At the end of February, Autopro.hu interviewed us about how the software works, how to meet the timeframe, the return on investment, cybersecurity and how we were affected by the crown virus epidemic, among others.
The original article is available HERE.
GLABs is an online time slot and loading management system developed by Colibree Design & Development Kft. The company was founded in 2012 and one of its three divisions is dedicated to the development of logistics solutions. We asked Zoltan Perlaky, Business Development Manager at GLABs, about the software.
Autopro.hu: Which industries and companies are targeted by GLABs?
Zoltán Perlaky/GLABs: The software has been running live since 2015 and we are focusing on automotive suppliers because we believe that the most important thing in this area is to ensure that products and raw materials arrive at the production plant as accurately as possible. Our very first partner is also a large automotive supplier who has been using our software from the very beginning.
Because the usability of our solution is industry-independent, our software is now used by heavy industry, light industry, electronics manufacturing and construction companies, in addition to our predominantly automotive manufacturing and warehousing customers.
Our main target group are those companies and conscious warehouse managers who strive to optimise their warehouse operations and increase efficiency through predictability, planning and process measurement.
Autopro.hu: How does the GLABs time slot software work?
Z. P./GLABs: GLABs is an online software, and perhaps one of its biggest advantages is that it does not require any installation. It works through a simple browser and can be used on desktops, tablets, mobile devices or even a forklift terminal. Thanks to this system, all actors in the supply chain – the customer, the customer’s principal, the transport management, the porters and warehousemen, the truck drivers – can use one system, with different functionalities depending on the user level and the level of authorisation. Thanks to this, when a driver arrives and checks in at the gate, the system automatically sends a notification to the email addresses you have set up, or even immediately shows a display in the warehouse.
In fact, GLABs is a self-service platform through which business partners or their agents can register their shipments by appointment, upload shipping documents in advance, track the status of loads, send and receive information, based on a set of predefined rules. Companies using GLABs can use the loading management functions to manage shipments registered in the system from arrival to departure, with various statuses, conditions and processes.
Autopro.hu: How is GLABs different from other time slot softwares?
Z. P./GLABs: We approach the problem on a resource basis. The goal is to have a steady, rather than hectic, distribution of traffic in the warehouse. Our software compensates for arrival anomalies by calculating the free loading capacity. When implementing our software, we assess the loading processes of our partners, the resources used for loading and the different loading rules and parameterise our software based on these.
Thus, when a freight forwarder sees a free time slot on the online interface when booking a shipment, he can be sure that the necessary loading capacity is available at that time, so that loading will take place on time with minimal waiting if there was no delay on arrival.
Another major advantage of our software is that in addition to the time slot function, we support the entire loading process, i.e. we manage the arrival of the vehicle, its call to the ramp (or loading position), its entry and exit, log the start and end of loading, measure waiting times, administration times, so in practice, in addition to the time slot, we also provide our partners with a simple yard management functionality.
Autopro.hu: How enforceable are these tight timeframes in practice?
Z. P./GLABs: Our records show that they are surprisingly accurate in keeping to the time frames, both in the warehouse during loading and unloading and when drivers arrive. They know that if they get there on time, they can load or unload with minimal waiting and, increasingly in today’s new world, almost completely touch-free.
Of course, unplanned incidents and delays can happen at any time, either in the warehouse or on the delivery side, but they can be handled much more flexibly with a steady arrival and a few waiting trucks than when the parking lot is full and everyone is terribly stressed, especially when the continuity of production is also at risk. To manage this, we can mark and prioritise registered shipments, so that you can see at the check-in at the gate which trucks need to be brought in for loading, even if they are not in the queue.
Autopro.hu: What if they are not able to estimate the time of arrival of the transport correctly?
Z. P./GLABs: In 2017, we produced a statistic on delays, looking at the full year statement of one of our partners. In international transport (Spain – Győr), the trucks were 78% on time on an annual basis, which was considered very good by all. Punctuality allows a maximum of 15 minutes difference from the pre-registered time. For domestic deliveries, these figures are even better.
In 2020, of course, everything was turned upside down, the accuracy was not nearly as good as before, but with it came the value of predictability, which was perhaps never more important than in the first wave of the epidemic, and this again brought out the benefits of our software, and we supported the situation with immediate improvements.
No one can prepare for force majeure events, so we have made a small improvement to allow carriers to predict expected delays in the system. This allows the warehouse to reschedule the loading sequence in an optimal way, and all parties involved – warehouse, transport service, driver and gatekeepers- are notified so that everyone can act according to the new time on arrival.
