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Blog May 2020

Solving the intricate planning puzzle centrally…..

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Jan Tønder Intelligent Optimization Solution Advisor

AMCS Intelligent Optimisation contributes to efficiency in demanding planning environments

Handling a highly complex and dynamic planning puzzle while at the same time optimizing routes whilst executing daily schedules. It is beyond dispute that state-of-the-art technology, as intelligent optimization is, is required to handle this complexity for multiple locations, multiple products, and multiple vehicle types.

For Gerard Kissane, Head of Sales & Business Development Spain & Portugal, there is no doubt about that. “With the ability of the system to handle multiple complex visit patterns in the planning algorithm, practice shows that companies achieve savings in the planning resources, an increase in vehicle utilization and also options for better cross-service of vehicles.”

What is centralized planning?

“Companies with a central planning department can plan all their orders from one IT system both either at a national or regional level for their customers. This type of planning is especially used by complex logistics businesses who have multiple vehicle types, multiple products to deliver or collect, or a product with strict time-sensitive requirements such as certain carriage times or the tight collection and delivery windows. The challenge is the ability to centralize or regionalize the planning whilst maintaining the levels of service and ensuring customer satisfaction levels don’t drop.”

What is the difference compared to manual planning?

“In a lot of instances, the planning for many business’ transport operations are done locally at the depot or facility level by people who are familiar with the customers, products and geography of the service area. This knowledge is typically picked up on the job over many years, or the planning is done by former drivers who have amassed the knowledge over years of experience. Complex logistics problems are typically solved by experienced planners in local dispatch/planning offices. This means that there is a business risk should anything happen to those planners/dispatchers.”

What keeps companies from centralized planning?

“One of the limiting factors preventing companies from centralizing planning and dispatch roles is the lack of local knowledge around customers and the areas of service. Another limiting factor is the ability of a new system to cater to the various planning restrictions in relation to product transit life, customer collection or delivery windows, and the various restrictions that certain urban areas may place on vehicles, such as hours of operation or access windows.”

How does IT come into this picture?

“An important precondition to centralize or regionalize the planning for an operation is the capability to handle enormous amounts of orders with all the mentioned variables. This means dynamically planning, optimization of transport routes, and also the ability to re-plan and to re-optimize orders during the execution of the daily collection and transport routes. This extremely complicated puzzle can be solved by intelligent optimization, mathematical algorithms that calculate every specific situation at lightning speed after which the system plans or re-plans the orders whilst continually optimizing the routes.”

How does intelligent optimization work?

“This state-of-the-art technology provides a powerful tool for dispatching and real-time transportation optimization, which helps companies achieve agility and efficiency in highly demanding and dynamic planning environments. The user-friendly system supports the planner through Gantt charts, order banks, route lists, and digital maps. It is equipped with a wide range of manual and automatic planning functions, which can effectively support the planner in planning and optimizing the daily collections and distribution/pickup. This AMCS Intelligent Optimisation platform caters for all types of orders in any thinkable variation allowing a single planning resource to look after exceptions as opposed to the normal day-to-day requirements.”

What is the added value of AMCS Intelligent Optimisation?

“The smart optimization software helps companies to achieve agility and efficiency in highly demanding and dynamic planning environments. With the ability of the system to handle multiple complex visit patterns in the planning algorithm, practice shows that companies achieve savings in the planning resources, an increase in vehicle utilization, and also options for better cross-service of vehicles. With AMCS Intelligent Optimisation customers can also obtain substantially improved service levels and customer satisfaction while at the same time achieve striking cost savings.”

Do you have metrics to support this?

“Metrics obviously vary from company to company and industry to industry, but some companies have achieved an 80% saving in planning resources with one particular customer centralizing the planning for all 80 facilities to one central office. Some customers have seen an increase in vehicle utilization of as much as 20% which in turn leads to better profit margins due to cost savings and a delayed need for capital investment in fleet expansion to meet growth.”

AMCS Platform

AMCS Intelligent Optimisation is one of the six solutions of the AMCS Platform. The AMCS Platform offers a fully integrated and end-to-end portfolio of solutions to manage the waste and recycling lifecycle. Solutions include Enterprise Management, Intelligent Optimisation, Mobile Workforce, Vehicle Technology, Digital Engagement, and AMCS Analytics. These industry-specific solutions are developed to support the AMCS Platform strategy focussing on driving revenue growth, margin expansion, operational efficiency, and sustainability. AMCS lives up to those words with a product and development team of around 200 people, currently investing 20% of overall turnover in product development.

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