Cement logistics: the end of the beginning

Published 18 July 2018

In 1988 Commodore still sold over one million units of its C64, nicknamed “The Model T of personal computers”, and commercial logistics software was in its infancy. We have come a long way and our industry is now starting to use artificial intelligence (AI) in its supply chains. INFORM takes you on a journey to the past, present and future of cement logistics. By Dirk Schlemper and Thomas Bergmans, INFORM GmbH, Germany.

Figure 1: logistics planning tools in 1988

In 1988 the first International Cement Review issue was published and Microsoft released the first Windows version of its Excel® program. Although blank and empty when you opened it, the tool became – and some might say still is – the reigning champion of supply chain management. Easy to configure, it helped planners and dispatchers to manage their daily activities, analyse data, or run macros to automate calculations. But a macro is not the same as an optimisation engine and when it comes to creating complex delivery schedules and fleet configurations for the following shift(s), spreadsheet-based tools are not sufficient to support the decision-making process.

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