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Monday, 14. September 2015

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Centralized Resource Planning at Thomas Beton

Thomas Beton GmbH, an expert in the production and distribution of ready-mix concrete, wants to use the transport management software OPHEO to implement central resource planning for 75 concrete mixer trucks at 22 locations.

As a first step, 6 concrete plants were connected to headquarters in Kiel, Germany, with 37 trucks. “We want to benchmark the pilot project’s success and prove that OPHEO helps us achieve greater cost efficiency, better capacity utilization, more ecological ways of working, planning reliability and even higher customer satisfaction, so that we can then integrate further plants and fleet capacities”, Thomas Beton GmbH CEO B. Rainer Brings explains. If successful, “a later deployment at our Swedish and Polish affiliates is also possible,” Brings says about the company’s plans. The remaining 15 German production plants with 38 vehicles are to be added this year, with around 20 truck mixers being operated by subcontractors.

Every day, Thomas Beton loads around 500 truck mixers at its German locations, so that each driver serves around 5 unloading points. By using OPHEO, the company want to increase vehicle capacity utilization. Due to the previously decentralized planning, it sometimes happened that several trucks with spare capacity were traveling in the same region. With central deployment planning, the dispatcher has a complete overview of the exact demand for transport capacities for the present and the following day. Based on this forecast, he can allocate the truck fleet optimally and efficiently. The integrated forecasting feature checks for each vehicle whether it is still on schedule and extrapolates any deviations to the rest of the current tour and to all subsequent tours, allowing the dispatcher to shift capacities between plants in the course of the day.

In the course of the project, OPHEO was seamlessly integrated into the existing IT infrastructure. On this basis, OPHEO can also send production orders to the production control systems in the individual plants. Customer data and delivery addresses are thereby synchronized with Thomas Beton’s ERP system. Besides the central dispatchers and the mixing foremen in the six concrete plants already integrated in Risum-Lindholm, Sörup, Jarplund, Kappeln, Husum, Lürschau, the fleet and management in Kiel also have access to OPHEO. This allows managers to get an overview of the current situation at any time.

“We want to be on time, reliable, able to schedule, and we want to have transparency about our operations at all times. And that is exactly what OPHEO allows us to do”, B. Rainer Brings explains. Of course, centralized planning with OPHEO should also help save costs and CO2 emissions. The in-depth preliminary investigation showed that using OPHEO “will reduce the effort and improve the quality of the planning,” Brings added.
Thomas Beton learned about OPHEO through another user’s recommendation. “We had also looked into many other systems. What impressed us most about OPHEO, in addition to this software’s high level of maturity, was the fact that we were able to observe how the system was constantly evolving over the years. And last but not least, we were also convinced by the confidence we have in the team at initions,” says Brings, explaining the decision.
Samsung Galaxy tablets equipped with the OPHEO Mobile telematics app are used as mobile vehicle units in the truck mixers. The app manages the orders and guides the driver to his destinations. Moreover, the vehicles are equipped with a telematics box which is connected to an FMS interface and delivers the basic data for analyzing driver behavior. In the OPHEO portal, it is possible to retrieve and compare all drivers’ driving behavior. This allows for typical driving errors to be specifically addressed and avoided by providing training.

The holistic solution is rounded off by the OPHEO Tachoweb module, which automates remote reading and archiving of tachograph data. Furthermore, OPHEO Tachoweb sends the data to the Dispatching Cockpit, offering the dispatcher an overview of remaining driving times at any time.

Thomas Beton GmbH specializes in the production of ready-mixed concrete for commercial and residential customers. This German subsidiary of the Swedish Thomas Concrete Group was founded in 1955 by the Swedish engineer Martin Thomas and is still owned by the Swedish Thomas family. The company headquarters are in Göteborg, Sweden.

Alongside Germany and Sweden, the Group runs operating companies in Poland, Norway and the USA with a total of 135 production sites. In Germany alone, the company has 22 concrete plants which are located in Northern Germany. In 2014, the Group’ s 1,350 employees generated sales of 350 million euros.