Reinert Logistic equipped to optimise route planning for Lafarge, with the help of Ortec

When European logistics service provider, Reinert Logistic GmbH & Co. KG, was tasked with initiating a transport optimisation programme for its client, Lafarge Gypsum (part of the global Lafarge Group), the LSP looked to Ortec to supply and implement the optimal solution. As one of the largest providers of advanced planning and optimisation solutions, Ortec was ideally placed to handle the high expectations and diverse planning requirements of both companies, while its five step implementation methodology would ensure that the project was executed smoothly and with maximum transparency.

Efficiency gains and cost savings
Reinert Logistic selected Ortec's advanced vehicle routing and dispatch solution, Ortec Transport and Distribution (Ortec TD), because of the software's ability to increase vehicle loading efficiency and determine optimal delivery sequences. Planners can use the system to automatically assign incoming transport orders to routes and then re-optimize them in real-time where necessary. Speaking about the project and the initial results, Reinert Logistic's Distribution Manager, Ms. Kozik, states: "The implementation was a great success and only a couple of months after go-live we're already able to see benefits such as increased planning transparency, efficiency gains and cost savings."

Constraint-based planning
During the initial stage of the project, Reinert Logistic stipulated a number of specific requirements that had to be met by Ortec TD. Of particular importance was the ability to interface with the company's existing ERP system, JD Edwards Enterprise One. There was also a requirement to feed back information to Lafarge's customer service team regarding the status of the goods to be delivered, e.g. unassigned, loaded, unloaded etc. Moreover, the new software had to be able to successfully take into account various planning constraints, i.e. maximum load capacity, available cargo space, loading location and load time, priority orders, and preferred delivery methods. And finally, it was important to ensure that the system could handle additional route optimisation requests in order to incorporate indirect customer orders at a later stage.

After successfully demonstrating the necessary capabilities, the project at Reinert Logistics was initiated. According to Ms. Kozik, "The implementation went smoothly because Ortec's structured implementation methodology made it easy for all parties to see the way that the project components hung together. From the outset, Ortec sought to bring clarity and transparency to the fore, and to combine our requirements with those of Lafarge." Christian Rawald, the Ortec Project Manager responsible for the implementation at Reinert Logistic adds: "There was great transparency between all of project processes and effective communication between all parties involved."

Since go-live, the route planning and optimization process at Reinert Logistic has been following a set pattern. First, Lafarge's transport orders are manually checked by Reinert Logistic. Then, when the goods are in the loading area and ready to be dispatched, Ortec TD is used to categorise them according to vehicle type. With Ortec TD, multiple orders can be assigned to a single route; any additional deliveries can be registered using the route number for the deliveries already planned. This data processing is done automatically. As soon as Ortec TD has completed the route planning calculations, the data is exported back to the JD Edwards ERP system. Thanks to this integration, JD Edwards can evaluate the loads for all planned routes in order to determine if any loading capacity is not fully utilized. The loading data is then transmitted back to Ortec TD, and the loads are automatically assigned to these routes.

Ortec offers its client a structured implementation approach, which is split up into 5 key phases. During the Reinert Logistic project the stages were as follows: phase 1 focused on identifying the project objectives and system deliverables; phase 2 consisted of creating a functioning prototype that could be evaluated to assess its suitability to meet a wide range of specific customer requirements; phase 3 was concerned with system configuration and testing; in the fourth phase Ortec created a simulation model based on the working operations at Reinert Logistic - this model was tested, approved for release, and users from the central order processing department received in-depth training on how to use the system; the final phase consisted of the go-live and post-implementation support.

Speaking about the future, Christian Rawald concludes: "Thanks to effective cooperation, the planners and logistics managers at Reinert Logistic are able to be benefit greatly from this implementation. And based on the success of this project, it may not be long before the transport planning of some of Reinert Logistics' other customers is being optimized with Ortec Transport and Distribution."

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