Windows and doors to Scandinavia – specialization in logistics with capital „S”

Just about any haulier will manage to place a pallet on a semitrailer and transport it to its destination. But to transport non-standard goods like windows or doors which are to arrive undamaged at a construction site in Oslo at a specific hour is just another level of logistics service which may only be met by specialists of considerable experience

Poland is an undisputed European leader of window and door frame woodwork market. In 2013, Polish manufacturers exported goods worth a total of EUR 1.15 billion. It is by 10 percent more than in 2012, and nearly four times as much as in 2004. After Germany, it was second best result in Europe. According to Central Statistical Office of Poland (GUS), over 30 percent of windows and doors made in Poland are exported, and as much as 19 percent of which goes to Scandinavia. Undoubtedly, it is a large piece of the pie, which FTL companies operating between Europe and Scandinavia can fight for. However, it may turn out that to some logistics operators windows and doors may be more of a problem than a real benefit.

Who is really carrying my product?

Windows and doors are fragile products which can be easily damaged. That is why, those operators who have several subcontractors serving the Poland-Scandinavia destination or subcontract shipments at a freight exchange must have nerves of steel in order to take full responsibility for the cargo they have no control of. Therefore a carrier, who transports windows and doors on their own trailers, from a loading place right to the client, is much more trustworthy. It is not only about responsibility which is borne by one carrier only, but in the first place it eliminates unnecessary transshipments which increase the risk of damage.

Rack is fundamental

Window and door frame woodwork products should always be transported in racks. They are usually delivered by manufacturers along with windows and doors. They are either made of wood (disposable) or metal (reusable). One must remember, though, that with reusable racks, they need to be taken back to the manufacturer which means a return journey and additional expenses to the ordering party. What also matters is the size of racks. A logistics operator who cooperates with window and door frame woodwork manufacturers is able to persuade them to use racks of specific measurements, or at least those which will match the measurements of euro pallets or their multiple. In the first place, this affects optimization of transport costs. Non-standard rack measurements may increase unused trailer space which results in higher transport costs especially in case of full truck loads.

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Fleet is a decisive factor in complex service

A multipurpose fleet means, first of all, completion of different orders and optimal adjustment to the load specificity. In this way, a manufacturer who receives various orders may be provided with complex service. As far as window and door transportation is concerned, a number of pallet holding positions is not a challenge as they always will be matched with the most suitable means of transport, be it FTL or LCL transport. A real logistics challenge in this case is an unloading place which to a large extent determines a means of transport. This is why it is crucial to gather as much information as possible, already at a transport planning stage.

In case of a large shipment which needs to be delivered at a small construction site where road access is hindered and a standard combination truck is difficult to maneuver, it may be ideal to use a unit of 38 pallet holding positions, but with very good maneuverability, including detachment of a trailer and covering the final destination as a 'solo' vehicle. All this combined with excellent skills of the drivers experienced in driving combination trucks as described above will guarantee a shipment to be delivered even to the most difficult place.

Another challenge a logistics operator should face is an order from an individual client; a client who orders a few windows or doors to be delivered in a very short time to a small housing estate with tonnage limitation. The only solution in this case may be a small truck of up to 12 ton of GVM, fitted with a self unloading lift thanks to which the cargo may be unloaded just at any place as no special ramp is necessary. What is more, trucks like this may operate even during seasonal tonnage limitations and bans for heavy traffic so orders may be completed in a very short time and despite the ban for vehicles of more than 12 tons.

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Dedicated solutions– just in time / door to door

If the door to door transport depends to a large extent on the fleet type designated to execute an order, with just in time solutions more factors need to be taken into consideration.

If a client expects a manufacturer to deliver windows ordered at a construction site in Oslo downtown on the agreed day at 20.00 hrs because this is exactly when they can close the road so that the truck with a trailer can arrive for unloading, a logistics operator must do all their best to meet the precise deadline. Even though sometimes a distance of about 1500 km needs to be covered in weather conditions beyond their control. In this case experience and operational efficiency including a sea route will be of utmost importance. What it takes to have the job done in this case is experience and perfect operational organization with the sea crossing taken into account. Contracts for an indefinite time with ferry operators which will provide a fixed place on a ferry regardless of the tourist or seasonal occupancy are very helpful, too; and so is a modern truck fleet with experienced drivers which is likely to handle harsh Scandinavian winters.

Author:

Patryk Szymański

Vice President of Scandinavian Express

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