How to supply 300 food retailers in just one night

Food wholesaler Okle managed to dispense one entire truck thanks to route planning with PTV Smatour.

Around 300 independent food retailers await the arrival of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and sausage products, dairy products and frozen foods from Okle every night. The German wholesaler supplies almost 300 partners with regional products and strives to develop customer relationships that are based on trust. This means 100% delivery reliability – usually between 10pm and 9am. This is not always easy, as driving in inner-city areas is only permitted within certain time slots, and because Okle customers – from farm shops to city supermarkets – receive deliveries anywhere from every day to once a week, with each day involving different routes.


Demanding more: high standards

As a modern company, Okle stopped working with maps, pens and precombined trips irrespective of order quantities decades ago. However, even the planning software in use up until one year ago, which already allowed detailed trips, could no longer fully meet the demands of Okle’s distribution centre. For example, Okle wanted it to be possible for restrictions such as delivery times to be precisely defined and for individual customer data records to be updated separately so that not all customer data records would have to be reimported every time. Okle also wanted the option of making changes to an already completed plan. And all of this quickly, cost-effectively and with optimum fleet utilisation. With the aim of optimising route planning, Okle turned to their long-standing partner, the PTV Group, and have been using PTV Smartour ever since – which meets all of these requirements.

“PTV Smartour impresses in every respect. It is user-friendly and allows us to plan our routes very quickly and cost-effectively. Delivery times are precise and customer data is always up to date. We save on average two complete trips per day and were able to dispense with one truck entirely.”
Raimund Müller, Warehouse & Logistics Manager at Okle GmbH’s distribution centre

The benefits of planning more successfully

PTV Smartour brought Okle even more benefits than they had initially wanted. “We now always have up-to-date maps,” says Müller, “as well as an extremely fast calculation algorithm and outstanding user-friendliness. Each of our four dispatchers can now also plan from their own workstations. Our rigid trucks and those with trailers are operating at increased capacity, and individually according to order volumes. This is also true of our logistics partners’ trucks.”

Another benefit for Müller is the quick and convenient input of data sets, from customer data to order data. What previously required up to ten steps can now be carried out in a few seconds: all it takes is one processing request and all orders are assigned in the system. What’s more, individual orders can be added or existing orders removed again – without having to retrieve all customer orders. The parameters for fine-tuning restrictions and time slots can be checked easily and the toll update works exceptionally well. Drivers and vehicles can also be assigned easily. “The entire process, from order to delivery of the goods, has improved enormously,” says Müller. “We can now optimally calculate routes and plan very quickly and above all, cost-effectively; this is where I see the greatest efficiency.” In concrete terms, this means that Okle is saving two trips every day thanks to PTV Smartour and was able to dispense with one truck entirely. And what previously required two to three hours’ planning can now be completed in one hour.

Okle plans the routes centrally at the company’s headquarters, both for its own trucks and for partner trucks. Since the cargo must be chilled across the entire supply chain, the trucks are fitted with refrigeration equipment or insulated containers. The company supplies markets in Baden-Wuerttemberg, customers in the Allgaeu region, Lake Constance and neighbouring countries.

“Everything worked immediately”

As Okle already used another PTV solution, the technical upgrade to PTV Smartour took just under a week. The existing restrictions and data could be transferred directly from the previous programme. “Ultimately all we had to do was install the programme and carry out a few test runs – and everything worked immediately,” says Müller. It took Okle dispatchers just three days to get to grips with PTV Smartour, thanks to the intuitive operability and PTV support. “Planning with PTV Smartour is very enjoyable and fun for users,” says Müller.

Faster deliveries: precommissioning

Okle owes one particular optimisation in the workflow both to PTV Smartour and another PTV customer and Smartour user. This customer presented its procedure during a site visit. The keyword was pre-commissioning. And this is what Okle is now also doing successfully: in the past trips could only be planned once all orders had been received. Now pre-commissioning begins at 8am in the warehouse, based on precombined trips with large capacities. Okle accepts orders until 12pm, and by then 50-60% of all orders have already been pre-commissioned. If all orders are complete by midday, PTV Smartour begins planning them individually – regardless of whether they have already been pre-commissioned or not. PTV Smartour sends the result, i.e. the trips, to Okle’s ultra-modern warehouse management system. Employees can now commission all orders and assign pre-commissioned goods to the calculated trips.

“We are delighted to have the support of such a reliable partner as the PTV Group. A partner who is always at the cutting edge of planning technology and who connects its customers with one another for their mutual benefit. PTV Smartour is the most efficient solution I can think of. I can recommend both the software itself and the PTV Group as a business partner.”

Okle GmbH is a food wholesaler and manufacturer based in Singen am Hohentwiel. As a third generation full-range supplier, Okle serves around 300 independent retailers from Baden-Württemberg, the Allgaeu region and neighbouring countries. Customers have 10,000 products to choose, ranging from fruit and vegetables, dairy products, frozen foods, everyday food items and food-related products, as well as organic and bio products with very high quality standards.

This post is also available in: German