Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Nov-Dec 2014 Contents increased from 7 to 8, yielding a saving of £150
million per year.
Another example was the use of optimisation
by the RAC to reduce advised response times
(ART). This is the average time required for a
patrol to reach a breakdown that is advised to
customers awaiting rescue. By reducing their
ART below that of their competitors, the RAC
quickly increased its market share and secured its
position in an increasingly tight market in the UK.
Some companies that have failed to take
advantage of optimisation technology have
found themselves unable to compete, and
ultimately closed their doors.
Automated TOS Components
Assuming an organisation is committed to
installing optimisation software for its logistics
and transport, there are various types of TOS
The first type comprises four components:
1. Communications: real time communication
with vehicle drivers and customers.
2. Command and control: a command centre
showing the current state, which may include
vehicle locations if the real-time information
3. Recording: delivery notes, driver working
hours, contractor information.
4. Decision support.
In this article we focus on the fourth
component, decision support. The aim of
automated TOS is to automate processes
previously done by hand, including telephoning,
moving markers on maps, and so on.
Successful TOS do what people do, only faster
and more consistently.
Consider what controllers do when allocating
vehicles to service customer requests. Requests
are handled one at a time and for each request,
the controller considers which vehicle is best
placed (in both time and location) to service the
request. If the request is a delivery, for example,
the controller might consider the route currently
planned for each vehicle, and where in each
route the request would most economically be
served -- respecting constraints such as the
weight/volume of goods, vehicle size, customer
time-window etc. The request is then assigned
to the vehicle and position in its route that is
both feasible and most cost-effective.
Once one request has been dealt with, the
controller considers the next request, until all
requests have either been assigned to a vehicle
or -- if a request can't be serviced by any
vehicle in a way that satisfies the constraints --
rejected. A rejected request may be postponed
to another day, delegated to a contractor, or
turned down completely.
Automated TOS does the same thing, only
faster, and guaranteeing the assignment of each
request is cost-optimal.
The benefit of this TOS is flexibility. For each
potential assignment of a request to a vehicle,
all the user requirements can be checked,
even if they are application-specific. Such
• Empty pallets should be collected from cus-
tomers at their next delivery.
• Incompatible freight should be separated.
• Time windows.
• Big loads should not be carried uphill.
However, there are other constraints -- ones
that cover multiple requests and/or multiple
vehicles, such as a requirement to balance
the work assigned across a vehicle fleet -- that
cannot be handled on a per-request basis.
Automated TOS performance
Automated TOS systems add requests one at
a time. Adding one request is efficient for a
computer that can quickly check each possible
way to add a pick-up and delivery to an
and we handle the complex tasks others prefer to avoid
If your product is not easily palletised,
or is particularly delicate or awkward,
there is a good chance other logistics
providers are not too keen to handle it.
That’s where the staff at Simon National
We’ve built our reputation providing
transport, warehousing and distribution
services nationally to a select group of
companies whose needs are special.
From glass to air conditioning units,
trade show displays or production
machinery, assembly or processing of
goods in our warehouses, services to the
remotest parts of Australia or guaranteed
time critical transit times to the next
suburb or across the nation.
If your logistics needs are unusual,
our staff are the experts to ensure they
For assistance contact your local
Simon branch or call Chris Rose
on 0418 727 194.
A partner you can trust ...
SUPPLY CHAIN 63
Links Archive MHD Spt-Oct 2014 MHD Jan-Feb 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page