In 1988, Commodore still sold over one million units of its C64, nicknamed "The Model T of personal computers", and commercial logistics software was in its infancy. We have come a long way and our industry is now starting to use Artificial Intelligence in their supply chains. This article will take you on a journey to the past, present, and future of cement logistics.
by Thomas Bergmans and Dirk Schlemper, Inform GmbH, Germany
When the first International Cement Review was published, Microsoft released the first Windows version of its Excel® program. Although blank and empty when you opened it, the tool became – and some might say still is – the reigning champion of supply chain management. Easy to configure, it helped planners and dispatchers to manage their daily activities, analyze data, or run macros to automate calculations. But a macro is not the same as an optimization engine and when it comes to create complex delivery schedules and fleet configurations for the following shift(s), spreadsheet based tools are not sufficient to support the decision-making process.
In the early 1990s, with the advent of internet, SMS, email, and GPS navigation systems, as well as progress in computer hardware and algorithms, digital planning in logistics gained new momentum. Redlands in France (now LafargeHolcim) was the first company in the aggregates and ready-mix industry to use a planning tool that was based on Operations Research (OR) and algorithms to optimize their truck fleet operations, see figure 2. Six years later, Hanson Australia (part of the HeidelbergCement Group), followed. Both have been using algorithms, real-time information, and automated decision-making to manage and optimize their fleet of trucks ever since. ...
This article was published in the July issue of International Cement Review in 2018.
Continue reading - request the full article using the form below.