Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Optimising Logistics Saves a Million Kilometres in Road Haulage Operation

Switch from Fixed Route Planning to Daily Scheduling Cuts Out Vehicles, Fuel and Emissions
Shipping News Feature

UK – Any sizeable logistics undertaking nowadays requires optimisation of all its delivery processes so it is hardly a newsworthy event. When the particular road haulage undertaking concerned announces that the implementation of a routing and scheduling solution will reduce distance covered by a million kilometres, it clearly merits a mention. Blakemore Logistics, which forms part of the A.F. Blakemore & Son group of companies, services almost a thousand SPAR stores across the UK, recently decided to extend its use of Paragon transport optimisation software from pure fixed route planning use to full dynamic daily route optimisation.

The savings achieved by switching are very impressive, as well as the reduction in mileage other benefits include not just the obvious lower overall emissions but mean a 10% reduction in the delivery fleet, now down to 140 trucks servicing the 978 stores across England and Wales. The company is also using Paragon Resource Manager with the unique Tachomaster Link module. This enables the electronic tachograph data to upload directly into Resource Manager, which has eliminated the need for keying in the information.

As well as the change to daily analysis Blakemore, also opted to include Paragon Fleet Controller enabling it to integrate its Blue Tree Systems R:COM Fleet Management System with its route planning and allow the logistics team to compare actual delivery activities against the optimised plan. This allows the company to alert customers of delivery ETA’s using text messages and communicate with drivers. The system also provides timed reporting with updated ETA’s for customer services and management teams so that they can monitor and manage delivery performance. Logistics Manager, Marc Deakin said:

“Our delivery volumes can fluctuate by as much as 30% on a weekly basis. This dynamic system enables us to effectively accommodate these changes more efficiently whilst achieving significant benefits. Corporate responsibility and minimising our environmental impact is paramount and is a key value of our family business. When we made the decision to change from a fixed to a dynamic planning approach we decided that we were going to commit fully to Paragon technology and we are enjoying the results.

“We are leading the wholesale and convenience market in implementing dynamic planning and we are very proud of our achievements so far. We also know we can build on our successes. This is definitely the modern way to manage wholesale distribution because staying with a fixed routing approach means you will always have an element of waste due to overcapacity in the plan and in resourcing.”

Photo: A Blakemore vehicle with inset a Paragon control screen.