Issue 01/10

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Issue 01/10
Issue 01/2010
SILOG News
Automation for post, courier, express and parcel services
www.siemens.com/mobility
Contents
01 Optimized
The postal supply chain
Siemens consultants see the
big picture
02 Restructuring
Infrastructure Logistics
Dietmar Jürges heads Postal
Solutions
The best way to optimize the postal supply chain? With experience.
Alternative post scenarios,
just a click away
The most enduring postal networks and structures are those which have developed over long periods of time. However, from time to time, it is worth taking a
closer look and embarking on a little re-engineering to bring costs down, to comply
with CO2 footprint regulations or perhaps because new business models require
new approaches. This is where the Siemens Postal Solutions consultants from
Constance come in, bringing their extensive knowledge and broad experience to
the drawing board.
Nothing is more certain than change, according to the writer Kurt Tucholsky, and
the world of postal distribution is no exception. The move from physical to electronic
mail is leading many postal operators to rethink their organisational structures and infrastructures. For Klaus Hoffmann, head of
the Postal and Logistics Consulting Department of Siemens Postal Solutions in Constance, two key objectives stand out from
the rest: ‘cost reduction and improved service quality’. These are conditioned by competition and the prevailing economic situa-
tion and most definitely ‘cannot be
achieved merely by installing a new machine or a new software program’, Hoffmann stresses. ‘At this point in time, we
must not get bogged down in the minutiae, but must take a good look at the process as a whole,’ says the Siemens consultant.
And the proof is in the pudding – under
Hoffman’s watchful eye, postal operator
productivity has increased significantly,
leaving little room for doubt.
(Continued on page 4.) >>
06 Your mail and you: together
forever. Mail in seconds
Trust-Ebox finds its recipients,
wherever they are
A safe bet, every time: Holger Ewert, Wolfgang Zimber, Xiao Wei and Klaus Hoffmann (left to right) make
up the team of experts from the Postal and Logistics Consulting Department.
Postal Automation
Newsletter SILOG News 1
Editorial
Siemens Infrastructure Logistics adapts to the change in
structure, supported by three pillars
Into the future,
alongside our customers
Dietmar Jürges, Head of the Postal Solutions
business unit for Infrastructure Logistics
Flexibility, the key to success
Companies are programmed for
growth – in numbers, volumes,
mileage, etc. Machines, computers,
storage space – all these develop
together, step by step. That’s how
it goes. The globalised world is
evolving, and economic factors and
general conditions are changing
right along with it.
‘Flexibility’ is the best response in
a world which is constantly undergoing rapid change. Siemens
is responding to these changes
by restructuring its Infrastructure
Logistics business unit under the
slogan ‘holistic and solution-based
approach’ (see page 2).
That’s the way the Siemens Postal
and Logistics Consulting team works,
based on the idea that it’s the sum
of the parts that makes the whole,
a solution which satisfies end users and service providers alike (see
pages 1, 4 and 5).
Our future is based on the vast array of technologies available to us
today. The solutions provided come
from skilled craftsmanship, ideas
and flashes of inspiration. The future
is quite different, but that’s what
makes it interesting (page 6).
As the new head of Postal Solutions,
I welcome you and look forward
to working with you and hope this
newsletter proves to be of interest
to you.
Sincerely,
Dietmar Jürges
2 Newsletter SILOG News
Mobility is key in this day and age, and Siemens Mobility Division is an excellent
example of this phenomenon. As technologies develop, so does business and society, and this development also extends to company structures, as it should.
Siemens Infrastructure Logistics (IL) is no exception, meeting this change head
on and putting its best foot forward
Siemens has now combined six technologically oriented business units, which
previously operated under the umbrella
of Siemens Infrastructure Logistics, into
three market- and customer-oriented units:
E-forwarding, page 6 and 7). E-commerce
will give further impetus to the parcels
business and freight is expected to continue to develop.
