Many transport operations have benefitted substantially over recent years from technology and the data it provides.
Planners use routing and scheduling software packages to optimise the use of vehicles on a daily basis. Transport Management Systems (TMS) enable the traffic or planning office to exercise good, tight daily control of its resources and generate a wealth of information that can be used to identify issues or to evidence key performance indicators. Telematics help with driver skills, improve vehicle economies and enhance customer service by providing data from the vehicle including driving style, fuel performance and real time location.
Many feel comfortable that with all these tools at their disposal, their operation is running efficiently. For some this will undoubtedly be the case, but for many it may not be. The key question is, how do you know?
Strategic Review of a Transport Operation
Those who manage the daily transport operation effectively with the help of good systems may not always be aware of the potential challenges ahead.
Delivery requirements change over time and often creep up on businesses as they grow and evolve. Planning for the impact of future developments, such as new business or customers having changing requirements, will often be outside the remit of daily operations management.
A periodic strategic review of a transport operation helps to ensure the operation best matches the business profile and is operating efficiently. Starting by asking: “Is my infrastructure and operating model the most efficient? Does it achieve customer service requirements? Is it fit for purpose?”
Finding the answers entails reviewing the operation’s fundamentals and exploring future challenges including:
- The optimal vehicle fleet size and specification
- The locations and size of the depot network
- The impact of challenging operational constraints, such as vehicle access, turnaround times, unit of loading or delivery time windows
- The allocation of volumes to sub contractors, pallet or parcel networks
- The use of vehicle outbases such as cross docks to reduce cost and improve service
- The impact of varying delivery schedules and service levels offered to customers
- The impact on the network of changing delivery drop sizes or volume growth in certain areas
Davies & Robson has conducted many such reviews on behalf of clients and has developed the following process:
- Representative data collection and quality checking
- Using routing and scheduling models such as DPS Logix or DiPs to construct a base case that best represents the current operation, with all of its parameters and constraints
- Establish potential alternative methods and parameters to challenge the current operation. These can range from relocated operating depots to providing customers with nominated delivery days and wider delivery windows
- Model these alternatives using the routing and scheduling systems to simulate and determine “What happens if…?” compared to the current or base case
This comparison gives a good indication of the changes that may be beneficial and identifies some of the areas worthy of more detailed evaluation and ultimately that will improve operating efficiency and service levels.
Contact us today to discuss how our consultancy team can help your organisation prepare for change, through our consultancy, audit and assurance or training services. For more information contact us on 01327 349090 or email email@example.com