Fargo Systems, the UK’s leading provider of logistics software to the container haulage industry is delighted to announce the launch of its new Smart Vendor Planning tool. The latest innovation to join its highly successful TOPS transport management software (TMS), Smart Vendor Planning is now available as an optional add-on module for TOPS. This new tool provides transport planners with a sophisticated, but user-friendly automation tool for efficient utilisation of subcontract resources. The new Smart Vendor Planning tool offers a cost-effective solution that can significantly reduce costs for companies that subcontract out a large proportion of their work such as shipping lines, freight forwarders and clearing houses. For a container transport operation outsourcing 300 container moves a day, it is estimated that Fargo’s Smart Vendor Planning tool could generate savings in the region of £1m per annum with the tool itself costing less than five percent of that saving! For the more modest operation, or where a combination of own fleet and outsourcing occurs, it only requires a very small cost percentage saving on a small number of orders to pay for its implementation. The TOPS TMS from Fargo Systems already enables the transport planner to view individual vendor rates when deciding which one to assign specific transport instructions to, but the new Smart Vendor Planning tool automates this process, providing the user with a default plan from which they can decide which parts to deploy and which to re-plan. While the intelligent tool takes into account subcontractor rates with the aim of reducing costs, its purpose is by no means just about finding the cheapest solution. Capacity preferences ensure defined minimums and maximums are adhered to wherever possible, but the Smart Vendor Planning tool also recognises that very often there are other criteria that define which vendor is selected. It may be that certain vendors are always used for collections or deliveries in certain geographic areas, or it may be that the carrier or the shipper/consignee has already got a preferred truck company or transport mode preference. In these scenarios, the vendor can be defined once against a set of rules and the system will always try to use them first. Other criteria such as hazardous and weight capabilities are also factored into the selection. Jim Slade, Product Consultant with Fargo Systems, comments, “Very rarely is one vendor cheaper on every route and it is impossible for a transport planner to keep all of the rates as well as capabilities of vendors in their head in a busy planning environment. Our new Smart Vendor Planning tool provides a cost-effective solution that enables users to quickly assign subcontractors to some (or even all) transport orders for a given date range, and accept or reject the system-provided suggestions. The tool is designed in such a way as to assist, not replace, the transport planner. With the combination of human expertise and experience and a logic and rule-based semi-automated system, we expect customers who adopt this tool to make some very significant cost savings.” Jim adds, “As an ex-transport planner myself, I can appreciate why no-one in the role believes in fully-automated optimisation systems which is why we allow and encourage our users to review and interact with the results; it is the users who ultimately manage the vendor relationship and who can therefore satisfactorily add the personal angle into the mix.” Fargo Systems offer comprehensive on-office and webcast demonstrations of the Smart Vendor Planning tool and also offer options that enable customers to trial and evaluate the system. For further information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 0845 834 0345.