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Optrak Realization - Real-time Distribution Intelligence
Optrak Realization is a comprehensive system that manages your distribution from planning through to delivery and or collection. It is designed to integrate with on-vehicle tracking and proof-of-delivery systems to record your vehicle activity and on-time delivery performance. It encompasses analysis, reporting and alerting tools allowing you to focus on the key issues that affect your organizations' performance.
Competing on Customer Service
You probably agree on the importance of good customer service. You may sell your products or services on the basis of the quality of that customer service. But how well do you actually measure it and how good is it really? Optrak Realization provides you with the tools to measure, improve and report on your customer service – to use customer service for competitive advantage.
On Time Deliveries
The first step to ensuring on-time deliveries, is to plan them to be on-time. With Optrak Operational Planning you can produce routes and schedules that, subject to no unforeseen problems, will be on time. But no plan survives intact: delays occur at the warehouse, drivers go sick and must be replaced, the traffic can be worse than normal and there may be delays getting unloaded at the customer.
Optrak Realization uses the data from the in-vehicle computer to quickly alert you of any problems that are occurring. This allows you to assess the situation, re-arrange the trip if possible, and alleviate the problems caused by a late delivery by passing on the information quickly so that the customer can take appropriate action.
Using Customer Service as a Sales Tool
Everyone can say "we have very good customer service". With Optrak Realization you can, for example, say "97.3% of our deliveries were on time last week" (or whatever the figure is). Real, verifiable numbers are far more persuasive and will help you sell.
Bad things stick in the mind. A customer who has to call in to find out where a delivery has got to, will remember the incident more than one who received a polite call at 8:05 telling him that his 10:00 delivery will 30 minutes late. Keeping the customer informed will lessen the impact when you really cannot get there on time. Being able to tell the account manager the full delivery service history of a customer prior to a review meeting will allow him or her to better deal with any complaints that might still arise.
Optrak Realization’s report scheduling capabilities will even allow you to email the delivery service history automatically to the customer – for example on a monthly basis.
Whether you are on time or delayed, Optrak Realization can be used to notify customers of the expected delivery time. At the beginning of the day or after planning, this could be a simple email message and 15 minutes prior to arrival it could be an SMS message, both generated automatically.
Going to different customers
If you have collections to make, or if you deliver certain categories of product, such as bulk fuel oil, then it may be sensible or necessary for you to change your plan after the vehicles have left the depot.
- A parcel or pallet network carrier rarely knows more than 50% of the collections when the deliveries are planned in the morning.
- A commercial waste collection company may have the opportunity to make an ad hoc collection while the vehicle is in the area.
- A fuel oils supplier may find that "top-up" customers required less than expected and wants to find another customer rather than bring a truck back to base with product on board.
- A haulage truck may be undertaking an outbound journey but has not yet been allocated a backhaul.
- A supplier may notify you that a load is ready for collection.
In all these cases the Optrak optimizer can be used to re-plan the trips that are underway. It can do this accurately because it knows, from the on-vehicle system, the current whereabouts of the vehicles and their job status – what work has been done and what remains to be done.
Work may be swapped between trips – depending on your settings. So, for example, the haulage truck may be given a backhaul jobs previously assigned to another, which in turn is given the new piece of work.
In all cases the changed trips can be sent out to the drivers via the on-vehicle computers and the driver notified of the change.
If a vehicle is running behind and is going to be late for an important customer, you may be able to re-sequence the trip, to bump the customer up the list. Just "drag and drop" the visit into the new position – the system will automatically recalculate the remainder of the trip.
On-vehicle devices can be used to collect Proof-of-Delivery (POD) data – bar code scanning, RFID or signature capture. Optrak Realization will record this data and pass it through to your order processing system. This can lead to big time savings in the back office, where previously paper records may have needed to be re-keyed.
You may produce invoices on delivery. With electronic POD you can issue the invoices seconds after the delivery has been completed, possibly reducing time to payment by one or two days.
Optrak Realization provides on-screen data, PDF and Excel reports. Data can be exported to Excel, database or file for your own analysis. Reports and alerts can be emailed or sent as SMS messages.
Which On-vehicle Computer?
Optrak Realization can work with different on-vehicle computers and can recommend partner companies to meet your needs. You should choose the device that best suits your requirement. For example, do you need SatNav, Signature Capture, Barcodes, On-board temperature sensors or driving behavior recording? Contact us to discuss your requirements or determine if your existing system can work with Optrak.
How It Works
Optrak Realization works through the following sequence of activities:
- Produce an initial plan; Either using Optrak Operational Planning or by loading your fixed trips directly from your ERP or Sales Order Planning system.
- The system will notify the drivers of their tasks via the on-vehicle computer. Where required, it will let your customers know when to expect deliveries.
- It will monitor vehicle positions and delivery activities, recalculating the schedules and checking for problems such as vehicles running behind time.
- Problems and other events can trigger an alert to be sent to you – through emails or SMS.
- Adjust the plan, inform the drivers or the customers and ensure the revised plan is carried out.
- After the plan has been executed, follow up with performance analysis. Track KPIs, extract and analyze data in Excel. Identify problem areas for improvement.
- Use PDF and Excel reports to communicate performance to your colleagues and customers.
Next: Strategic Planning.