Topic Transport ORTEC

Route Scheduling

What is Route Scheduling?

One of the main roles of a transport planner is to create a highly efficient schedule. This involves combining orders with routes and shifts in such a way that total costs are minimized, and all business rules and service constraints satisfied. In today’s world, this is a process far too complex to be done manually.

Why optimize Route Scheduling?

The complexity of transportation planning is increasing rapidly. First, customers are becoming more demanding and legislation stricter, while rising fuel and labor costs are adding further pressures. Secondly, there is a trend towards supply chain optimization. These factors increase enormously the choices that a planner has to make. There is a real need for a route scheduling optimizer that can create optimal routes and shifts for drivers while at the same time taking into account numerous restrictions, including:

  • Time windows: loading and unloading locations (e.g. depots, customers), inner city restrictions
  • Time & distance: travel times and distances between all locations taking into account speeds, vehicle types and expected traffic congestion
  • Vehicle limitations: including e.g. weight, volume, loading meters, pallets (and combinations of these elements); but also compartments and other complex loading restrictions
  • Resource capabilities: different types of vehicles, trailers and drivers. Each with their own required capabilities for driving, (un)loading and other location-specific restrictions
  • Driver availability: a driver must be available, and scheduled routes must adhere to driving and working time legislation
  • Cost constraints: taking into account the cost structures of the various resources or subcontractors when minimizing costs
  • Other constraints: including multi-depot scheduling (e.g. multiple location loading on one route, combining in- and outbound flows, etc), as well as any industry-specific business constraints

How to optimize Route Scheduling?

Advanced Routing and Scheduling delivers innovative decision support for route scheduling. This includes:

  • Cutting-edge optimization. State-of-the-art optimization engines compute optimal routes, with the underlying algorithms based on a combination of fundamental R&D and robust academic theory. Progress screens show intermediate results and the planner can even fine-tune settings to compare different optimization strategies. Optimizers can be used for optimizing both distribution and collection. They also support a variety of combinations, such as mixed collection and distribution, inbound and outbound, and multi-depot scenarios. If different business divisions within a company require different optimization strategies, these can be modeled in the solution. And depending on circumstances and problem characteristics, the planner has the capability to decide to apply different strategies to obtain a desired outcome
  • Choices presented. Advanced Routing and Scheduling solution contain proposal functionality that presents the best options for inserting an order or route into an existing schedule, but leaving the ultimate decision up to the planner 
  • User-friendly overviews. The users have a full overview of the schedule at all times: orders, routes and resources are shown. Gantt charts and maps display information graphically, and real-time KPI gauges indicate the quality of each schedule
  • Easy adjusting of schedules. Planners can adjust a schedule at any time. Useful for trying out different scenarios, squeezing in a rush order, or overruling restrictions based on ad-hoc business decisions or specific planner knowledge. For example, allowing a vehicle to be late if a customer consents to this. So the know-how of your planner and the optimizing power of our technology combine to deliver the best possible solution for your business
  • Better results, including:
    • more efficient operations through better utilization of own resources and sub-contractors, plus reduced empty miles and improved vehicle utilization, generally yielding cost savings of 2–10%
    • reduced CO2 footprint due to the reduction of miles per stop
    • operational excellence: a centralized planning organization and increased span of control for planners
    • improved flexibility for customers by delivering a quick, flexible response to orders that are running late
    • higher service levels: more on-time deliveries; adherence to legislation, rules and constraints 
What are the results of optimizing Route Scheduling?

The results of optimizing Route Scheduling with ORTEC:
  • Increased insight into route plans and vehicle costs
  • Reduced planning and dispatching time
  • Greater capability to manage last-minute changes (e.g. urgent orders)
  • Quick simulation of different planning scenarios
  • Comparison of planned routes with actual driven routes
  • Automatic consideration of restrictions such as delivery windows
  • Significantly lower transport costs by reducing driving distance, driving time, and increasing vehicle utilization
Why contact ORTEC to optimize Route Scheduling?

The advanced routing and scheduling optimization solutions of ORTEC can be applied in a broad range of (sub-)industries, such as transportation/3PL, retail and shippers (e.g. CPG or manufacturing). If the complexity or volume of your operation is increasing, if you are progressing from static to more dynamic scheduling, or if you are moving to a more centralized organization, the powerful optimization engines and planner options offered by ORTEC are not just useful, they are essential.