Toyota Systems, the IT solutions division set up last year to support Toyota Motor, has been working with IT equipment and services provider Fujitsu on a computing tool to organise the complex distribution of automotive parts in Japan.
The companies have carried out a joint trial using Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer, a quantum-inspired digital technology capable of performing parallel, real-time optimisation calculations at a speed and scale not covered by traditional computing.
The technology was applied to a problem that involved 3m potential routes for parts deliveries to Toyota’s assembly facilities from hundreds of suppliers. The Digital Annealer technology rapidly calculates variables, including the number of transport trucks, total mileage and package sorting tasks, determining the most cost-effective approach.
The objective of the trial was to quickly determine the route with the lowest distribution cost for procuring parts from hundreds of suppliers and delivering them through several transit warehouses to dozens of factories. According to Fujitsu, distribution costs were calculated based on variables including the number of trucks, total travel distance, and the amount of work done in sorting packaged parts.”
According to Fujitsu the trial revealed it was possible to calculate an optimal route that reduced logistics costs by between 2-5% for each delivery within 30 minutes. Toyota Services was able to use previously unidentified distribution routes, thereby improving loading efficiency and streamlining transport-related expenses.
The two companies now aim to use the Digital Annealer to calculate logistics routes related to automobile manufacturing distribution chains, and are working to further verify and identify more practical applications.
In addition, Fujitsu said it would be taking lessons learned from the trial and incorporating them into its Digital Annealer Cloud Service, with the aim of expanding applications to other industries.