Infrastructure Logistics
Dr. Stefan Keh
Infrastructure
Logistics
Postal Solutions
Customer Service
Logistics & Airport
Solutions
Dietmar Jürges
Christian-Marius
Wegner
Karsten Knipper
Postal Solutions, which covers all postal
activities, Logistics & Airport Solutions,
which covers all the logistics and airport
activities, and the blanket Customer
Service unit, which covers the installation,
service and maintenance of automation
solutions.
Forecasting specialists and trend researchers currently have their hands full ‘measuring’ and predicting the future.
The new, streamlined structure is a response to changing economic requirements which are marked by a growing
network, not only in terms of global trade
flows, but also in terms of the digital
world. While the global network and new
technological platforms support Web 2.0
communication, for example, the Internet
caters for the significant changes taking
place in logistics structures as well as expectations among end users. The standard
letter will be around for much longer, but
will eventually arrive electronically in the
virtual mailbox rather than physically (see
In this situation, postal operators and logistics specialists need, above all, vision
and a holistic assessment of their development potentials. In other words, what are
needed are solutions, not technologies.
And even if technology does have a crucial
role in a solution (indeed, sometimes it is
an innovative approach which makes the
difference), the customer usually does not
want to hear about special software modules or system components. What is required is the type of experience offered by
Siemens consultants and engineers. Starting with the big picture, they analyse the
A solution-oriented organisation:
the best customer support
In practice
The other factor in the solution is the
technology. It is only as good as the specialists who take the many parts and components and put them together into a
whole at the end of the supply chain,
eventually handing it over to the customer. This is where Customer Service (CS)
comes in. It ensures that the solution continues to meet customer expectations for
many years to come. It is CS’s quality performance that ensures Siemens solutions
are easily accessible and efficient. This is
the only way that the projected profitability can be achieved.
Along with the three new units, Siemens
has also introduced a blanket Department
of Innovation Support. This ensures that
customers and businesses can rely on the
constant development of innovative solutions. While Siemens Infrastructure Logistics develops with the demands of the
market, companies benefit from Siemens’
new, forward-looking solutions. <<
NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker
It is precisely for this reason that Siemens
Infrastructure Logistics has been reorganised, to combine the know-how from
previously separate areas into one unit so
that holistic solutions can be developed,
ones which set customers on the road to
success. This concept is reflected in the
name of the Siemens units: Postal Solutions (PS) and Logistics & Airport Solutions (LS). The areas are divided on an objective basis; Siemens customers always
come first. Thus, while the responsibility
for parcel sorting products is with the LS
unit, Postal Solutions remains the customer
contact for projects for postal operators.
Three IRVs for China
First contract with India
The mail centre in Beijing is now
complete. More than 120,000
square feet are now available for
mail sorting at the two-storey
Beijing Complex Mail Centre
(BCMC). The new building replaces
the local post offices which were
previously dispersed throughout
Beijing and, as the largest centre
of China Post, it eclipses all other
centres in the Chinese postal service. Siemens AG will be supplying
the most important part of the
equipment in the postal centre in
Beijing – three integrated reading
and video coding (IRV) systems
with directly connected 2-level
sorters, including the automatic
reading and video coding systems. Experience was not the
only deciding factor in Siemens’
favour – Beijing Post was the first
post office in China to install letter
sorting machines from Siemens
in 1990 and ordered additional
machines about eight years later.
The short delivery time promised
by Siemens was also particularly
attractive in Beijing and fitted in
well with the strict project plan of
Beijing Post. The high throughput
and high quality of the Siemens
products also guarantee improved
performance during sorting. This
is necessary to cope with the large
volumes of mail in Beijing.
In Delhi and Calcutta, letters will
soon be delivered at lightning
speed. India Post recently signed a
contract with the Mobility Division
of Siemens Ltd. India, the main
purpose of which is the automation of the Delhi-Calcutta mail
route. Within the next 14 months,
Siemens will be setting up hightech sorting systems in these two
Indian cities.
