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Magenta’s scheduling solution now automatically schedules 80% of Gist’s customer orders and dynamically re-plans the schedule, reacting to unexpected events and dealing with multiple logistics constraints and complexities.

Business Objective
Gist is one of the UK’s largest supply chain logistics specialists, whose primary business consists of:

  • Over 5,000 deliveries a week;
  • Transportation of more than £4bn of stock – with half of that having shelf life of less than three days;
  • More than 200 collection and 60 delivery sites.

Gist was looking for an Order Management and Real Time Scheduling Solution to be able to automatically schedule and optimise orders, minimise the planners’ workload and maximise their own fleet. Having searched the market and realising they were unable to find software that could cope with the complex dynamics of their transportation domain, Gist commissioned Magenta to deliver such a solution.

Customer Challenge
Gist transports a variety of goods throughout the UK using a fixed set of routes. They were looking to:

  • Obtain cost savings and benefits by optimising the schedule in the following areas:
    • Maximise utilisation of current truck capacity – and minimise the need for ad hoc journeys;
    • Enable scheduling of up to 40% of orders after vehicles had already been despatched;
    • Comply with constraints – temperature regimes, collection and delivery times, customer priority, product compatibility, product weight, etc;
    • Optimise trunking routes through the best use of changeovers and cross docks;
    • Avoid unnecessary splitting of orders to prevent problems on reconsolidation;
    • Make best use of subcontractors versus their own fleet;
    • Make best use of returning vehicles.
  • Eliminate dependence of the operation on the human factors and individuals’ local knowledge with the view to ensure scalable operations that support business growth.

Maxoptra Solution
The task undertaken by Magenta was to introduce a ‘control tower’ to automate routine manual decisions and provide a collaboration platform from which information could be shared along the entire supply chain with Gist’s customers, suppliers and depot network. Magenta developed a highly customised scheduling solution using proven components to meet Gist’s complex scheduling requirements. The delivered solution was able to provide:

  • A scheduling engine that automatically schedules 80% of orders – embracing the complexity of cross-docking, compatibility constraints of goods, vehicles and locations and trailer changeovers, that can be configured to meet Gist’s current and future transportation requirements. On a daily basis this module assesses more than a billion combinations of order, vehicle and other constraints in real-time;
  • A Gantt chart displaying the scheduling position providing drag and drop facilities and allowing manual changes;
  • An online web-based fully integrated order entry system for Gist customers;
  • An administration module to enable full management of the application configuration and network related information, including sets of routes (“bus routes”), locations, customers, etc.

Using Magenta’s scheduling solution Gist has been able to achieve the following key results:

  • Automatic scheduling of 80% of orders, with the remaining 20% allocated to spot capacity on the day;
  • Business growth of 25% (in customer terms) since the start of the solution’s operational use – along with a considerable reduction in the team effort required to build and maintain the schedule, resulting in a a smaller planning team being able to run a larger operation;
    • Significant annual savings on operational costs achieved through:
    • Increase in house fleet utilisation –the same order volumes planned with fewer vehicles;
    • Reduced mileage and lower carbon emissions;
    • Improved use of subcontractors.
    Higher customer service levels delivered due to: full operational transparency of the live, multi-nodal transport network – ensuring sure that all orders are accounted for and delivered on time – with on-time into depot KPI of 85% against a 15 minute window in a period of growth; improved communication between operations and customers; ability to accommodate last minute adjustments to order volumes from customers – and still provide a robust, feasible schedule and a reliable service.

Gist’s 5,000 employees operate out of 35 locations, providing a full range of intellectual and asset-based business offerings in the UK and continental Europe..

Gist’s customers (including Dairy Crest, Marks & Spencer, Young’s Seafood and Dutch Flower Group) operate in a wide range of commercial and industrial sectors, including grocery, electronics and gas.

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