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Scheduling In Woolworths Transport Department

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Question:

Discuss about the Scheduling in Woolworths Transport Department.

 

Answer:

Introduction

Every business organization thrives well with proper planning and coordination of all departments that oversee separate tasks and responsibilities. The departments include human resource, transportation department, marketing and sales department and production and service departments. Within the departments, various projects are supposed to be properly managed to conform to other departmental projects. The harmonious coordination of all the departments ensures successful management of the organization as a whole. The purpose of this article is to examine scheduling in the transport department, how it affects the operation of the company. It discusses the critical issues that arise within the department and how to resolve the issues and what should be done to improve on the transportation department about the scheduling of the activities. The article further examines the gaps, analyses them and come up with a proper revised operation management in relation Smart. It ends with an evaluation of the developed management process against the common best practices.

Woolworths is an Australian largest supermarket chain that poses an extensive retail of about 995 throughout Australia and some in New Zealand (Arli et al., 2013). The company forms the second company by revenue in Australia and mainly deals with take away liquor, fresh food products such as fruits and vegetables, petrol, hotel and general merchandizes. Transport department at Woolworths oversees the movement of goods from the supermarkets, warehouses to various retail stores for easy distribution to customers, and the transportation of raw materials such as farm produce to various supermarkets and retail stores. The department uses a variety of means such as trucks ships and parcel services. For proper delivery of all these products, the departmental heads must do proper scheduling. Scheduling is definable as the process of arranging, controlling and optimizing the workload thereby allocating proper mechanism (Nurul, 2017).Scheduling in transport department , therefore refers to the  process of making a planned  procedure in a written form for a particular objective concerning time for completion (Gestrelius et al., 2017). In the transport department, a schedule is drafted by the manager and it always indicates the period, the vehicle number and the personnel responsible for ensuring that a particular products or raw materials are taken to the required destination (Karuno & Yuda, 2011).

For such proper movement, proper scheduling to get accomplished and the process requires logistical approach. Efficient scheduling of the transportation department needs deep concern in allocating the vehicles and determination of the routes within the given due dates (Michaelis & Schobel, 2009). Just like any other departments such as production, the transport department faces different issues that affect their scheduled programs on the delivery of the products to the determined by customers requirements and needs. Woolworths Company engages itself with various types of transport modes, which are the road, rail air, and water. The transport department uses different criteria to determine e the form of transportation (Tian & Demeulemeester, 2013). In case of urgencies, the department, the department will deploy a more reliable, a quick mode such use as air transport while the bulk and heavy will require the use of trucks. The scheduling also depends on the stipulated delivery date, the possibility of product damage.

The most common problems are the vehicle routing problem, bad weather, and poor status of vehicles. The Woolworths’ transport department scheduling program depends on numbers of issues such as the number of routes and destinations, the number of available drivers, the distance that is covered to make the distributions, the road systems and conditions, the nature of the goods to be distributed and the nature of circumstance. The schedules are into two different categories, which are local and international deliveries (Wang, 2013). The local transport schedule ensures distribution of the products within the locality of the company. Such moving the bulk loads of the products from the company to the airports, local warehouses ports using roads, while the international scheduling involves the movement of the products and the raw materials to and from the foreign countries (Sama et al., 2015). The process will include the use of contracted companies since Woolworths is not able to sustain the transportation of fruits and fresh vegetables from foreign countries such as United States, China, and Netherlands (Hanus & McClarre, 2016). The international movement involves different logistics such as freight forwarders, clearing agents and the service inspections that are responsible of ensuring that all the border-crossing goods conform to the policies.

 

Scheduling issues faced within the Transport Department.

