A new automated planning system from Transmetrics allows NileDutch to make more thorough and data-driven decisions about the management of empty containers on all levels (station/depot, regional, global) and to have better visibility on the data and business processes.
The Container Management software is set up in a way that every day, in just a few clicks an optimized empty containers plan is re-calculated for the entire company, 10-12 weeks ahead of time. To achieve that, a new incremental historical data set from NileDutch’s transport management system is extracted, transformed and added to the Transmetrics model. It is then used to build highly accurate rolling demand forecasts for the next 10-12 weeks. The forecast results, along with the corrected costs, are used in the optimization module to build the global plan for empty repositioning, storage, repair, and maintenance for the whole network for the next 12 weeks at the lowest possible cost. Now, to make the most optimal decisions, NileDutch can plan its empty equipment flows with Container Management based on all cost inputs and other relevant business variables.
After the implementation project, NileDutch tested the system during a three-month period of extended (business) support from the experts at Transmetrics and benchmarked software suggestions to the results from dispatchers. NileDutch confirmed that the benefits from using the Container Management software have been better than initially expected, the product is user-friendly, and that its entire team was comfortable using it daily as a guidance in decision making, so the project proved to be a success.
The Container Management solution has demonstrated significant operational improvements for NileDutch. Namely, the total costs for managing empty containers were reduced by a double-digit percentage. In particular, storage costs have been impacted very positively alongside the improvements for other logistics costs. The Container Management system has also helped to reduce its container fleet size by several thousand TEUs (a double-digit percentage decrease), which were disposed either by off-hire of a leased fleet or by selling own containers at high profitability.
There were several additional benefits from using Container Management software:
1. It allowed NileDutch to get rid of manual planning of multi-million cost items in Microsoft Excel (Excel still remains one of the most widely used supply chain management tools).
2. Container Management also enabled the company to have “one version of truth” since now all the relevant data from different logistics and financial systems is shown in one place.
3. NileDutch employees from all over the world could begin collaborating through the system, making them feel more connected than ever before.