Al Khayyat Investments (AKI Group), a family-owned company based in Dubai, has grown into a $1.6 billion business in only 38 years. It operates in a diverse range of verticals including retail, consumer, contracting, healthcare, strategic investments and automotive. AKI prides itself on developing powerful partnerships with leading international brands, and has a strong workforce and state-of-the-art logistics center.
In reaching the billion-dollar mark, AKI’s in-house transportation operation had a problem. With around 25,000 orders a month, typically equating to 12,500 monthly deliveries to as many as 5,500 customer sites across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), manual delivery route planning was causing huge operational inefficiencies. The team had the advantage that delivery planning was ripe for centralization and better control, as deliveries were all coordinated out of its logistics center in Dubai to the UAE’s seven emirates. But because of the sheer range of products and customers, the transport operation has to deliver to a wide variety of customer locations, including hospitals, pharmacies, shopping malls, retail stores and restaurants. This meant it was challenging to incorporate into route plans the myriad of different protocols, driver skill requirements, time-to-complete and other factors that impact vehicle and driver utilization. Some deliveries might take five minutes and require no special skills, while others might take an hour or more. Without the right technology to crunch the huge amount of route-planning variables, the company’s delivery service was suffering, and costs were escalating.
AKI selected routing and scheduling software from Paragon, now part of Aptean, to transform the performance of the company’s huge, multi-drop distribution operation.
Having implemented the Aptean Paragon Routing and Scheduling solution, the AKI Group saw significant operational improvements across a number of essential transport KPIs:
The benefit to the bottom line has been remarkable, according to AKI Group.
“By better managing our vehicles and drivers, we have dramatically improved the productivity and efficiency of our transport operation, making annual savings of more than $1 million,” explains Gary Grindlay, Group Head of Logistics at AKI Group.
Within the UAE there are strict regulations governing commercial vehicle usage for food, non-food and pharmaceutical loads. The AKI Group operates a mixed fleet of 4.5-, 10- and 12-ton delivery vehicles — including a number of multi-temperature, compartmentalized bodies — to handle the needs of the different business units. The transport team is now able to use Aptean’s Paragon Routing and Scheduling software to automatically factor in vehicle restrictions when planning deliveries, so the company can maximize capacity while achieving regulatory compliance.
The responsibility of the delivery staff extends beyond delivering goods to the unloading bay. Each vehicle is typically staffed by a driver and one or two unloaders. The need for a multi-person delivery team not only creates increased workforce costs, but can often result in unexpected delays or increases in vehicle waiting times. It was therefore imperative that the AKI Group was able to use the routing and scheduling software to identify where issues exist, and to address areas of underperformance.
“Today, transport operators need to focus far more on efficiencies than they have in the past,” says Grindlay. “By integrating our planning, transport management and supply-chain systems, we are leading the way in the region and ensuring we are best positioned for pressures such as fluctuations in the economy and rising wages.
“We are bringing together the best technology solutions available to address these challenges, with Aptean’s Paragon Routing and Scheduling software now a crucial part of our commitment to operational excellence, Grindlay adds.”
Since adoption of the advanced routing and scheduling software, the AKI Group has consolidated its planning resources from four independent sets of planners to a single, centralized planning team, responsible for managing all deliveries in real time, and analyzing planned versus actual performance to target continuous improvement.
“In partnership with our business — and working closely with our planning, transport and I.T. teams — Paragon has helped us maximize the return on our investment,” Grindlay says. “As a result, we have already achieved significant value and expect further gains moving forward. For me, this is the number one provider of routing optimization software.”
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