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Digitisation of Trip Reports Increases Efficiency and Reduces Storage Costs for Meyer Logistik
High cost of processing and storage of paper-based transportation records
External scanning of trip reports
Meyer Logistik is a medium-sized family enterprise with its headquarters in the Rhine-Maine area of Germany. The company has a fleet of 1,200 distribution vehicles and a team of 1,800 employees who organise daily deliveries of foodstuff and other temperature-sensitive goods to around 5,000 supermarkets.
Drivers' trip reports are an important control tool for the company. These reports record which stores are serviced on a given day, providing vital data for invoicing customers as well as for payroll accounting.
Drivers complete trip reports on a daily basis and each is unambiguously identified with a barcode. Some also contain further information, for example, clients' delivery documentation. Across all of Germany, Meyer Logistik carries out up to 60,000 trips each month. With an average of 2.5 trips per driver each day, this means there are about 25,000 completed trip reports per month to process.
At the Essen branch alone there are about 6,000 trip reports to deal with every month. Each trip report has two or three attachments, such as delivery or carriage notes. These attachments differ from customer to customer, adding complexity, but are important for invoicing and payroll accounting. "We used to archive the reports and attachments in paper form," remembers Antoine Koll, project manager at Meyer Logistik. "Then, starting from a certain date we decided to digitise the documents, to process them more efficiently and to make savings on long term storage costs."
Scanning trip reports would have required investments in technology as well as specialised staff in all branch offices. Instead, Meyer Logistik began a search for an external partner.
Because trip records are wage-related, German law specifies that they have to be stored for ten years. During this period, electronic documents must be easily retrievable and perfectly legible. "There are not many companies in Germany that can offer the necessary flawless process," says Antoine Koll. "Moreover, Iron Mountain impressed us by providing scans of the trip reports within 48 hours of collection. We found no other supplier able to guarantee that."
Every month, Iron Mountain® collects boxes containing trip reports from Meyer Logistik branch offices in Berlin, Essen and Hamburg. They are indexed and scanned at the Iron Mountain scanning centres in Bochum and Hamburg within 48 hours.
Every trip report is first examined individually. Paperclips and staples are removed. Creased paper is smoothed out and any tears are fixed with adhesive tape in order to assure a completely readable scan. During scanning, punch hole marks are obscured automatically and blank pages are removed.
After scanning each file is checked for quality and each batch of files indexed against a box. This maintains a complete chain of custody about where the original documents reside and who has processed them. Trip reports are then stored securely by Iron Mountain for one further month before being destroyed.
The scanned documents are uploaded to a SFTP server from where they can be retrieved by Meyer Logistik for upload into its internal systems. In one recent month alone, about 23,300 records from the three branch offices were processed in this way.
"From the start everything ran smoothly and the document scans were always available within the defined timeframe," says Antoine Koll. "What I like especially about Iron Mountain is their quick response "“ if we have a question, we get an immediate answer. That's an essential factor for me "“ having a single point of contact we can rely on."
During the coming year it is planned to extend the Iron Mountain service to all Meyer Logistik German branch offices.
"What i like especially about Iron Mountain is their quick response "“ if we have a question, we get an immediate answer. That's an essential factor for me "“ having a single point of contact we can rely on."