Focko Lüpsen & Sohn relies on LIS system
The centre of Germany, located in Hesse or Thuringia depending on the method of calculation, is generally regarded as an ideal location for logistics companies. Because every other place is easily accessible from there. The Lower Saxon community of Filsum with its 2000 inhabitants, where Focko Lüpsen & Sohn GmbH has been based since 1993, cannot offer this advantage, but the Netherlands and the North Sea coast are only a stone’s throw away. There, in the middle of the North German Plain, Lüpsen has developed over the course of three generations from a horse and cart operator to a modern logistics service provider. The family business has grown steadily and organically and employs 250 people and maintains a 120-vehicle fleet today. The goal of Managing Director Dirk Lüpsen and his team is to continue this development and to continue to grow solidly. There is no way around the topic of digitalisation in this context. That is why the company has decided to push ahead vehemently with the digital transformation. The first step was the conversion of all forwarding processes to the WinSped transport management system from LIS Logistische Informationssysteme GmbH.
There is not much for which Filsum, situated just four metres above sea level, is known for beyond the village borders. On the one hand, there is Tamme Hanken, who died in 2016 and who, as an “XXL East Frisian” and “bone crusher”, straightened tired horse bones on his farm in the middle of the village for a long time, which was a hit on TV. On the other hand, there are the eye-catching brown trucks of Focko Lüpsen & Sohn GmbH, which can be found on the roads of the region day after day. The colour scheme, which is rather rare for a logistics company, was introduced by the company’s founder’s son Focko Lüpsen Jr. simply because only one other company in the industry had its vehicles painted in this way at the time. A clever move, because “in this way he has created a real unique selling proposition and distinctive sign with little effort,” sums up Mirco Neemann (35), forwarding manager of Focko Lüpsen & Sohn GmbH. “Our trucks are always recognizable from afar.” Apart from that, brown is considered honest and sincere in colour psychology, which is not a disadvantage for a service provider per se.
Focus on transport and logistics
Founded in 1930 as a fuel trading company in Detern, Focko Lüpsen entered the general goods transport business in 1960. Seven years later, the company finally received a long-distance freight transport licence and thus also headed for more distant destinations. Because the premises in Detern became too small over time, the company then moved to its current location in Filsum in 1993. In addition to the possibility of setting up a large indoor warehouse, an own repair shop and a car wash there, the direct transport connection to the A28 and the B72 played an crucial role in this decision. In 2011, the company separated from its fuel division and has since focused on the transport and logistics business.
With success, as the continuous growth of the past years proves. “However, we have recently seen more and more clearly that we need to improve at digitalisation in order to continue our successful development,” says Neemann. Not only do forwarders increasingly expect consistent data records on their goods and commodities, but internally the level of suffering had reached a level that could no longer be ignored. “We had to acknowledge that the many double entries and the processes still carried out by hand using an Excel spreadsheet tie up a tremendous amount of capacities and also negatively impact our sustainability,” says the 35-year-old. As a result, the management commissioned him to select, purchase and introduce a new TMS.
The right conclusions from the right analysis
The first thing the 35-year-old did was to hold talks with Lüpsen’s old TMS provider. “But it quickly became clear then that we would not come together again.” At LIS GmbH, on the other hand, the wishes and requirements of the logistics specialist did not present any issues whatsoever. “Our contact person from LIS understood our situation correctly right away,” Neemann recalls. The software specialists from Greven not only made the right analysis, they also drew the right conclusions from it. “The first concept proposal was already a hit,” says Neemann.
It took no longer than 15 months from the formation of the contract and the definition of the system layout until WinSped went live at Lüpsen. A team of four, consisting of employees from different departments, accompanied the implementation of the project on the part of the forwarding company. “Fortunately, given the tight schedule, no reprogramming was necessary. Only a few visual adjustments had to be made,” says Neemann. This is not least due to the modular structure of WinSped. The Greven-based software developer has designed its program in such a way that the integration of additional tools, for example the claims and damage management, hall handling or document management, is extremely simple. At the same time, users can easily configure a powerful transport management system that is precisely tailored to their needs using the numerous modules.
Open heart surgery
The good communication was also extremely helpful during the entire project phase. “First of all, our contact persons were always available for us and secondly, they were able to answer all our questions quickly and comprehensively,” praises the 35-year-old. The changeover to the new system from LIS finally took place at the beginning of March this year – during ongoing operations. In the course of this, a total of 27 workplaces at the Filsum logistics specialist were equipped with WinSped. “That was open-heart surgery,” Neemann recalls. The fact that everything went smoothly speaks on the one hand for good project management and on the other hand for a mature product. “The result fully meets our expectations. LIS has neatly worked through our list of requirements from the first to the last point.”
It then took three or four weeks until all employees were fit for the new system. Feedback from our staff is positive across the board. The Graphic Planning alone, which offers a detailed map display that visualises all planned tours together with the respective orders and vehicles, makes the job considerably easier. Without having to change the system, the dispatcher can get a complete overview of both the transports and the deployment plan. The tool also offers a variety of convenient options for displaying only the information that is important for the current scheduling progress in a targeted and clear manner. An attention control system based on the traffic light colours also helps to identify problems at an early stage so that they can be prevented in the best case. In addition, routines, templates and copy templates can be created to drastically reduce the time needed to handle recurring processes and procedures. “As a result, we now save around one hour per day and dispatcher compared to our old process chain,” Neemann reports. “Of course, this reduces the stress level in the dispatching department considerably and leaves our colleagues more time for customer contacts.” Lüpsen has rarely needed to make use of the LIS support. “The system is running stable.”