Drax picks Quintiq for supply chain optimisation

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Power station operator Drax has implemented Quintiq’s supply chain planning and optimisation system to handle transport and storage of some 7.5 million tons of biomass every year.

Graham Backhouse, head of supply chain & logistics at Drax, said: “The project went very smoothly. Quintiq’s deep understanding of our planning challenges resulted in a transparent and collaborative implementation process. At every step of the way, they offered concrete proof of their system’s ability to improve our supply chain, make us more cost-efficient and maximise our profits.”

Drax operates the largest power station in the UK and supplies up to eight per cent of the country’s electricity needs. It converted from burning coal into becoming a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator.

Prior to Quintiq, Drax handled the transport and storage of 7.5 million tons of biomass annually through spreadsheets. This planning method was unable to support Drax’s business goals as it sought to diversify and grow its operations. Drax required a solution that would not only handle its current supply chain puzzle, but also have the flexibility to scale up as the company grew in both scope and complexity.

Together with consultancy Crimson & Co, Drax searched for a solution that would facilitate the cost-effective purchase, storage and management of the biomass and coal needed for the operation of its power station. A stringent selection exercise was conducted encompassing case studies, reviews of live supply chain planning solutions, site visits and data analysis and scenario testing to compare systems and solution providers.

The intense selection process yielded one name: Quintiq. Within three months of signing the deal in January 2016, Quintiq had developed a prototype that showcased a 95 per cent working system for ports. After a smooth implementation process, the full solution went live in September 2016.

“Quintiq presented us with a 100 per cent-fit solution that fulfils all our requirements.” said Owen Tucker, project lead at Drax. “It is flexible and extremely configurable. This flexibility is especially important as it allows us to accurately model all rules, cost structures and constraints.”

Having an accurate view of cost structures and constraints also allows Drax to have full visibility of the financial implications related to each planning decision. “We can now accurately assess the importance of all constraints at all times, along with the impact of each constraint,” said Tucker.

“This allows us to focus on meeting the hard constraints and choosing which soft constraints we can override if makes better financial sense. We can confidently balance cost with risk to find the optimal solution for our bottom line.”

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