Drax optimises UK's renewable fuel supply with Quintiq

Quintiq, a Dassault Systèmes company and provider of supply chain planning and optimisation (SCP&O), has improved planning processes at Drax, the producer of renewable power in the UK.

Delivered on time and within budget, Quintiq's planning and optimisation solution now enables Drax to plan and optimise its entire supply chain through a single, integrated system.

"We're extremely happy with the results," said Graham Backhouse, Head of Supply Chain & Logistics at Drax. "The project went very smoothly. Quintiq's deep understanding of our planning challenges resulted in a transparent and collaborative implementation process. At every step of the way, they offered concrete proof of their system's ability to improve our supply chain, make us more cost-efficient and maximise our bottom line."

Prior to Quintiq, Drax handled the transportation and storage of 7.5 million tons of biomass annually through spreadsheets. Though capable, this planning method was unable to support Drax's business goals as it sought to diversify and grow its operations. Drax required a solution that would not only handle its current supply chain puzzle, but also have the flexibility to scale up as the company grew in both scope and complexity.

Together with global supply chain consultancy Crimson & Co, Drax searched for a solution that would facilitate the cost-effective purchase, storage and management of the biomass and coal needed for the operation of its power station. A stringent selection exercise was conducted encompassing case studies, reviews of live supply chain planning solutions, site visits and data analysis and scenario testing to compare systems and solution providers.

The intense selection process yielded one name: Quintiq. Within three months of inking the deal in January 2016, Quintiq had developed a prototype that showcased a 95% working system for ports. After a smooth implementation process, the full solution went live in September 2016.

"Quintiq presented us with a 100%-fit solution that fulfills all our requirements." said Owen Tucker, project lead at Drax. "It is flexible and extremely configurable. This flexibility is especially important as it allows us to accurately model all rules, cost structures and constraints. We can now obtain a workable solution in mere hours, instead of days. The implementation was really smooth with strong communication and cooperation. It has been an eye-opening experience for all of us at Drax. Many of lessons we learned during the implementation process are now being used internally on other projects."

Planners at Drax can now schedule the movements of marine and inland logistics, monitor fuel and stock demand, handle spot buys and spot sells, and monitor for potential outages through Quintiq. The intuitive and user-friendly interface allows all KPIs to be displayed on one screen. The system can also generate and perform what-if analysis on alternative scenarios in real time.

Having an accurate view of cost structures and constraints also allows Drax to have full visibility of the financial implications related to each planning decision. "We can now accurately assess the importance of all constraints at all times, along with the impact of each constraint," added Owen. "This allows us to focus on meeting the hard constraints and choosing which soft constraints we can override if makes better financial sense. We can confidently balance cost with risk to find the optimal solution for our bottom line."

"This partnership with Drax is testament to the power and flexibility of the Quintiq solution," said Francois Eijgelshoven, General Manager EMEA-Russia at Quintiq. "Quintiq has helped change Drax's operational reality and give them immediate benefits that will only expand as time goes on. Quintiq will enable Drax to achieve its vision of becoming a world leader in sourcing and providing sustainable and renewable power."

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