KLM - Tech & Data

Cargo Volume Scanning

When a forklift unloads a truck in one of the cargo bays at the KLM Cargo Freight Building, we need to measure and weigh the cargo. Stopping the forklift truck, scanning and moving on used to be a time-consuming and error-prone operation. Not to mention the delays for a forklift driver to stop and have the cargo measured.

What is Cargo Volume Scanning?

When a forklift unloads a truck in one of the cargo bays at the KLM Cargo Freight Building, we need to measure and weigh the cargo. Stopping the forklift truck, scanning and moving on used to be a time-consuming and error-prone operation. Not to mention the delays for a forklift driver to stop and have the cargo measured.

In the summer of 2022, KLM starts a new initiative called Cargo Volume Scanning. This collaboration with Austrian startup Cargometer is an innovative way to scan cargo in an automated way.

We installed cameras above the acceptance doors, which automatically scan the freight while unloading. We can scan the freight without manual intervention on a moving forklift. The software creates a 3D model on the fly of every piece of cargo. This gives us the advantage to make trustworthy measurements in seconds.

What problems does Cargo Volume Scanning solve?

Our clients report the dimensions of the freight. We took randomized samples to check the dimensions and chargeble weight. With this ‘radical innovation’, we can monitor more pieces of shipment automated, improve our acceptance rate and improve forecasting. This way of scanning creates more clarity for ourselves and our customers and it brings down the number of wrong invoices because of inaccurate measuring.

1870 GB scanned freight data collected daily

What is the impact of Cargo Volume Scanning on the organisation?

We can now collect 1870 Gigabytes of data every day from the freights through automated scanning. This data is stored in our data lake and is available for our data analysts to optimize our B2B services. For instance, we could develop trend reports to see how we can handle different types of cargo.

We increased the automation steps in the process, so it gives us the opportunity to allocate our people for other jobs at the warehouse.

Overall, we can now use data in our operational process we never had before. The added value to the business is immediate, from the moment we scan the first truck with freight.

What are the challenges in Cargo Volume Scanning?

We work together with Cargometer, an Austrian startup that delivers the hardware and software. It was fascinating to work with them on the scope and specs of the project. We want to align the need of the business with the possibilities of the software and hardware.

Since we now scan and store significant amount of raw data every day, this also brings new challenges to our data warehouse and our pipeline network infrastructure.

What makes Cargo Volume Scanning so fascinating to develop?

It is inspiring to develop these types of radically new services for KLM. Just to see everything working where we as a team worked on for so long. The challenge as an information analyst is to align the business and technical teams. But the best part, it is a tangible technology. You see how the trucks are unloaded, how the freight is scanned, and how 3D models appear on screen seconds later. You can see and follow the workflow.

At KLM we are miles ahead with our technology and IT. We still have room for growth and we have tons of ideas. No time to be bored!

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