With the release of new enhancements for Ortec Transport and Distribution (Ortec TD), Ortec is once again demonstrating its commitment to keeping pace with the latest industry trends and requirements. The new enhancements will extend the Ortec solution with several usability improvements and a wealth of new functionality, particularly in the area of real-time traffic updates. Daniel Dam, Product Manager at Ortec, comments: "Our product roadmap is continually evolving to take into account technological developments and specific industry requirements. But more importantly, we aim to deliver user-centric enhancements that our customers can get really excited about."
Real-time insight into congested routes
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited development is the real-time traffic congestion module that will assist companies in dealing with travel delays. Planners now have access to an informative, color-coded, map layer, which overlays the existing Ortec TD map client and provides real-time insight into congested routes. The real-time traffic data, supplied by partners such as Navteq, can help companies to avoid congestion and calculate more accurate estimated times of arrival. Planners can then use the more realistic ETAs to reorder route and drop sequences if required. Logistics service providers stand to particularly benefit from this new module because it will support them to increase customer service and therefore maintain a competitive advantage.
Assigning resources with maximum flexibility
According to Daniel Dam, "The traditional role of the planner is changing as more and more logistics companies opt to split the resource assignment and route optimization responsibilities. This means that the resource planning function is often a separate role. At Ortec, we're really focused on adapting to changing industry trends such as these and that's why our latest enhancementshave introduced new, more flexible resource assignment functionality." Once the planner has constructed efficient routes, using the software's manual or automatic planning tools, it is now possible to ask the system to optimally allocate each route to the available resources (e.g. drivers, trucks, trailers). This assists the planner in tackling resource availability issues and increases resource utilisation efficiency, taking into account driving hours regulations, depot turnaround times etc.
Interactive reporting & analytics dashboard
The most recent Ortec TD enhancements have delivered significant visual developments in the area of data sheet and KPI reporting. As a result, users now have access to several real-time, interactive, operational reports that will benefit planners and management alike. KPIs and target variables can be defined in the system in order to compare plans against specific benchmarks such as average load per trailer, or average transportation cost per unit loaded etc. A key benefit of these new reports is the ability to interact with the data. Users can drill-down via hyperlinks, and if required, the data can be exported. Furthermore, as the reporting module is based on Microsoft SQL Server reporting services, users will have the flexibility to create their own business-specific reports. These reports can also be viewed on ,mobile devices and tablets without the user having to open the Ortec TD application. Alternatively, the reports can be automatically scheduled or directly emailed to the target audience from within the Ortec TD GUI.
Users are also able to benefit from a new analytics dashboard designed to support planners and dispatchers in meeting management performance goals, i.e. average number of stops or revenue per route, etc. A number of graphical display formats can be set by the user at route level, i.e. gauges, histograms, etc. These can also indicate target values, which provide the planner with real-time feedback about whether the quality of the plan is below or above target. Speaking about planned developments, Daniel Dam adds: "For the future, visibility and reporting will be central to our solution roadmap, including further Business Intelligence (BI) reporting based on history and trends."
GUI enhancements for optimised user interaction
Besides the aforementioned functional developments, Ortec TD also features a number of GUI enhancements. For example, data visibility has been increased as a result of new customizable options to optimally display, sort and analyse all types of planning data. In addition, screen colours have been altered and the use of grey color significantly reduced. This makes data more visually appealing. The screen space has also been optimised in order to display data more effectively, and users can now configure columns to graphically display any of the values in a grid cell. As a result of this enhanced usability and intuitiveness, planners and dispatchers stand to benefit from increased decision-making support in their daily job. Speaking about these improvements, Daniel Dam comments: "Our aim is to deliver an interactive system that is both visually compelling and easy to navigate. We are sure we succeeded on both levels."