Kleenheat Gas is a leading national supplier of LPG in bulk and cylinder form. Having designed and installed an end-to-end system to optimise the cost efficiency of its bulk gas deliveries, Kleenheat turned its attention to building a real-time system to track and manage the swapping of full cylinders with empty ones of various shapes and sizes.
For example, a cylinder for the home BBQ is a different size and shape to one for a fork lift truck. In all, Kleenheat needed an electronic system to track an inventory of many product codes, involving the exchange of LPG cylinders, while ensuring that billing is accurate and prompt for thousands of transactions a day.
Gerald McKenna, Project Manager, Logistics at Kleenheat Gas, says the main reason for the new system was to lower the cost per transaction. The previous paper-based system operated in city and regional locations nationwide. This system was heavily dependent on the driver to complete all the transaction details.
An improvement to the tracking and processing the thousands of dockets to be entered into the Billing system was needed. Kleenheat needed to shorten and standardise this process in order to minimise the cost of a transaction.
Kleenheat evaluated several proposals to design and build the system they needed. They finally chose Transtech Consulting Services because of their understanding of logistics and the dangerous goods sector, and because of the innovation and expertise they had demonstrated in delivering other logistics solutions.
The eSwap system in now fully operational, and it is bringing sizeable benefits. Delays have been taken out of the system, the accuracy of information and pricing is no longer highly driver-dependent, processing is standardised across all regions and the cost of transactions has reduced.
At the beginning of a day’s schedule, which may have thirty to forty stops on it, drivers are provided with a download of all stops, sequenced by postcode, in order to optimise delivery times.
At each delivery point, the Personal Data Assistant (PDA) captures the exact transactions, provides a print out of the Proof of Delivery (POD) with the customer’s signature which is captured electronically and sent in real time with the POD to the corporate billing system.
As a result, the invoicing cycle has been considerably reduced and retrieval time of POD’s has dramatically declined.
The drivers have benefited from the new system, because they no longer have to manage all the delivery details. Customer Service too benefits, because they can now see the progress of deliveries on their computer and, at a glance, know at any time the load remaining on each truck.
The fleet manager also benefits with the snap-shot view of the fleet position. Because the information is real-time, they have the flexibility to meet unscheduled urgent demand through diverting the appropriate truck to the new delivery request, whereas before he may not have chosen the ideal cost effective solution.
The role of co-ordinator has become much more productive. In some instances the number of trucks allocated per coodinator has doubled. In all, eSwap has improved Kleenheat’s control of their cylinder business by providing flexibility and accuracy while increasing overall efficiency.