hiddenJan 03, 2016 13:28:08 IST
By Naval Sabharwal
The holiday season is just behind us. While children were busy unwrapping their gifts, Santa land would have been really busy - tracking order placements, procurement, manufacturing, fine-tuning, and quality checking. The ultimate Santa test was of course on Christmas Eve - when the entire logistics plan came together and Santa had to deliver items on the wish lists to the many million children, accounting for many variables:
1. Right gift to the right child
2. Reaching every home
3. Incredibly small window of time
4. Every mile is the last mile
4. Absolutely nothing can go wrong
5. Optimal route and load planning and skilled driver and vehicle
6. Ability to track and trace status accurately
7. And signing a unique form of POD - eat the cookies and drink the milk!
Despite the many million hurdles, Santa manages to do a neat job. Let's look at this entire concept from a logistics point of view - can a logistics company possibly meet Santa's performance, especially during the festive seasons? What does it need to be the Santa of logistics?
What you need is an efficient end-to-end solution that can plan, optimize, manage, track, and assess the entire transportation process. The biggest challenges of transportation management are
1. Accounting for all variables during fleet planning
2. Ensuring OH&S compliance during driver rostering
3. Tracking and tracing consignment status
4. Accurately predicting time of arrival
5. Managing real-time disruptions
6. Ensuring that the last mile is cleared efficiently
Depending on manual techniques or disconnected silos of efficient programs will not help achieve the intended efficiency. But an end-to-end in-memory optimization engine can effectively simplify the entire transportation management process. This engine functions from a flexible framework, and works based on pre-programmed algorithms that analyze real-time data and variables at every stage of the transportation process. These algorithms are defined based on previously encountered constraints and can easily be updated as required. Hence, the fleet planning options it provides is accurate and takes into account every dependable element before presenting solutions.
During fleet planning, the engine takes into account all aspects of
1. Truck selection - based on performance, availability, maintenance schedule, etc.
2. Driver rostering - based on performance, license period, OH&S compliance, etc.
3. Route planning - based on consignment, delivery plan, optimal route options, etc.
4. Load planning - based on loading and unloading assessments
5. Warehousing ability
6. Transit schedule planning - based on routes and possible stops, loading-unloading time, last mile limitations, etc.
During transit the system effectively monitors every second of the journey - similar to a traffic control room. The engine thus helps assess options during any real-time disruptions or emergencies. It calculates the time and effort for each option and presents the most efficient alternative to resolve the situation.
So, the answer to your search for the ultimate Santa of logistics lies in investing on an end-to-end in-memory optimization engine that will take into account every constraint and variable to provide optimal solutions at every stage from consignment planning through transit and finally delivery. The optimization engine might not exactly be Santa, but is definitely your super-efficient elf!
The author is Associate VP - Logistics, Ramco Systems
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