Optrak has tailored its Optrak4 platform to give Lubricants distributors control over every aspect of the routing lifecycle.
With Optrak4 for Lubricants you can prepare a vehicle’s load with packing configurations and line hose requirements; applying algorithms that enable intuitive routing and scheduling procedures to the specific pumping sequence of each delivery. This is underpinned by a clear and concise graphical interface and automated diagram generation.
The challenge of distributing lubricants goes beyond meeting schedules and deadlines with the right product. Sometimes the most complex problems will arise before the first vehicle has even been loaded. With an inventory of goods that may be delivered by tanker, by tote bulk container, or within drums and cases, every order that you handle has the potential to create a unique set of logistical variables.
When scheduling the distribution of lubricants, one of your main priorities will always be to ensure the integrity of your product. Cross-contamination is an unacceptable and costly error to put right, and one that is likely to result in loss of customer confidence. Protecting product integrity is a matter that can be assessed at every stage of your operation.
Significant risks to product integrity come from bulk deliveries by bulk vehicles where compartments must be cleaned or flushed with a cleaning regime dependant on the contamination risk. Pumps and hose reels must also be considered, with some products entirely unable to follow others through the same hose reel.
Re-using containers, compartments and line hoses can involve a process of time-consuming flushing to prepare each container for the next job. Without an organised system in place to manage this, it may seem preferable to carry out regular routine flushing procedures rather than risk cross-contamination. This can lead to duplication of duties, or resources being squandered on unnecessary flushing.
Operations combining packed and bulk deliveries often employ hybrid vehicles. These can be very effective but are typically less efficient than a full bulk tanker for larger bulk deliveries and more expensive than a simple box vehicle for packed-only deliveries due to the extra weight and reduced space. So making the right choice of vehicle both on a daily basis and strategically is an important challenge.
You probably have a combination of top-up (vendor managed inventory) and sales orders. Some will be urgent – having reached due date, or are predicted to have hit safety stock level. Others will have lower priority. But focusing purely on urgent orders will miss opportunities for combining urgent deliveries with nearby orders of lesser priority. Finding the right mix or urgent and non-urgent orders while keeping routes efficient is a major issue.
In an industry such as Lubricants it is often not possible – and rarely cost effective – to cover the geographical locations of each one of your clients every single day. This is doubly true when your business supplies a large territory, or regions, with a dispersed population. In these cases, smart scheduling and route planning is essential for saving you time and money.
Optrak4 for Lubricants allows you to allocate a master code to each chemical product, while simultaneously permitting the allocation of multiple, individual sales codes that each represent one of your branded and named products. This means you can use your master codes to load your vehicles – and ensure integrity as well as efficiency – and then use the sales codes to deliver each specific product to your customers: even allowing for multiple sales products to be distributed from the same bulk compartment.
From the master code, you can build product families and track their transportation in each container; thereby avoiding unnecessary flushing. The product families matrix includes default rules that define not only when a flush is needed, but also the type and the cost of flushing or cleaning must be carried out to ensure no contamination in the transition between any two products.
When allocating products to compartments Optrak will seek to make the allocations that minimise the cost of cleaning, thus reducing your distribution costs and the environmental cost of excessive cleaning.
Optrak4 for Lubricants gives you the tools to operate your vehicles to their maximum potential, whether you rely on tankers, hybrids, packaged trucks, or a combination of all three.
Optrak4 will not only account for specific usages in bulk tankers, but the software will use this information to help you build smart routes that reduce the need for cleaning and flushing. Optrak4 can also produce easy-to-read diagrams which describe the pumping order for each product at every stage of the delivery.
Hybrid vehicles have the same flushing and cleaning rules for hose lines and pumps as bulk tankers. However, the use of product-dedicated IBCs (totes) means that compartment cleaning is not required. Optrak4 is also able to trade IBC space for packed goods floor-space, thus varying the mix of packed or bulk product on the vehicle.
Orders of cases and drums can be shipped within standard box vehicles, where contamination issues are minimal. When vehicle capacity is limited and space is at a premium, Optrak4 provides detailed yet concise loading diagrams for your vehicles. Trucks are packed methodically, optimising the use of space in every truck and ensuring that unloads are swift and secure upon arrival.
As part of the Optrak4 solution, we’ll map out all of your vehicles and build a customised loading template which will guide the optimiser to load products in the safest, simplest way to transport and unload at client without the risk of cross-contamination.
You will always know which routes require a dedicated compartment and line hose; which tanks will require an oil flush; and which are ready to be refilled right away.
Optrak4 will also identify high risk or high cost transitions and prevent the scheduling of these events. Each rule can be customised by the user to make allowances for specific inventory requirements.
Optrak4 for Lubricants also provides multiple safeguards which are easy to configure and which will be implemented automatically once deployed to ensure that cross-contamination does not occur on loading or unloading.
Different orders have different service levels, from next day to next week. Optrak4 is able to prioritise on the basis of time until delivery and differentiate these orders on the map allowing the user to make informed decisions.
Optrak4 allows you to determine delivery routes so that you always remain within your terms of contract. The first priority with any keep-fill client is to ensure their supplies are never fully depleted. Optrak4 lets you prioritize customers whose delivery dates are due to expire the soonest, assigning them to the earliest available route. The most urgent orders can even be prioritized within their allocated routes.
Optrak4 is also able to sequence deliveries to prevent contamination. This applies to bulk, IBC and hybrid vehicles. It can also take into account equipment such as portable pumps which are required at specific sites on vehicles for unloading.
Optrak4 allows you to define routing parameters that make sure every journey is making the best use of your company resources. The Optrak4 graphical interface allows you to map out a radius of delivery and schedule dates which are dependant on location. Alternatively, you can run automation scripts that build your delivery routes to specific destinations to match a specified date. Finally, by filtering the results of all successfully routed deliveries, you can swiftly identify any outlying orders that remain un-allocated, and either match them to a suitable route, or take special measures to ensure they are fulfilled on time.