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FTL Bulk allocation & LTL consolidation logistics software

Consolidation and bulk allocation are both specific aspects of logistics software that help you group information together. Whether you are using Truckstops VRS multi-drop multi-depot routing and scheduling software or Truckstops Loads bulk transport software, it can be helpful to group the work.

Bulk allocation considers demands in larger units and allocates the bulk movements from appropriate supply points to the most cost effective demand point.

Consolidation can, for example, group orders for the same delivery vehicle together or ensure a collection and a delivery are on the same vehicle.

Bulk allocation and consolidation techniques will help you:

  • Plan more quickly
  • Avoid making unnecessary repeat visits to the same location
  • Reduce mileage and cut costs
  • Make the best use of your vehicles
  • Drag and drop whole deliveries around the plan, no need to make the same changes to multiple drops
  • See a clearer overview of the whole operation

Logistics software to consolidate orders in LTL route planning

Within Truckstops VRS there is consolidation functionality to help you group LTL calls together on the same vehicle. For example, if you have several orders for the same customer, you can force Truckstops to ensure they are put in the same delivery on the same truck. You may have an order which must first be picked up from another location before it can be delivered. Consolidation will ensure both the pickup and delivery are on the same route.

photo showing plant orders ready for consolidation and delivery to customer

Use Truckstops VRS to consolidate multiple orders to one customer e.g. plant deliveries to retailers

Stop times can also be consolidated. For example, you may have a fixed time associated with a stop to cover parking up and getting signatures. Additionally you could have an unload rate, adding time according to the number of items to be delivered. When using consolidation you can choose to use only the fixed time associated with the first item in the consolidation, but keep the total time calculated from the unload rate per case or per weight measure.

Time windows can also be consolidated. For example you may have a tight time window during which you are allowed to arrive at the supermarket’s DC (distribution centre) and each of your orders has a different time window. When you consolidate the orders, you can choose to only take account of the first time window in the delivery and then stay to deliver all the orders for that DC in one go.

Integrating with other in-house systems sometimes means the information is presented to your routing and scheduling system in an inconvenient format. For example, in the horticulture industry it is common to use a product called Plant Partner together with logistics software. This system holds all orders as individual line items, but delivery from the nursery to the retailer may include hundreds of orders. Consolidation before starting the optimization in your logistics software, groups all the orders to the same customer first, perhaps reducing the number to 80 or so, creating a much smaller amount of data to work with. This also has the advantage of enabling the user to drag and drop whole deliveries between routes as the planner considers different options. Once completed, Truckstops VRS will deconsolidate the deliveries and send individual orders with their original order numbers back into Plant Partner.

Bulk allocation FTL and part load planning software

Photo of lorry illustrating order, time window & unload rate consolidation and bulk allocation logistics software increases efficient use of vehicles

Bulk allocation logistics software increases the efficient use of vehicles

The Truckstops Loads logistics planning software is designed to provide an optimal allocation of goods, located at a given set of supply points, to meet the demands at a set of demand points. It is often used for FTL or part load transportation of bulk goods such as grain, milk or cement. It uses the concept of large units, made up of a given number of small units. For example, you could set up the large units to be 28,000 small units (litres) in one large unit (barrel), and these are modifiable by the user. Throughout the software, volumes and units are listed as multiples of the user configured large units.

Bulk allocator enables you to set rules such as “don’t plan a delivery from this supply point to that demand point unless the volume is greater than X”. It takes account of the cost of moving between points and the types of vehicle available. It also uses information about the volumes and product types available at supply points, together with details of the volume and types of goods needed at the demand points. Bulk Allocator then solves the problem, presenting reports and maps showing how much quantity is to be moved between which points, as well as the allocation cost and total cost. Any surplus or shortage in supply or demand will only occur in instances when demand and source volumes don’t match perfectly. An imbalance tab displays the product type, how much was planned, and how much was realised in the plan.

The software ensures you can cost-effectively plan FTL bulk transport movements between supply and demand points.

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