The main issues faced by the department are the late delivery of the products and fresh produce from the farms , caused by different factors such as less number of trucks owned by the company and that are in poor status hence end up being inefficient during bad weather seasons. The bad weather that interferes with the transportation since many trucks cannot go through the farms that are muddy, resulting to stacking (Peng et al., 2013). As a result, there is delay in the delivery of the fresh produce that may lead to them going bad. The delay of the many raw materials   is transmitted to the production process that eventually changes the period of the provision of the products to the customers. The railway transportation system that is cheaper mode of transport does not favor Woolworths services as the most of the heavy products are the farm produce, and the railways line does not run to the sources of the fruits and vegetables, hence forcing the company to use the trucks. There are times that Woolworths has to contract other transportation companies to enable it to distribute its products to those regions that are far for example in the international markets. The Contracted transportation companies such as air cargo and Railway Corporation always cause inconveniencies with departure and arrival time that keep on changing (Nossack & Pesch, 2013). Most of them also have fixed to schedule most probably a weekly time plan and with a fixed amount of load. The problem arises when the Woolworths delays sending the packed packages to the flight, meaning that there will be no delivery to the international customers; as a result, the sales are affected. Some of the contracted transport companies’ Offices are far away from Woolworths Company, hence creating more expenses in the delivery of the products. The unreliability of many contracted transportation departments and poor coordination of the organizational units results into products delivery time changes.

 A large number of third parties authorities such as brokers, traffic police, port authorities and customs agents that are involved in transportation end up taking a lot of money from the tracks; this also makes the most expensive . Poor coordination of the departments also is a major issue. The client service department at times fails to deliver the orders to the production and dispatch department, affecting the process of packaging (Arli et al., 2013). The delaying at the end forces the transportation department to use additional means to ensure that the customer’s orders are delivered within the period. Such inconvenience leads to the extra use of money and resources that are outside the plan. The poor status of the trucks also increases the probability of the vehicles facing accidents, and such accidents lead to the loss of the millions of the company’s products. The weather disturbance is a common issue that affects the transport department, as adverse weather conditions result in the delay of both the trucks and freight deliveries. During the bad weather, the estimated times always change.

 

How to address these issues

It is very evident that for the customer to receive the product at the specified time, all departments must be in harmonious coordination so as the production, the packaging, and the dispatch areas the stipulated period. With any delaying of any activity, then the scheduling of the transportation department is bound to change. The manager should ensure that all the trucks get good maintenance by changing the worn out tires, the brake system is properly working, and the headlights are clear to illuminate the way during the night transportation. The manager should also ensure that enough shipping trucks are availed to avoid any inconvenience to the deliveries of the products and raw materials to customers and the company. It is beyond human being to control the weather, but it is within the capability of the human being to ensure bad weather does not adversely affect the operations. The manager can ensure this by having the proper trucks that are “all seasons” truck tires; this will avoid any vehicle stacking or even sliding during rainy seasons. On the issue of other contracted transportation companies, the manager should ensure that the agreement signed is accommodative to avoid any undelivered due to late submission of the products to the freight. The contracted transportation companies should also be reliable in times of the emergency and are viable financially to cover the cost of shipping. The manager should also push the company to go an extra mile and plan how to acquire a private cargo airplane that will solve the issue of the inconveniences.

 

What should be done to improve the Logistic issues

It is in no doubt that transport logistics is very critical Woolworth’s company success, therefore essential improvements are needed to see the company stay in the global market. The key logistic issues that are facing transportation departments are inadequate number of carriers, containers, and transportation options. Therefore, in order to improve logistically, Woolworths must familiarize with the available modes of transport that are cost effective and reliable. Woolworths should also familiarize with the international trade and regulations to enable it efficiently venture into the foreign countries. The familiarity will help the company from engaging into unnecessary law cases. Due to the global technological change, many businesses embrace the use of the internet to improve on the transportation logistics, such as mobile tracking technologies and mobile printers. (Bodhani, 2012).The transport department can improve logistically by improving the end-to-end visibility to sustain profitability and viability. The manager should be able to detect any environmental issues that may cause the delivery delaying of the products to customers, especially to the areas that need airlifting. These weather changes can always be detectable by the improved mobile devices such as barcode scanners and radio frequency identification to provide information on climate changes. The mobile technologies help the department to improve the efficiency by giving information on the real-data time across the entire supply chain.

