During the period of the ongoing turbulence caused by the COVID health crisis and the post COVID economic crisis, as well as the rise of electric cars, the fuel delivery sector faces the challenges of growing operational complexity, rising costs and occasionally declining volumes in liquid petroleum fuels. Combined with the legal and sector specific constraints, the need for a viable routing and scheduling optimization is crucial to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction, and cope with the fluctuations of the ordered quantities.
In the Greek energy sector, EKO ABEE holds a leading position, while HELLENiQ ENERGY is one of the leading energy groups in Southeast Europe, with activities spanning across the energy value chain. The Group’s range of activities includes among others, the supply, refining, and trading of petroleum products, both in Greece and abroad, fuels marketing both in Greece and abroad, petrochemicals production and trading, oil & gas exploration and production.
EKO ABEE recently went down the road of digital transformation, and the timing for a dispatching and scheduling optimization solution seemed ideal. EmDoT was requested to apply its routing and scheduling solution for EKO ABEE, in order to increase the effectiveness of their oil and gas delivery process.
The Challenge: complex limitations to be settled by a simple solution
All the oil and gas industry faced the above operational challenges during and in the post COVID-19 era. In order to respect all special constraints, secure the high levels of customer satisfaction and the smooth operational flow of fuel delivery throughout the Greek domain EmDoT was requested to apply its routing and scheduling solution for EKO ABEE, taking into consideration, among others, the following:
Mixing order items of different orders is not allowed
- Vehicle working Hours
- Loading Facility working hours and simultaneous loading constraints
- Accessibility constraints
- Branded customers must be serviced by same brand vehicles
- Contracts with carriers
The Solution: A routing and scheduling solution that optimizes many factors
Due to the great number of constraints EmDoT modelled the problem as a rich Vehicle Routing Problem (rVRP). We approached the routing solution by using state-of-the-art routing and integer programming algorithms, along with the use of machine learning and neural networks.
Our routing and scheduling optimization solution provides the optimal routing, for a set of oil and gas orders and a number of available vehicles, every day for the next day’s deliveries. It produces a total-aspect solution, which means that the routing schedule is created even before all orders get released from credit control, and then, during the route provides ETA to customers and delivery confirmation to the back office.
The routing and scheduling solution optimizes many factors simultaneously, such as:
- Total distance travelled
- Road safety measures
- Deliveries inside order’s time window
- Creating fairness and transparency among all carriers
- Respect all custom constraints set by the company
The solution can also be used with our VMI solution, which makes scheduling decisions easier and provides the following advantages:
- Optimal allocation of orders to the most efficient delivery window, planning and fleet availability.
- Increased average drop sizes
- Increased truck capacity utilization
- Less trips and reduced transportation costs
- Reduced total overtime paid
The Results: Stronger company, satisfied customers
To formulate the solution, the Development and Analysis department of EmDoT collaborated with the Handling and Routing Department of EKO ABEE. After an extended testing and configuration period, the solution is in production for an extended period of time, producing the itineraries every day.
Since the start of the production, the results have managed to surpass the initial expectations. The solution secures the high levels of customer satisfaction and the smooth operational flow of fuel delivery throughout the Greek domain.
“The digital transformation remains a high priority in our strategic agenda. By collaborating with EmDoT we accomplished a decisive step towards it, as an effective solution to our company’s routing and scheduling processes is in place”
declares Mr. Ioannis Konstantakopoulos, Supply & Transportation Manager, EKO ABEE.
In the era of innovation and digital transformation, EmDoT feels proud as a trusted partner of EKO ABEE.