Their business are urgent items of freight: like the desperately awaited delivery of a replacement part to enable a production facility to resume operation. Or official documents needed in the original. Or a visa issued shortly before departure time, without which an urgent business trip can’t be taken. The team at Cito Transport Technologies GmbH in Berlin, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, takes care of them. “What we deal with is everything that has to be with the recipient before the end of the day,” says CEO Dr Gregor Stock, explaining the new service. “Our customers simply enter their freight item size, collection and destination addresses on www.cito.ai – and our service does the rest.” One very practical feature is that the customers are shown the cost of transporting in the moment when they book. And they get an estimate when it will arrive at its destination. While the items are in transit, customers can track the drivers’ locations and pass these on to the recipients. Each collection and delivery confirmation follow with digital signature and photo documentation, as does the invoice.
The idea to set up Cito emerged from an everyday calamity: around three years ago, a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles employee had left his briefcase behind at his parents’ home and was due to go off on a business trip just a few hours later. He reached out to various courier service companies whether it would be possible to have it delivered to him that same day. It quickly became clear that the market was not very customer-friendly in such situations. Dr Stock: “After over an hour that he spent making phone calls and writing mails, it slowly became clear to us that there was no transparent solution for reliable, time-critical and also spur-of-the-moment deliveries, like we’re familiar with from diverse taxi apps. We therefore decided to create a digital service for this.”
What has been produced is a solution that is transparent, simple and fair. Using Cito, customers are able to book courier services in a quick, socially responsible and fair way. This time-saving solution integrates every process in one service – from the booking of a courier all the way to the digital documentation.
Cito offers the transport partners fair conditions and enables them to utilise a digital sales channel free of charge. They get direct, free access to the platform. From the booking process, via the provision of the service, all the way to the billing, the system utilises the full potential of digitalisation. Cito’s focus is on the customer, the logistics partner and the delivery itself.
In this way, transparency is created on both sides: “The customers know what the delivery costs and which driver is collecting the package. They’re also able to contact the driver directly and never have to wait in a call centre queue”, adds Dr Gregor Stock. Cito’s logistics partners also get a clear framework to operate within: “Our platform eliminates sub-sub-contractor agreements and, in addition, all our courier companies sign up to our code of conduct. What’s more, our logistics partners can see in a transparent way what they will receive when for their work, as they are paid by Cito at regular intervals and don’t have to chase anyone for their money”, says Dr Stock.