The collaborative, supply chain-wide optimisation efforts of TNT Express, Ortec and Tilburg University have been officially recognised by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). TNT Express has been shortlisted as a finalist at the 2012 Franz Edelman Award for its successful application of Operations Research in supply chain optimisation. The use of Operations Research (applied mathematics for decision making) to analyse and enhance its transportation networks has allowed TNT Express to save costs, improve service to customers and develop managers' skills on a global scale.
The three parties, who have been working together for more than 6 years on a number of optimisation projects at TNT Express, are delighted at their nomination as a finalist in the annual Franz Edelman competition. Commenting on this achievement, John Poppelaars, Director of the Ortec Consulting Group, states: "We take great pride in this nomination because the award is seen as the most prestigious and coveted prize in the world of Operations Research. It is the second time Ortec and one of its customers are nominated for this prestigious award, as in 2007 Coca-Cola Enterprises and Ortec were nominated for the results of their combined Operations Research activities. So we are especially proud of this achievement."
The Edelman competition application is based on the significant OR achievements realised in the Global Optimisation program or "GO" by TNT Express over the past few years. John Poppelaars describes the success: "The extensive OR work undertaken at TNT Express has delivered outstanding results, particularly in the area of cost savings. Moreover, decision-making quality is vastly improved due to the use of advanced planning and optimisation solutions. But perhaps most importantly, TNT Express has created a learning environment in which their employees can share experiences and learn about the application of OR in the workplace. Operations Research has become part of the company's DNA."
200 Optimisation projects
In 2005, TNT Express began using mathematical techniques, together with Ortec, to optimise its domestic line haul network in Italy. Operations Research now constantly supports TNT Express decision making on all aspects of its operations, including site location, truck routing and scheduling, fleet management and staff scheduling. TNT Express, supported by Ortec's modeling capabilities and solutions, carried out numerous optimisation projects which resulted in saving 60 million kilometers of mileage and 54 million kg of CO2 emissions by optimising its domestic networks in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and China alone.
Next to adopting OR tools, TNT Express has teamed up with the Tilburg University/TiasNimbas Business School (Netherlands) to create a two-year management development programme in transportation network optimisation. Called the GO Academy, the training has been delivered to more than 150 managers from TNT since 2008. Also Ortec contributes its experience to this GO Academy.
Every year, the Franz Edelman competition recognises outstanding examples of Operations Research-based projects that transform companies, entire industries, and people's lives. Operations research uses advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions and is a disciplined way by which management can improve organisational performance in a wide variety of situations and in nearly every type of public and private organisation. John Poppelaars adds: "We are extremely encouraged by the fact that TNT Express' senior management is a strong supporter of the GO programme. We are also very proud of the Ortec team that put in the long hours to enable TNT Express to realize these savings. Introducing optimisation to TNT has been, and will continue to be an intensive process with many challenges. We all agree that the current level of cost savings is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential future opportunities."
TNT Express will defend its application in front of a large audience and critical judging panel at the annual INFORMS conference, which this year takes place in Huntington Beach, California, USA on 16 April 2012.