Shared Fleet Model
Most oil and gas companies run delivery operations through a dedicated in-house fleet, through a service provided by one or more haulers, or through a combination of these two. The fleet is limited to movement between depots and customer sites of a single company. This restriction sub-optimizes fleet utilization and results in a high cost of delivered product per mile.
Using a shared fleet model allows more efficient movement. With multiple companies sharing one fleet, more depots and customer sites are considered during the scheduling process, which offers better routing opportunities between different locations and leads to a lower cost per mile. The shared fleet model offers another (and unique) opportunity: Vehicles can be used to back-haul,3 making their time on the road more productive.
The benefits of the shared fleet model contribute greatly to higher product volume per mile and better customer service by reducing the risks of stock outs. Similarly, operating a shared fleet minimizes negative impacts from demand forecast inaccuracies.
Dynamic Scheduling and Routing
At present, it is not uncommon for the routing process to be
1) manual or semi-automatic and
2) spread across various systems and interfaces.
Often, the individuals who handle in-day changes are the same ones who plan future shifts, making the operation heavily dependent on the special skills and knowledge of a few.
Unlike current solutions, dynamic scheduling automates the entire process. The planning process begins with automatic order generation based on both VMI and non-VMI sales orders. The delivered quantities for each order are optimized based on current, max and dry stock levels, average sales and daily sales structure.This reduces time/money losses as well as the health and safety issues associated with compartment switching.
Orders are automatically assigned to specific vehicles and optimized routes are generated for each of the shifts. The system accounts for various business objectives and constraints such as shift times, customer site opening hours, service level agreements, and truck compartment volume. The planning phase ends with shift schedule and load data dispatched to drivers’ mobile devices.
Once drivers are on the road, GPS technology allows the central operation to monitor trucks in real time from an onscreen dashboard. This allows faster and more efficient handling of scheduling exceptions as well as the ability to re-route trucks to fulfill ad hoc orders or react to unplanned events such as road closures and order cancellations. On-board equipment enables information such as harsh breaks, seat belt fastening, and geo-fencing to be captured by the central operation in real time, allowing corrective to be taken in a timely manner.
The final step of the process takes place when a driver transmits delivery confirmation and reconciliation data in real time. Capture of this data in the product-to-market system makes the invoicing process smoother, faster, and less exposed to human errors. The precision of dynamic routing also affects the demand forecasting process, improving strategic decision making based on accurate, real time operational information.