The planned systems will automate the sorting of letters and
parcels up to 20 kg for standard
dispatches. The Final Sorting
Machine (FSM) will be used for
standard letter processing as well
as the integrated reading and
video coding (IRV) systems. The
highlight for India Post is the IRV
system, with its intelligent software, which not only reads any
font, but also handwriting, Greek
and Arabic. And, what is most important is that it also understands
the local language, Hindi.
<<
facts, compare them with their own experience and then develop a suitable response.
In short, they create a tailor-made solution
to meet the customer’s needs.
With this equipment, the mail
centres in Delhi and Calcutta will
be able to process 55,500 letters
per hour.
In each case, Siemens will also be
installing a multi-product sorter
(MPS) capable of sorting parcels
up to 20 kg.
Newsletter SILOG News 3
>> Continued – Alternative post scenarios, just a click away
Postal supply chain:
Planning – Simulation – Optimization
When the postal and logistics consultants from Siemens roll up their sleeves and
get to work, they always look at the big picture, the entire postal distribution process: from the first beginnings, with the planning and setting up of the logistics
networks, to the finishing touches, when the optimized process or supply chain is
successfully put into operation. Find out how Siemens supports the entire supply
chain process – from analysis to delivery, from start to finish.
‘We are not just engineers who offer a
machine full of cure-all features, nor general consultants who make recommendations and then abandon ship,’ explains
Klaus Hoffmann, describing what makes
his Postal and Logistics Consulting Department a cut above the competition.
He emphasises, ‘We explain how each
part fits into the whole and are with postal operators every step of the way, until
the project draws to a close, and when
everything can be calculated down to the
last cent, we reveal the savings made by
optimizing the supply chain.’ The supply
chain specialists from Siemens are keen
to ensure that enough attention is given
to the start of a re-engineering project. ‘It
is difficult to compensate for carelessness
at a later stage.’
1. Take constraints into consideration
An essential first step in starting an optimization project is to analyse the constraints. According to Hoffman, there
were a few surprises along the way, such
as the works council suddenly appearing
on the scene once the new machine was
up and running and demanding that employees be reclassified, a step which had
been forgotten. From this, one can see
the importance of not only clarifying the
objectives to be attained, such as cost
and quality, but also knowing what possible hurdles may arise in realising the desired aims. The fundamental principles
should also be established. Project heads
need to know in advance whether, for ex-
4 Newsletter SILOG News
3. Modelling: fifteen years’ experience in success stories
A simple example: if you only know the
total surface area of a house, you’ll never be able to pick out the right furniture.
As Hoffmann puts it, ‘The more we know
about the situation, the better the plan.’
Siemens does not re-invent the wheel
over and over again in order to collect all
necessary data from the supply chain: a
computer program for collecting data
‘remembers’ all the facts and tests for
consistency and plausibility during data
acquisition. In the end, the figures are
fixed – the volume to be expected in any
particular season, when a letter is to be
in the mailbox of the recipient, the mail
flows, whether there is first- or secondclass mail, or what extra steps must be
incorporated in the process for insured
or registered mail.
Once there is an extensive amount of file
data, including forecast data for future
volumes, the planning process may commence. The tools that Siemens has at its
disposal are ‘like a gold mine for any further plans’ says Hoffmann, going on to
say, ‘It is a toolkit which has been assembled from approximately 15 years’ experience.’ The tools, which have been developed especially for postal operations (or,
more commonly, the workflow), make
it possible to visualise the letter, largeformat mail or parcel flows exactly.
With one click, the program also calculates the cost of the process. Take a closer
look, and it identifies the places where
the supply chain can be optimized.
Whereas consulting firms or universities
without postal experience have to dedicate large amounts of time to modelling,
Siemens employees merely input the factors specific to the customer, and the initial plan is ready. ‘This alone can save
many months of development work, tests
and optimization loops,’ boasts Klaus Hoffmann, confidently. He remembers an example from an actual case, when Siemens
took over a project that had been stonewalled for two years by the modelling process. ‘After just a few weeks, we delivered
results,’ says Hoffmann, lightly.
