1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/06/2008   
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But wait, there's more... OR techniques also applied to ABS VIC office car fleet size

The Operations Research unit (ORU) recently undertook an investigation of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Victoria Office car fleet and car booking system in an effort to cut unnecessary costs. The aim of the analysis was to determine the feasibility of reducing the number of cars in the fleet and whether the current car booking system could be improved to make more effective use of the vehicles.
The investigation looked at data from the past 13 months to identify how many cars were used each day. It was found that on 52 of the 309 days (17%) all seven cars in the fleet were used. A sample of 20 per cent of the days when all cars were used was then taken for further analysis. Making use of operations research techniques, an optimal schedule was developed which minimized the number of cars used for the days in the sample. The optimal schedule resulted in 90 per cent of the sample using 6 or less cars, with the remaining days reduced to six or less cars when flexible boundaries of 15 minutes were applied to the bookings.

As a result of this study, the ABS Victoria Office has reduced the size of the fleet by one car, providing significant cost savings. Future studies will measure the cost/benefit implications of reducing the fleet further by analysing the cost-effectiveness of alternative transport for particular trips (such as car hire, taxis or public transport) compared to leases.

For more information on the application of OR techniques, contact Kristy Warren on (03) 9615 7042 .