know each other better during this time and build up an open and trusting relationship. Freiburg im Breisgau was chosen as the first location, as most bikes were in use there at that time and therefore the need for simple and transparent damage documentation was greatest. For the duration of the three-month pilot, there were two project managers: Sebastian Wolf, project manager at EcoCarrier, on EcoCarrier's side and Michael at the logistics shop, and thus central contact persons for all parties involved.

“The intuitive operation of the dashboard and app makes it quick to use. A handout and short briefing are enough to instruct users/employees and, after using them two to three times, they work independently. This makes implementing new processes fun;)”

Sebastian Wolf (EcoCarrier Project Manager)

Training before go-live is easy using Microsoft Teams. In addition, a handout was created for drivers and site managers. At the same time, the bikes were marked. For this purpose, each bike was clearly marked twice with a label generated by the logistics shop. The fork and chassis were chosen as marking points to make the scan as easy as possible for the driver.

After preparing the location, active use of the platform, including the app, began immediately. Drivers log into the app in the morning and scan their bike for the day. If damage, such as a flat tire, occurs during the day, the driver can report this directly in the app. Meanwhile, without leaving his office, the branch manager can monitor the status of the bikes in real time, view reported damage with a photo and comment and take appropriate action.

What are the added values for EcoCarrier?

By using the logistics shed software, EcoCarrier creates transparency about the status and availability of its own assets. The concept of being as simple as possible to use, combined with the absence of our own infrastructure, enabled rapid, nationwide deployment without large personnel deployment. This prevented major difficulties during rollout across other locations and thus saved time and money. The associated costs of digitizing e-cargo bikes have already been amortized as a result of their introduction at the Freiburg site.

“I can only say that the digitization of our e-cargo bikes with the logistics shed was a success. All goals were achieved, the software adjustments were implemented quickly and thus our processes for claims tracking were standardized and digitized. The investment in the software was profitable for us even after implementation. I think that the individual solution, which is now perfectly tailored to EcoCarrier and our bikes, is also being used by other logistics service providers in the last few miles. ”

Christian Kühnhold (partner of EcoCarrier AG)

Is the expansion of joint work planned?

EcoCarrier has not only been a customer of the logistics shop from day one, but has now become a close partner with whom we want to continue our joint journey. In addition to further rolling out tracking to all locations and assets, there are already considerations for actively tracking bikes using IoT sensors and automating actions such as ordering maintenance by the bike itself. As a result, the vision of the Internet of Things is also becoming a reality in the world of cargo bikes and is thus making an important contribution to improving sustainability in the last mile.

“The logistics shop is an excellent example of how logistics research at the institute can become an operational business model. As a result of many years of cooperation with Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund and Dr. Lange's team on various topics and projects, the constructive cooperation on the subject of e-cargo bikes came about almost automatically. ”

Christian Kühnhold (partner of EcoCarrier AG)