Trucks management is essential in the every organization's Transport department and therefore calls for an outstanding manager that can oversee proper operations. The everyday use of the trucks leads to wear out of every part that must be replaced and properly maintained to keep the machines in use for a longer period (Day & Tosey, 2012). Poor scheduling of the trucks may also lead to a standstill when all fleets are out on the road and leaving none for any emergency use. Therefore, to maximize the productivity of the trucks, the manager should use the new technologies such as the mobile scanner, computer, and the radio frequency identification to keep in planning and keep the fleet moving harmoniously. The mobile devices can capture, share, and manage data on the trucks allowing continuous communication with the drivers, who gives emergency updates for immediate actions to be taken by the office.

Woolworths Company can assist in transportation department by increasing the number of the warehouses in far regions and storing the goods according to the customer’s preference report. Through doing this, the problem of delay is solvable as the products can be easily distributed and accessed by the potential clients (Yaghini et al., 2012). Distributing the warehouses tends to be cost-effective, as less fuel usage. Systematic planning and scheduling of all the activities should conform to other departmental programs such as the production timetable (Hanus & McClarre, 2016). This conformity will allow the transport department to know the time of deliverance of a particular product and when the production staff is ready with it, it will assist the manager to assign the drivers accordingly.

Gap analysis

Even though Woolworths Company has an extensive distribution of products throughout Australia, they have not adequately met the customers’ demands because of the continuous rate of growth of customers shopping (Asgersson, 2012). The primary deficiencies within the Woolworths business transportation department that affects schedule activities because of the inadequacy of the owned trucks that are not able to fulfill the demand of the distribution of the products within the locality, as a result, the company spends so much in contracting other transportation companies. As a result, calls for more sourcing of fresh fruits and vegetables, which not met adequately with the Australian farming. The problem Chain addresses this problem through the import the fresh fruits and vegetables from other countries such as from the United States and Netherlands (Zhang et al., 2014). The importation faces some of the constraints such as the international policies, that high perishable products in case the flight's delay. The company is not also able to reach its target as there are fluctuations of the customers buying habits that are mainly affected by the seasons changing economic status and introduction of potential competitors. The situation always pushes the average prices to fall even despite the fact that the availability of the fresh produces making the market share to decline in 2016 as compared to the previous years. Woolworths Company concentrates the activities in Australia and part of New Zealand, and to make a command on the global market, and the company should expand its warehouses, supermarkets, and retail stores to other countries.

Many business companies have to use SMART to improve their performance. It is the best way to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Due to a large number of employees within the company especially the transport department, smart scheduling is very vital so as the vehicles and the drivers can be organized hourly through the use of cloud-based technique rather than the use of either whiteboards or simple pen and paper, that are tiresome (Rocha et al., 2012). This technique is also is also advantageous since it allows the transport department to avoid the chaotic moments such as holidays or festivals when most of the drivers might tend to take days off. Smart scheduling also allows the transport department to keep the driver's data of work that the manager can use to identify any deficiency among the team (Prabhahar & Ravichandran, 2013). Smart scheduling does not only benefits the transport department but the employees too within the department as they can view their working schedule through the use of mobile applications and organize themselves in case of any changes in the program. Through the mobile technique, the employee can request time off or accept additional shifts.

The developed operational management, smart scheduling is more efficient than the typical programming practice as a better and accurate timetable can be established that will oversee the delivery of raw materials and products to their destinations at the required times (Prabhahar & Ravichndran, 2011). The successful management of the movement of the goods will reduce the cost and increase the customer's satisfaction since there will be a good maintenance of the truck, a proper tracking system and well working hours for the staff to ensure continuous service to the customers.

 

Conclusion

For smooth operation of the transport system in every organization, quite some issues put in places, such as the availability of the vehicle, availability of drivers,  the distance to be covered the delivery time and the nature of the products or raw materials. It is observable that the there are gaps in the daily operation of the transport department that eventually makes the company fail to attain its goal of providing enough food products to the Australian. The company also has more opportunities in the international market that they can use to expand their territory and increase their global market share. Through the utilization of the smart scheduling, Woolworth's company transport department can efficiently manage and control both the employee's work schedule and the movement of all the tracks in the road to enhance efficiency. Therefore, it is vital for the department in every organization to have a well-developed scheduling to ensure that all the raw materials and the products arrive at the customer's within the specified time.

