Water dispensers and bottled water are becoming more and more popular in Spain. With more than 110,000 corporate customers and more than one million private customers, Aquaservice is a leading supplier in Spain. Its nationwide distribution system for water dispensers and water bottles includes a fleet of approximately 150 vehicles that supply up to 50 customers per day – a logistical challenge that is impossible without good planning.
The delivery service works on a simple principle: a customer automatically receives a fresh supply after a certain time or he reorders online. But no one wants to wait long for water, making it accordingly important to service orders quickly – a logistical challenge for the dispatchers. They need to feed short-term orders smoothly and quickly into planned routes to ensure optimum service and at the same time keep an eye on costs.
Esri Spain and its partner Eptisa developed an end-to-end approach for Aquaservice to achieve these goals. ArcGIS and the network analyst technology have been integrated into the existing ERP system. The stored delivery orders are supplemented by geodata from the customer database and the Esri solution then calculates the optimal sequence of the approximately 7,500 daily destinations and the best route for each of the 150 vehicles. This data is transmitted to the mobile order management systems of the driver. With these rugged handheld scanners they register the deliveries, but the navigation during the trip was based on the experience of the driver. If separate standalone navigation systems were used, the drivers had to manually enter the destination. This lack of flexibility affected customer service.
Everything on one device
The solution was obvious: advanced navigation had to be connected to the order management system. Now the data is integrated in the handheld device with the B2B MapTrip GPS navigation software of the infoware navigation specialists. Full integration means that all relevant data is automatically transmitted to the navigation function on the mobile device. The system was rolled out in January 2015.
The company soon saw the benefits. First, route optimisation has led to reduced travel times. That alone decreased fuel consumption and traffic load, because the GPS navigation helps to avoid detours. The stopping points are transmitted directly to the navigation system, eliminating manual entry. Even last-minute changes can be transmitted immediately and the driver can also find new destinations outside of his standard route quickly, allowing for much more flexible planning of routes.
Less manual input means less time wasted, fewer errors and so greater efficiency. The benefit to the customer is that calculated arrival times are more accurately kept, the service becomes more reliable and the back office knows the current status at all times.
It is also advantageous to the drivers on their daily routes. They can simply enter the prompt “next route” in their familiar order management system as soon as an order has been delivered. The order management system then automatically switches to a navigation screen – in a look and feel and with all the features that are known from privately used navigation systems, only a bit fancier and, in particular, very functional. Once the next destination has been reached, the device automatically switches back to the order management screen.
The advantage of close integration
The main difference with a standalone navigation system lies in the deep integration. For the driver, the navigation system is an additional function within the same system, without interruptions or manual interaction. He uses his familiar interface and needs only one device on which he also gets the latest traffic information and route recommendations. However, it provides business-critical functions such as data exchange in real time with the back office. Dispatchers and service have uninterrupted insight in the current situation and can react quickly if necessary.
This has made navigation the icing on the cake of logistics at Aquaservice.
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