|Logistics and Fleet Management
Modern society tends to “shorten” physical distances between people by the design of more and more advanced technical aids. Aspiration towards better mobility of people, services and assets is in the background of every technical, organisational and most, if not all, of today’s other systems.
In the business world, requests for increased speed and efficiency are directly presented in the field of transport and logistics. There are many reasons for that. Most evidently because of the omnipresence of Transportation and Logistics. There is no business, or indeed almost no human activity, without a direct or indirect connection with certain traffic activities and needs. Economic growth, changes in fiscal politics, e-trade, consumer protection, ecology all these, and many more, are factors which generate the need for goods and services. Where there are logistics designs you will find corresponding traffic demands.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been in use for presentation, analysis, distribution and the store of spatial data all making for easier and more efficient business planning, management and realization. Traditionally GIS has been used in environmental protection, defence, telecommunications, police, cadastre, management of real estates and infrastructure and, more recently, in so called Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and logistics. At the beginning “primitive” routing, by means of measuring distances with ruler and caliper on paper map existed. Today a number of GIS applications for transport and logistics exist – and the number is rising. GIS has been use daily and worldwide for the efficient connection, harmonization and management of all transport processes in an ever rising number of companies. Solutions, such as intelligent routing plan, satellite fleet management, distribution area planning and management of infrastructure resources are just a few examples in a wide palette of GIS supported solutions for transport and logistics.
DIVERTON – Intelligent Geographic Routing
The first activity in transport cost minimization is the optimization of the territorial locations of warehouses or, generally speaking, between the starting points of the transportation process. Of course modern companies often conduct detailed preliminary analyses of the advantages and disadvantages of any particular location, using various simulation software and differing methods. Meanwhile it is only the application of GIS systems that enables simulations and analyses such as:
How to optimally service several thousands of delivery locations, all dependants on a particular distributive centre, is question where GIS tools and solutions could help again. An example of an effective solution is GDi GISDATA DIVERTON, an application for transport planning and optimization which enables detailed analysis of expenses and distribution profitability as well as dynamic modeling of the optimal routes for delivery vehicles. At first the computer models optimal routes and delivery schedules according to numerous criteria – of which the three most important are: route length, time/term of delivery and expenses for vehicles and drivers. Due to the fact that in many companies the process of deliveries is coincident with the prior selling process of the particular delivery place or whole region, DIVERTON system can be (and in many cases is) used for selling activities too.
The planned route contains information concerning all the relevant logistic parameters of the transport process, from time of delivery egress, driving time to every selling location, times of unloading and accompanying driver’s activities, planning of backlash and detailed evidence of planned and realised working time. During this planning the transport dispatcher has a tabular, cartographic and chronological view of all constraints warehouses are operating within, vehicle fleet and places of delivery – capacity of cargo space and working time of both warehouse and driver – vehicle and driver availability, exact locations of the warehouse and delivery places, volume and priority of delivery and, finally, delivery schedule. In this manner the planning process is significantly faster and the quality of the transport rises to a much higher level. Prerequisites can be met for the centralised planning for hundreds of vehicles and thousands of routing appointments in merely ten minutes or less!
But how can one know if the results of daily transport routes’ planning are optimal, within the constraints and routing parameters, are correct? The answer to that, and to similar questions, is given by two key functionalities – the strategic level of DIVERTON planning: simulations of different transport scenarios and delivery profitability analysis. Namely, transport plans generated by daily, tactical route planning are stored in a geoinformation database which is used for subsequent delivery simulation and general execution of various analyses of strategic importance to the transporting process. Strategic analysis of transport represents a geoinformation database of knowledge where the operations manager finds potential for additional savings and makes business optimisations on a daily basis in response to client’s requests, sales staff and company management. Dynamic computation of delivery profitability on a daily basis, irrespective of the scale, of every single delivery provides absolute control over transportation costs. Reports created by strategic transport planning are organized by time period and employ a large number of indicators, such as total quality and financial realization, number of vehicles and drivers, elapsed time of the drive, service time, capacity utilization for vehicles and planned vs. realized mileage.
The DIVERTON system represents a scalable solution applied to transport and logistics together with several derived supporting modules. These are:
Although satellite tracking technology has been used for years as an efficient navigation and fleet management aid, it has to be said that satellite tracking has full affirmation and economic adequacy in combination with intelligent GIS supported routing. How do we know if a vehicle deviates from route if the route itself is not known in advance? A driver could have his/her own vision of the route, which could be different to route selected by the transport dispatcher or indeed the optimal route generated according to numerous strategically important logistics and sales parameters. For these reasons solutions for transport planning and fleet satellite tracking must be complementary within a company. Finally, by the combination of intelligent routing and satellite tracking with solutions for evidence of exact fleet expenses (such as the expenses of preventive and corrective maintenance, cost of damages, etc.) strong presumptions for minimization of distribution costs are created.
Digital Cartographic Support
GIS solutions such as DIVERTON represent some of the key areas in ITS architecture as a basic concept matrix of the modern traffic problems/solutions on both a global and local scale. A Primary requirement for development and application of such systems is the existence of correspondent geoinformation databases of traffic behaviours, infrastructure resources and their mutual connections. The real strength of GIS applications in the traffic and logistic process is usage of a geographically real road network instead of predefined delivery zones or routes, including all physical and regulatory constraints such as speed limits, turn bans, directions, roads elevations and many other attributes of the traffic network. Since, in times now passed, implementation of the GIS solution wasn’t possible primarily because geoinformation databases for roads in our region didn’t exist, it is pleasure for us to say that this lack has been cured thanks to GDi GISDATA, who, as an experienced company in GIS development and applications, and indeed a leading IT company in the country and region, the described GIS solutions have been realized in both Croatia and across the region.