Bakery raw materials, frying oils and fats for the food industry
Wouters, part of the LIPA Family, produces bakery raw materials, oils and fats. As a B2B company they focus on companies at home and abroad. With their own fleet, they supply their high-quality products to a thousand customers in the bakery, catering and food industry. At Wouters, they are proud of their excellent customer service and therefore attach great importance to flexible and punctual deliveries.
A larger company fleet makes planning more complex
Robrecht De Baets, General Manager of Wouters, says that major changes were made in their logistics, which created additional challenges. "It was decided that as of October 2019, the bakery sector will no longer be supplied from regional warehouses, but that the products will be centralized and delivered from one central warehouse in Lokeren. Instead of just a few vans per warehouse, we now have a single, bigger fleet in Lokeren."
In the past, the route planning of deliveries was done per warehouse. So the number of routes per planning was still rather limited and there was no need for advanced route planning software. Even though they started to see the added value back then. "At that time we had a limited number of trucks delivering from the central warehouse and vans per local warehouse, which allowed us to maintain the overview in Microsoft Excel. Using Google Maps, we visualized the drops on a map and manually planned the stops in the right order on a route. Even then, we already had the feeling that we could do it more efficiently with specialized software."
Since everything is centralized in Lokeren, the management and planning is in the hands of a logistics planner who looks for the most efficient solution tailored to the customer's needs. "The fleet was considerably expanded and we had more routes with a higher number of smaller drops. As a result, route planning became a lot more complex. Google Maps was soon no longer sufficient."
In order not to lose hours planning inefficient routes, Wouters switched to advanced route planning software.
“Movetex customizes the software. It adapts parameters and the optimization algorithm according to our planning needs. That was the deciding factor for us.”
- Robrecht De Baets, General Manager, Wouters
Advanced route planning software, tailored to Wouters' needs
"We explored the market and Movetex created a Proof of Concept for us with our data", says Robrecht. "We felt that the Movetex team was more willing to think along with us and they can better set up the optimization algorithm to meet our specific planning needs. That was the deciding factor for us to choose Movetex."
A business consultant from Movetex analysed the planning and customised the software for the company. Parameters were set for various vehicle types and drivers, such as the maximum loading capacity, expressed in kilograms and number of pallets, and the maximum working hours.
Objectives set by the algorithm can also be adjusted. For example, feedback from the logistics planner showed that the working hours of the drivers were too different when planning with the fewest kilometers. The business consultant then set up the algorithm so that it now calculates the most optimal routes, provided that the workload is evenly distributed for the drivers.
Robrecht is positive about the support provided by Movetex. "The support of Movetex was surprisingly proactive during the setup and still is today." After the setup, Wouters was ready to use the software operationally.
“We feel that the Movetex team always wants to think along and is always available. Their support is surprisingly proactive.”
- Robrecht De Baets, General Manager, Wouters
Saving planning time and fuel through automated scheduling
Robrecht explains the added value of the planning software for Wouters. "We have fixed hours per customer between which we can deliver. Also, certain drops may only be made with one of our refrigerated vehicles. Movetex takes all individual parameters into account and calculates one or more optimal routes per vehicle. We get a clear route schedule and save a lot of time and fuel."
The orders to be delivered the next day are imported from Microsoft Excel to Movetex together with the addresses and associated information such as time windows. But the General Manager is already thinking about further automation. "In the near future, we want to link Movetex's API with our ERP system. This way, we will no longer need Excel files and we will be able to work even more efficiently."