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Timefold helps us become a frontrunner in automotive logistics

Ecoprogram Flotte, an Italian leader in automotive logistics, needed a solution to optimize its transport planning. With the Timefold software, the company managed to build a platform that makes vehicle deliveries and pick-ups more efficient and environmentally friendly.

The number of staff in the planning team decreased from five to one. “We still see a big potential to further improve our planning and service delivery. This software enables us to stand out in our industry."

Ecoprogram Flotte has over thirty years of experience in logistics, warehousing, supply chain management and facility services. The company employs over 800 people and is responsible for an average of 200,000 vehicle deliveries and pick-ups on a yearly basis. They do this on behalf of international leasing groups and automotive manufacturers. Ecoprogram Flotte has 25 hubs spread across Italy.

Efficient transport planning

Ecoprogram Flotte has grown rapidly over the past years. Vehicle shipments increased by 40 percent between 2020 and 2022. “Previously, our transport planning was done manually. Our staff did their utmost to ensure that all end-users had their vehicles available at the appointed time. But at one point we were facing 800 deliveries a day and it was no longer feasible to plan everything manually. More and more mistakes were made and it was not a pleasant way of working for our planning team,” says Davide Anzaldi, Head of Supply Chain, Innovation and Quality at Ecoprogram Flotte.

Anzaldi and his team set out to find a software platform to plan and carry out the growing number of deliveries as efficiently as possible. After a thorough exploration of the market, they ended up with Timefold. “We could use their transport planning module as a building block to develop a planning solution tailored to our own needs.”

A more efficient, automated planning

The development phase started in April 2023, and since the beginning of December, the planning at Ecoprogram Flotte runs entirely automatically. “With Timefold, we managed to reach our goal: to deliver and pick up vehicles to and from end-users as quickly as possible, and to do so at a location as close to their homes as possible and with the shortest possible distance. This efficiency, enabled by Timefold, signifies a more efficient planning strategy, allowing us to do more with fewer resources. This enables us to provide a better service to our customers and end-users. Moreover, it makes the drivers’ job more pleasant,” Anzaldi says.

Since the planning has been running automatically, the number of staff in the planning team decreased from five to one. That person keeps the planning fully under control and no longer has to work overtime to get everything planned. “With this solution, we don’t have to worry about the increasing number of deliveries and pick-ups anymore: we can schedule them all on time without hiring additional staff,” says Grégoire Chové, Managing Director at Ecoprogram Flotte.

This has multiple benefits. “First of all: the less planning staff, the less costs for us as a company. In addition, employee satisfaction has increased as the planning is now more adapted to the drivers. And finally, customer satisfaction has improved. There are no more bottlenecks in the planning, which means all vehicles are now delivered and picked up in due time.”

Human engagement

Unlike before, when planning and tracking were still done manually, Ecoprogram Flotte has more insight in the ratio between the number of drivers and the number of transportations. “This enables us to adjust our planning if needed, for example by employing more drivers in busy areas or by building additional hubs to guarantee our service anywhere and anytime. Nevertheless, we always bear in mind that technology cannot do everything. Human involvement is and will remain crucial in our planning,” Anzaldi emphasises.

“Before we could start developing our planning tool with Timefold, we had to do an in-depth review of our processes and make some necessary adjustments. We found out that many tasks could be automated and we drastically reduced our use of paper. We had to rethink our business, which I consider a great benefit,” Chové points out. “We needed a clean dataset to feed the software. That required thinking ahead, which improved efficiency across the company,” Anzaldi adds. “By ensuring that your data is in order before you start working with the software, the resulting solution will be better,” he gives as a tip.

Sustainable ambitions

Ecoprogram Flotte now has a future-proof planning tool that will enable them to keep growing. “It provides us with a wealth of data that we can use to improve our processes and services. I still see a great potential to further optimize our planning, for example through AI and machine learning. Moreover, we can share that data with our partner companies. In this way we can help the entire industry to move forward,” Chové says. “Thanks to the Timefold platform we can stay ahead of the competition and establish ourselves as a leader in automotive logistics. First in Italy and eventually in the rest of Europe.”

With Timefold, Ecoprogram Flotte can continue to innovate.

“The Timefold platform is better than anything we have ever seen in the history of the company. Moreover, it fits in perfectly with our company’s sustainable ambitions.

We make a lot of efforts to protect the environment and to improve the wellbeing of our employees. By optimizing our planning, we reduce the workload for our people and on top of that our deliveries and pick-ups become more efficient.”

Gregoire Chové - Managing Director - Ecoprogram Flotte

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