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Transportation & Logistics
Wednesday | 11 October, 2017 | 10:12 am

A smart drive

By Colin Linneweber

Above: BuildMyLoads eliminates avoidable downtime by sorting loads and determining trucking routes.

Load-planning solution optimizes the network and structure of delivering materials efficiently

October 2017 - “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else,” said New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, who has become more famous for his aphorisms than for his admirable career.

Houston-based Transview Logistics LLC—providing custom software solutions for truck routing, distribution optimization, freight bidding and warehouse ERP integrations—is determined to ensure its customers know where to go and how to get there.

Transview Logistics employs an algorithm that can help shippers plan smarter, more efficient routes, find extra capacity in existing routes, and fully maximize its fleet. Managing Partner Mike Bjerke claims this technology will transform not only shipping, but the entire operation.

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Use of the optimization programs can result in an average freight cost savings of 25 percent, Bjerke says.

Transview Logistics’ ERP platform, BuildMyLoads, is a truck loading and routing optimization program specifically designed for the metals industry.

“A typical service center or fabricator might send out 100 orders to 60 customers going to 60 different locations on 25 different trucks,” says Bjerke. “Figuring out the most optimal way to sort these orders onto trucks and route them can take hours and hours every day. Plus, when the dispatchers come in the following day, they have a whole new set of orders going to a whole new set of locations and they have to do it all over again.”

Worse, he says, is that when the shipping department does eventually hit a practicable load and route configuration for that day, “they have no idea if their combination of loads and routes were the most optimal solution.”

Accessible in the cloud

BuildMyLoads, a cloud-based system that doesn’t require any integration with a client’s current ERP platform, eliminates avoidable downtime by sorting loads and determining trucking routes. A cloud-based system is especially convenient because there is no hardware to install and BuildMyLoads is easily accessible from any mobile device, computer or tablet.

Bjerke pledges that any service center or processing company that uses this technology to load metal and route its trucks will secure a hefty return on investment.

“We ‘back-test’ the optimizer on historical shipments for our clients and find that they would have saved approximately 25 percent on their total company freight bill if their loadings and routings had been optimized,” he says.

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BuildMyLoads is easily accessible from any mobile device, computer or tablet.

“Many of these companies are spending millions of dollars on outbound freight every year, so savings can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We look at specific routing and loading constraints, solve both of those together for maximum efficiency, and at the same time optimize for actual delivery cost.

“Optimizing routings is really hard” for virtually any distributor, he acknowledges. “As you can imagine, optimizing both loadings and routings simultaneously, and in conjunction with each other, is really, really, hard,” he stresses. “But that’s what BuildMyLoads does and it’s why we can save so much money.”

Other route optimization software platforms are available on the market, but Bjerke says BuildMyLoads does more. “Other routing platforms generally only address routings. For example, with other routing platforms, you tell the program where the trucks have to go and the program tells you how to route the trucks. The problem with this is that inefficient loadings result in inefficient routings.”

From A to B

Imagine what would happen if a service center fulfills an order and places it on just any truck? “Just moving one order from truck A to truck B results in an entirely different set of routing possibilities that may result in greater or fewer miles driven, hours paid, etc.,” Bjerke says. “Essentially, part of the reason that other routing platforms aren’t able to address loadings of trucks is that they don’t know all the idiosyncrasies of truck loading in the metals business. But since we come out of the steel business, we do.” Transview Logistics is a division of Glass Steel.

BuildMyLoads can also differentiate between a plate and other products. Because plates are generally delivered last, this system identifies the object and then positions as the bottom layer of product on a flatbed carrier. Moreover, by integrating Google Traffic, BuildMyLoads verifies that a driver doesn’t violate the U.S. Department of Transportation’s hours of service rule, which limits a workday to 11 hours of continuous driving.

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Clients typically drive fewer miles, saving wear and tear on trucks and slowing depreciation of assets.

Using assets wisely

A typical shipping operation’s use of BuildMyLoads can result in an average freight cost savings of 25 percent, Bjerke says. Users can also realize “a huge reduction in day-to-day work currently done by dispatchers.”

The benefits add up. “Clients typically drive fewer miles, which means less wear and tear on trucks and less depreciation of those assets. We know these results are achievable because we can quantify them by back-testing client’s data.

“We eliminate unnecessary work by automating the sorting and routing process,” Bjerke continues. “BuildMyLoads can also incorporate transfers, backhauls and pickups in the daily routing, which result in huge reductions of empty backhauls and deadheads. This promotes better use of a company’s assets. Simply put, manual loadings and routings are inefficient.”

If the drivers have all the kinks worked out in advance for them, they might, like Willie Nelson, sing, “On the road again. I just can’t wait to get on the road again.” MM

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