Autopro.hu: How much investment does the software represent for companies?
Z. P./GLABs: Our software is available on a monthly subscription plan, so it’s not really an investment. Add to that the fact that it can save our customers several times the licence fee from the first month (based on accurate statements) and you’re looking at monthly savings.
As the license fee is based on the number of ramps/loading positions, it is difficult to give an exact amount, but there is a fixed monthly fee regardless of the number of bookings, and we don’t have a transaction fee.
However, when the software is implemented, software implementation cost must be taken into account. Our implementations do not require any development work, so they are completed in a very short time. During the software implementation, we assess and document the processes related to loading management (if there are none, we help you to develop or optimize them), define loading capacities, and develop booking rules. Based on these, we carry out the parameterisation of the software and then the training. This is usually done in net 3-5 consultancy days (gross time about 3-4 weeks) even in today’s environment where almost all implementations are done online.
Autopro.hu: What payback period can be expected?
Z. P./GLABs: It also depends on who starts using the software and how intensively. Depending on the company, our customers are up and running within one to two months, when all directions and divisions are using the software, so that measurable and demonstrable results in savings are achieved in the first quarter from the contract signing. The payback period varies, I can give you an example where our software saved 8.5 times the license fee in the first month, but it also depends on who wants to use it to solve what problems.
Autopro.hu: How typical is the “after sales” service for GLABs? Do partners require software development or improvement?
Z. P./GLABs: One of the biggest rewards for us is that people who have become our customers in the last six years are still our customers and are using our service, so we have no loss of customers. Perhaps this is also because we are constantly improving our software, listening to our customers, paying attention to market situations and striving to respond quickly and agilely.
Of course, as software developers, if there are any additional requests, we are flexible, in constant contact with our customers and try to find and develop the best possible solution for them.
Autopro.hu: What impact has the crown virus outbreak had on the company?
Z. P./GLABs: COVID has slowed down our sales, because several multinational companies with whom we were already negotiating have imposed a six-month freeze on all “purchases”.
We decided to use our freed-up implementation capacity to support companies in difficulty and ran a campaign to offer six months of free use and free implementation to companies who signed up with us despite COVID. The campaign was a success, with several companies starting to use our software during this chaotic period with online software rollouts.
On the development side, we also reacted quickly to the situation. In connection with COVID, it has become even more important for companies to avoid paper-based administration and information. For example, a function was added to our software that allowed the site to automatically notify its partners of new procedures and covid rules concerning its loading operations.
Autopro.hu: How well can the software measure processes and optimise operations?
Z. P./GLABs: All data that enters the software is time-stamped, from the recording of the delivery, through arrival, entry, loading and administration processes, everything, even changes, are logged. The data stored in the software can then be used to generate statistics, tracking warehouse performance and usage. We have partners who use our software to evaluate their suppliers and carriers. The system is also capable of detecting tricks with loading times.
As we know, what cannot be measured cannot be controlled and cannot be optimised. Our software allows you to measure the entire loading process and the rest is up to our customers.
Autopro.hu: Overall, if a company implements the GLABs software and most of its partners switch to using it, will the others essentially be forced to? Otherwise, they don’t get a free time to load.
Z. P./GLABs: In principle, those who arrive at the site without an appointment are at a disadvantage, but it is up to our customers to sanction this and to schedule the delivery into the day. Of course, the more people who use the software, the more efficient it is, not only for our customers, but also for the transporters who come to the company for loading, as they can load with almost no waiting instead of waiting several hours.
Our aim is to create a timetable for road freight transport with our software.
Looking our customers, GLABs could slowly become an automotive standard. Of course, it can be useful in other sectors, but the automotive industry is one of the fastest growing, we have surpassed these requirements, and we can easily open up to other industries.
Autopro.hu: For such software, cyber security is an important issue. What is your experience in this area?
Z. P./GLABs: Who do we trust, who do we trust with our data or part of our operations? Of course, contracts can protect everything, but in this fast-paced world, by the time you have a contract to enforce anything, everything has changed twice, so the issue of data trust is becoming increasingly important.
We are proud of our customers and the trust they place in us.
Cyber security and operational stability are always a priority for us. We’ve also made improvements to protect our system, but unfortunately I can’t go into more detail. What I can tell you is that we are constantly testing the vulnerability of our software with ethical hackers.
To ensure stability, our servers are hosted on reliable ISO27001 server hosting, currently with 99.99% uptime, and we are striving to add another 9 to the end of the number.