Oakwood is the largest provider of hazardous waste collection services to the UK’s motor vehicle franchise network. Since going live with Optrak’s vehicle routing and scheduling software, Oakwood has made significant cost savings and increased vehicle utilisation.
Oakwood provides a nationwide waste collection service predominantly for the garage service industry based from a single depot in Mansfield. With ADR regulations to observe, differing Service Level Agreements (SLA) for orders and one, two and three day trips to create, daily route planning was becoming increasingly challenging not to mention stressful for the two full time route planners. Furthermore complexity was starting to restrict Oakwood’s operational flexibility and scalability.
Having extensively trialed another routing system, Oakwood identified the sheer complexity of its planning process and the number of variables that needed to be considered a barrier for all but a customised Optrak4 solution. Michael Sneath, Operations Manager, Oakwood Environmental said “[We chose the solution] that takes into account our unique loading and planning requirements and allows us to manage our transport resources more efficiently.
On a daily basis orders are downloaded from Oakwood’s sales database and Optrak automatically updates any current or outstanding orders to ensure that collections are made within the contracted SLA. Most SLAs allow for two or more days to make the collection. As orders approach their latest due date older orders are progressively given a higher priority. But by making orders available to be optimised well before the due date, the system is able to combine orders with different due dates onto the same trip, for better routing efficiency.
After orders have been validated, the planner specifies the number of drivers and vehicles that are available and after doing a series of data checks, an initial set of trips is created by Optrak. Oakwood reviews Scottish trips first, followed by overnight runs and finally single day routes. The planner checks and tweaks the routes to take into account late order cancellations or changes in collection volumes. The results are then exported back into the sales database.
One of the crucial customisations that Optrak provided was a ‘loader’ that is programmed with all of the complex business rules governing how different products and waste streams such as drum and liquid waste can be loaded into different compartments on the oilers.
Sneath commented, “The Optrak loader is crucial for Oakwood as it automatically selects the right vehicle and compartment for any given collection, even if there are multiple products to be picked up. Optrak maintains weight and volume capacity limits for each oiler compartment and rigid vehicle, and takes into account container exchanges where an empty container is delivered to a customer at the same time as a full one is picked up. It also manages ADR rules allocating a trained driver where necessary. This has eliminated one of the biggest challenges that we previously had – looking at the number of different variables and taking into factors such as account compatibility, compartment volume capacities, and ADR thresholds.”
Cost savings and ROI
Oakwood has needed to buy fewer vehicles as a result of using its existing assets more efficiently; increasing revenues without incurring additional overheads which is a major advantage given the cost of each oiler.
Efficiency and control
Oakwood has been able to significantly increase the utilisation of its vehicles giving them the ability to do an extra 6 trips per week; vital in helping it cope with 30% growth that the company achieved last year.
Through Optrak4, Oakwood has reduced its planning by over 50%, despite the number of collections more than doubling due to it adding 12 vehicles to the fleet and increasing the complexity of the planning process.
Oakwood has increased its operational flexibility and can react more quickly to emergency calls and customer queries. The use of oilers ensures it can pick up multiple products on a single visit which minimises multiple visits to the same customer.
Oakwood has seen an immediate and sharp improvement in the key KPIs it monitors - including the volume of oil collected per mile travelled - after going live on Optrak4. This continued as it became more proficient with routing.