Liquigas optimise LPG distribution operations in Italy

Liquigas, a joint venture between SHV Gas and an Italian shareholder, is the largest supplier of bulk and bottled gas in Italy. With 325 bulk trucks and 54 depots and loading points, more than 400,000 customers, ranging from domestic to industrial and agricultural, are supplied across the 9 branches of the Liquigas organization, which covers the whole country. To deliver the product to bulk customers, Liquigas trucks drive more than 9 million kilometers per year.

Liquigas embarked on an ambitious project to modernize and redefine its distribution operations. As the largest supplier of LPG in Italy, the signing of the agreement with authorised TouchStar partner ORTEC brought significant improvements to Liquigas’ ability to forecast, plan and distribute LPG in bulk throughout its network. Distribution was optimised and customer service levels increased, resulting in greater competitiveness and retention of its market share.

Considerable benefits

The systems of ORTEC and TouchStar brought a high return on investment for Liquigas. Operational efficiency was improved, thus reducing time, fuel and mileage costs. Customer service was enhanced because delivery schedules were more accurately calculated with increased visibility that ensured deliveries were never missed. Fleet management was improved, resulting in greater control of fleet security and adherence to driving regulations.

Improving demand forecasting

“Liquigas is proud to be at the forefront of innovation in the LPG industry in Italy”, explained Antonella Papeschi, Liquigas Sales, Marketing and Operations Director. “The adoption of a complete digital logistics process, whose core is the ORTEC planning system, represented a major step forward in LPG distribution and its goal was to optimise resources and improve customer service. In addition to forecasting and scheduling and in cooperation with Telecom Italia, this system also integrated telemetry (the remote reading of tank levels and meters), allowing Liquigas to offer a unique service to its customers.”

The main impetus for implementing these products was to bring improvements in demand forecasting, replacing manual processes and thereby lower costs whilst maintaining at least the same level of customer service. As Daniel Taylor, SHV Gas Key Account Manager at ORTEC explained, “The goal was to ensure that trucks are always utilized at full capacity and deliveries are ‘just in time’. If an order is dispatched too late, customers are dissatisfied and if orders are delivered too early, the distribution costs will increase. With the ability to create demand forecasts based on actual data, such as temperature, Liquigas benefited from improvements in the entire dispatching process.”

State of the art technology

As part of the company’s Digital Logistics Initiative, Liquigas implemented a number of ORTEC’s modular based products: ORTEC’s Vehicle Routing and Dispatching solution to optimise its fleet scheduling operations; ORTEC Orion for automated demand forecasting and order generation and ORTEC Tactical Route Planning to determine optimal master route plans and thereby balance the workload. These products integrated with TouchStar Technologies’ mobile Touch PC onboard vehicle solution. This combination of technology, product knowledge and industry experience provided Liquigas with a comprehensive, end-to-end solution to support its bulk LPG distribution.