Tag Archive for: virtual reality

Click&Cargo ERP

ClickandCargo Simulator for Training of Logistic Operations

Written by - Valentina Salinas, Product Manager clickandcargo.com

Written by – Valentina Salinas, Product Manager clickandcargo.com

ClickandCargo has been in the business less than other software companies in the Spanish market but has been able to develop an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform that is able to compete fairly with software of similar functionalities. This why it was chosen by the EU-funded YEP MED project to act as the platform to support digital training of new professionals in the logistic sector.

The importance of information flow

A freight forwarder’s core business basically consists of handling import and export operations for their clients. The most important asset they have is the control of the information flow, as they sit in the middle of the logistics chain as the architects of import-export operations.

With e-commerce flooding international trade in recent years, and the ever-increasing demand for faster and more efficient shipments, digital information systems are a must. And since they are so fundamental, it is critical that new professionals understand how to operate within them. It is under this line of thought that ClickandCargo came into play.

Click&Cargo ERP

The ERP explained

What is the simulated setup

In the YEP MED courses, students become employees of PlayForwarding, a freight forwarding company operating in YEP MED’s logistic virtual ecosystem. With branches across the Mediterranean, students from each country handle their local (virtual) client base, planning and managing door-to-door logistic operations.

Playforwarding’s ERP is ClickandCargo, from which students create commercial offers, handle the shipment records and execute the entire documental flow needed for import and export operations.

The ERP is configured just as if it were a real company. All third parties involved in the operations -including clients, agents, shipping, etc., are pre-registered in the system, alongside ports and other data to replicate real-life transport operations. Event though each branch operates separately, they have the ability to share basic information about clients. Default quality control rules apply just as in real life, so students cannot leave any required fields blank to move forward with an operation.

ClickandCargo simulates the integration of the ERP with YEP MED’s virtual Port Community System, that serves as the communication point with shipping companies and shipping agencies for the according documental needs. The environment of ClickandCargo also simulates e-mail communication of PlayForwarding with customs agencies and transport companies. This simulation allows students to receive customs clearances and container information from these companies – as they would be in real life.

Operations: From commercial to invoicing

Through the ClickandCargo platform, students can play different roles during the training. They are first asked to execute commercial tasks by creating a quotation directly in the ERP system. For this, the ERP has preloaded tariffs that allow the students to get familiarised with pricing and commercial tasks. How do you charge for sea freight? You are most likely to understand all the pricing concepts after quoting in the simulator.

After having an accepted quotation, students get their hands on handling all the documentation flows needed for a sea-freight operation. Using the different simulated communication channels (Port Community Systems (PCS), e-mail), students create and send the booking requests, transport orders, customs clearance requests, shipping instructions and House Bills of Lading (B/L). They get the chance to work both with import and export operations by sharing export shipment files with their branches at the destination ports.

YEP MED ERP Screenshot

YEP MED ERP Screenshot

In the near future we hope to be able to close the operations cycle by allowing the students to finally invoice the clients directly from ClickandCargo, make the final invoice reconciliations and close the records. This administrative work is an important step to understand all aspects of the freight forwarding business, and it will soon form part of the training.

Shortening the learning curve and setting precedents in good practices

The ERP simulator that ClickandCargo has put in place for this project gives an unprecedented value to the training of future professionals in the logistic business overall. It allows students to get their hands on a real software used for freight management and get the “learn-by-doing” experience. This experience serves as the initial training they would get in their first job, thus significantly shortening the learning curve.

Finally, what we as ClickandCargo find most exciting in this project is the great opportunity to create good practices in the execution of freight operations. The virtual logistic ecosystem created in under YEP MED is an important test for new functionalities, integrations and technologies before they go into real production. ClickandCargo sits in the middle of this virtual digital logistic chain, and we will work further to take this training to excellence.

Forma’t al Port courses starts again with a hybrid format

As a direct consequence of Covid-19, many educational institutions have had to rethink their modus operandi. With the majority of operations and activities moving to the virtual world, education has also undergone a major shift into the cyber-sphere.

With this in mind, the Escola has begun to develop materials and programmes that can be carried out in the virtual world. Sacrificing a little of the Escola’s unique experiential teaching approach, the new programmes will aim to transmit the expertise of its teachers to the students, by offering a mixture of online tours and videos, and theoretical lectures.

The first virtual session of the Forma’t al Port courses was held on 28 and 29 October and was attended by 40 students of Vocational Training in International Trade and Logistics and Transport. The theoretical classes focused on the operations carried out within the port environment, and introduced an amalgam of different actors active in the Catalan port through the presentations of the associations of the sector. The goal of the programme is to encourage dual-training opportunities and to bring the professional environment closer to young adults about to embark on their first employment experiences.

Forma't al Port port visit October 2020

Since the launch of the Forma’t al Port project in 2014, the Escola’s doors have seen thousands of young Catalan students pass through its doors in the pursuit of logistics knowledge and professions in the port sector. The courses, aimed at students of the final stages of secondary education, have been incredibly popular and now form part of the Escola’s regular courses. There are two types of courses offered: Forma’t al Port Introduction, which aims to give young students of the secondary schools of Catalonia an introduction to the professions within the Catalan maritime logistics sector; and Forma’t al Port Management – aims to give young students of the secondary schools of Catalonia a thorough understanding of the professions within the maritime logistics sector.

For more information you can visit the Forma’t al Port website or contact: formatalport@escolaeuropea.eu.

Training, new technologies and virtual worlds

By Eduard Rodés, Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

Yuval Noah Harari[1] , the historian-philosopher, an Israeli public intellectual, and a professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem stressed in his work Homo Deus that the truly unique feature of the homo sapiens is its ability to create and believe in fiction. All other animals use their communication system to describe reality. We use our communication system to create new realities.

