PDM Group provides a unique ‘one-stop shop’ collection and recycling service for all waste food products. PDM turned to Optrak for vehicle routing software and a tracking & ticketing system. The project has delivered a six figure cost saving, and enabled PDM to raise customer service levels whilst dramatically reducing paperwork.
Complex collections using fixed routes PDM operates fixed routes for its fleet of 65 vehicles spread across 5 depots and outbases and investigated the latest vehicle routing solutions. Michael Pallant. Group Transport Manager explains, “We wanted to work with a single company that could integrate vehicle routing with tracking and handheld technology for signature capture, and that really understood the waste industry. Optrak’s sophisticated and flexible vehicle routing software combined with its capabilities for tracking and reporting rose to every challenge. We saw the impact from day one, by operating more efficiently and minimising the number of vehicles that we use, Optrak has delivered significant savings in excess of £100,000.”
Designing efficient fixed routes with Optrak
PDM used Optrak to analyse its customer base and to design a new set of fixed routes. Optrak caters for the complex tipping arrangements where certain collections are not brought back to a depot, but tipped off elsewhere. Other constraints that Optrak takes into account include:
• Depot locations and outbases
• Customer locations and time windows
• Type of collection – bins or bags
• Average order weight and volume
• Collection frequency
• Available vehicle and driver resources
Automated real-time control
The customer sites and collections along with the fixed trips are stored in Optrak Realisation, a powerful add-on to the Optrak’s routing software, that incorporates real-time tracking, reporting, telematics and business intelligence. Any ad hoc or urgent collections can be incorporated into the fixed trips at the local depot prior to the vehicles leaving.
Every day the drivers sign onto their PDAs, which ‘pull down’ the relevant trip manifest from Optrak, listing the collections that have to be made, the customer locations, opening and closing times and any special instructions.
Once onsite, the driver uses the PDA touch screen to confirm the arrival time. Depending on the type of customer collection, the PDA prompts for the number of bins or bags collected to be entered and the approximate weight is recorded. If a bin wash was requested and completed, these details are recorded as well.
The customer signs the touch screen and the driver prints a customer copy of the ABP Movement Document which confirms the arrival and departure times and the details of that particular collection.
Meeting compliance requirements
The PDA automatically sends a copy of the ABP Movement Document back to Optrak in real-time. From here the documents are emailed to the depot as pdfs and also stored for compliance and regulatory purposes.
“Using Optrak gives us an efficient way of generating the trip manifest for each driver. The automation of signature capture and production of the ABP Movement Documents has eliminated a massive amount of paperwork which in turn frees up time for drivers and customer service staff. Optrak stores all of the ABP Documents so we have a full record for audit and compliance purposes and links back to our billing system,” commented Matthew Hill, Transport Manager, “As the ‘paperwork’ is received in seconds, we have been able to speed up the process of issuing invoices which has the benefit of improving our cash flow.”
Answering tricky what if questions
PDM use Optrak on a regular basis to review whether the routes are still working efficiently and to help analyse customer profitability. “By testing different vehicle combinations, we were able to establish that it was possible to take 4 HGVs out of the fleet and replace them with smaller, more efficient vehicles, without any impact on customer service,” said Hill.
Michael Pallant sums up the ongoing benefits from using Optrak into 3 key areas:
Cost savings: by running a more efficient operation, PDM have minimised the fleet size, and moved to a more effective fleet mix. It has provided a solid foundation to support our future business growth without having to invest in expanding the fleet. The use of smaller vehicles has also enabled us to minimise on-going running costs and our CO2 emissions.
Business agility: PDM can rapidly analyse the impact of new customers and more easily accommodate them into existing routes. Although the business has grown significantly, Optrak has helped us to develop more agility and flexibility in our collection service. Additionally we have greater visibility over the effect that changing the routes has on our cost base.
Elimination of paperwork: Real-time automation of the signature capture and ticket printing process has ensured that we no longer spend time producing manual paperwork either when a delivery is made or back at the depot. As all documents are stored electronically, it is easy for the customer service centre to answer client queries.
Endorsing Optrak for waste or complex collections
Pallant is enthusiastic about Optrak’s routing software and Optrak Realisation, concluding, “The integrated routing software and real-time signature capture from Optrak has never let us down. It gives us full traceability of our collections whilst delivering real savings, improved efficiency and reduced impact on the environment. It has been a very worthwhile project and I would definitely recommend Optrak to other companies in the waste industry or those carrying out complex collections.”
optrak distribution software www.optrak.co.uk