Tight delivery time slots, pedestrian areas, limited parking spaces for trucks – as a food wholesaler, Lautertal C+C GmbH & Co. KG has to overcome all of the constraints of inner-city deliveries, while at the same time meeting the needs of customers in rural areas.
From kiosks to catering, canteens and commercial kitchens, all business partners must be reliably supplied with food on a daily basis at the desired pace and times. And with 10,000 customers requiring deliveries, this is no easy task. Because for every customer, the following questions have to be considered: who can be supplied with which of the 11 vehicles? Which customers require drivers with specific qualifications? What are the access requirements and delivery time slots?
Moreover, before professional route planning was introduced, there were considerable discrepancies in driver utilisation at Lautertal. While some were on the road for 12 hours, others were back at the depot after half a day. Only precombined routes were possible with the planning previously in place – which was carried out using a map and pen. “Route planning was chaotic,” recalls Markus Neiheisel, Fleet Manager at Lautertal C+C. “Particularly when it came to ‘urban logistics’. We were therefore looking for a tool that would create order. Our requirements were that it would create professional routes, find and offset free capacities, while taking into account the legislation relating to the driving personnel regulation, driving times and rest periods, break regulation and the Working Hours Act.”
Making work fun
The search for such a tool came to an end with the introduction of PTV Smartour. After easy integration into Lautertal’s IT landscape and with the initial investment amortised after just over a year, “the software from the PTV Group in Karlsruhe more than met our requirements,” said Neiheisel. Not just because planning with PTV Smartour is fun, flexible and intuitive for users, but because it has many logistical, economic and social advantages: this means that the subsidiary of Wasgau AG now benefits from optimised routes and truck utilisation, has reduced social violations in relation to the Working Hours Act and driving personnel regulation by more than 50%, and can apply the level of individual drivers’ qualifications to specific customers. “The plans that PTV Smartour generates are extremely precise. Trip duration and route are always transparent, even in problematic inner-city areas.”
Unlike before, Lautertal no longer delivers to pedestrian areas using small trucks or vans. Instead, they use the 18-tonne trucks to supply their inner-city customers – in line with regulations, before 11am. For long distances, on the other hand, the company now uses 12-tonne trucks, vans or panel trucks. A worthwhile exchange: gone are the days of large trucks travelling enormous distances only half-full. And whenever a complete daytime delivery can be made with one vehicle less, this means that a truck can stay in the depot and the driver gets flexible holidays. By the same token, if a driver is absent due to illness, new plans can be made quickly based on the personnel available, and the customer is immediately informed of any possible delays.
“I cannot imagine anything better than PTV Smartour. It makes our work so much easier and optimises routes and truck capacity. What’s more, the route planning software takes into account all of the provisions of the Working Hours Act and driving personnel regulation. Anyone with a fleet should use this software.”
Markus Neiheisel, Lautertal C+C GmbH & Co. KG
“Another plus point is that for every route we can see on which day and at which time additional deliveries will be possible,” explains Markus Neiheisel. For the fleet manager, a further advantage is that PTV Smartour can be linked to the telematics system TomTom. The drivers give feedback when they arrive at the customer’s site and when they leave. “We used to have to phone the drivers afterwards or phone the customer and ask. There was no GPS positioning, and everything was planned freely. Now we are always up to date and can act flexibly.” If, for example, a driver is back earlier than planned, a delivery can be brought forward spontaneously – after consulting the customer, of course – from the following morning to the afternoon of that day. In addition to the improvements, which have already been made, Lautertal is planning to introduce mobile returns handling, which will also be linked to PTV Smartour thanks to the integration with TomTom.
Making new customers from prospects
Lautertal C+C also uses PTV Smartour for processing new enquiries. The food wholesaler budgets these along with the desired delivery days and time slots together with existing customers in PTV Smartour. The food wholesaler shares the result, i.e. what can be delivered from that point on and when, directly with the institutions or contractors making the enquiry. The success of the system is clear to see, says Markus Neiheisel: “We have always been able to find common ground and make prospective customers into new ones.”
Efficient fleet, perfectly planned inner-city routes including all restrictions, reduced working hours, satisfied customers, outstanding communication and therefore reduced stress – and not least considerably simplified planning: this sums up the experience of working with PTV Smartour for Markus Neiheisel and his colleagues. “Now we are one step ahead of our customers, whereas before we were trying to keep up with them. I have already recommended PTV Smartour to many colleagues in many different sectors. And I will continue to do so.”
This post is also available in: German