The Silicon Review
Automation and optimization in the logistics and supply chain industry is essential for delivering effective business solutions to customers. As the logistics and supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, companies are struggling to meet higher consumer expectations for speed of delivery and consumer flexibility. A greater demand exists for on-time deliveries and for deliveries that meet customers’ time-specific requirements. The opportunity exists for companies to significantly reduce costs and improve performance using technology. Instant access to real-time, accurate information managed by smart, proactive logistics systems is essential for success in the new digital age.
With the ever-increasing need to focus on making operations as efficient as possible and the penetration of technology in the logistics sector, logistics companies have to adopt technical solutions that help them gain competitive advantage and achieve growth. Cheetah Software Systems Loop Platform helps them achieve just that.
Bobby Darroll, founder and president of Cheetah Software Systems, noticed that businesses managing complex relationships with their customers were more successful at customer retention, increasing revenue and adding business value. He saw the opportunity to provide a smart solution for these logistics management and customer service issues and developed the original Cheetah platform to provide the first access to optimization and visibility into logistics operations in 1986. Cheetah is one of the world’s most advanced operational dynamic logistics platform. It is the only operations solution that not only plans delivery routes, but also predicts extremely accurate arrival times as it adapts, live and automatically, to changing operational conditions. These changes include traffic, weather, accidents, customer cancellations, new stop-insertion and driver exceptions. “Sophisticated routing algorithms, system flexibility, a plethora of data sources and live, adaptive automation makes Cheetah the most advanced and efficient practical logistics platform in the market today that delivers in the shortest time possible to customers driving low operating costs”, says Bobby Darroll.
Automation in Logistics: Decision making automation is the launching pad for new growth and innovation.
Delivery operations are labor intensive from start to finish. Route changes, pickups and deliveries take manpower to oversee and manage.
Most logistics software systems are currently equipped with automation in order entry, accounting, driver visibility (historical GPS) and customer notifications about past events, giving visibility to the driver and dispatcher of where the driver has been... but what about future visibility - where the driver is relative to where he/she should be?
In order to improve efficiencies, automation of dispatcher decision-making, planning and customer notification (future) must be implemented. Predictive algorithms are needed to make intelligent automated decisions.
Automation at its finest, and when employed correctly, drives many benefits to the bottom line. Whether it’s automation in the way of robotics on the manufacturing floor, or automation features which eliminate manual process, or automation features that give you information seamlessly, one thing is for sure, automation in every industry is on the rise. Logistics automation in technology has proved to help drive efficiency, eliminate waste, and most importantly helps save money.
Intelligent automation isn’t an option; it’s a necessity. The question is whether you have the capabilities to not just use it, but also implement it across every aspect of your organization and maximize the benefits.
Autonomous Logistics: Drone Package Delivery for Mainstream Logistics
Cheetah Air, a division of Cheetah Software Systems has successfully developed and tested its fully autonomous UAV platform.
The automated drone solution is integrated with the core Cheetah Logistics Operations Optimization Platform, Cheetah LOOP, which is used extensively by FedEx SameDay City and Macy’s to deliver products and packages to consumers every day. The use of drones increases the delivery speed for time sensitive material and adds security at low cost. Their use omits issues with traffic or network environmental concerns. The Cheetah Air System communicates directly with the Cheetah LOOP Platform, full aerial vehicle telemetry are provided in real time. The Cheetah-Air system provides information back to the Cheetah platform including delivery stop arrival and departure, mapping route locations and ETAs, etc. The dynamic nature of the Cheetah LOOP routing and logistics platform means it can alter deliveries even after the mission has started and the drone is airborne.
Cheetah system helps JS Logistics expand past 7000 deliveries per day with half the dispatch staff
“My cost of operations in Kansas City has got to be 20 to 30 percent lower than any of my competitors.” – John Cochran, President, JS Logistics.
JS realized that if it wished to expand, it would need to add a dispatch center to each new city – crippling margins and impacting its competitiveness in new territories. The company therefore spent two years searching for the right logistics system before selecting Cheetah Software Systems.
