Java is a food distributor and wholesale dealer that distributes about 39,000 tons of food every year to private and public kitchens in Belgium. Java is number 2 in the foodservice industry in Belgium and manages a product line of 10, 000 customers, providing a high degree of quality service. With more than 200 people, 47 of which are drivers, Java realizes a turnover of 75 million Euros each year.

Challenge

As of January 2005, a new legislation was implemented to legislate that all food distribution processes be traceable. This required an implementation of an automated production and distribution process. This automation and Java’s focus to improve service quality were the two challenges behind the implementation of the project.

Solution

Amongst all solutions considered by Java, Descartes' route planning software was best suited for the specific needs of the food distribution organization, including: cold-chain management, regionalized vehicles, traceability, fleet management and automated geocoding.

Descartes WinRoute™ leverages advanced planning and optimization technologies and was designed to be an interactive tool for route planners. The software can calculate your daily planning, improve service delivery as well as examine the cost effectiveness of your transportation supply chain strategy, helping to understand and control company transportation costs.

Java’s distribution parameters include: delivery time windows, vehicle utilization, fresh and frozen compartments, working time and legal breaks, optimizing fueling of vehicles, computing unload times, assigning vehicles by regions, automatic geocoding, and integration with the internal ERP system.

Comparative tests demonstrated that Descartes WinRoute™ provided superior results when it came to the quality of the generated planning (e.g. distance reduction, work hours reduction, number of vehicles reduction, respect of client instructions), and the way the scheduling software takes client-specific constraints into account. Daily analysis of results helped measure the improvements.

Results

Despite the growth of the distribution activities, the number of kilometers drastically decreased and the number of vehicles was reduced. But the most important result is an increase of the service quality which approached 100% customer satisfaction. “It is clear that we got the payback from our investment in just a few weeks,” declares Walter Berden, IT Manager at Java.