Plans and projects for a sorting centre
Analysis and optimization of the processes
ample, sorting centres need to be consolidated or relocated, later moving on
to organising personnel and planning
logistics.
2. Collect facts – without leaving
anything out
4.Planning process – simulation at
the touch of a button
Planning now relies on the facts and optimized procedures. According to Hoffmann, ‘They are typically top-down, i.e.
from searching for locations for the sorting centres to tactical and strategic planning of networks and transport systems,
on to the development of processes in
the sorting centres.’
Planning includes the following steps:
-
Site allocation is based on a scientific method and determines the optimum network for sorting centres and post offices from more than 100 possible parameters.
-
Site allocation provides the jumping- off point for the tour optimizer. It pro-
vides the optimum routes and stop
overs based on facts such as the vehi-
cle fleet, mail flows and stipulated time frame.
-
The process models optimized by Siemens are used to form the blue-
prints for the sorting centres. ‘But this is in no way an automatic process,’ stresses Hoffmann. ‘The creation of the sorting strategy, and the opera-
tional concept it comes from, requires a wealth of experience.’ It is just this experience that the Siemens special-
ists bring to the project.
-
Other tools include the process opti-
mizer (static optimizer), which deter-
mines the cost of system parameters such as the arrival and dispatch pro-
files, transport time, resources, and mail volumes to be processed, taking Planning and optimization of the logistics network
into account possible build-ups and cost requirements for each process, if necessary. The layout optimizer en-
sures the shortest possible transport routes without crossovers (layout opti-
mizer), which guarantees the specific desired benefits.
Finally, Siemens selects a tool from its
toolbox to make the planning flexible
and easy to understand – without the
need of a prototype. This is the simulation. In practical terms, it tests whether
the process really runs like clockwork
from start to finish and meets the client’s
expectations. In the words of Hoffmann,
‘If you can monitor the process of the
mail flow on the screen and can see that
the times and volumes on the schedule
have been met, the gasps of amazement
are guaranteed.’
Even more effective is the use of simulation to test various scenarios at the
touch of a button – each time with a realistic representation of the material
flow, information flow, machinery and
personnel, and costs. It is therefore easier for the client’s decision makers to decide between two or three centres or to
choose sorting scheme 1 or 2. ‘There are
several ways to find the optimum postal
supply chain,’ says Hoffmann, ‘but there
is one vital factor: the solution must be
found quickly and efficiently, and then
implemented.’ This is what Siemens
stands for. <<
Simulation and verification of the operating sequence
Statement
Igor Melentchuck, Deputy General Director
of Ukrposhta, Ukraine Post
‘A first in process transparency’
Working together with the experts
from Siemens, Ukrposhta has successfully and thoroughly analysed
the supply chain and processes
for mail processing. The industrial
expertise of Siemens, its consulting methodology and its specialised
tools added a level of transparency
to all our business processes unlike
anything seen before – both in
terms of quality of service and costs.
We were amazed at the improvement that could be achieved and
how effective the proposals were for
optimization. The Siemens simulation function left us confident that
the measures recommended were
appropriate and that they would
lead to real and significant improvements once implemented.
We have implemented the recommended changes in our logistics
network based on the Siemens
project, and the test results from
the measures already implemented
have exceeded all our expectations.
In addition to qualitative improvements, we have also been able to
save more than 10% of the total
cost incurred in the supply chain.
The new logistics network will now
form the basis for further improvements in automating processes.
Newsletter SILOG News 5
A future scenario for E-forwarding
Letters of the future:
around the world in seconds
Ryan Bingham travels by plane 322 days a year. Aeroplanes, hotels and company
visits are his world. The mobile motivational speaker is only at home every few
weeks and has, in fact, managed to clock up ten million bonus air miles. George
Clooney plays the restless manager in the award-winning film Up in the Air. In
the following future scenario, it is Simon Parker who jets around the world.
