Blog October 23, 2013

Five ways to help the planning process for tank operating

By Nicola Byers

Unlike external planning solutions, an integrated planning tool within a specialised tank management system allows the real time identification of tank availability and current utilisation. Unit information concerning product history, location and status is kept fully up to date by the immediate processing of Depot EDI messages. Users can then utilise a software ‘Plan Board’ to complete the allocation process, aided by system-generated recommendations. Such a valuable tool enables users to maximise earnings per job and saves hours of administrative work. Here are five ways in which Real Asset Management’s planning tool can help the planning process:

1. Company specific ‘Planning Departments’ can be set up for geographic regions. This restricts the planning region for the planner and prevents ‘fishing in other people’s waters’. Benefit -Manual administration is dramatically reduced, saving time and reducing costs.

2. User-definable ‘profiles’ can be set-up, saved and used to build up a list of standard fully customised retrievals that can be run over and over again. Benefit – Errors and mismatches are avoided during unit allocation, reducing costly mistakes and wastage.

3. ‘Best Fit’ functionality (based on user-defined business rules) is used to help suggest the most appropriate unit for a selected order. Benefit – Better informed planning decisions increase profits.

4. With certain jobs, the unit allocated may change multiple times before the order starts. The planning tool allows users to reserve units prior to the allocation being completed. Other planners can view this status and make enquiries on the unit if needed. Benefit – Equipment is optimised at all times and the potential for idle units is reduced.

5. The ability to swap units across orders helps with the short sea business (where units and orders may be changed multiple times). Benefit – Planning swaps can be made quickly without complex and time consuming processes.