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October 6, 2020
6 minutes

Hiab: Unifaun TMS gives us great value at a reasonable cost

HIAB is an abbreviation of Hydrauliska Industrier AB (Hydraulic Industries Ltd.), the company was started in 1944 by ski manufacturer Eric Sundin who needed to streamline the handling of timber from the nearby forests to his ski factory in Hudiksvall. This led to the birth of the “Hiab method”, which became a pioneering mechanical method for load handling. Over time, the business has grown organically and through acquisitions, and is currently one of three business areas within Cargotec.

“Since I started at Hiab 26 years ago, the development has been very rapid. We are currently global market leader in handling equipment for road vehicles, and this equipment is supported by increasingly intelligent software and smart, connected solutions”, says Bert van den Berg, Director Logistics Services, Hiab.

He describes how the brand has become generic for a truck-mounted crane in many parts of the world to the extent that customers say, “I’m going to buy a Hiab”. In addition to the Hiab brand, the company’s product portfolio now includes Argos, Loglift, Jonsered, Moffett, Princeton, Multilift, Zepro, Del and Waltco. Hiab’s customers can be found across many industries and range from single truck owners to international entities with large vehicle fleets.

Aftermarket service of the highest calibre

A global market with increasingly tougher competition and more discerning customers demands that product availability, fast delivery, and first class service should be a matter of course. For Hiab’s customers, downtime in vehicles costs a lot of money, so it is vital that spare parts are delivered quickly and with high precision.

“The demands for streamlining, including reduced capital tied up, increase every year. At the same time, we have long lead times, which sets requirements for buffers and well-stocked warehouses. In this case, we invest in various software programs to help us to increase the efficiency of our supply chain as much as possible. One example is Unifaun TMS, which we implemented in our European central distribution warehouses as early as 2013”, says Bert, and he notes that the need for a good TMS is self-evident for all companies requiring the option to monitor how their purchased transport activities are carried out and develop over time.

Agile spare parts warehouse in the USA

In 2015, Bert van den Berg was stationed in the USA with the assignment to establish a central distribution warehouse for spare parts in the USA and the rest of the Americas. The stated objective was to optimise and streamline the supply of spare parts.

“I had a three-year assignment in the USA and our assessment was that it would take around a year to get off the ground and start up a new warehouse. We conducted a centre of gravity analysis and concluded that an ideal location would be in Plainfield, Indiana. A crucial determinant behind the location decision was that both FedEx and UPS had a couple of central hubs located in the vicinity.

We built quite a traditional spare parts warehouse, with a large amount of manual handling and substantial buffers in order to ensure the high availability of the most requested spare parts.

“We have a huge flora of different spare parts and the warehouse therefore only stores a part of this. As a complement, we therefore need an extremely flexible and fast supply chain to handle everything else. We have almost fifty service centres in the USA alone that need a rapid and precise flow of spare parts. In order to succeed, we need different software programs for planning, inventory, orders and transport”, explains Bert.

Cost-effective remote implementation

The establishment of the USA warehouse was facilitated by the earlier development of the processes, system integrations and much more at the European spare parts warehouse in Metz, France, a few years ago.

“Using good, well-functioning processes and software programs everywhere in the business is a philosophy we follow in the company. In the light of this, the decision to also use Unifaun TMS in the USA was an easy one to make. Unifaun helped us to copy our European set-up in very efficient way, as well as to add new regional transport services to the system, and this allowed us to keep costs down and avoid new costly integrations and adaptations to our SAP business system. In addition, Unifaun personnel handled everything remotely, making the process extremely efficient and fast.

“Trusting collaboration”

Bert van den Berg describes how there was some concern that problems might arise due to the time difference between Europe and the USA, but notes that the implementation was painless, where all orders are registered in SAP, which provides full traceability and feedback on carrier performance. He emphasises that Unifaun’s TMS is an important tool for booking transport, but the great value lies in the opportunity to follow up carrier performance, to ensure that the right transport service is delivered at the right price, as well as its use a basis for improvement and negotiation.

“Using our TMS, we can ensure both better quality and reduced cost in our supply chain. Unifaun TMS is a stable, reliable and agile system that gives us great value at a reasonable cost. Through a trusting collaboration with Unifaun personnel, we have also developed a well-defined process in which we can easily add new services and carriers with rapid implementation.

About Bert van den Berg

Bert van den Berg has worked at Hiab for the past 26 years. He began his career in 1994, at Hiab’s logistics and purchasing department. He subsequently became logistics manager, factory manager and head of logistics planning, among other things. He has been Director Logistics Services at Hiab since 2019. Bert lives with his family in the picturesque village of Ruinen in Drenthe, Holland.

About HIAB

HIAB developed the world’s first loader crane in 1944, and now HIAB produces cranes for almost all needs and lifting tasks. Hiab is a world-leading provider of equipment, intelligent services and digital solutions for on-road load handling. Hiab’s offering encompasses class-leading load handling equipment with HIAB loader cranes, LOGLIFT and JONSERED forestry and recycling cranes, MOFFETT semi-trailers, MULTILIFT demountables and tail lifts under the ZEPRO, DEL and WALTCO brands. As industry pioneer, our commitment is to increase efficiency in our customers’ businesses and to shape the future of intelligent load handling.

Why choose Unifaun TMS according to Bert van den Berg

  • Great value for money
  • A stable, reliable and agile TMS
  • Established processes, easy and cost-efficient to implement in different parts of the world
  • Good cooperation based on mutual trust
  • Gives us great data as basis for further development, negotiation and continuous improvement

(Picture from Hiab)