SiloNet Automatizes Its Tour Planning
Cost savings of up to 9 percent expected – ixOptimizer achieves better results than experienced dispatchers in “dispatching challenge” – Opportunity for growth without new hires
Beckum-based transport company SiloNet which specializes in logistics of granular building and raw materials has largely automated its dispatching processes for around 60 silo vehicles, using the digital transport control center OPHEO with the ixOptimizer module. By switching to OPHEO, the rapidly expanding logistics service provider aims to significantly reduce the workload of its three dispatchers, speed up its processes, and cut empty kilometers and CO2 emissions by up to 6 percent.
“ixOptimizer, which we introduced in February 2020, allows us to implement our growth strategy without further increasing the number of dispatchers” CEO of SiloNet Marco Reemer explains, whose team has also been managing the 50 ready-mix concrete trucks of the subsidiary BetonNet GmbH since 2019. SiloNet has already been working with the digital transport control center and telematics system OPHEO since February 2019. Dispatching and tour planning “has become very easy using OPHEO”, according to Christoph von Glinski who is a dispatcher at SiloNet. That is also due to the “overview we have of the current driving and rest times as well as the location data of all vehicles.”
By using OPHEO, the drivers have been completely integrated in the digitization process. For this, the OPHEO Mobile app was installed in each of the approximately 60 OPHEO-dispatched trucks that had already been equipped with the Webfleet driver terminal. Destination addresses of delivery orders are transferred directly from the OPHEO system to the app and from there to Webfleet Navigation. Vice versa, OPHEO Mobile transfers status information back to the central office. Truck localization and transfer of current location data is directly done via Webfleet.
OPHEO ixOptimizer, an algorithm for automatic tour planning was also accepted quickly by SiloNet’s dispatchers. The crucial point in this was the “dispatching challenge” organized by SiloNet in which experienced employees were given the same dispatching task for the fleet as the ixOptimizer. “In the end, the ixOptimizer delivered the better results”, Christoph von Glinski stated on behalf of all dispatchers who were all very satisfied with how the project went. “The introduction went smooth, especially since we were able to benefit from our parent company Gerdes + Landwehr’s experience.” Gerdes + Landwehr has already been using OPHEO since 2017.
The software developed by initions AG can be used for a wide range of transports and vehicle types. It delivers optimized tour suggestions within very fast calculation times, which, depending on the objective, minimize travel times, routes, and delays, while also helping to reduce CO2 emissions.
ixOptimizer stands for “initions extended Optimizer”. This module completes the digital transport control center OPHEO and covers a wide variety of transport and vehicle types. Apart from depot transports, these also include leg transports for partial and full loads. Both general cargo and bulk goods problems can be mapped. Even for silo trains, multi-compartment vehicles and selected special vehicle types, ixOptimizer calculates optimized tours fully automatically. In addition, the software can be adapted to individual customer conditions with the help of optimization parameters and the flexible OPHEO rule set. For example, ixOptimizer takes into account required vehicle characteristics and capacities, driver qualifications, loading and opening times, as well as driving and rest times.
This module is based on a self-teaching algorithm developed by initions AG’s mathematicians. The planning procedure known as “Adaptive Evolutionary Search” is capable of calculating thousands of tour plans within a very short time and achieving a step-by-step improvement through individual modifications. In addition, ixOptimizer notes which alteration steps have led to improvements or deteriorations in the tour plan and favors the changes with a greater probability of success in further steps.
inition’s digital transport control center OPHEO offers an intelligent standard software for road freight transport management that has been tried and tested for many years. This solution includes tour planning, dispatching, telematics, and ETA forecasting. Besides the dispatching process, OPHEO also automates communication with customers.
SiloNet Logistik GmbH is a joint venture between the building materials manufacturer Holcim and the medium-sized Gerdes + Landwehr Group. SiloNet focuses on the transport of raw materials and granulated construction materials using a fleet of 60 silo vehicles.