Cheetah automatically assigns deliveries to drivers based on factors such as current location, customer requirements, distance, time and cost. The entire pickup and delivery sequence is transmitted to drivers over a wireless network via mobile devices, which drivers use to key in the completion of each task. As conditions change, Cheetah recalculates all ETA’s taking into account delays, additional pickups, and other in-route events. Customer service representatives (CSRs) can view this information in real time and relay updates to customers without the need to call dispatchers or drivers. “My operations department went from 10 dispatchers to five, and I was able to increase my volume from 3,000 deliveries a day to about 7,000 deliveries,” said John Cochran, president of JS Logistics. “By utilizing Cheetah and Motorola technology, we are able to be a very low cost provider and still make our margin.”
Fact: Cheetah developed the first of several generations of systems that provided a quantum leap in access to information about goods in the logistics pipeline and one of our first customers was Circuit City, followed by Sears, Macys and 70+ other customers.
How Customers Make Our Product Stronger
Regular interaction with our customers and constantly getting feedback with quarterly business reviews help us to maintain a leading competitive edge in the marketplace. Our product is evolving daily as we listen to our customers to understand how this economic shift in logistics and its many new channels and customer expectations has changed the way they do business. We can quickly adapt to change as the level of what can be automated constantly increasing.
One of our greatest challenges is helping people trust their tools and see the technology as a means for improving efficiency and accuracy and not just as a threat to their livelihood. This is still somewhat of a challenge in the industry today. As the use of technology becomes more commonplace in our everyday lives, people are learning to embrace, or at least accept, that it is now making our lives easier and safer in countless ways every day. Encouraging customers not just merely to embrace this but also to understand that technology drives logistics. Amazon is an excellent example of a tech company that is moving into logistics and completely changing the game and reshaping what everyone does.
Factors for Success
Customers – Visionary company leadership individuals and teams at the head of operational execution making optimum use of Cheetah LOOP to take their companies to the next level.
Employees/people – World Class Team with 200+ years of combined operational expertise and experience in best-in-class Supply Chain, Logistics, Operations optimization working for/at Fortune 500 companies.
Innovation/Stability – working collaboratively toward common goals with a long history of consistent growth and achievement provide a stable and trusted platform on which to build the future.
Developing disruptive products – by seeing a vision of the future before it happens.
Let’s meet the leader behind Cheetah Software Systems, CEO Bobby
Mr. Darroll has built Cheetah Software Systems into world’s most advanced platform for optimizing logistics operations. The Cheetah systems powers some of the leading businesses in the USA. Cheetah’s current customers include Macy’s, Fedex Office and Print Services, Central Freight Lines, and many more.
After studying computer science at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, Mr. Darroll made the move to the Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry in the field of animation working on epic features like the movie Tron.
He developed the original Cheetah System after visiting his local Circuit City to purchase items he would need to fill his new home and discovered the store could only coordinate delivery by the day and with very large time windows, leaving him (the customer) stuck at home waiting all day for a delivery. He also noticed that the store could not only not give him a more defined time window, but they also had little if any contact with their drivers once the trucks left to make deliveries.
Mr. Darroll immediately recognized the opportunity to provide a smart solution to this logistics and customer service issue. He developed the first generation of what is now Cheetah LOOP to provide optimization and visibility into these operations and Circuit City signed on as his first customer.
Everything from the deliveries (orders), to the location of the drivers, to the capacity of the truck to protocol for damaged items, cancelled orders, and the like were built into the system. With every new customer came new functionalities including the ability to cancel and inject orders after the truck had left to make its first delivery. With our dynamic on-demand real-time global operational visibility and predictive ETA’s every step of the way, Cheetah had become a full-blown logistics operations optimization platform.
Previously, Mr. Darroll worked as a systems engineer at Perseus Computing in South Africa and created logistics solutions for Total Oil. Stemming from his intense interest from an early age in computer solutions to business problems, and in particular, logistics and customer service issues. Today with more than 28 years of professional business computer experience with an emphasis in logistics, routing, and scheduling, Mr. Darroll is one of the world’s leading experts in logistics, business solutions, and future directions in the logistics space.
“Cheetah provides Technology Solutions needed to achieve the Visibility, Optimization, Customer Care and Control that drives successful supply chains.”