Hanson lays foundations for GIS roll-out

Building materials supplier Hanson appoints data mapping and location intelligence specialist Esri Australia to implement GIS to manage transport fleet internationally

May 24, 2011

Hanson, one of Australia’s largest heavy building materials suppliers, has appointed data mapping and location intelligence specialist Esri Australia to develop and implement a geographic information system (GIS) to manage its transport fleet internationally.

For the past decade, Esri Australia has partnered with Hanson Australia to deliver GIS solutions that provide input into its advanced fleet allocation processes, reducing costs and time spent on the road, and increasing fuel efficiencies across Hanson’s 1,000-strong Australian metropolitan fleet.

Eighteen months ago, Hanson Australia was requested by parent company Heidelberg Cement to upgrade the system to the latest Esri technology and deliver a GIS solution that could be used as the blueprint for an international roll-out starting with pilot programs in the United Kingdom and with a joint-venture company in Hong Kong.

"In Australia we have a highly-effective GIS that set the standard for the rest of our operations worldwide," says Andrew Warde, Project Manager, Hanson.

"It is a critical component of the logistics process and integrates seamlessly into our other corporate systems and processes.

"Developing a single GIS, that can be easily customised for individual country requirements, will potentially save Heidelberg Cement hundreds of thousands of dollars on each additional country installation, shortening project delivery periods from 18 months to as little as just three months."

Esri Australia’s GIS solution is used by Hanson’s order processing and truck allocation teams to co-ordinate building materials deliveries. It enables staff to select the most efficient dispatch point in relation to the customer’s address.

Trucks often need to come from many different depots and the GIS calculates duration and travel time for the most-efficient routes, taking into consideration road restrictions, such as no right-hand turns or smaller roads that cannot be accessed by large trucks.

A large percentage of Hanson Australia’s deliveries are made to new housing and commercial development sites, where road systems are only just being built. One of the key advantages of Esri Australia’s GIS solution is that it enables Hanson’s staff to edit and update the road network maps, saving processing time for future site deliveries.

In the future, Hanson and Heidelberg Cement plan to use the technology to analyse locations compared with its existing plant footprint and ensure future expansion is targeted to meet its customers’ needs.

Hanson’s CIO Rob Downing adds: "Esri Australia has been an important partner since 1999. The Esri GIS system provides time and distance calculations for our truck deliveries. It is essential to get our product to site on-time, given the two-hour shelf life of wet concrete, as well as pay our drivers and charge our customers correctly."

"Hanson is an excellent example of how organisations can use GIS to deliver really powerful business insights and reap significant cost benefits from doing so," comments Chris Hogan, Manager, Professional Services, Esri Australia.

"A recent study we conducted of 397 geo-enabled businesses revealed IT professionals believe GIS delivers greatest return on investment when leveraged across an entire organisation. The Hanson and Heidelberg Cement international roll-out of our GIS solution demonstrates impressive understanding of the additional business value that can be achieved by enterprise-wide GIS."

The Esri Australia system is a server-based technology that is being integrated with Hanson’s other ERP systems, such as SAP, to deliver comprehensive business insights and analytics around fleet use.

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