3PL Increases Transportation Efficiency with Planning Optimization Software
A third-party logistics provider (3PL) based in Africa that serves the agriculture and commodity industries wanted to extend the capabilities of its TMS (transportation management system) to better optimize transportation planning and routing as it launched a new transportation marketplace. The company operates in a dynamic, seasonal, and somewhat unpredictable environment and sought to improve its asset utilization, reduce empty miles, and ensure high service quality and value for its customers and carrier partners.
Prior to implementing the DecisionBrain software, the company relied on a manual process to plan its transportation requests, which was time-consuming and inefficient. The company needed a more streamlined way of optimizing its operations and reducing costs while also being able to handle the day-to-day disruptions common in this business.
The company considered working with the TMS provider to customize the system but ultimately made the decision to go with a semi-custom transportation planning bolt-on system from DecisionBrain.
The company understood that its transportation planning needs were complex enough to benefit from advanced optimization functionality. For instance, it needed to plan its own fleet of over 200 vehicles alongside those of its partner carriers while considering a variety of goals and constraints:
- Cargo-to-truck type and capacity matching (eg flatbed vs tanker)
- Workforce constraints around drive time and driver pairing
- Frequent vehicle breakdowns, road closures, or other short-term disruptions
- Vehicle compatibility with roads of different conditions
- Nighttime driving restrictions for roads in certain regions
- Vehicle utilization and maintenance requirements
- Demurrage costs
- Varying cargo load and unload times*
- Profitability objectives
The company concluded that DecisionBrain’s modular decision support software platform offered the most flexibility to meet both current and potential future needs, but at a lower total cost and risk when compared to customizing the TMSs.
The solution has resulted in maximizing the total profit generated by planned trips and minimizing the delay between the requested date and the arrival of the truck.
With DecisionBrain’s transportation planning software, they can now optimize its transportation plans, reducing delivery delays while improving vehicle utilization and other financial metrics.
The software not only optimizes transportation planning but also frees the company’s managers from previously time-consuming daily routine planning tasks. With this added capacity, managers can better manage exceptions by working collaboratively with the software to make more effective operational replanning decisions.
In response to unexpected events such as vehicle breakdowns, managers can test different plan scenarios, compare them based on a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs), and choose the optimal one to implement.
Most importantly, by improving its operations, the DecisionBrain software has helped them deliver better service to its customers by reducing the delay between requested and actual delivery dates.