Optimisation through Analytics
Scheduling and managing delivery of goods can be a very intensive exercise with so many variables at play within operations as well as constraints. An example of those variables include:
- Fleet costs
- Staff costs
- Service levels
Optimising your fleet and strategic management of shipping and delivery can yield significant improvements in profits and reduce costs. This applies to all industries that are required to deliver goods from FMCG to mail, fuel to furniture.
QMetrix, together with its business partners in the Optimisation Group at IBM Research in Melbourne have extensive experience in this area.
There are a number of areas to be analysed, a typical approach would including the following:
Physical Operation Analysis
In essence, the physical operations of the customer are examined to determine the elements which most affect profitability and the other key metrics (flexibility, delivery within fixed time window etc.) for which optimal results are sought. This typically includes but is not limited to elements such as:
- Load allocation
- Route mapping
- Fleet deployment
- Depot siting
One or more Optimising Functions (expressions which show how profit relates to the selected elements) are defined, with a QMetrix consultant working with your operations staff to build an appropriate set of goals.
The below diagram illustrates a simplistic view of profit based route mapping – profit with a customer vs profit without. This is an extreme case, showing how the computer automatically thinks “out of the square”.
Then, various constraints imposed by the business are then considered, including those outside the control of the business. Some of those constraints are listed below:
- Fleet size and composition
- Operational issues (cross-docking, quick-hitch etc)
- Customer locations
- Running costs
- Service levels requirements
- Load pricing
Our QMetrix consultant would then factor in those constraints within the model.
Once the initial analysis has been conducted, our team of consultants will then consider the above listed factors as well as any other variables and produce a model that will best optimise your fleet.
Various equations are processed using computer software (usually sitting on a simple desktop PC) to provide optimal routing within the constraints. A screen-based interface is then used by the schedulers to input data, and the output is both graphical and in a form useful for day-to-day operations (manifests, shipping documents, picking and loading slips etc.).
To find out more about how QMetrix can apply analytics to your logistics and fleet management, please call us on 1300 785 336 or email us at [email protected]