When an animal feed delivery company was looking to optimise operational efficiency, it turned to Siemens Industry Automation and Drive Technologies to provide an ideal solution.
With customers spread over a large geographical area, the company which is responsible for delivering essential animal feed to 250 cattle farms found that it struggled to provide an efficient structure to its delivery schedule, and was therefore unable to operate in the most efficient manner. Although customers would try to monitor their own usage, they would often run out and need a delivery of animal feed urgently. As there was usually no prior warning to the need for a delivery, the company found that they would end up servicing to customers that were situated in the same town or even on the same road on two separate days within the same week, causing unnecessary costs and logistics issues.
For the delivery company the lack of structure in their schedule led to huge inefficiencies. A large amount of fuel was wasted as drivers were unable to plan their route in the most efficient manner for conserving petrol or diesel. Not only did this have financial implications, but it also meant that the company’s carbon footprint was larger than necessary. Furthermore, the company had to budget for more delivery vans with more drivers on the road at the same time, in order to allow them to maintain a high level of service to all their customers throughout the country.
As a result the company was keen to investigate ways in which it could make operations more efficient and discovered that Siemens had the ideal solution. The solution centred around Siemens new RD500 data management collector and Siemens reliable, robust ultrasonic level measurement technology. On some sites where no power was available a Siemens solar panel and wireless mod bus radio was used. Mounted on top of the silos where the animal feed is stored, the ultrasonic level measurement technology can detect the amount of animal feed left within the silo. Information is sent from the ultrasonic transceiver to the RD500 data recorder. Drawing on GPRS technology, the delivery company is able to remotely monitor the data stored on the data recorder, enabling them to see exactly how much animal feed is left and plan for deliveries
Since installing the Siemens solution, the delivery company has successfully been able to counter the problems they had faced previously. Operations are now more efficient as the company is able to use the data to monitor which customers in one geographical area require a delivery at any one time. This in turn has meant that less delivery vans have been needed on the road, reducing staffing, fuel and maintenance costs.
Furthermore the delivery company has been able to provide a better service to their customers. With customers previously expected to monitor their own levels of animal feed left in their silos, the onus fell on them to inform the delivery company when they next needed a delivery. With the new system, pressure has been taken off the customer who can be confident that they will have a continuous supply of animal feed without the need to self-monitor or place an order for the next delivery.
The installation of the Siemens solution across 250 sites and in 750 silos cost the delivery company £1 million to purchase, install and commission. With a predicted pay back of less than one year and happier customers all round, it has proved to be a worthwhile investment.