How AI solutions help in planning transport operations - Girteka - Responsible Logistics

How AI solutions help in planning transport operations

2023-01-09

Managing over 9,000 trucks, 9,800 trailers, and 18,000 drivers is a challenging task. Yet with support from robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, that job becomes easier and more effective. What are the latest AI tools that help Girteka to manage its fleet, orders, and cargo, and deliver on customer promises?

Planning with many variables

Information is crucial to adapt, plan, and verify the efficiency of operations. With the right on-time and reliable data, finding the best solution for planning logistics and transport can be done more efficiently and error-free. One of the latest digital solutions used for that kind of activity is the AI Planner, which allows to plan transport aligned with the possibilities of finding proper drivers, trucks, and trailers, fulfilling the requirements and law regulations, and concentrating on cargo balance, to reduce empty mileage as well as deliver in the fastest time.

“The system calculates the earliest time we can deliver the cargo with a certain truck, which we used to do manually. All the rules and settings that we have accumulated over the years managing our fleet are in the “brains” of the tool. So there is no need to sit, think, plan, check, verify, and again check manually – we have fast and reliable support from the tool itself,” says Audrius Navickas, Project Manager at Girteka.

The tool provides solutions that concentrate on managing the whole fleet and the efficiency of its utilization. The AI Planner helps in connecting drivers, trucks, and trailers to available shipments, with certain attributes to match customers’ and legal requirements. With the tool all simple, repeatable cargos are planned, leaving more time for individual customer cases, where thinking “out of the box” is needed.

“The main concept is that the tool allows us to plan our fleet globally, evaluating the situation in the whole of Europe, not individual regions, which is something very complicated to do in a person’s mind and takes a lot of time,” summarizes Audrius Navickas.

One of the key advantages of using the tool is reducing empty mileage, which affects the reduction of emissions, as well as reducing the waiting time of the truck for accomplishing the next shipment. This is facilitated by countless adjustable settings that can be adapted according to the current situation of freight trends in Europe.

Following rules and the law

Planning and operations in the logistics sector are challenging tasks as there are additional requirements that need to be taken into consideration. The AI Planner follows the mobility package regulations and local requirements in terms of cabotage or truck drivers’ time work, fulfilling the need for breaks, driving time, or resting periods.

With the AI Planner’s support work time is planned more evenly across the whole fleet and noncompliance is prevented, securing the best drivers’ conditions and alignment with all legal restrictions.

A quick and reliable solution

Manual planning means making a couple of thousand decisions every day: which truck is the most suitable for a specific shipment. A single decision means a planning expert has to take into consideration shipment attributes, the truck’s “free-from” time, driver work and rest times, empty mileage, cabotage rules, loading and unloading times, trailer washing rules, transit duration, and that is not the full list. When a system does this mix-and-match thing, the planning expert needs much less time to validate the proposed assignment. Instead, one can focus on more complex or emergency cases.

The main benefit is speed and pace of planning, but reducing the possibilities of mistakes or errors is also vital, especially for any SPOT deliveries, where often time plays a crucial role. With the AI Planner already almost 50% of Girteka’s transport is planned much faster and more effectively.

Future of logistics services digitalization

Girteka started the digitalization process in 2020 and by 2026 aims to have all processes, both internal and external, fully digitalized with support from the SAP platform and additional robotic process automation (RPA) and AI solutions. Digitalization is without a doubt, one of the key areas to develop in the upcoming years, to stay as a competitive transportation company, as well as become among the TOP10 logistics companies in Europe. Faster and more reliable information is needed to plan ahead and deliver on customers’ promises.

“With the implementation such AI tools like the Operator and Planner we will be able to increase the quality of services as well as reduce emissions and focus on the more advanced and individual needs of our customers. Yet the crucial part is connecting all those tools and transferring data, to plan properly and reduce possible mistakes and errors,” says Navickas.

The future of AI tools is clear within transportation and planning. As the next steps are optimization of already planned shipments, reducing costs, emissions, and increasing drivers conditions, there is an area that is still not known. However, experience taken through time and scale, as all European transport is planned with the AI Planner, gives the potential for future upgrades, improvements, and next level of transport services in Europe.