Nox NightTimeExpress

Goals

  • nox NightTimeExpress wanted a solution to enable the company to deliver to service vehicles of customers at night and confirm their delivery without the need for spare keys

Solutions

  • OpenTheCar: an extension of the existing ZetesChronos PoD solution

Results

  • Lower costs for the customers
  • Routes can be changed more flexibly
  • Emergency deliveries are dealt with more easily

Error margin using incorrect keys virtually non-existent

The OpenTheCar solution, an extension of the existing ZetesChronos Proof of Delivery solution, replaces the current use and management of customers' car keys. As a result, there are less costs for customers, routes may be changed more flexibly, emergency deliveries are dealt with more easily and the error margin using incorrect keys is virtually non-existent.

Efficient night distribution

For more than 50 years, nox NightTimeExpress (formerly: TNt Innight) has been the leader in night distribution of goods and parts. Parcels are collected at the end of the day and delivered to assemblers amongst others before the start of the day. On a contract basis, nox NightTimeExpress delivers to customers in the following sectors: agricultural, automotive, IT and telecoms, installations, medical and business services. The delivery addresses, such as a particular area in a warehouse, a wall safe, containers or service vehicles are known in advance. "Thanks to our night distribution we improve our customers’ efficiency and competitiveness”, says Nico Bossenbroek, Director ICS at nox NightTimeExpress in Belgium and The Netherlands. “To increase our efficiency as logistics service provider, we have been using Zetes' Proof of Delivery solution, ZetesChronos for years. This allows us to track and trace all pick-ups and deliveries.”

Nox NightTimeExpress stands out in the market by continuously listening to the needs of customers and by innovating together.  The POD solution was therefore extended by Zetes in 2014 with 'FindTheCar', an application which allows drivers to locate service vehicles more quickly. 'OpenTheCar' is the next step. Bossenbroek: "To deliver products and goods to service vehicles of customers, the Nox NightTimeExpress drivers manage and use thousands of spare keys. We were looking for a solution to reduce the risk of human error and the planning constraints involved. We asked Zetes to develop the OpenTheCar idea further. Choosing them as our partner is the result of previous successfully integrated innovation projects and the fact that all deliveries of Nox NightTimeExpress are processed using their ZetesChronos Proof of Delivery solution", adds Bossenbroek.

FindTheCar and OpenTheCar integrated with ZetesChronos

nox NightTimeExpress drivers are equipped with a ruggedized Zebra MC67 PDA with integrated scanner, specially designed for critical mobile applications.  The ZetesChronos application informs the drivers via the MC67 which products and parts must be delivered or picked up from which service vehicle. They use the GPS based solution FindTheCar to locate the vehicles to deliver at night much more quickly. With certain customers, these are at a fixed location; however, in the case of mechanics who live in a city, it may take minutes before drivers are able to locate the correct vehicle in the dark. They then open the car using OpenTheCar. This logistic innovation, developed in close collaboration with Zetes, consists of a small box, called qBox, that is connected to the central locking system, an application on mobile terminals and a web based management environment.  OpenTheCar communicates via Bluetooth and is secured by authorisation of the used Zebra scan equipment and one-off access codes. The technology is secured according to the highest standards and uses crypto components, HSM (hardware security modules) in data centres and certified crypto chips in the qBoxes. The delivered/collected packages are scanned and ZetesChronos sends an electronic Proof of Delivery to the back office. Once the delivery is complete, the opened car door will automatically lock again. ZetesChronos is powered by the MCL™ Mobility Platform, a cloud based platform which enables centralised management of mobile applications, devices and users.

Advantages for the logistics chain:

  • Lower costs: During the period the car is being used, the OpenTheCar system guarantees less costs in the chain compared when buying a spare key, in the administrative management and a more flexible deployment of the car park.
  • Dynamically planning and changing routes: "OpenTheCar enables us to be more flexible processing 'last minute' jobs and making changes to further optimise our route planning", explains Michiel Zwart, IT Manager at nox NightTimeExpress. "This flexibility also allows to deliver to a mechanic’s car for one or more days on a different location."
  • Better security: "As OpenTheCar only provides access to one door, our drivers no longer have full access to the car, which can also no longer be started. Moreover, the cars are guaranteed to be automatically locked again after every delivery. The process is so straightforward that our drivers don't even need training”, says Michiel Zwart.
  • Reduced error margin: In the past, last minute changes would result in switching keys, which costs time and brings with it the risk that two drivers would be en route with the wrong keys and unable to deliver.
  • (real-time) Track & trace: the ZetesChronos application registers all packages in real-time

Phased introduction

In the autumn of 2015, nox NightTimeExpress launched OpenTheCar at the Belgian branch of Jungheinrich. Since then, multiple customers in the Benelux have started working with the solution, with many more branches in other countries showing an interest in the logistics innovation. "We have had great feedback from customers", says Bossenbroek. The full roll-out of OpenTheCar will take three to five years as the installation depends on the customers' vehicle fleet replacement.

“Delivering on time is paramount for the service provided to our customers as their daily schedule depends on it", Bossenbroek sums up. "We experience that same mentality at Zetes. In a short timeframe, we made significant progress by focussing on the results, being project-oriented and maintaining close communication. Looking back at this project, Zetes has once again helped us to develop an innovation that stands out in the logistics market."

Looking back at this project, Zetes has once again helped us to develop an innovation that stands out in the logistics market

In a short timeframe, we made significant progress by focussing on the results, being project-oriented and maintaining close communication