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Fleet Utilisation

Fleet Utilisation


Okay, so what’s the number one thing that
you can do with your distribution fleet to actually improve its utilisation and efficiency?
Funnily enough, this was something that we were talking about at our Supply Chain Leaders
Academy just a couple of weeks ago, and we actually did a practical exercise on this
to really understand the dynamics of vehicle scheduling and so on. And the exercise that
we were talking about, let me just do a very simple example here, imagine we’ve got a depot
and we’ve got a number of customers all over the place and we have to try and get the most
efficient delivery route amongst those customers. And what the guys at the Academy had to do
was basically to work out all the travel distances, they had to do this manually to understand
the whole dynamic of the thing. And there’s a number of factors you’ve got to take into
account here, because it’s, you know, the travel distance between all of them, how long
is that going to take? And the size of the orders at each of the drops, how long will
that take to unload? And then what’s the fixed and variable time for each of the drops? You
know, there’s a fixed component, you’ve got to pull up, park the vehicle, you’ve got to
go and find the customer, or you know, the dock end, who ever is going to take the product.
And then there’s a variable time involved as you’re unloading all of the products. And
then you’ve got to look at the costs, and of course, again, there are fixed and variable
costs associated with running the vehicles. And so we were logging all of these dynamics,
we did it as a manual exercise, and then we actually put it through a routing system to
see if that could optimise it. But my question for you is, what’s the number one thing that
you can do to actually improve the efficiency of all of this and get better utilisation
out of your delivery fleet? Can you guess what it is? It’s very simple. It’s the delivery
time windows. I’ll just put delivery windows here. And by that I mean, if this customer
has only got a 30 minute window and the delivery’s got to be between 9 and 9:30 a.m., and this
one’s only got one hour window and it’s got to be a delivery, you know, between 7:30 and
8 or 7:30, 8:30, whatever. That is the most limiting factor on the utilisation of your
whole delivery fleet, that one thing. And if you can start to open up those time windows,
you get a little bit more flexibility around those, you’ll actually get much better utilisation
of your fleet. Of course there’s lots of other things you can do, you can plan the routes
better in more ways, but that is the number one thing, it’s the delivery time windows.
So have a look at your delivery operations, have a look at how flexible your delivery
time windows are. Now, if you’d like to learn more about this, this is actually going to
be a topic at a full day workshop that we’ve got coming up in February, that’s going to
be in Sydney and Melbourne so if you’re not in Australia, sorry about that. But you might
want to go and check out the event. It’s actually called a very simple name, it’s called 59
Things. Just look for 59things.com and you’ll find the event. And this is going to be one
of the things that we’re going to talk about and funny enough, there’s going to be 58 other
things that we’re going to talk about. So check that out if you’re in Australia. But
number one thing to remember, time windows. That has the biggest impact on your fleet
utilisation.

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