Optimized transport with volatile quantities? It is possible!

March 8, 2024

Transport in the agro-industrial sector is subject to crop quantity hazards. With a real quantity known at the last moment, optimizing transport becomes a complex matter. A TVMS can solve this problem.

It is not surprising that some industrial sectors have problems intrinsic to their activity. The petrochemical industry, for example, is required to be particularly attentive to the safety of its cargoes in the face of their rarity and their danger. The automotive industry is sensitive to delivery times, with factory efficiency being adjusted to the minute and very high.

For the agro-industrial sector, one of the problems lies in the volatility of the quantities of raw materials harvested. It is absolutely impossible for agro-industrial companies to predict precisely what quantity will be harvested in the fields. This has a direct impact on the transport of these goods, and on the rest of the supply chain. It is essential for agro-industrial actors to take the right measures to respond to this problem and thus streamline and optimize transport.

An unpredictable harvest

A refinery is able to accurately predict the quantity of oil it will send; a metallurgical plant the number of finished parts; a car factory the number of cars; etc. The reality is quite different in agro-industry. The quantities transported from the production sites are constantly variable. While it is possible to predict a range of volumes, precision to the ton is unthinkable.

On paper, a farm planted X tons of cereals. However, the totality of this harvest will never be exploited afterwards. Part of the crop will always be damaged, making it unsuitable for exploitation. There are several explanations for this: climatic hazards, diseases, insects... By definition, the volume of crops is always volatile.

The imperatives of a volatile schedule

The transport of goods by rail involves car reservations in advance in order to ensure that transport is carried out on time. When making this reservation, it is necessary to indicate the quantity transported. However, as mentioned before, this quantity in the agro-industrial sector is constantly subject to variations. It is common for a planned transport of X tons to end up being smaller than expected.

However, this variation is only known at the last moment. In fact, harvesting is often done the day before transport, for reasons of storage and freshness of the raw materials. The transport teams are therefore informed the day before the departure of the actual quantity in the cars. It is of course possible to send a car that is less full than expected, but this is not desirable for businesses: a half-full car means additional costs or a loss of profit, because the bigger a car is, the more expensive it is. These are expenses that could be avoided by adapting the size of the car and their number to the actual quantity of the crop. But with this information only obtained overnight, it is a complex reality to obtain. It is often not possible to change the transport at the last minute.

Solving the problem of the volatility of the quantities to be transported

However, being able to change your transport overnight is essential for agricultural businesses wishing to optimize their transport and reduce their costs. Depending on the transport organization set up in the company, this is not necessarily easy. Rail freight transport sometimes requires reservations months in advance, and last-minute changes are not always possible or easy to make.

However, it is not impossible. It is to respond to this crucial problem in agro-industry that the TVMS (Transport & Visibility Management System) allows agricultural shippers to request changes to their transport overnight. Thanks to the TVMS collaborative platform, shippers and railway companies communicate more easily and quickly about planned transport.

Instead of a series of calls and/or emails in a disaster between the railway company and the shipper, it is possible for shippers to easily submit a transport modification on the platform, and for railway companies to accept it or not. By facilitating collaboration between the various stakeholders, TVMS facilitates the optimization of transport and the reduction of costs.

Discover the other advantages of TVMS for the agro-industrial sector