Customized logistics for Trade Fairs

DB Schenkerfairs manages fork lift fleet with cadis – the operational TMS


Munich, July 2012. DB SCHENKERfairs, the fairs department of DB Schenker, which offers logistics solutions at trade fairs all over the world, deploys cadis in its fork lift truck fleet. With the TMS from KRATZER AUTOMATION, the company can optimize all operational processes, from the set-up through to the removal of stands at trade fairs and can document the process electronically at any time.



A trade fair is often associated with a large amount of work in terms of logistics for the exhibitors and organizers. All exhibits, all parts of the stands and all advertising materials have to be delivered just in time to the stand place and then have to be rapidly dismantled and transported once again at the end of the exhibition. Moreover, the on-site fair logistics implies other various tasks such as the provision of production materials, technical support during the stand set-up or the temporary storage of empties. The Trade Fairs/Special transports division of DB Schenker features DB SCHENKERfairs, which is specialized in this field of business. The service provider manages logistics activity globally for companies involved with exhibitions/fairs. The range of services covers all requirements from the detailed transport planning through to the process of customs clearance. DB Schenker is currently considered the official trade fair transporter for numerous exhibitions/fairs location both at home and abroad.


The company operates its own fleet of up to 80 fork lift trucks for the transport of exhibits and materials within the wide ranging area of exhibitions/fairs. DB Schenker has searched for a reliable TMS (Transport Management System) to optimize the coordination of the fork lift equipment and to make working processes more efficient: “Until now, our drivers have picked up their orders on paper documents at the dispatching center. It was a process that involved long travel and waiting times“ says Ulrich Kasimir, manager of the Fairs/Special Transports division at DB Schenker.  “Our intention was instead to equip the vehicles (fork lifts) with mobile devices so that orders and status messages can be transferred in real time to the central server.” The company wanted to save time during the set-up and the removal of the stand and to achieve more transparency within the operational processes. Another important aspect is that unnecessary empty runs can be avoided which helps to support the GoGreen program of the company.


A real challenge: The representation of complex working processes


The project managers evaluated different projects and technologies and eventually chose to start a pilot project with the Transport Management System cadis. The modular software suite from KRATZER AUTOMATION has been developed to automate, document and optimize the operational processes within the logistics transport chain. “The particular challenge in this project was that we had to deal with completely different workflows than we normally do (e.g. conventional local traffic), says Oliver Hamp, Unit Manager Logistics Automation at KRATZER AUTOMATION. “In the field of trade fairs/exhibitions logistics, typical pick-up and delivery orders can be integrated in a single order. For particular orders, it is sometimes necessary, to coordinate several fork lifts at the same time. Additional job assignments frequently have to be recorded chronologically as well as the required tools and resources.

KRATZER AUTOMATION provided comprehensive process consulting for DB Schenker during a four-month specification phase. Afterwards, our application developers adapted the standard cadis software solution with additional functionality in order to match the specific requirements of the customer. The open design of cadis allows hauliers, commissioned by DB Schenker to be easily integrated into the system.


Optimization of drivers work, allowing drivers and dispatchers to work more transparently and efficiently


Berlin, early 2010: The project partners began the pilot phase of the solution in order to gather precise and detailed on-site experience. From the very beginning, all drivers were equipped with Casio DT-X30 mobile devices .This type of mobile device is robust and splash proof and provides a long battery life and is very easy to use. Because of this, it was easy for the trade fair logistics specialists at DB Schenker to quickly become familiar with the new system.  


cadis transfers the work orders to the mobile devices via GPRS –the driver can immediately see the job in individual steps and the resources that he needs to get the job done. Working orders are approved via the signature of the customer on the screen of the mobile device. In addition, the drivers document their resting times and set-up times on the mobile device. cadis offers continuous electronic documentation in real time and delivers an updated overview to the schedulers at the central workstation at any time of the process. 

Via cadis, new work orders can be specifically assigned. The system displays the orders that are currently being processed by means of delivery address (in this case the hall and booth number), and it shows where available fork lifts are situated that have the required technical equipment for the job. The closest vehicle can be selected by the scheduler for each task. The tracking of the vehicles (fork lifts) together with the status messages of the drivers allow the central work station to compile analysis and statistics in real time. This has helped the Fairs/exhibitions division of DB Schenker to gain complete transparency over all operational processes. Moreover, the accounting of the individual logistics services has also become easier via the Transport Management System (TMS). In the past, the exhibitors had to wait weeks before they received an invoice. Now with cadis: the invoice can be transferred immediately at the end of the trade fair via direct connection between cadis and the host system of the solution DB Schenkerfairs.

cadis – the operational TMS – used internationally in future

In view of the positive experience during the pilot phase, the logistics provider decided to deploy the transport management system by KRATZER AUTOMATION nationwide. By the beginning of 2011, the solution was deployed in over 15 fairs/exhibitions in Germany.  “With this system, we will have gained a large competitive advantage and will have increased our chances to win further fairs/exhibitions (customers)”, says Ulrich Kasimir. “We also have been very satisfied with the highly professional implementation. The solution that KRATZER AUTOMATION has created was very reliable and the deadlines have always been met on time“. Since then, the expansion of the solution has already begun: In 2011 the first international exhibition location in Amsterdam was equipped with cadis and other projects abroad will follow shortly.




KRATZER AUTOMATION was founded in 1980 by Gerhard Kratzer and Paul Balz as Gerhard Kratzer GmbH Automatisierungstechnik München. From the outset, the company focused on creating industrial, process-related software. Projects in the company’s early years addressed a wide range of industries: in addition to developing the software for Ruhrgas’ operations control centre in Essen, the company was also commissioned to automate engine test benches for SHELL and BMW Motorsport and supported the ADAC in controlling its breakdown service fleet through the use of mobile data communications.


Since the mid-1980s, the company began developing software tools for various applications, for example for capturing and storing measurements and displaying them in diagrams. Early in the 1990s, KRATZER AUTOMATION was transformed from a pure software company to a general contractor offering an end-to-end service. In 1999, the company was converted into a stock corporation.


For more than 32 years, KRATZER AUTOMATION has been a successful software company for process-oriented solutions in the automotive, electronic manufacturing and the transport industries. In all three sectors, we strive for optimal solutions and efficient processes along the customer value chain.


KRATZER AUTOMATION proposes cadis, an operational Transport Management System (TMS) to optimise the planning, the execution and the analysis of all operational work processes for the distribution of goods for freight forwarders. Shipment tracking and optimization of working processes are two central components.


The workforce increased continuously to its current level of around 200 employees who work at eight locations worldwide both in Europe and Asia. In addition to its headquarters in Munich, KRATZER AUTOMATION has branch offices in Stuttgart and Wolfsburg, as well as subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Czech Republic and China. 


The following organisations are customers of Kratzer Automation: BMW, Bosch, Geodis CIBLEX, Daimler, DB Schenker, DHL, DPD, IDS Logistik, Liebherr, MAN, MTU, Porsche, Austrian Post, Siemens, TNT, Umicore, VW and Zollner.


In its Test Systems division, KRATZER AUTOMATION plans and implements test systems for the automotive industry, for example for engines, turbochargers and gear chains. In particular, the company focuses on developing test benches for energy-saving and environmentally-friendly drive concepts.



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