Simulation software is the real thing for efficiency

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coca-cola enterprises

Simulation software is the real thing for efficiency

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) achieved a 20% uplift in volumes and avoided £1.7M in capital expenditure and off-site storage costs by installing Witness simulation software from Lanner at its Northampton distribution hub.

Lanner drew on simulations based on real data from CCE, demonstrating the effect of adding an extra lane for inbound traffic and an extra lane and parking bay for inspections. They also catered for scenarios such as different periods of a day, week or weeks.

The models were designed to show 'pinch points' around the gatehouse under certain conditions, allowing CCE to target investment to alleviate congestion.

The second phase was parking facilities. Trucks arriving with full loads are directed to a bay at the warehouse, where trailers are decoupled and unloaded, then to one of 66 parking bays to pick up their preloaded trailer.

The Lanner team worked with an internal CCE project team to create models that accounted for variables such as traffic flows, shift patterns, times of day and different truck and load configurations. This enabled CCE to calculate the optimum conditions for handling the target number of trucks and loads expected by the depot. This included the number of extra lanes, bays and parking spaces needed to cope with extra bulk volume.

Lanner built video representations of how trucks would move through the gatehouse to the warehouse and into designated parking bays. Along with PowerPoint presentations showing schematic layouts of proposed changes, the videos enabled CCE to visualise the impact of different variables, including current and predicted truck throughput.

CCE and Lanner compared data before and after the changes were implemented. This showed an increase in bulk product volume of 18% and no increase in turnaround time, despite this additional volume.

"We needed to increase the number of parking bays at the depot so we could meet the requirements of our own supply chain and 3PLs (third-party logistics providers), who have their own schedule to meet often needing to drop off and leave in 15 minutes," said CCE project manager James Mciver.

"Above all, we were able to identify bottlenecks and constraints in the processes on site both under current conditions and following an increase in activity. We could test physical or operational changes prior to implementation, then roll out physical changes when we were confident of the benefits."

Related topics: Supply Chain, Drinks

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