Leveraging technology convergence in distribution | Infrastructure news

Sunstone was recently approached by one of Africa’s largest beverage bottlers to improve the bottling company’s distribution operation system. *Mark Jaffe explains.

The system had components from multiple vendors that were proving difficult to integrate and information was not provided timeously for effective decision-making. Through a partnership with Sunstone, a real-time, holistic view of the distribution operation was gained, and a more scientific approach to planning implemented.

To remain profitable and competitive, companies are required to make ever faster strategic and operational decisions. The difficulty in this case was gathering, interpreting and analysing data from multiple vendor systems to answer questions about the size of fleet needed, whether external resources were required and how sequencing and routing deliveries could minimise cost.

All this was to be achieved in a dynamic environment with seasonal demand variations, rising fuel and transport-related costs, an increasingly competitive market, scarce IT and planning skill sets, and increasing customer service demands.

To address the challenges, a set of fully integrated route to market distribution tools were implemented, including:
• FLO, a fleet route optimisation and scheduling application
• Sunstone Telematics, an advanced telemetry platform
• ControlHub, a real-time, cloud-based distribution KPI and management dashboard

Sunstone engaged with the customer, fine-tuning master data and adapting scheduler settings and road network speeds to ensure the daily routes generated by the system were efficient and feasible. This reduced travel distances and resource requirements while maintaining customer service demands.

ControlHub provides a live ‘planned vs actual’ view of distribution operations. By combining scheduled delivery information with actual vehicle tracking data, it intuitively provides numerous KPIs such as planned vs actual kilometres, customer hit rate, and depot departure times. This gives warehouse/distribution managers a bird’s-eye view of the delivery progress, with visual maps, Gantt charts and automated trip debrief reports.

As a result, distribution operation visibility has been increased throughout the organisation. With a unified KPI measurement tool, it has encouraged a constructively competitive atmosphere at all levels: depot, region, and country.

About the author

*Mark Jaffe is owner of Sunstone Logistic Systems

Additional Reading?

Request Free Copy