Driving Efficiency with Descartes Route Planner™ RS

Aceitera el Real, a global producer of vegetable oils, fats and their derivatives, distributes products nationally across multiple channels in Nicaragua. With a customer-centric vision, the company replaced its manual routing system with the automated Descartes Route Planner™ RS (formerly Roadshow) and Descartes Sales & Territory Planner™ solutions to increase route productivity, reduce costs, and elevate customer service.

The Challenge: Manual Routing Jeopardizes Performance

Struggling with a manual system, Aceitera Real was wasting a significant amount of time and resources planning and restructuring routes. With 45 delivery vehicles across multiple sales and distribution territories serviced from two distribution centers, the company’s driver productivity and operational efficiency were suffering. In addition, the paper-based routing system offered no visibility into driver location or delivery performance, compromising customer service. Aceitera Real sought an automated solution to increase efficiency, reduce operating costs, and enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

With an automated, dynamic planning process for our delivery and sales routes, we’ve reduced planning man-hours, decreased the size of our fleet, and avoided the costly complication of hiring third parties. By optimizing resources, the Descartes solution has helped us take advantage of market opportunities and execute new strategies in record time with minimal errors.

-- Sergio Perezalonso, Director of Operations and Logistics, Aceitera el Real

The Solution: Automation Ramps Up Productivity

With the aim of using technology to better balance service levels with delivery costs across its traditional (e.g., retailer, wholesaler) and modern (e.g., self-service, mini-supers) distribution channels, Aceitera Real implemented the Descartes Route Planner™ RS and Descartes Sales & Territory Planner solutions. Leveraging market-proven algorithms and geographic network modeling capabilities, the Descartes solution dynamically optimizes and balances routes, which enhances fleet performance by optimizing delivery frequency, minimizing route distance and time, and maximizing vehicle utilization and driver productivity.

With Descartes, our trucks are driving fewer miles yet completing more deliveries. We realized a 10% increase in stops per route, an 8% overall route reduction, and an 11% decrease in operating expenses.

--Sergio Perezalonso, Director of Operations and Logistics at Aceitera Real

Real-time visibility into driver location translates into more proactive customer service, simplifying last-minute modifications such as changing a route based on new information or responding to a customer request for a specific delivery window. As a critical piece of the puzzle in its effort to restructure the sales department and optimize SLAs, Aceitera Real leveraged Descartes Sales & Territory Planner to boost efficiency, visibility and service levels by automating the process of planning and balancing its sales territories by zones.

The Descartes solution has paid off handsomely for us, saving us time and money across our entire delivery and sales operations. We were able to recover our investment before the end of the first year, well ahead of schedule.

--Sergio Perezalonso, Director of Operations and Logistics at Aceitera Real

The Results

Increased Route Productivity

By dynamically balancing and optimizing routes, Aceitera Real was able to maximize fleet capacity utilization. Productivity gains included an 8% reduction in routes, 10% increase in deliveries per route, and 7% decrease in distance traveled.

Decreased Costs

By eliminating time-consuming and error-prone manual processes and increasing driver productivity by optimizing route efficiency, Aceitera Real cut operating expenses by 11%. Plus, the company was able to reduce the size of its fleet and minimize fuel usage.

Enhanced Customer Service

Real-time visibility into driver location enables Aceitera Real to make changes to drivers’ schedules on-the-fly in response to changing conditions and customer requests. Improved time-window management and efficient delivery keep customers happy.

Efficiency Boost

The flexible, automated Descartes solution enabled Aceitera Real to reduce the number of man-hours dedicated to route planning and management, pare down its fleet, and rapidly execute new distribution strategies to ramp up revenue.