RedPrairie's new multicompartment planning function in its transportation and fleet management system is the first to allow shippers to plan stowage in individual vehicle compartments, identify which products can go in specific compartments, and track the location of loads in those compartments, say company executives. This capability is especially useful for food manufacturers or distributors and shippers of regulated materials that must be separated because of temperature requirements or product characteristics.
Until now, said Marketing Director Jim Le Tart, shippers only had visibility to an entire truck, container, or trailer. Planning for multistop loads was based solely on the order of delivery. Visibility into individual compartments makes it possible to maximize the use of each one and assign products to the proper environment.
The new capability also allows the transportation management system (TMS) to connect with an integrated warehouse management system (WMS) to direct the picking order in a way that will minimize the time perishable goods sit on the dock. For example, if the freezer compartment is in the nose of the trailer or truck, the WMS can be directed to pick frozen orders first. That way frozen items can move immediately into the truck, and the freezer compartment can be sealed off before picking moves on to items in the next closest compartment.
Demand for the new function originated with customers in the meat industry, said Le Tart. He expects it will be well received by manufacturers, distributors, carriers, and third-party logistics companies that handle any regulated or perishable materials and must verify compliance with safety regulations, including product quality standards.