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Supplying water cooler bottles to workplace customers is probably more complicated than it might first appear. Each customer is assigned a delivery frequency, based upon the volume of business and can vary from once per week to once every twelve weeks.

In addition, each water cooler has to receive a sanitisation at prescribed intervals to meet health requirements. The question then arises, how does the company balance the requirements for creating cost effective routes with meeting the delivery frequency and sanitisation requirements?

Model Logic was invited to undertake a review of the business within the island of Ireland and to develop an approach for routing and scheduling the transport operations over the twelve week planning horizon. The first stage was to allocate each of the customers to one the five depots in the network. For the analysis, Model Logic used a combination of in-house distribution models together with the use of specialist software for the routing and cycle planning. As the combined operation was new, during the design stage many assumptions needed to be made on the timings of activities and speed of travel.

Since “go live” the operation has now bedded down and is being closely monitored in order to evolve the working standards used in the design phase. Also, due to the dynamic and seasonal nature of the business a workable on-going process is being reviewed.