One of the most difficult environments in which to plan transport service requirements is that of local government. The services are varied, there are a large number of vehicle types, and there are conflicting demands on resources. In spite of this, the latest technology used to plan complex transport needs in the logistics industry is not usually applied by local government. One recent exception to this attitude is London authority Haringey Council.
For several decades now industry has benefited from greater efficiency and lower transport costs thanks to computerised vehicle routing and scheduling systems. Both public and private service organisations have been reluctant to take advantage of this proven technology.
Haringey turned to DPS International – www.dps-int.com – because of their track record in applying the technology to service industries and because their Transport Operations Manager, Thomas Foley had previous experience with the company.
The Passenger Transport Services (PTS) section of the Children’s and Young Persons Service of Haringey Council operates a range of services to Departmental Stakeholders. These include provision of a comprehensive home-to school schedule for the special educational needs team; school meals; and mail services. The PTS also provides a number of ancillary services – swimming, cubs, after-school clubs and other dedicated routes from depots in North London.
Mr Foley said "I have had personal exposure to the commercial benefits using DPS LogiX in the General Transport and Light Industrial industries. Our need in PTS was to determine an optimum routing solution for our young people in the journeys to and from special schools.
"The specific criteria which obtained in this project were: a range of different school buses and equipment; specified times on buses; limited total travel times; and differing values at some pick-up and drop points. LogiX served the PTS very well indeed. The DPS project manager David Murray worked closely with our in house operational management team to create trial runs, then final routes, before a successful ‘GO Live’ in early November 2008."
Paul Palmer, Managing Director of DPS International, believes that we will see many more and widely differing service organisations taking advantage of this solution. "The services industries have represented our strongest growth sector in the last year, including planning for home care nurses; county council services in Essex; collection of photographs for magazine publication; and documents for online storage.
"There are several reasons for this. The obvious one is that in the current economic situation, councils in particular are faced with the need to increase service efficiency while reducing costs. Transport costs are very high in most councils. They are also facing up to their responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint wherever possible.
"The other reason is that with our introduction of a web based pay-as you use service, logiXcentral – www.logixcentral.com – this technology is now within reach of any organisation without the need to pay very high licence fees and pay for the infrastructure, maintenance and upgrades required."