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18 dec 2020

Innovative technology tackles the extremely complex planning of livestock transport

AMCS Livestock Planner enhances animal welfare, reduces transport costs and increases customer service quality

Route- en bedrijfsoptimalisatie

Automated calculation of the consequences of manual interventions in the planning process is just one example of the added value AMCS Livestock Planner provides livestock transport companies. This much is clear from the webinar 'Automated planning for optimising livestock transport'. Sales Director Jan Tønder and Pre-sales Manager Mads Svantesson explain the concept and features of AMCS Livestock Planner. The webinar also includes a case study from SPF-Danmark which transports around 8 million animals per year and where implementation of AMCS Livestock Planner has shown a significant reduction in the overall transport costs, while at the same time increasing customer service quality.

With animal wellbeing as one of the essential preconditions, livestock transport planning is extremely complex, something that became apparent during the webinar. "That means having the animals on board for the least amount of time possible, assuring direct transports while taking good care of the animals during the trip", said Jan Tønder and Mads Svantesson in this respect during the webinar.

Other challenges they mentioned were the ever-changing order pick-up pools and deliveries, as well as having to take numerous rules, constraints, and restrictions into consideration. Examples of this are sickness levels, health and quarantine rules, animal sizes, combinations of animal species, farm visiting rules, and disinfection of the vehicle. 

Solution tailored for livestock transport planning and optimisation

The answer to tackling these challenges lies in intelligent optimisation, an innovative technology with super-fast algorithms enabling planning and optimising routes in no time. This is the impetus behind the design of AMCS Livestock Planner, with its focus on animal wellbeing and rich functionalities tailored for livestock transport. 

For example, the system is capable of handling legal constraints relating to transport. The solution also integrates both high level and detailed route planning with real-time execution and is not limited by order deadlines with a fixed time. Since the system works with rolling plans and only limited locking-in, the planning can be handled on the fly; from order intake, planning, execution and all the way to follow up.

Matching orders with resources enable cost calculation

During the webinar, a demo clarifies the far-reaching integration of the innovative system. One screen shows a total overview of the available resources like the complete fleet and workforce, and the entered orders so far. The system matches the orders automatically with the resources which as a result enables livestock transporters to calculate orders, including the optimum route for a specific driver.

The solution stands out because during route optimisation the system takes many factors into consideration such as - for breeding stock - the coordinated visiting times at the different farms and the rules for the combined transport of different species. 

Due to the real time data exchange between the driver's in-cab device and the back office system, information is always up to date. For instance, after arrival at the location, the driver can add additional details via his device, like the animal’s weight for example. With this, the livestock transport company has a complete digital trail of the trip, including where and when the animal is picked up, and the weight at the pick-up or delivery location. 

Case study SPF-Danmark

The webinar 'Automated planning for optimising livestock transport' also includes a case study from SPF-Danmark. The leading company in Denmark's pig industry yearly transports around 8 million animals, including health certified breeding stock and piglets, with around 100 vehicles in daily operation. Characteristic of the sector are the low margins, hence the need to increase efficiency. Down the line, this results in extremely complex planning with a lot of constraints and restrictions such as time windows, capacity limits and access conditions. 

The challenge for SPF-Danmark is also to deal with the many different diseases potentially present on the visited farms, which by definition affects and dictates the route sequence. And again, of the utmost importance, the planning is impacted by truck cleaning and disinfecting after every completed route, followed by a 12 hour quarantine period before starting a new transport route. 

Increased overall transport efficiency improved customer service quality

From the webinar it becomes clear that this series of challenges justified the investment in a state-of-the-art transport planning system. Based on the practical experience of AMCS Livestock Planner at SPF-Danmark, this led to a list of impressive results such as a reduction of 5 to 7% in the overall transport costs. Furthermore, the innovative solutions enabled the company to move to centralised planning that encompassed planning across various regions. Furthermore, 80% of the planning process was automated, including instant calculation of the consequences of manual planning interventions.

Also, AMCS Livestock Planner provides the possibility of automatic warnings if the planner breaks any rules and can perform simulations with various cost models. And last, but certainly not least, the system prevents lost or overlooked orders which significantly increased the overall transport efficiency – creating a positive knock-on effect in improved customer service quality.