 

References

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Ásgeirsson, E. (2012). Bridging the gap between self schedules and feasible schedules in staff scheduling. Annals Of Operations Research, 218(1), 51-69. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10479-012-1060-2

Bodhani, A. (2012). Smart transport. Engineering & Technology, 7(6), 70. https://dx.doi.org/10.1049/et.2012.0611

Day, T., & Tosey, P. (2011). Beyond SMART? A new framework for goal setting. Curriculum Journal, 22(4), 515-534. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585176.2011.627213

Gestrelius, S., Aronsson, M., Joborn, M., & Bohlin, M. (2017). Towards a comprehensive model for track allocation and roll-time scheduling at marshalling yards. Journal Of Rail Transport Planning & Management. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrtpm.2017.06.002

Hanuš, M., & McClarren, R. (2016). On the Use of Symmetrized Transport Equation in Goal-Oriented Adaptivity. Journal Of Computational And Theoretical Transport, 45(4), 314-333. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23324309.2016.1164722

KARUNO, Y., & YUDA, K. (2011). 3293 Scheduling Vehicles of Minimizing the Number of Dispatched Staff Members. Proceedings Of International Conference On Leading Edge Manufacturing In 21St Century : LEM21, 2011.6(0), _3293-1_-_3293-4_. https://dx.doi.org/10.1299/jsmelem.2011.6._3293-1_

 Laird, J., & Venables, A. (2017). Transport investment and economic performance: A framework for project appraisal. Transport Policy, 56, 1-11. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2017.02.006

Michaelis, M., & Schöbel, A. (2009). Integrating line planning, timetabling, and vehicle scheduling: a customer-oriented heuristic. Public Transport, 1(3), 211-232. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12469-009-0014-9

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Nurul Habib, K. (2017). A Comprehensive Utility based System of activity-Travel scheduling Options Modelling (CUSTOM) for Worker’s Daily Activity Scheduling Processes. Transportmetrica A: Transport Science, 1-26. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23249935.2017.1385656

Peng, F., Ouyang, Y., & Somani, K. (2013). Optimal routing and scheduling of periodic inspections in large-scale railroad networks. Journal Of Rail Transport Planning & Management, 3(4), 163-171. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrtpm.2014.02.003

R.PRABHAHAR, R., & G.RAVICHANDRAN, G. (2011). Optimal Planning and Scheduling in Multistoreyed Building. Indian Journal Of Applied Research, 4(4), 72-74. https://dx.doi.org/10.15373/2249555x/apr2014/255

Rocha, M., Oliveira, J., & Carravilla, M. (2012). Cyclic staff scheduling: optimization models for some real-life problems. Journal Of Scheduling, 16(2), 231-242. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10951-012-0299-4

Samà, M., Meloni, C., D'Ariano, A., & Corman, F. (2015). A multi-criteria decision support methodology for real-time train scheduling. Journal Of Rail Transport Planning & Management, 5(3), 146-162. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrtpm.2015.08.001

Tian, W., & Demeulemeester, E. (2013). Railway scheduling reduces the expected project makespan over roadrunner scheduling in a multi-mode project scheduling environment. Annals Of Operations Research, 213(1), 271-291. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10479-012-1277-0

Wandelt, S., & Sun, X. (2015). Evolution of the international air transportation country network from 2002 to 2013. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics And Transportation Review, 82, 55-78. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tre.2015.08.002

Wang, Z. (2013). Optimized Vehicle Scheduling Algorithm of Distribution Center. Applied Mechanics And Materials, 340, 581-586. https://dx.doi.org/10.4028/www.scientific.net/amm.340.581

Yaghini, M., Alimohammadian, A., & Sharifi, S. (2012). A goal programming technique for railroad passenger scheduling. Management Science Letters, 2(2), 535-542. https://dx.doi.org/10.5267/j.msl.2011.12.013

Zhang, H., Zhang, X., & Wang, J. (2014). Robust gain-scheduling energy-to-peak control of vehicle lateral dynamics stabilisation. Vehicle System Dynamics, 52(3), 309-340. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00423114.2013.879190

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