Developments in digital technologies applied to images have made the distance between reality and fiction increasingly smaller, and thus more difficult to distinguish. A magnificent example of this mix between the two worlds is Steven Spielberg’s film Ready Player One[2]. It tells the story of a teenager who likes to escape from the increasingly bleak real world in which he lives through a popular virtual utopia called “Oasis”. The alternation between reality and fiction and the permanent interaction between the two worlds gives this story a suggestive effect in which a new world that seems very credible is imagined.

The film’s own evolution is linked to a second brilliant reflection by Harari: the secret of the Homo Sapiens’ success is large-scale flexible cooperation. In the case of the film, it is the capacity for cooperation and teamwork between some of the characters that helps the protagonist to reach his goals.

Thus, technology, virtualization, consistency, resilience, teamwork and cooperation become basic vectors of progress.

Something similar is happening in the world of education. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a vital digitalization process. Increasingly classes are being held remotely. The most important thing, nevertheless, is that a process of reinterpreting of things that can be done online has irreversibly begun.

Simulation: The beginnings

Part of the digitization process began long ago with the development of simulators that were especially designed for vehicle-related operations: ships, planes, trucks, cranes, etc. Today, very sophisticated facilities exist in which many hours of practice can be put in to gain skills, and face difficult situations – something that would be impossible to do in a real environment. All of this can be done at a relatively low cost compared to what it would have cost in reality.

Augmented reality is slowly spreading to all areas of our lives

Simply zeroing on the road, and looking at the most complex and difficult industry, we can look at the Racing scene. On the 15th of April, six Formula 1 drivers have participated in a new “simracing” championship in a virtual environment called “Race for the World”. The race took place without any loss of hardware, equipment, and did not endanger the lives of the formula drivers should mistakes or unforeseen circumstances occur.

Formula 1 racing is no longer only simulated in arcades

In Spain, good simulators for trucks or railways, and even traffic control centres, can be acquired from the Basque company Lander[3]. They offer a great variety of vehicles and a wide range of virtual scenarios in which to practice.

Another example that is particularly interesting is the[4] Vstep company, which has designed platforms with bridge simulators, either of a tug, river navigation, military vessels, offshore operations or fishing boats. The company also offers simulators for emergency situations, both on land and at sea. The simulator allows the configuration of all kinds of weather situations and available human and material resources – making it particularly attractive to the industry actors from all company sizes and varying at a relatively low cost compared to what it would cost to do it in the real vehicle climates.

Simulators for the aviation sector were among those that developed very quickly, fuelled by the high cost of training hours, the high value of the aircraft and the risky nature of operations. Today all airlines work with simulators to train their pilots.  For example, should you wish to do so, the company Virgin[5] allows you to practice with a Boeing 747 cockpit simulator for a reasonable price; the training includes an introduction class and the possibility of choosing the departure and arrival airport. It is called the Virgin Experience Days and it is difficult to tell where the training begins and the fun ends.

Example of a flight simulator console

What is clear is that simulators make experiences possible, and this has led to a new culture surrounding this type of experience. Last year we had an exhibition in Barcelona, in Port Vell,  entitled ‘Meet Vincent van Gogh’ – an experience of getting into the painter’s shoes. This was a multimedia montage, called an immersive experiences, in which you could play a 3D reproduction of The Sunflowers, sit at one of the tables in the Parisian café Le Tambourin, take a selfie on the bed in the yellow room in Arles, paint with the painter’s palette or get on the harvest cart. It was a virtual reality that took you into another world – an unforgettable experience. From an educational perspective, as a teaching method it seems without a doubt effective. The emotional impact of the lived experience is sure to leave an indelible mark, and is arguably more effective than visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Simulation in the classroom

Simulators are not new – for some years now business simulators have been developed as a teaching and learning method. A Simulated Company is a student-run company that operates like a real business. It simulates the procedures, products and services of a real company with its structure and organization. Guided by a monitor or coach and business mentors, students create their Simulated Companies, growing them from product development, through production and distribution to marketing, sales, human resources, accounting/finance and web design. As “employees” of the Simulated Company, the students are responsible for its management and, through the methodology of “learning by doing”, they develop new competences. They carry out market research, place advertisements, buy, plan logistics, sell simulated products or services and pay salaries, taxes, publish profits, etc. Each company engages in commercial activities, both nationally and internationally, with other companies in the Simulated[6]Companies network, following standard commercial procedures and actions.

In this case, the virtualization of companies to create simulation environments present in the educational sphere would bring us closer to a current trend called digital twins. DHL[7], in a 2019 study on digital twins in logistics, defined them as another step towards bringing the real and fictional worlds closer together. The gap is beginning to close. Developments in the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and virtual reality technologies herald a turning point where the physical and digital worlds can be managed as one, and we can interact with the digital side of physical things just as we would with things themselves, even in the physical 3D space around us.

You will read this article in a digital environment. You may use the links to the Internet I have left to go deeper into the topics I have pointed out. And your connection to the real world will be the connection that you and I have given you. And don’t be too sure that I am not a computer. Physical reality and virtual reality are beginning to blend into each other, and that will change everything.’



[1] https://www.ynharari.com/

[2] https://www.warnerbros.com/movies/ready-player-one/

[3] http://Landersimulation.com/en

[4] http://vstepsimulator.com

[5] https://www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk/60-minutes-747-jumbo-flight-simulator

[6] http://inform.es/en

[7] https://www.dhl.com/content/dam/dhl/global/core/documents/pdf/glo-core-digital-twins-in-logistics.pdf