The Hollywood comedy with George
Clooney pushes mobility to the extreme,
but in reality, this lifestyle trend plays an
increasingly important role in a globalised world. Scientific studies predict
that the need for mobility worldwide
will increase, and the same conclusion has been drawn by the ‘Delivering
Tomorrow – customer expectations in
2020 and beyond’ study carried out by
Deutsche Post DHL. Among the reasons
for this increase are the creation of megacities and technological developments,
such as Internet-based communication
systems.
Mobility is also an important factor for
post and offers the following scenario for
2015. Much like the film character Ryan
Bingham, Simon Parker’s range of activity
extends beyond the United States to the
entire world. After landing in Moscow, he
climbs aboard the Velaro high-speed train
and races to St. Petersburg at 350 km/h.
On the journey, the mobile manager not
only looks through his e-mails but also
his letters. He actually is not very fond of
paper mail, although the printed word
still plays an important role. Today, the
overcrowded mailbox is no longer an issue for the enthusiastic bachelor. Important messages no longer give him the slip,
even though he only spends 43 nights a
year in his apartment.
In 2015, there will be hardly any difference between physical and electronic mail.
Simon Parker merely types on his latestgeneration mobile phone and the little
screen presents a list of all his incoming
mail, including letters, printed material
and parcels, regardless of where it has
come from.
Bangkok
In the peace and quiet of the hotel in
St. Petersburg, Simon Parker can peruse
the mail that has arrived so far. This
ingenious system, called Trust-Ebox,
shows the addresses of the senders on
screen. One look and he can see clearly
that some of the business letters can be
dealt with by his colleague Brenda at
headquarters in the US. One click of the
mouse is enough and the postal service
takes care of dispatch to the required
destination.
However, it is not always so easy. Sometimes, letters can only be processed
correctly once you know what’s in them,
but this is no problem for Simon Parker.
He clicks on the relevant correspondence
and asks the Trust-Ebox service to view
the contents. This takes just a few hours:
the post office opens the letter concerned,
scans the contents and he can read it on
the screen word-for-word the very next
morning. Taking into account the delicate
nature of Simon Parker’s work, this could
seem tricky, since the correspondence
must remain confidential. After all, his con-
Velaro Moscow – St. Petersburg
6 Newsletter SILOG News
antee mail integrity. Access to his digital
postbox is also only possible via secure
transmission.
However, during the flight to Bangkok,
a mail item appears which his high-tech
mobile is not able to process. These are
prepared letters from company headquarters that have to be signed by hand,
therefore an e-mail with the usual digital
signature won’t do. Annoying, but there
is still paper! But Trust-Ebox also helps in
this case. Simon Parker can simply have
the documentation sent directly to his
hotel in Bangkok via a logistics service
provider. Once it has arrived at the airport, the Suvarnabhumi Airport Express
takes it to the Makkasan city railway station in Bangkok. Once Parker has frantically completed several company visits
and attended a few business lunches,
his physical post has arrived at the hotel
after just a few days and is then signed
and sent by return mail back to the company headquarters.
versations in the company involve letting
people go. But, Simon Parker, globetrotter,
is not worried. His post is protected, since
the new letter-forwarding function uses
secure routes on secure servers to guar-
On the connecting flight to Los Angeles,
Mr. Parker is surprised by a letter from
his girlfriend, Alex. She has sent him a
love letter, which appears on his mobile
in digital form. That’s a nice surprise for
our world-travelling motivational speaker,
who later arrives at his apartment to find
the handwritten original from his beloved
in his mailbox. Even better, thanks to the
Trust-Ebox service! <<
Interview
Professor Dr. Horst W. Opaschowski is the scientific director of the Foundation for Future Issues
in Hamburg and author of Deutschland 2030.
Wie wir in Zukunft leben [Germany 2030. How
we will live in the future], Gütersloh, 2009.
Mobility, going beyond all boundaries
Will we still be sending handwritten
love letters by post in 2020?
