In a business with its own transport fleet, its transport resources and the infrastructure that supports them need to be periodically reviewed to reflect customer, sales volume and product portfolio changes over time. This is especially true of companies with sustained periods of growth or contraction, or companies undertaking strategic divestments or acquisitions.
The costs of a transport fleet often represents the largest element of a company’s cost to market. With increasing fuel prices, and environmental impact considerations, it is more critical than ever to ensure that transport resources are perfectly matched to delivery requirements – no more, no less.
A business must plan well in advance to have in place the optimal level of vehicle resource, and for that resource to be fully utilised. This planning must consider hours of use and cubic capacity, as well as supporting infrastructure and personnel. Simply optimising vehicle routes on a daily basis is not efficient; fixed vehicle and overhead costs are not variable – infrastructure, vehicle leasing, insurance and personnel costs cannot be modified on a daily basis. A business needs to strategically plan its resources periodically, and often years in advance.
Strategic planning of vehicle resources can be a highly complex process. The potential variables in customer locations, delivery times, delivery volume, delivery restrictions and vehicle types, make the manual optimisation of vehicle resources almost impossible. To design a truly optimised transport requirement a company must be able to consider all variables, using specialist techniques.
The consultants at Gideon Hillman Consulting utilise the highly specialist transport planning software package – DiPs. Through advanced linear programming algorithms, DiPs allows our consulting team to consider all variables within a framework of multiple scenarios e.g. what if the vehicle fleet is reduced from 17t rigids to 7.5t rigids? What if customers are delivered between specific time windows, or on a dedicated day?
The software supports scenario analysis and enables the consulting team to determine the optimal number and type of vehicle resources required; where those resources are best located, and what infrastructure needs to be in place to support them. From this information the consulting team can then provide our clients with a detailed transport resource plan which is fully optimised against the business’s needs.