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Strategic Distribution Planning
Strategic planning is about looking to the future. It's not just improving the current setup but also looking for better ways of running your distribution to make you more efficient, effective and competitive.
Look at how two companies used Optrak to remodel their businesses:
When PaperlinX, the Australian paper business, acquired major UK paper merchants each had its own distribution network and vehicle fleets. It was important to maintain the identities as sales organizations, but it was thought there would be large synergies from merging the delivery operations. But how large? Optrak, already in use for daily planning, was used to simulate a combined operation. The results were impressive and a key factor in the decision to go ahead, creating The Delivery Co., now responsible for a fleet of over 400 vehicles.
Wincanton delivered bulk liquid and packed lubricants on behalf of a major petroleum company. Optrak was already used for the operational planning and it was decided to also use it at a strategic level to re-examine the overall plan. Various simulation models were run, including looking a the mix of packed and bulk orders on the delivery fleet. The conclusion was that the majority of packed goods should be moved onto carriers - which was put into operation, saving money and making the residual bulk deliveries much more efficient.
Optrak is used by our customers to look at critical strategic questions:
What would it cost if you offered better (narrower) delivery time windows to your customers? Alternatively, what if you widened them for non-profitable customers? Could you make them profitable again?
By simulating deliveries with different levels of customer service Optrak can give answers to these and similar questions.
Do you have the right vehicles and handling equipment? Should you change your shift patterns?
In Optrak it is quick and easy to add new vehicles with different capabilities, turn on and off sets of vehicles, reassign them to different depots or change driver working hours.
You can evaluate the cost of adding in new customers and orders. You can combine two operations to look for synergies. Or you can use Optrak to help tender for new contracts.
Are you depots in the right place? With Optrak you can move them and evaluate the costs. You can close existing depots and open new ones or convert existing stock-holding depots into outbases.
A common issue is that depot boundaries are based on sales territories or simply on the boundaries of individual businesses acquired and incorporated into your operation years ago. With Optrak you can use the optimizer to simulate the current boundary allocation and then just "drag and drop" customers to allocate them to alternative depots - reoptimize, then compare results. Optrak has a feature that allows automatic assignment to the nearest (by time or distance) depot to facilitate this.
Calculation of new routes and their associated costs is only half the story. You will need to present the results to senior management, colleagues and customers. Optrak can help with this:
The Optrak map display allows flexible display and coloring of selected data against the map background. Optrak map displays can be directly shown to others or pasted into office applications such as PowerPoint and Word for presentations and proposals.
All the data in Optrak can be exported to other systems – such as Microsoft Access or Excel for further analysis and production of graphs and reports.
"Optrak has enabled us to reduce our vehicle fleet size by 10%, make significant cost savings and substantially reduce our impact on the environment"
Director, The Delivery Co.
"Strategic modeling is a key part of our ability to deliver a constantly improving level of service to our clients. Using Optrak, we have been able to determine how to reduce our vehicle fleet by over 50% whilst still hitting our service targets"
General Manager, Wincanton