A handwritten letter will still be the
most romantic and convincing declaration of love in 2020. Handwritten
love letters may not be dying out,
but they are getting less common!
How much will electronic communication govern our daily lives in
2020?
SMS and chatting will characterise
electronic communication for the
next generation. In the long term,
this will be to the detriment of substance and quality.
What role does the digital divide play
in society? How can it be overcome?
Education, education, education.
This is the only way to overcome the
digital divide in the long term.
Will we be travelling more often
in 2020 than today? Will mobility
increase?
Mobility will go beyond all boundaries in the future – spatial, temporal,
psychological and social. Mobility by
car will only be a small part of it.
Will rural migration play a significant
part in 2020?
A second great wave of rural migration will take place in 2020: ‘back to
the city,’ particularly among the older
generation.
Airport rail link in Bangkok
Newsletter SILOG News 7
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Mail connects people, and not just in
terms of its global transport flows. ‘Mail’
can be found in every country in the
world, albeit in very different forms. For
example, remember the SILOG News
article about the Tibetan postman who
scaled by scooter and on foot mountains
straight from The Lord of the Rings?
Like the post, SILOG News travels into
all regions of the world, showing what
Siemens Postal Solutions has to offer in
technology, design and bright ideas, in
six languages: German, English, French,
Spanish, Italian and Chinese.
In customer newsletters from Siemens,
you can read not only about the technical developments in postal automation,
but also about trends in postal organisation or strategy.
HhlmZe89nmhfZm
bhg
F^ple^mm^k888KADG
?8F^pl888
centres? Maybe you were impressed by
the special edition covering the comprehensive modernisation project for Swiss
Post at the end of 2008, or the mid-2009
issue on cargo and parcel output, which
described new and further developments
in parcel and material handling solutions
at Siemens? Not forgetting to consider
matters of greater import, such as the interview with climate expert Claudia Kemfert, which revealed that green measures
in the company can be both economically
and environmentally beneficial.
But we still have some very important
questions for you. Did you find our choice
of subject matter interesting? What else
would you like to see? Simply fill in the
enclosed card. You could be one of the
lucky winners!
We look forward to your answers.
Perhaps you read the report in SILOG
News 1/2008 on the compact sorting
systems installed in German postal
8 Newsletter SILOG News
Editorial Team
NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTicker NewsTi
Reader Survey
A fresh east wind: crossbelt sorter for Romania
The new Siemens EXB120 crossbelt
sorter at FAN Courier in Bucharest
is expected to go into operation by
the autumn of 2010. FAN Courier,
the market leader in courier services
in Romania, decided to automate its
new hub on the northern outskirts
of Bucharest just before Christmas
and equip it with the EXB120 sorter
from Siemens. Eight feeders and 66
output chutes are being installed.
The EXB120 solution for Bucharest
will achieve a throughput of around
9,000 items per hour, which in the
future will be increased to 17,000
items per hour.
During the decision-making process, FAN Courier, which bases its
success largely on the provision of
premium services, gave very high
priority to quality and reliability. The selection criteria for the
Siemens automation solution more
than fulfilled the requirements:
outstanding performance, including OCR technology, local services
with high availability and a help
line. Therefore, there is nothing to
impede the success of this year’s
Christmas business for the Romanian courier.
Corporate Information
Published by
Siemens AG
Industry Sector
Mobility Division
Infrastructure Logistics
Postal Automation
Bücklestr. 1-5
78467 Konstanz · Germany
Tel. +49 (0)7531-86-01
Fax +49 (0)7531-86-2421
Responsible for content
Dr. Gerhard Ehlker, Siemens AG, Konstanz
Printed in Germany
Your direct line to us:
[email protected]
© Siemens AG 2010
The information in this brochure merely contains
general descriptions and performance features,
which may not always be applicable in the described form in an actual application or which
may change as a result of further development
of the products.
The desired performance features shall only be
binding if they have been expressly agreed in the
conclusion of contract.