The shift to a digital system may be challenging at times, as such changes can generate some resistance at the organizational level. In this line, it is necessary to offer tangible benefits and provide simple digital interfaces that are accessible to all types of audiences. At TrackMyDrum, this aspect became clear since its foundation. If we wanted to transform and improve the cable market, we would have to fully understand their internal structures and ways of working. Our partnership with NKT facilitated the collection of this information.
Paper and pencil tasks, the frequent use of Excel sheets or the back and forth phone calls are just some of the points in which TrackMyDrum identified shortcomings in this market. Further, the theft or misplacement of cable drums, or the large amount of cable waste scrap means considerable costs for companies. Based on this, we tried to tackle these problems from the root with a completely digital and more sustainable approach. To date, substantial improvements have been achieved in the processes and supply chains of a growing number of cable manufacturers, utilities, wholesalers and installers.
An important challenge lies in the allocation of resources for cable drum searching in the fields. In the case of medium-sized utilities, up to 2 people may be assigned these searching tasks on a full-time basis. And this is an arduous task, as these operators must consult numerous Excel sheets, which to be noted, are not always properly updated, and call around to try to locate the specific location of the drums. If you add up the numbers, in the case of a country with the size of Denmark, a missing drum can take 5 man-hours to locate, while in the case of a country like Sweden, this task increases to 10 to 15 hours. By enabling the entry of smart trackers, these drums can be easily found at a click of a button, even in remote areas, considerably reducing unnecessary administrative resources.
Yet other problems were detected within the logistical systems of the drums pickup and shipment. Oftentimes trucks are not fully loaded, as even with a good logistical plan in place a lot gets overlooked. Average-sized trucks can carry 6 to 8 empty cable drums. The exact size of the drums is often unknown, or different sizes and weights are reported, making the logistics scheme inaccurate. This becomes evident on distances as short as traveling from the south to the north of Denmark, and more noticeable on multi-day journeys across the Russian continent. This creates evident problems for companies’ bottom line profits, and avoidable CO2 emissions coming from these vehicles. TrackMyDrum tackles this problem by providing map views of all up-dated assets with their correct status and location, and by offering “ready to pick-up” notifications. Knowing how many and how heavy the cable drums are, ensuring that the delivery trucks are fully loaded, and that the right equipment is in place when it needs to be used facilitates the smooth planning of logistics operations.
Minimizing cable waste and scrap is also on our agenda. Through connected IoT devices, full resource traceability is achieved, enabling cables to be used in other projects, as well as allowing to take advantage of the full life cycle of cable drums that are usually prematurely discarded.
By enabling the entry of digital solutions, encouraging the correct use of materials and increasing recycling rates of cable scrap, we can make our customers’ processes more cost-savvy, and also more sustainable for our local communities and neighbourhoods.