Tackling real world problems with software solutions


Supply chain professionals are paying more attention to GPS tracking and route planning for the efficient movement of goods. Bestrane Australia is providing a complete solution for every leg of the delivery process. 

Bestrane’s eight-year partnership with Origin energy shows there are often multiple pieces to the transport and distribution management puzzle. 

It began with implementing Descartes’ Route Planner application to control how routes were generated across the country. 

Next, driver mobile technology provided a means of executing these plans and providing near real-time feedback on route status.

Once the planning and execution was running smoothly, Origin moved to providing customers with a uniquely crafted series of notifications, based upon real-time updates of route status using Bestrane’s partner, Glympse. Finally, an onboard truck meter via Bluetooth provided a fully integrated delivery experience.  

It was through working so closely with Origin that Bestrane was able to refine its offering. David Sanders, Bestrane Group Managing Director, says supply chain management consultants need to consider the real-world application of every software solution.

“There are more applications sourcing more data from more locations more often, so you’re swimming in data – the real catch is, how you’re going to get this to ground,” says David. “You have to deal with how you’re actually going to implement this stuff, and how do you know whether it’s adding benefit to the customer.”

Bestrane Group was founded 18 years ago to address a gap in the market between traditional management consultants and technology vendors. 

“Our core proposition is to establish what outcome the client is trying to achieve, identify relevant technologies from our solution portfolio, and put in place the implementation and support services to extract the value,” he says. “In many cases, that requires integrated route optimisation, execution and customer notifications combined with vehicle telematics.”

Bestrane works with management software like Geotab’s to inform data-driven decision making.

Many technology firms have different departments which work relatively independently to each other. David says this can mean the sales, implementation and support teams aren’t all on the same page.

“A lot of technology vendors are set up like that – the last thing you want is for the support technicians not to know what the client is doing and ask what products the client has and what they are using it for – it leads to a pretty average end-user experience especially when there is a time-critical support request,” he says. “Bestrane’s approach of having multi-functional, client focused teams generates a much closer operational relationship. This is needed to maintain and improve the quality of our implementations –and often survives changes of client personnel and ownership.”

Bestrane uses relationships with partners to help deliver a customised product to the customer. 

“The real challenge with these tools is understanding how to harness this data, feed it to the applications that matter, and generate real value on-the-ground that is relevant for each client,” David says.

Routing tools are calculators aimed to manage constraints. Today’s best-in-class Route Optimisation tools, such as Descartes’ Route Planner, take full advantage of web-based architecture, access to scalable processing power and modern machine learning algorithms. This generates optimised plans while ensuring they are executed through fully integrated driver handheld applications and truck GPS.

“You have to deal with how you’re going to implement this to each specific client,” David says. “Understanding which constraints matter and finding the data to support them is at the heart of most implementation efforts and is often an activity that survives beyond the initial implementation.”

If the weight of a truck is really important, you have to know the weight of the products inside the truck as well. If your customers are only open between 1pm to 4pm, getting there between those time constraints is essential.

Adam Welch, Assurance Manager at Bestrane, says the difficulty with this type of “operational” data is that it is typically not well collected or organised. It is not uncommon for Bestrane to assist clients in cataloguing this data. If the opening times of a specific customer are important to the quality of the routes, Adam says, the Bestrane team often needs to go to the source to find answers.

“We have to identify what’s the real constraint in this business and how do we get access to it,” says Adam. “We’ll spend days with a new customer, getting them to walk us through how they do business and continually ask them why.”

One of the largest constraints for Bestrane to consider is company policy. The consultant’s assurance practice has been formed for clients to conform with the ever-changing chain of responsibility and legislative landscape as well as operational best practice.

“We need to determine how constraints such as driver breaks, load restraint, and fatigue have to be built into any plan and confirm they are being adhered to,” Adam says. “This is the principal reason that routing tools and telematic applications such as Geotab are working closely together.”

Adam says the planets have to align for a customer to jump on board with the company. An operator fully believing in the solution isn’t  enough to get the project over the line. Finance experts must justify the cost, technology employees have to look at the upside of using customer data. Ultimately, the board decides on the proposed solution.

“The back and forth that happens with clients is probably a sign that this space isn’t very well understood,” says Adam. 

“The operators actually know what the problem is and how to solve it, so it’s sometimes about helping them sell that internally.”

Bestrane is always looking to add products to their catalogue of software solutions. The tech vendor and consultant can choose whichever strategy best fits once the client outsources the service.

“You can go and buy an optimiser, a routing tool or a GPS solution off the shelf at just about anywhere– but it does not work on its own,” Adam says. “Realising actual value requires an implementation approach that respects the constraints that really matter.”

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