Ron takes a look at the daily route planning in this eleven minute podcast.
Hello! I’m Ron Dombrowski, the president of Walzik and today I want to talk about route planning using Strategic Movements. Whether you call it route planning, trip planning or load planning, it is all about taking the work to be done and assigning it to a worker or vehicle that can do that work.
First, a word about Strategic Movements.
Strategic Movements is a cloud based service. That is, you access it through your browser. You can bring data in from any ERP or other business application and you can send planned route out to other applications, including those from most GPS tracking vendors.
It is also Software as a Service. In the past most applications like this were premise based and required a large upfront investment. Strategic Movements is available on a per truck per month basis with little or no upfront expense.
Now let’s look at the three basic ways to plan routes.
Manual – the planner assigns each service order or delivery ticket stop to a worker or vehicle.
Static – this is also called a master schedule where the routes for each day are planned in advance and only a few stops are added or removed from these routes. So we can say the planner uses prepplannd routes.
Dynamic – the stops and the workers or vehicles are sent to an artificial intelligence process where the stops are assigned in such a way as to minimize the drive time and distance, or we can say that the planner uses a tool for assignments.
Regardless of how the routes are planned, all changes made by the planner are done in the Strategic Movement Dispatch Board.
Let’s take a look at the Dispatch Board.
The Dispatch Board consists of three main parts.
The left column is the unassigned list contains stops to be assigned. We call these “jobs”.
The middle column is the assigned list, broken down by route. We call these “trips”.
The right column contains summary and visual information. The dashboard contains a summary line for each trip. The timeline shows a chart with blocks for drive and work time. And the map shows all the trips from a geographic perspective.
Lets’ close the dashboard and timeline.
What can you do here?
The simplest action is to drag and drop a job into a trip.
As you can see, the job has been added and a simplified line is shown. To get actual travel path, drive time and distance, click on the trip’s recompute button. Note that the drive times and distances are also updated in the trip.
Let’s take a look at another action.
Next to each job is a hamburger menu. The three lines indicate that there are more options to see if you click on it.
Let’s click on the job we just added to trip 01. The only action available is to unassign the job. Click on Unassign Job and the job is moved back to the unassigned list. And let’s recompute the trip.
Now let’s click on the hamburger menu for job 1.
For experienced planners, the Move Job to Top Right Trip is used to build trips with the fewest mouse clicks. The yellow background indicates that this a change that will have to be saved. The Change Work Time button is used to change the estimated time to be spent working on the job. The red background indicates that this is a permanent change and cannot be undone. The Find Best Trip button is used to find a place on a trip for the job that incurs the smallest additional cost.
When you click on this, you are presented with a short list of choices. In the list you will see the current time and distance of the trip, the proposed time and distance if this assignment is selected and the additional time and distance that would be incurred. The return time is also shown since you may not want to make an assignment to a trip if it means that the trip returns too late.
Let’s select the first one in the list and then click on OK. And the job is placed on the trip and the trip is recomputed.
Let’s scroll down and see where job was placed.
And let’s scroll back to the top.
You can also reorder the jobs on a trip using drag and drop. (Trip 01 E between A and B) And let’s recompute.
This does not look like an efficient route. So you can click on the optimize button and get the jobs in the best order.
Want to run it the other way? The reverse button reverses the order of the jobs and recomputes.
Since there are usually more trips in the middle column than can easily be seen, there are several blue buttons above each trip.
Click on triangle button to show or hide the trip and job data.
Too much clutter on the map? Click the eye button to hide or show the travel path and jobs on the map.
Want to move a trip out of the way? The up and down arrows move the trip up or down in the list.
You can also move a trip to the bottom or top of the list using the chevron button.
And if you want to start over on the assignments for a single trip, click on the X button to move all the jobs to the unassigned list.
You can also select jobs from the map by double clicking on them. They are placed in a list above the map, which can be dragged to a trip and dropped there.
Click on the recompute button to see the results.
Also on the map, you can click on the pencil icon and draw a box around one or more jobs to select them.
When you close the box, they appear above the map.
Then they can be dragged and dropped as we have just seen. And let’s click on the recompute button.
As you can see, there are only few simple gestures that are used to make changes in trip assignments.
Let’s undo the changes so far and close the Dispatch Board.
Back in the All Plans screen, we can take a look at the three ways to plan daily routes.
The Manual plan is typical for manual route planning.
Click on the Dispatch Board link and see all the jobs in the unassigned column.
You can make assignments by drag and drop, or select a few stops on the map and then drop them on a trip.
Let’s drag and drop a few jobs.
The we can undo and close to go back to list of plans.
Static routes are created from a master schedule of template plans. As you can see, we have a template plan for each day of the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Let’s look at the Wednesday plan. Here are four trips with assigned jobs, When we create a new plan for some specific Wednesday, all these trips and jobs will be copied.
Let’s click Close and go back to the list of plans.
Here we will create a new plan.
On this plan, we will give it a name, and a date, and select the Wednesday template plan. Then we will create the new plan.
At this point, we can add additional jobs using either the Job Edit or Job Upload from the Jobs link.
Now we have a new plan for Wednesday, June 10 and we can see it on the Dispatch Board.
As you can see, it is identical to the template plan in the master schedule.
Let’s close this and go back to the plans list to take a look at the Dynamic plan.
For this plan, the jobs were entered through an upload process and were assigned to trips using the artificial intelligence assignment process.
Unlike the manual route plan or the one created from the master schedule, the jobs are assigned with minimal work by the planner.
You can also mix and match these plan building techniques. You can put empty or partially filled trips into the static plan and do a manual assignment for the rest, or you can create static routes for some trips and use dynamic routing for other trips in the same plan.
So let’s review.
The Dispatch Board is used by the planner to make and review work assignments. Here you can do these things for a job:
- Change the work time.
- Find the best trip.
- Drag and drop to move.
- Select on the map by double clicking.
- Select in the map using map tools.
- Unassign all jobs.
- Recompute times and distances.
- Find the lowest cost sequencing.
- Reverse the stop order.
- Change the order that trips are displayed.
On the Dispatch Board:
- A list of unassigned jobs.
- A list of assigned jobs, grouped by trips.
- A dashboard to show the summary of the trips.
- A timeline to show the drive and work times throughout the day.
- And a map for the geographic view of the work.
Finally, there are three major ways to organize your work:
Manual plans where the route planner assigns jobs to trips.
Static plan that implements a master schedule that is copied to a plan to be executed each day, using the Dispatch Board to make changes.
And, dynamic plans where the assignment process is done automatically, also using the Dispatch Board to make changes.
But Wait! There’s More!
Strategic Movements has other features that have not been covered here. Take a look at our web page, videos, and blog articles for more information on:
- Time windows.
- Cube and weight limits.
- Mixed deliveries and pickups.
- Splitting job that exceed time or capacity limits.
- Uploading data
- Sending route data to other applications.
So whether you call it route planning, trip planning or load planning, and regardless of the method use, you can get your work done efficiently and effectively using Strategic Movements and the Dispatch Board.
I’m Ron Dombrowski and you can reach me through our website, www.strategicmovements.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for watching.
Hope to see you again soon.