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Blog April 2020 Updated May 2021

Optimisation software for dynamic distribution of ready-mix concrete

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Lasse Jiborn Commercial Director Intelligent Optimisation Solutions

Just-in-time delivery of ready-mix concrete within extremely short time windows. Orders for construction sites must meet high requirements. Optimising both order planning and the routes to deliver the loads is key for the industry, which has unique demands characteristic to ready-mix. AMCS state-of-the-art transportation optimisation system includes a number of special features for the different types of building materials like ready-mix concrete, cement, aggregates, prefab, metal products or other building material products.

Dynamic planning, distribution and execution

Ready-mix is concrete manufactured in a batch plant according to a set engineered mix design. Timely delivered loads are essential to assuring continuous work at the construction site. Planning orders on demand is therefore of the utmost importance. If a truck is not on time, work is not only delayed, the quality of the concrete will also deteriorate because there is too much time between what has already been poured and the next load.

As such, distribution of ready-mix is in its essence highly dynamic and is subject to many demands besides the extremely short time frames for deliveries. Ready-mix has a short product lifespan and orders can change 2 - 20 times before delivery. In addition, the deliveries need to arrive in a fixed rhythm without many, if any deviations on delivery time. From a planning perspective, planning needs to be able to handle numerous possible combinations of plants and trucks of a variety of sizes and locations. And if there is suddenly a truck or mixer breakdown, this needs to be addressed in real-time with an ad-hoc order on the spot, or the entire ready-mix order could be compromised. Being able to monitor trucks and plants in real-time and dynamically optimise in case of unforeseen challenges ensures a smooth execution.

Smart software for intelligent optimisation

International leading companies in ready-mix concrete can tackle those challenges with intelligent optimisation solutions with industry-specific functionalities, such as the AMCS Concrete Planner. It’s inspired and designed by the best practice processes in the world. AMCS intelligent optimisation has dynamic, rolling and real-time distribution optimisation, event-based resource scheduling and re-optimisation.

The IT infrastructure is a fully distributed multi-user system, an enterprise-ready solution that has real-time system integration. In addition to that, the software solution also has a rich ready-mix concrete functionality enabling ready-mix companies to achieve a constant pour of ready-mix without any breaks, which could ultimately ruin the quality of the delivered product. This contributes to fewer risks and higher margins.

Real-time execution and re-optimization based on order adjustments

A sales order for 100 cubic meters ready-mix and a maximum truckload capacity of 10 cubic meters? No problem. The order will automatically be split over 10 trucks that will deliver and pour the ready-mix at the pre-specified interval. This is just one example of the industry-related functionalities for planning ready-mix orders with intelligent optimisation. The AMCS Concrete Planner solution offers various planning options, like planning across plants and sharing of vehicles, planning according to recipes and production sites’ production capabilities and identification of next load which should be subject to a quality assurance check. With this, the software solution for intelligent optimisation ensures a steady flow of load deliveries, no matter the size.

Last but not least it also provides real-time execution and re-optimisation based on order adjustments, urgent orders and on real-time communication with GPS tracker, the mobile in-cab system, other vehicle equipment and production system status.

Potential benefits of optimizing ready-mix planning and distribution

The advanced IT system enables companies to significantly improve operational efficiency and achieve major savings in transportation costs. For instance, the solution can provide an increase of delivered loads per vehicle by 15 - 25% and a decrease of 30 - 75% less time spent on planning and resource scheduling.

Due to stress-free planning and order-entry environment, employee satisfaction can also increase significantly. In addition to that, there will be a remarkable improvement in customer service levels, including the ability to meet tight time windows.

Proven benefits at Unicon

Unicon is part of the Aalborg Portland Group, a subsidiary of Italian Cementir Holding, and is the leading ready-mix concrete manufacturer in Scandinavia with approximately 80 batch plants. Intelligent optimisation from AMCS enables fast, flexible and efficient handling of high order volumes which are often subject to a large number of changes and constraints. It also provides an accurate overview of trucks and mixing resources despite a large number of resources involved.

Major benefits from implementing the system include increasing the number of deliveries per truck per day by 20 - 25%, a 33% reduction in the number of employees required to manage order-taking and planning, 100% management of the service delivered versus costs, and a 1 - 5% increase in revenue resulting from more accurate charging of waiting time while meeting the internal goals (KPIs) regarding ‘on-time delivery’ thereby assuring the associated improvement in customer satisfaction.

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