Material Handling

ALSO Holding (CH)

Wanzl’s roll cage becomes part of the Internet of Things at specialist logistics company ALSO Holding

44,000 storage spaces, 110,000 customers and activities in 24 European countries – the leading Swiss distribution company for information and telecommunications technology (ICT), ALSO Holding AG, sets high standards for its specialist logistics activities. In order to optimise the company's own fleet of roll cages and to be able to offer this solution to prospective customers, ALSO found the ideal partner in Wanzl for the joint development of the innovative solution. The smart and secure trolleys were manufactured by the Swiss branch of the Leipheim logistics expert and the first 40 units have already been delivered. The solution is called Dolly+, because it impresses with that certain something. The roll cages are equipped with an electronic lock and an asset tracker to enable digital, holistic fleet management. In addition, ALSO offers Dolly+ to prospective customers as a kind of rental solution service.

Digital fleet management

The principle of asset tracking is as economical as it is effective. A small tracker is attached to an asset (load carrier, roll cage or the goods themselves). This radio transmitter enables seamless tracking and analysis of the position and use of the asset – at any place at any time. Each Dolly+ unit has an individual identifier, which is stored on ALSO’s IoT platform for the digital organisation of the fleet. For ALSO's customer-specific requirements, Werner Reifler, Managing Director of Wanzl Switzerland, in close cooperation with Astrit Merditaj, European Business Development Manager at ALSO Holding AG, went one step further. In this way, a tailor-made solution for the trolleys could be found. Reifler reports: "When developing products, we always look closely at the specific needs of our customers. For ALSO, security was a big issue. That's why we linked the tracking function to an electronic lock for the Dolly+."

Theft protection using electronic lock


The intelligent trolleys can be monitored and controlled using a specially developed application based on ALSO's IoT platform. Authorised persons at the customer's office receive a PIN code for the electronic lock via SMS or email. Trolley data such as location, battery level of the sensor, number of available trolleys in the fleet, arrival at the destination and many other parameters are continuously recorded and displayed in a specially developed dashboard. This data not only enables full control over the logistics process, it also forms the basis for the analysis and optimisation of delivery processes. Astrit Merditaj explains: "With the combination of tracking and electronic theft protection, we can fully exploit the potential of IoT in the logistics environment and have achieved maximum added value because our fleet management is effectively optimised and we save resources. Our employees see exactly how often and where the trolleys are used. This allows them to track transport routes and, if necessary, adjust the utilisation of the fleet. In addition, the tracking function reduces administrative costs, such as those incurred in the loss of goods, and monitoring costs for valuable products."

Dolly is employee of the month

The IoT-based transport solution is already having an effect in the field: "We are delighted with the trolleys," says Edwin Duss, Head of Transport at ALSO Holding AG. "Thanks to the unique technology, we were able to record a reduction in the theft rate for smartphones by at least 20 percent in the first few weeks." In addition to hardware and software, the use of Dolly+ is also suitable in various other industries for the transport of high-quality goods, such as jewellery, medicines, tobacco products, perfumes and products from luxury brands. Whether it’s an issue of incorrect delivery or wanton theft, high-quality cargo requires special protection against access by unauthorised persons. "Dolly
really has everything it takes to become employee of the month," jokes Duss.

Special design, unique look – customised container configuration for ALSO

The design of the roll cages is also specially configured for the needs of ALSO. “These trolleys are heavily used in our everyday activities and on the sometimes long transport routes to many different transshipment platforms. The robust design and all-round buffer protection of Wanzl containers were therefore enormously important to us. In addition, Dolly+ can be equipped with a foam cladding in the interior to protect highly fragile goods or packaging-free laptops and tablets from damage," explains Duss. The dimensions of the 75x87x18 cm containers were adapted to the storage area, transport routes and the conditions of ALSO's end customers. The appearance of Dolly+ was as multifaceted and dynamic as the business models. Merditaj explains the idea behind it: "We wanted Dolly+ to represent our company. After all, the roll cage, with its innovative, smart design, is another result of our pursuit of further development." Wanzl was inspired in terms of design by the ALSO logo and covered all 40 container housings with colourful film, much to the delight of the employees in the logistics halls, where the colourful trolley is an absolute highlight.

Wanzl Switzerland and ALSO Holding AG – a strong team


The company's modern logistics centre extends over 55,000 m2, with around 200 logistics employees in the halls sending 2.5 million parcels annually and delivering around 100,000 pallets. Be it the shipping of high-quality smartphones, the return of laptops with confidential data or the temporary, mobile and secure storage of notebooks in companies, Dolly+ has to be able to function effectively everywhere. ALSO has extensive expertise in the overall management of supply chains. The company also supports its customer base with the development of new business, innovative ideas and forward-looking business models. "Quality, sustainability and functionality were our top priorities when selecting the provider for our new IoT solution," says Merditaj. It quickly became clear that Wanzl is the right partner for ALSO. "As one of the leading manufacturers of roll cages, Wanzl has proven that they have the necessary expertise to meet our requirements."

ALSO was very pleased with the collaboration. ALSO has already modified its fleet in several European countries, with other countries set to follow. For Wanzl, the collaboration with ALSO was a pilot project for Switzerland. Dolly+ is now an integral part of the industry leader's repertoire. Markus Spengler, Head of Business Division at Wanzl, sums up: "Initially, ALSO ordered 300 electronically secured roll cages from us for its customer Swisscom. The company then also saw a benefit for itself with the containers and asked us to link the locking function with asset tracking. The result was Dolly+ the smart and secure trolley.

Wanzl quickly understood what we envisaged and what was needed to achieve our goals. We were always advised in a proactive and efficient way and our input was swiftly implemented. On-site support was particularly important to us – during the entire process, we were able to fully count on the support of Wanzl Switzerland.
Astrit Merditaj, European Business Development Manager bei der ALSO Holding