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04 Nov 2021

Want to know where your company’s logistics operations rank in our Intelligent Optimization Benchmark?

Efficient businesses tend to be successful businesses

Our vision at AMCS is to help our customers achieve increased profitability and sustainability through intelligent optimization. 

Intelligent Optimisation enables logistics companies to reduce the number or distance of routes driven, maximizing the efficiency of the number of vehicles being deployed.

Whether your company is involved in waste and recycling, transport aggregates and construction materials, ready mix cement, livestock transport, and oil and gas supplies, we are confident that we can improve the performance of your logistics operations.

Our suite of Intelligent Optimization solutions is proven to reduce transport costs by 15%, reduce planning time by 40% and reduce mileage, driving time, and carbon emissions.

We recently developed the AMCS Intelligent Optimisation Benchmark that includes five stages that can help you assess where you are now and assist you to identify the tools you need to make your logistics more efficient.

The five stages of Optimization

Most companies are somewhere between Stage 2 and Stage 4 at present, but some are still at Stage 1. By moving up these stages, significant cost savings can be made, with the bonus of making your operations more fuel-efficient and therefore reducing emissions from vehicles. In addition, optimized logistics deliver better service outcomes and offer customers more choice to select tighter delivery windows.

Stage 5 is a future goal, but many top-performing firms are investing in this future of fully automated and optimized logistics, and some are implementing early-stage technology to achieve this.


Stage 1 – Manual Planning

At this stage, companies have begun the process to automate tasks and are seeing efficiencies.

This stage is how we used to do things, and some companies still do! It depends on manual planning and reacting to events when they happen.

Businesses in this stage tend to have:

  • High dependency on paper processes
  • Use human resources to do every element of the work – including lots of low-value, time-consuming tasks.

The weaknesses of this approach are:

  • Human error - inefficient record-keeping and potential for essential documents to get lost
  • Paying salaries for people to do low-value tasks is an inflated cost with low return
  • Higher customer dissatisfaction - your customers lose out when something goes wrong as you are unable to react quickly enough to make changes
  • Every part of this approach tends to be rigid and inflexible – once a process/route is in place it is hard to change it
  • Human inefficiency tends to lead to more costs for fuel, vehicle usage, and fewer customers served per driver because of less efficient route planning.

Stage 2 – Semi-automatic Planning

At this stage, companies have begun the process to automate tasks and are seeing efficiencies.

By using semi-automatic planning, they are benefitting from:

  • Digital recording of data into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for billing, proof of service, and reporting
  • Reduced salary costs as some processes are automated and require less human intervention
  • Support for rostering and dispatch to enable improved customer visits per driver
  • Reduced fuel use and fewer trucks and containers required as drivers are using more efficient routes - also means lower vehicle emissions
  • Improved customer communications and customer service as they are given more information about when drivers will visit them

 

Stage 3 – Automatic Planning

Automatic planning is seen in stage 3 and is where many logistics and waste and recycling are now operating. Highly effective logistics systems improve the efficiency of the business and often result in significant margin improvements. The resources are utilized across the whole organization, and not just for the typical 10 trucks which each planner normally can plan for. This is whereby automation can generate at least 10% more savings.

The benefits of this stage are:

  • If you are involved in overly complex activities, technology simplifies this for you, maximizing the efficiency of your processes – using intelligent algorithms.
  • Your planning and dispatching are driven by sophisticated algorithms rather than costly and inefficient human resources, ensuring driver routes are optimized to save fuel and use fewer physical assets such as vehicles and containers.
  • Planners are there to organize some tasks, as well as step in to identify issues and resolve them, leading to reduced salary costs – this can be done using AMCS’ Transport Management System.
  • Customers are happier because you can quickly respond when things go wrong or additional service is required, all done as efficiently as possible.


Stage 4 – Predictive Planning

Advanced businesses are already taking advantage of predictive planning technology, including AMCS customers. Our products are designed to enable the use of sensors, for example, to relay data into the AMCS Platform.

At this stage, the logistics planning system now creates its own orders using vendor-managed inventory (VMI). Predictive planning is typically based on a mix of historical data, real-time data, and sensor data.  This type of technology is often used in the waste management industry with (underground) containers with fill-level sensors and in the fuel industry for replenishment of petrol stations.

This stage requires:

  • Using advanced technologies like machine learning and sensors on customer assets to understand whether a visit is required to transport the customer’s products or waste materials
  • Planners are now supervisors who only step in to handle exceptions – the system does all the work
  • If your company uses predictive planning, you can implement asset-light business models as you only need the vehicles, containers, etc required for your services rather than the additional capacity to handle the extra work created by inefficiency
  • Businesses at this stage benefit from maximized flexibility and the ability to scale quickly in response to new opportunities.


Stage 5 – Fully Automated Logistics

This stage is where we believe many of those companies at Stage 4 are already heading. While we might be some years from fully implementing these measures, some companies are already using ultra-sophisticated technology to optimize their operations as much as technology will currently allow.

When we eventually reach the technological capability to fully implement this stage, businesses will:

  • Use self-learning algorithms for continuous improvement of different timings due to traffic, weather, individual customer locations, gates, container types, driver styles, job types, etc.
  • Fully automate their businesses using artificial intelligence that will make all decisions for them
  • Technology will replace all planners and dispatchers, with staff used for the human touch to maintain business relationships. Eventually, drivers will be replaced with autonomous trucks.


How is AMCS preparing for this future?

AMCS is constantly striving to improve its products with many of our customers already taking advantage of Stage 4 and some early Stage 5 technologies.

We will continue to invest in developing our products to help our customers fully optimize their processes, making their logistics and operations highly efficient, while also supporting reduced cost and higher margins.

Want to learn more about how AMCS can assist your company to make your logistics more efficient? Our team of optimization experts is available to help your business with leveraging next-generation optimization technologies.  Don't wait and contact AMCS now.