Over the years, I have had two opportunities for working with vehicle delivery problems. Very different businesses, but the same problem needed to be addressed.

In one case, we worked with a trucking company that picked up import vehicles at a port and delivered them to dealers in a specific region.

There was always a mix of vehicles and usually no dealer needed a complete load of vehicles at any one time, so the trips from the port to the dealers needed to be planned and the stops scheduled.

In the other case, it was for a trucking company that wanted to deliver vehicles purchased at large auctions. The business plan was to offer a very attractive rate for transporting the vehicles since their truck would leave the action site with a full load and the dealers purchasing the vehicles would not have to arrange for their own, and probably more expensive, transportation.

Placing vehicles on a carrier is not trivial. Not only is an efficient trip needed, but what about the size of the vehicles? That small space in the front of the trailer may be a great fit for a sports car, but not for a large SUV. If there is a business rule that vehicles must be loaded in such a way that they come off the trailer in order, this must be considered.

Effective trip planning and stop scheduling can be applied to many facets of transportation. And in all of these cases, the needs are the same: reduce the time needed to plan trips, and plan trips that reduce overall transportation costs.

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