Swiss Post Expands Yard Management Solutions

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For more than ten years, Swiss Post has optimized the transport and transhipment at their Härkingen, Daillens and Frauenfeld parcel centres, employing the software solution SyncroTESS of the Aachen-based INFORM GmbH. The system optimizes, controls and monitors the yard management and handling of containers at each of the three Swiss Post parcel centres, as well as all the road and rail trunking between the postal sites. In order to be prepared to meet future demands on the postal market, the yard management solution has now been upgraded in close collaboration to include several more fundamental features.

Using intelligent planning and advanced management decisions, SyncroTESS has been optimizing yard management for Swiss Post for more than ten years. At each of the three Swiss Post parcel centers, SyncroTESS provides the yard optimization and control of all transport and transhipment activities as well as for the trunking between the parcel centers. In the Härkingen parcel centre alone, SyncroTESS optimizes around 1,600 swap body manoeuvres, the arrival and departure of 150 trucks, as well as about 40 trains with a total of 200 waggons and the corresponding 500 crane swings of two railway cranes every day.

In mid 2010, the integration of the new functionalities will be completed which enable the handling of additional scope in transport procedures. Swiss Post and INFORM have sub-divided the new project into four release stages. “The first release deals with the conversion of the radio data transmission solution from narrow band to WLAN, as well as the customisation of a touchscreen based front-end by INFORM. The second one deals with the issue of parcel cage management”, explains Patrick Egloff, project manager for Swiss Post at the main parcel centre in Härkingen. “Both releases are already fully implemented.” The third release, which was successfully introduced in spring 2010, comprises the update of the destination and gate info display inside the sorting centre. Last but not least, the fourth release stage includes enhancements to SyncroTESS itself, such as the improved handling of transports carrying hazardous goods or the provision of an internet platform to improve communication between parcel centres and up- and downstream distribution bases.

Transparency in parcel cage management
One of the highlights of the upgrade project is the integration of the RFID parcel cage management into SyncroTESS. This functionality has now been up and running for several weeks and among other things, ensures an even greater transparency in transport control. SyncroTESS monitors the utilized capacity of the swap bodies thereby offering Swiss Post the possibility to optimize the transport capacity per destination. “We receive valuable information from the system which enables us to calculate the utilised capacity and consequently gives us a starting point for further increasing our level of efficiency”, says Swiss Post project manager Egloff. “Moreover, transparency regarding the location of the parcel cages in the warehouse is increased – and all this in real-time.”

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