Cost cutting and qualtiy
When an organization considers to implement route planning the objectives should be increased productivity, savings and increased quality in costumer services.
Savings can arise from better utilization of company resources; all the cars and other vehicles you have and the mobile workers like drivers, technicians or service personnel who should carry out tasks at different addresses.
When automating route planning, you will probably also experience significant savings on the office time spent planning the routes. As route scheduling programs are refined, many will find that planning for a large fleet of vehicles and employees can be done completely automatically.
Better quality and increased service levels as a result of automated route planning and fleet optimization derives from better prediction of arrival times, which can be communicated to customers, but also from the fact that the route planning engine can accommodate allthe requirements associated with a task. This could be the need for special employee or vehicle qualifications or time windows where the task is allowed to be solved. Finally organizations find that the speed of the route planning process makes it possible to allow for costumers to order goods or to book services at a later time and still get serviced the following day.
Route planning principles:
The goal is to make “the best overall plan” for a fleet of vehicles and employees.
“The best plan” is then defined as the plan that offers both the lowest total costs and, at the same time, meets all requirements and restrictions.
The most significant cost elements that the route planning software will calculate and then minimize are “total driving time between the tasks and the number of vehicles / employees to be used. Sometimes it is also relevant to include a cost for waiting time if a resource arrives at a task location before the beginning of the allow time window. For school bus routes, medical trips and other demand responsive transport services there will be even more cost elements; primarily to ensure passenger convenience by creating routes that keep individual travel time for all passengers as low as possible.
Besides keeping costs low it is also essential that the route planning software ensures that all routes will respect all restrictions and constraints that the company attaches to each tasks.
In practice, both the tasks that needs to be solved and the vehicles and employees available to perform the tasks must be described as input to route planning software.
The information needed on tasks includes the addresses where tasks must be performed, the time it takes to complete a task, one or more time windows where the task can be performed, requirements for special qualifications to perform the task, weight and volume of deliveries, preferred driver (resource group) etc. Resources; the vehicles and employees, are described with information about working hours, breaks, locations to start and end the working day, qualifications and memberships of resource groups, etc.
How the route planning software works:
The total drive time for the entire fleet of vehicles should be minimized. Therefore, drive times for all combinations of routes must be calculated. If you have only 100 places to visit, routes from 100 to 100 addresses will be calculated which results in 10,000 route calculations. If you have 1,000 places to visit, the number of route calculations dramatically rises to 1,000,000 route calculations – which fortunately is handled quite fast with Logistics Planner.
With the next step the Logistics Planner sets up an initial plan that complies with all requirements and restrictions. Costs for each route plan are then calculated and summed up to the total costs of the plan.
Logistics Planner is now running a number of improvement steps, which move around tasks between potential vehicles and employees in order to minimize the total cost of the plan. In practice, this involves calculating very large numbers of combinations, and it is precisely here that the software for route planning surpasses what is possible for a human planner.
When all improvement steps are completed and all cost reductions are utilized; Logistics Planner will delivered route plans for each vehicle and employee. Driving orders can be lists and or routes shown on a map.
Fleet optimization or sequence optimization:
Route planning can be both fleet optimization for a large pool of tasks which can be assigned to different resources (VRP; or Vehicle Routing Problem) or
it can be optimization of a single route or a district for which it has already been decided what tasks are associated with the route (TSP or Traveling Salesman Problem); The planning is then just about optimizing the order or sequence of which the tasks should be performed.
Rapidis Logistics Planner offers both types of route planning, VRP and TSP. It is our experience that the fleet optimization (VRP) provides much larger savings and therefore should be preferred if possible.
Many companies can benefit from both fleet optimization and single route optimization for different purposes. For example; if you initially fleet optimization and then single-route optimization to add new tasks that occur throughout the day, you have a fairly flexible solution that takes into account that most businesses only know some of today’s tasks when working hours begin.
Route Planning is relevant for:
Companies and organizations carrying out many tasks at different locations and that have many cars and employees who could be assigned to various tasks will often have great potential for savings with route planning and fleet optimization.
Rapidis Logistics Planner is available in several editions, each targeted to provide efficient routes for specific industries with individual needs. Industries targeted for Logistics Planner editions are:
- Mail delivery and distribution of commercial folders and free newspapers
- Distribution of parcels and goods
- Courier services
- School bus routes, medical trips and para transit
- Service technicians and inspection tasks
- Collection routes for residential household waste and industrial waste
Rapidis solve multiple scenarios within route planning, scheduling and logistics with our software “Rapidis Logistics Planner” (RLP) which is a fast software component for fleet optimization and analytics.
RLP works perfect as extension for ArcGIS, but all RLP editions are also available as cloud hosted web services.
Please contact Leif Dahl Petersen for more information, pricing and documentation.