Distribution Software & Logistics Planning Systems

Distribution Planning Software

MJC²'s distribution planning & logistics optimization software DISC (DIstribution SCheduling) is designed for scheduling and optimizing large, complex logistics operations:

  • trunks - linehauls - consolidation - crossdocks - transhipments
  • radial deliveries - multidrops - delivery slot planning
  • backhauls/backloads - drivers hours - tramping
  • warehouse/yard planning - reverse logistics - intermodal
  • sortation - assembly - LTL consolidation - load building
  • capacity planning - fleet profiling - demand planning

Our customers tell us DISC is the fastest distribution software solution on the market and it is the only system that can cope with very large logistics management and transportation planning problems. DISC provides an integrated logistics optimization environment, covering all aspects of the distribution operation.

Multi-Depot Logistics Software

Transport Logistics Planning

MJC²'s transport software can schedule the whole multidepot logistics operation: primary distribution including collections from suppliers and inter-depot trunking and consolidation; secondary distribution from distribution centres to retail outlets, customers or branches; reverse logistics of waste, equipment & customer returns; and backhauls and backloading from third party sites to maximise fleet utilisation and minimise costs.

DISC provides powerful lean transport optimization tools for solving complex operational and strategic distribution planning problems. Typical applications include:

  • Delivery Planning
  • Vehicle Optimization
  • Haulier Planning
  • Home Delivery Scheduling
  • Bulk Haulage Planning
  • Parcel Delivery Networks
  • Road Haulage Scheduling
  • Retail Distribution
  • Freight Optimization

DISC is particularly applicable to operations which handle short shelf life products and fast moving goods in a highly dynamic market, where rapid response to changing orders while meeting tight delivery windows is vital.

 

Delivery Software

MJC²'s delivery software tools optimize allocation of work to drivers and vehicles to maximise productivity and resource utilisation. The delivery route planning system takes account of constraints such as time windows, lorry type and capacity, driver hours, access restrictions, load compatibility and temperature control.

Delivery Planning

The multi drop route planner optimizes each vehicle delivery schedule to minimise distance travelled and hours worked while fulfilling customer orders. DISC includes powerful user-friendly graphical tools which display multi-drop routes in maps and barcharts.

DISC can also schedule collection operations or integrated delivery/collection routes to maximise vehicle utilisation while minimising empty running.

Flexible Vehicle & Driver Planning

DISC's route planning tools have the flexibility to plan vehicles and drivers for a wide range of delivery/collection operations: home delivery, distribution to retail stores, bulk delivery/collection, parcel delivery, food & beverage distribution, palletised logistics, waste/refuse collection, etc.

 

Integrated Distribution Logistics Optimization

Transport Logistics Planning

DISC optimizes transport and warehouse activity schedules to create integrated logistics solutions. This ensures that all aspects of the distribution logistics operation are planned in a coordinated way, maximising efficiency and helping businesses move away from a "silo-based" planning approach. Vehicles, drivers, trailers, shunters, loaders, warehouse operatives, docks, bays, lanes, etc. are all included in the distribution schedule if required.

To achieve this, all transport and warehouse variables and constraints are modelled, including:

  • Volumes & Orders:
  • forecast or actual by customer, delivery point, product or product type
  • Transport constraints:
  • vehicle type & size, compartment size, temperature control, bulk/packed, compatibility
  • Delivery routing constraints:
  • time windows, vehicle docking constraints, priority deliveries, multidrop sequencing rules
  • Vehicle tracking:
  • GPS, in-cab, real-time rescheduling in response to delays
  • Production/manufacturing:
  • stock availability, repositioning requirements, shelf-life constraints
  • Warehousing constraints:
  • loading/picking capacity, docking constraints, floor space, holding vessel capacity
  • Consolidation:
  • cross-docking, transhipments, groupage, trunking, hub-and-spoke
  • Resource constraints:
  • trailers, tankers, tractors, drivers, shunters, cranes, loading/unloading bays, etc.

Warehouse Load Planning

Taking this information into account, and following other rules and constraints as required, the logistics scheduling system produces an integrated distribution and load plan which covers:

  • Loading, laneing and bay allocation for each warehouse or delivery point
  • Warehouse employee schedules and assembly/picking and truck loading sheets
  • Shunting movements and docking schedules
  • Vehicle schedule for trailers and tractors (with load contents)
  • Driver schedule and employee shift start times.

Different degradation rules are used at different levels of the plan. For example in long-term mode the strategic planning system might advise on the need for new docking bays for a given branch, warehouse or plant, while in short-term mode it might only be able to request agency drivers for a given day. In realtime vehicle scheduling mode it might only be allowed to indicate delays expected due to a shortfall in warehouse capacity or available vehicles at a given time.

 

Driver Scheduling & Vehicle Plan Optimization

The DISC logistics system includes powerful driver planning tools for real-time scheduling of drivers and strategic optimization of rosters and shift patterns. All transport schedules take account of constraints such as working hours directives, contractual rules, preferred start times, driver skills/training, etc.

Complex operations such as changeovers, night-aways, tramping, driver swaps, etc. are modelled. Integration of our vehicle scheduling software with our roster creation tools enables forward planning of driver rotas based on anticipated demand and required working patterns. The transport scheduling software plans vehicle utilisation and includes configurable rules to optimize the use of own resources or 3PL (third party logistics) drivers and trucks.

DISC can be run constrained by resources, unconstrained or partly constrained (e.g. adding agency drivers and spot hire vehicles when necessary). As a result the transportation management system advises on shortfalls and resulting degradations to the optimal plan and allows the user to add or change resources if appropriate.

Load Plan Software

Warehouse Load Planning

Our distribution systems include sophisticated load planning software which can automatically optimize the load building process. The load planner automatically determines each pallet load and vehicle allocation, taking into account factors such as product compatibility, temperature control, stacking/packing constraints, weight balancing, load scheduling rules, dispatch unit sizes, preferred loading sequence, drop-trailer operations, etc.

We can also integrate our load scheduler program with customised or bespoke load building modules if required. This ensures that load optimization is part of the overall planning and delivery process so that resulting transport and warehouse schedules are feasible in terms of vehicle loading constraints. The load plans include manifests and job sheets, and the load optimizer can export schedules to warehouse or transportation management solutions as required.

 

Strategic Logistics System

The DISC transportation software can be used by distribution services and logistics managers to examine `What if' scenarios for strategic planning, or in operational mode by planners. In `What if' mode the user can simulate future operations (e.g. Christmas plans) and can derive contingency plans for anticipated peak periods. The transportation management software can also be used, for example, when analysing the need to create additional warehouse space or to modify the fleet profile by acquiring different vehicle types. The `What if' mode is also an ideal tool for third party logistics companies looking to expand their business.

DISC's transportation & logistics management solutions allow users to answer questions like:

  • What if my fleet size was reduced by 10%?
  • What if I used a third party logistics provider?
  • What if my employee/workforce costs change?
  • What if the transport schedule could change daily?
  • What if the WTD rules change? How will I optimize distribution logistics accordingly?
  • What if I centralise transportation logistics planning?

User-friendly transport planning windows show graphical representations of the distribution plan while the scheduling engine allows optimization of complicated logistics management problems. The scheduler is driven by a user-friendly graphical interface and integrates easily with existing supply chain execution systems. All reports, which can be both graphical and tabular, can be designed or customised to meet the particular business needs of the user.

 

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