Contemporary Tour Planning: Advantages All Around

When it comes to efficiency in transport and logistics companies, route optimisation is of decisive importance. Tour organisation has a direct effect on the capacity of the vehicle fleet, as well as on the employees’ workloads. But optimisation is not just a question of saved costs. Gustav Barth GmbH, for example, uses the tour planning system of gts systems and consulting in combination with the CarCube telematics solution by Trimble. This way, Gustav Barth GmbH not only reduces the number of tours, but also increases employee satisfaction and improves customer service.

“In the past, as far as our dispatch department was concerned, overtime was the rule, not the exception. Nowadays, this is only the case in exceptional situations”, says Andreas Votteler, managing director of Gustav Barth GmbH.

The company with its headquarters in Renningen, in the heart of Swabia, along with five additional branch offices in both Baden-Württemberg and Saxony, supplies tradespeople with tools and metal products. To do this, the 35 trucks owned by the company most commonly drive to a construction site or to a warehouse. The default tour administration program used by the company up to now has consisted of “rubbish collection”. For this to work, unloading points invariably had to be located on the right, even if this meant reckoning with a significant detour. For this reason, dispatching was done manually, despite the availability of tour planning software.

Barth_CarCube

One less tour a day, on average

In 2018, Votteler commenced research into an alternative tour planning system. At the same time, he additionally began searching for a telematics solution, for digitalisation of the delivery process. After considering and, on certain occasions, testing out various offers, he ultimately decided in favour of the gts tour planning system, and the CarCube telematics solution provided by Trimble. 

“It started to pay off just a short while following its introduction”. Now, we have one tour less per day, even with the heaviest workload, and we've been able to significantly reduce planning time, Votteler explains.

Advantages for dispatchers and drivers alike

Route proposal transmission is entirely automatic. First, the order data is forwarded from the ERP system to the gts tour planning solution. This calculates the fastest, most pragmatic and most cost-efficient route. While doing this, a number of different parameters are considered, including possible time frames for unloading, vehicle capacity and storage/warehousing capacity. If deviations, for example, due to traffic congestion, or short-term route modifications are required, then these are incorporated into the current planning. The dispatch department, in particular, benefits from this automatisation, as it provides them with a significantly lighter workload. But the drivers for Gustav Barth reap the most advantages as a result of the introduction of the CarCube telematics solution. On-board computers have replaced the smartphones and separate monitors for the rear view camera which were used previously. 

“The drivers think it's great. They just need one device and they can navigate the route to their destination at the push of a button, or use the integrated telephone feature to respond to inquiries”.

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More Customer Service

The new benefits enjoyed by dispatchers and drivers are merely one aspect of the transition. Soon, customers of Gustav Barth will also profit from the interplay between tour planning system and telematic solution. In the future, these will receive a notification containing the estimated time of arrival (ETA) immediately as the loaded truck departs in the morning, and a second notification as soon as the truck arrives at the premises of the client. This way, the workmen are able to better plan out whatever next steps they need to take. The information is automatically transmitted by the CarCube on-board computer to the gts tour planning system, which then sends the notification in the form of an e-mail message.

Sample Project Implementation

Both of the companies implementing the project, gts and Trimble, have drawn a positive balance from their experiences working together.

“Cooperation with Trimble has gone very well. People are just as satisfied today as they were three years ago”, reports Sascha Egener, Partner Account Manager at gts.

Dirk Tost, his sales associate, adds: “The solution adopted by Gustav Barth just shows you what you're able to do nowadays”.

We regard this as a model for projects in the future, and we would be very pleased to be able to further expand our collaborative efforts”. Lutz Siegert, Trimble's Country Manager for Germany, likewise recognises the enormous potential: “Demands on transport and logistics companies are going to increase in the future. Up-to-date tour planning, as implemented by Gustav Barth, offers the chance to all involved to profit today from the benefits digitalisation offers”.

About Gustav Barth:

The Gustav Barth GmbH has its headquarters located in Renningen, in Swabia, along with five additional branch offices in Baden-Württemberg and Saxony. It is a metal products wholesaler for metal roofs, metal facades and roof drainage systems, as well as individually-treated sheet metal products. The company has approximately 7,000 employees and supplies tradespeople and manufacturers with high-quality products used in the plumbing and roofing trades. More information can be found at https://www.barth-metall.de/