Scanning is knowledge - and a lot faster than measuring

Logistics and operations
Tech & Data

When trucks are unloaded in the KLM Cargo Freight warehouse, we have to measure and weigh the cargo immediately. This way, we know exactly what will be taken on a flight. That used to be time-consuming and error-prone work: stop the forklift, scan the load, and move on to the next one. Fortunately, thanks to the application of Cargo Volume Scanning, we do it differently, now we're able to find out the weight and dimensions of loads effortlessly.

A matter of seconds

To ease the Cargo process, KLM launched a new initiative in the summer of 2022, Cargo Volume Scanning. This innovative and automatic way of reading cargo was created together with Austrian start-up Cargometer. How does it work? 'During unloading, cameras above the doors of the loading bays automatically scan the cargo,' says Frank, head of information management at Cargo. 'No hands are involved at all. The software creates a 3D model of each piece of cargo in a matter of seconds. This allows us to make reliable measurements in no time.'

Better for everyone

'It's very simple,' Frank continues. 'First, our customers provide the dimensions of their freight. Then we do spot checks to check the weight and dimensions. This allows us to monitor a lot more shipments in a lot less time. In addition, we can accept more shipments and can now make better forecasts of future freight. The new scanning method gives more clarity, both to us, and to customers. And because we can measure so much more accurately, we also see a reduction in the number of incorrect invoices.'

Immediate impact

'Thanks to this application, we can now collect as much as 1870 gigabytes of data every day. We store this in our data lake and use it to improve our B2B services. Among other things, we develop trend reports to see how best to handle different types of freight.'

The impact of the new application was felt immediately, according to Frank. 'By increasing the number of automation steps in the process, we now have more time for other warehouse work. Moreover, the operational process has been enriched with data we never had before which that has been valuable from load one.'

We get all the hardware and software from Cargometer,' says Frank. 'It was fascinating to work with them on the scope and specifications of this project. In the end, of course, we wanted to match KLM's needs as closely as possible with the capabilities the Austrian party had to offer. And we succeeded. But at the same time, digital innovation, and this new way of working also bring challenges, for example for our data warehouse. We now scan and store a substantial amount of raw data every day - that takes some adjusting.

Frank, head of information management

Fascinating technology

Frank finds it inspiring to come up with radically new things like this. We worked on it as a team for so long, and now you see that it works. My challenge was mainly to get the technical and business teams on the same page, and we succeeded. The best thing about Cargo Volume Scanning? That is the tangibility; you see how the trucks are unloaded and you can follow the workflow from A to Z. At KLM, we're miles ahead in some areas of IT and technology, but in other parts of the organisation we still have room for growth and we're running around with masses of ideas. No time to get bored!

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