Martina Morawietz


Award-winning innovation: Digital delivery note receives ECR Award

The digital delivery note "Cloud4Log" received the "Innovation Excellence" prize at this year's ECR Award. "This brings attention to the topic of digital delivery note," Björn Hobusch from the Nagel-Group says. 

Smiling truck driver.

The ECR-Award praises the cooperative solution with which industry, retail and logistics reduce process efforts, save paper and increase efficiency at the ramp. © DjelicS / iStock ID 1215707493

No more paper: With the digital delivery note, every partner in the supply chain digitally accesses their goods documents via a central cloud platform, comments on them and confirms them with their signature. For this, "Cloud4Log" received the ECR award in the "Innovation Excellence" category. At the end of September 2022, around 250 invited guests from industry, retail, science and the media chose their favorite from the three projects previously identified by the jury for the final round. 

The cooperation project "Cloud4Log" was implemented by GS1 Germany, known for its barcode standards and solutions, and the nonprofit logistics association BVL (Bundesvereinigung Logistik). Here, more than 50 companies from industry, trade and logistics are working on the digitalization of the delivery note. Project participants from dm-drogerie markt, Nestlé and the Nagel-Group presented the concept of the pilot project at the ECR Award 2022. 

"The ECR Award was a good forum," says Björn Hobusch, Head of Business Services at Nagel-Group. "Manufacturers and retailers were strongly represented. We hope to gain attention for the topic of digital delivery notes." The concept of Cloud4Log allows to take paper out of the transport process, says Hobusch. With several advantages at once: "We no longer print out the paper, this brings CO2 savings." In the paper-based process, the delivery note accompanies the goods from the manufacturer to the recipient. "The driver takes a pack of paper with him. In times of shortage of qualified workers, we need to give the driver time to do his actual job, not saddle him with handling paper." In addition, the delivery note internally serves as confirmation of receipt at the retailer. "Today, it takes seven to ten days for a receipt to be scanned and available to the customer for clarification processes. Now it happens almost in real time. Everyone involved can see the status on completeness and intactness."

Driver signs on a tablet.

The digital delivery note is operated as a web app in the Open Telekom Cloud. Everyone involved in the delivery process has access according to precisely defined rights. A QR code allows access. © REWE Markt GmbH

With the ECR Award (Efficient Consumer Response), GS1 Germany annually honors cross-company cooperation projects around the gearing of the value chain to consumer needs. According to GS1 Germany, the innovation of Cloud4Log lies in the chosen cooperative solution approach. And rightly so, says Hobusch: "We can only optimize the process together; all supply chain participants must be on board. We need an almost complete commitment from German retailers to participate in the solution. We need to prevent the risk of drivers being confronted with different processes."

Digital delivery bills are just the beginning for robust supply chains. Take dynamic time slot management: Imagine the driver arrives earlier or is stuck in a traffic jam. Then a dynamic time booking could secure his place at the ramp via Cloud4Log. In any case, this further development can only be achieved in cooperation with all three parties: retailers, manufacturers and logistics service providers.

In the interaction of manufacturer, forwarder and retailer, Cloud4Log supports the digitalization of the delivery note process between industry and retail in Germany via a central platform in the Open Telekom Cloud. This kind of "Dropbox" for logistics reduces process effort, saves time and a lot of paper, and increases efficiency at the ramp. Cloud4Log will be available for industry and logistics from the end of October.

Core of the service: digital exchange of transport documents in realtime

Process updates: 

  • In addition to direct shipments, the system also maps groupage processes: Goods from different manufacturers are delivered in one shipment, even to different recipients. Logisticians can map logical constructs and create delivery note folders or route planning. 
  • In goods receipt, the system allows a rough check and later the fine check for completeness and integrity. 
  • The goods receipt posting document can be integrated into the ERP system thanks to a publicly accessible interface. In this way, notes for the goods receipt posting can be brought into the ERP system digitally and directly at the ramp. 
  • If there was breakage on a pallet, a photo can be attached to the delivery note for the claiming. This also applies to load carriers such as Euro pallets.
  • In the new user interface, companies can store more complex company structures such as locations and sub-locations themselves in self-service. 
  • Cloud4Log uses the digital format PDF/A-3. This is readable for humans and machines and is used for long-term archiving of digital documents.

Cloud4Log is also on the agenda of the International Supply Chain Congress in Berlin (info). T-Systems will be presenting solutions for digitizing the supply chain at stand W/21 in the Wintergarten from October 19 to 21, 2022. More info here (German).

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