BAHAG AG focuses on sustainable, fully integrated container management

The Track and Trace solution from Bosch.IO provides BAHAG AG with a real-time overview of its returnable load carriers. In addition, it registers arrival times and continuously optimizes the company’s container management.

Problem

BAHAG Baus Handelsgesellschaft AG is now converting its load carrier equipment to environmentally friendly returnable carriers in order to minimize transport damage to bulky products. As part of the process, BAHAG AG was looking for ways to track its load carriers transparently, both in Germany and in other selected European countries. In addition, the arrivals of third-party shipments from warehouses and cross-docs had to be reliably recorded.

Solution

To secure its logistics processes, BAHAG AG relies on the Bosch Track and Trace solution. More than 200 gateways at German stores, warehouses and cross-docs register the approximately 3,000 incoming, sensor-equipped and returnable load carriers. These so-called “SmartCubes” are manufactured by K. Hartwall. Moreover, the fully automated arrival-time registration of third-party freight forwarders compares the target and actual times of incoming deliveries at the stores. Deviations are now automatically registered, allowing BAHAG AG to react immediately. A further 2,500 sensors are used for this purpose.

Benefit

BAHAG AG now has an overview of its logistics activities at its fingertips. It can see the current position of each sustainable load carrier, each turnover time, and monitor entire stocks, helping to avoid long standing times. Moreover, the automatic recording of the trucks’ arrival times makes transport management completely transparent.

"We have taken the switch to environmentally friendly returnable load carriers for bulky goods as an opportunity to successively expand our entire intelligent container and goods management. With the solution from Track and Trace, we have laid the foundation for managing our load carrier cycles completely sustainably in the future, and for actively preventing unnecessary standing times and potential losses."
Tobias Seibel Head of Project Management Logistics at BAHAG AG

BAHAG AG converts to returnable load carriers

BAHAG Baus Handelsgesellschaft AG is the company behind the 270 BAUHAUS stores across Europe, more than half of which are located in Germany. From the German central import warehouse, the BAHAG logistics coordinates the daily movements of over 10,000 articles to stores throughout Europe. The two greatest challenges: multiple transport routes and a high degree of coordination requirement. “In 2021, we decided to gradually convert our logistics system to one based on environmentally friendly and high-quality returnable load carriers in order to make these processes more sustainable,” reports Tobias Seibel, Head of Project Management at BAHAG AG.

In addition, this changeover was meant to improve internal quality assurance. Previously, bulky, elongated goods with overhang used to be in danger of getting damaged during the transport. The “SmartCubes” by K. Hartwall allow bulky goods to be transported standing upright. The high-quality transport containers have delivered consistently impressive performance; accordingly, BAHAG AG plans to soon switch to returnable load carriers for other product groups as well.

Transparency all along the supply chain

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An overview of all returnable carriers at your fingertips

In order to sustainably manage not only its goods, but also its transport processes, BAHAG AG relies on tracking solutions from Bosch Track and Trace. The loads carrier manufacturer K. Hartwall directly attached the sensors to more than 3,000 new “SmartCubes” during the production process. This helped speed up the whole implementation process.

Today, over 200 installed gateways at BAUHAUS branches, warehouses and cross-docs automatically register each “SmartCube’s” arrival. As a result, every “SmartCube” can be located at any time. “With the Track and Trace solution, we have created the basis for making our load carrier cycles completely sustainable in the future. We can now actively prevent downtimes and potential losses,” explains Tobias Seibel. Thanks to the transparent monitoring of goods traffic in real time, BAHAG AG knows each “SmartCube’s” location and can intervene in the event of delays in the container cycle. In addition, the collection cycles for the returnable containers are efficiently adjusted to current demand. Accurate planning and tracking data on the turnover times are analyzed to fully exploit potentials.

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Time slot management for reliable arrival times

A second use case enhances internal quality assurance: time slot management. Freight forwarders’ arrival times at the stores are now automatically and precisely recorded, thanks to 2,500 additional Track and Trace sensors mounted on clipboards. Upon arrival, freight forwarders hand them over together with the delivery notes. In Henning Hebinck’s view, this has been a remarkable success: “By automatically recording arrival times, we now know whether our forwarders are meeting their time slots and can react quickly in the event of deviations.” BAHAG AG internally links this real-time information with its planning data.

This is possible thanks to the full integration of Track and Trace into BAHAG AG’s own transport management system. At the point of dispatch, individual deliveries are linked to the sensors. Then, the gateway at the receiving branch registers the sensor on the clipboard and enters the arrival time in the system. For the specialist centers it is important that forwarders reliably stick to the schedule, especially when it comes to personnel deployment; they need to reliably assign the requisite staff to process high-capacity deliveries.

Sustainably equipped for the future

The cooperation between BAHAG AG and Bosch Track and Trace went smoothly. “Track and Trace was able to meet all our requests,” reports Hebinck. Project manager Dominik Just from Track and Trace is equally pleased: “From the start of the pilot project to the complete integration into BAHAG AG’s IT systems, only six months passed. BAHAG AG now uses the tracking solutions to their utmost. Its agile and pragmatic approach was crucial for the success of our project.”

With Bosch’s Track and Trace solution, BAHAG AG has established an essential basis for efficient container management. But this is hardly the end of the road: “We look forward to continuing to work with Track and Trace in the future. By 2025, we plan to successively and completely convert additional areas to returnable load carriers,” says Seibel. “In addition to expanding to other product groups, we’re looking at an international expansion as well: our stores in the Netherlands and Luxembourg will be equipped with “SmartCubes” next, followed by Austria.”