The Presentation of Palm Oil Mill Data

The cost of operating a medium-sized commercial palm oil mill - upwards of $30.000 a year when account is taken of fixed costs, running costs and a driver's wages - makes it essential for palm oil companies to exercise the tightest possible control over their distribution costs. This is especially true when the capital cost of mill and, hence, their depreciation are on the increase because of the more sophisticated nature of fleets. Tighter regulations, for example, on the distribution of chilled foods - are having a great impact on running costs. The need for control, therefore, has never been more important. Equally, control of costs of relatively small mill can yield substantial benefits for operators.

As a means of exercising control, one of the most important requirements is information which can be used to measure the effectiveness of the fleet. Once this is available, it is possible to examine ways in which the performance can be improved and to establish a system of monitoring this improvement on a contiguous basis. Consultancy assignments are often concerned with establishing the data on which sound judgments can be made in the future.

A fundamental measure for any operation is the journey duration or workload. This ultimately determines the size of the fleet required to meet customer delivery schedules. To establish such a measure it is essential to undertake some programs of work measurement, normally using conventional work study techniques, in order to establish work standards which can be used as a basis for evaluating journey and total fleet workload. This is normally done by physically observing and recording the time required to complete the various activities which have to be carried out:

1. Loading of customer ordered goods to the palm oil mill in whatever delivery containers may be in use.

2. Preparation of palm oil mill for departure and completion of all necessary safety checks.

3. Driving from supply depot to customer premises and between successive customer drops before returning to supply depot. This stage entails recording time and distance on the varying types of load - for example, rural or urban motorway, dual carriageway, single lane A 0r B road.

4. Maneuvering into and from customer premises and preparation for and completion of the delivery.

5. Offloading and delivery of palm oil product to the customer, checking, loading of returned goods and empty containers.

6. Offloading of returns and empty containers at depot and completion of all journey documentation.

It is essential to quantify all the above routines independently in order to establish the variable work content of the activates. Once established, the data becomes the foundation for all subsequent actions and decisions and for the control system, however sophisticated it may be. The detailed results are simplified so that work standards can be produced which relate to the main components of the delivery operation i.e. journeys completed, kilometers travelled, customer calls made, sales units delivered. it is then possible to evaluate each individual journey in terms of the time required to complete it. Presentation of the data would normally be in such a way that consistent comparisons between operations or depots can be made for example work standards expressed in standard hours per 100 or 1000 units.
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