Transport Flow optimisation

Approach aiming to increase the efficiency and profitability of transport processes in a company

What is transport flow optimisation ?

aims to increase the operational efficiency and profitability of operations implemented by a company to transport their goods (upstream and downstream transport).

In a global market faced with numerous economic and environmental challenges, has become essential.

To stay competitive, these days agents are required to consider their profitability when it comes to transport. To combat greenhouse gas emissions, carriers must comply with increasingly restrictive environmental standards which call for flow optimisation.

Generally speaking, the aim is to reduce the number of kilometres travelled and empty runs to reduce transport costs while minimising CO2 emissions.

The characteristics of transport flow optimisation

has several benefits for a company:

  • productivity gains: with optimised flow management, transport is more fluid and efficient. The duration of deliveries can thus be reduced ;
  • reduction of the environmental impact: with and the use of modes of transport such as rail or river, carbon emissions can be reduced thanks to optimised routes and operations which emit less CO2 ;
  • reduced costs: more effective resource allocation and organisation help to reduce goods transport costs ;
  • increased customer satisfaction: thanks , delivery lead times are shorter which please the customer.

Examples and application

Any approach requires a clear definition of the objectives targeted. This is always accompanied by a report from the company's transport department.

This prior study consists of:

  • identifying processes involved in goods transport operations ;
  • understanding the organisation and operation of teams ;
  • preparing a map of all the company's flows in quantitative (volumes of goods transported) and qualitative terms (type of goods flows) ;
  • listing the tools used to manage transport operations, and considering any interfaces with other tools (ERP, WMS, etc).

The inventories also consider:

  • operational constraints on the structure (regulations, transport capacities) ;
  • customer commitments (delivery times, constraints linked to product returns, etc).

Based on an in-depth analysis of the existing, work to optimise transport flows consists of identifying performance levers, notably through the analysis of figures.

This may:

  • reduce bottlenecks which may delay deliveries ;
  • improve journey times by adapting itineraries for lorries ;
  • modify the order of rounds to limit lorries returning empty after deliveries ;
  • look for synergies and favour the combination of different baseline networks, etc.

Therefore, allows for the development of new scenarios with better returns and the evaluation of potential gains before implementation.

Beyond the methodological aspects, a approach is facilitated by digitalisation these days. Digital TMS (Transport Management System) tools allow for increased visibility of the transport flows required to accelerate decision-making and facilitate the management of operations.

Transport flow optimisation in figures

Regulatory framework