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Efficient planning optimizes collection of bottles and cans

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IT solution improves service levels and reduces miles on the road for Returpack, Sweden’s largest container deposit company

By Jesper B. Nielsen, Transportmagasinet

Returpack is Sweden’s largest player in the deposit-refund market. They are responsible for the collection, administration, and deposits with 2700 stores around Sweden. The Swedes return 1.6 billion cans and PET bottles for refunds each year, of which Returpack manages 90 %.

To increase the efficiency of the bottle and can collection the company has chosen to implement a complete IT solution with AMCS’ Route Planner, Fleet Planner, Mobile Web and Web Portal.

-       We chose this solution since it comprises every aspect of our transport planning, Logistics Developer at Returpack, Joakim Andersson says.

-       In the AMCS solution, the entire transport chain is covered and it encompasses both the operational planning, tactical and strategic perspectives. This way we have control of every part of the planning and knowledge of which services the stores demand. That is a huge advantage.

Control of the transport planning 

One goal for Returpack was to gain control of transport planning. Before the implementation, both the transport planning and execution had been outsourced to third-party logistic companies.

-       We wanted to increase efficiency by planning the transport ourselves, but we still wanted the external transporters to handle the transport operations, says Joakim Andersson.

Another goal for Returpack was to improve the customer experience for the stores. They were accustomed to communicating directly with the transporters.

Business hours and rush hours

With AMCS Route Planner, Fleet Planner, Mobile Web, and Web Portal Returpack has chosen a wide selection of AMCS products, which have been implemented in phases.

The system is set up so that the strategic planning and the tactical planning of master routes is carried out in Route Planner. The master route planning in Route Planner takes narrow time windows, rush hours, vehicle limitations, driver qualifications, and location of terminals into account - to name just some of the key features. Strategic planning comprises simulations and what-if scenarios. These can be used to calibrate the system to work more in accordance with reality and as a basis for making decisions about the logistics.

The master routes are then automatically transferred to AMCS Fleet Planner, where the operational planning and execution is managed. The transport planners can take ad hoc orders before and during execution when the need occurs. Consequently, the routes can be adjusted in real-time and in interaction with the ERP system and AMCS Mobile Web, from where the external transporters can communicate directly with the central planning office.

The external haulers approve calculations and invoices in the self-billing portal. The solution fully integrates with Returpack’s own systems – the customer register, business intelligence, and the invoice management system.

The solution has been adjusted to match the specific needs of Returpack. The custom dialogues in AMCS Fleet Planner are used for handling customer data. An automatic email is sent from the self-billing system to the stores when routes begin, and these e-mails have been set up according to Returpack’s needs. Likewise, the invoicing specifications have been defined by Returpack.

Advantages 

One central advantage is that the trucks drive fewer miles. Returpack has established the foundation for reducing the number of trucks in operation and accordingly reducing costs.

Another central advantage is the more direct contact between Returpack and the stores related to the planning and execution of the collections. It improves the customer experience and furthermore, Returpack can calculate the consequences of any change the stores may request.

-       When the stores call us and want a change we can test it in the system to see, which impact that change will have. Therefore, we can instantly see whether the wanted change will be cheaper or more expensive for us, Joakim Andersson explains.

A third example of optimization has happened in Stockholm, which area-wise is a large city that, in addition, has a lot of water to navigate around. Strategic calculations in AMCS Route Planner have shown that it is profitable to place two terminals, rather than only one terminal, which was previously the case. It actually has a positive impact on the bottom line to place an additional terminal in Stockholm city.

Read the Danish article at Transportmagasinet.DK

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