In addition to support for dynamic routes where work to vehicle assignments are made using an artificial intelligence process, and support for static routes where the assignments are made each day based on a master schedule, Strategic Movements also supports two types of manual route planning.
Manual route planning with Strategic Movements is useful for organizations that make deliveries of products or provide specialized services that cannot be automatically assigned using dynamic routes and do not recur on regularly scheduled basis.
An example of this is a company that delivers landscaping materials to both construction sites and existing homes. In many cases, orders must be fulfilled on specific vehicles (flat bed, box truck or dump truck) and must be delivered at a specific time of the day. The vehicles may also return to a supply facility to reload to have the needed products to make another delivery on the same day.
So, with this level of complexity, why use an application like Strategic Movements at all?
In the case of the landscape supplier, this customer also wanted to use GPS to track the location of the vehicles. And since the planned routes needed to be sent to the GPS vendor, the Strategic Movements interface to their ERP system could access the deliveries to the made, and then after all the work was assigned, the routes could be sent through an interface with the GPS application. Delivery data would be entered only once into the ERP system, eliminating the need for additional work to prepare the routes for the GPS vendor's interface.
The interface to GPS vendors can also be used to send planned routes to handheld terminal vendors when more than location data needs to be reported.
There are two methods available for manual work assignment: single day plans and rolling plans.
The single day plan is used when the route planner knows the date on which the delivery is to be made.
After a plan for the day is created, the work to be done is entered through an automated interface with the ERP or business application, or through a spreadsheet upload. After the work is entered, the route planner can view both the jobs (the work to be done) and the trips (the vehicles and/or workers available for assignment) and make assignments using the drag and drop interface. When the assignments are made, the route planner can see the route on a map and will be given the projected driving time and distance for the route.
When the planning is complete, a single mouse click is all that is needed to send the planned routes to the GPS or handheld vendor for tracking.
The rolling plan is used when the route planner has some flexibility on when a delivery will be made.
Instead of having visibility to the work for a single day, the route planner will be able to see the driver or worker availability for some number of days into the future. Typically, the availability for the next one or two weeks is shown.
In this case, the route planner can assign work not just on the next day, but on any day in the near future. The work to be done can be tagged with a range of dates so that the route planner can assign the work on a date that meets the customer requirements.
And, like when using single day plans, the planned route may be sent to the GPS or handheld vendor with only a single mouse click.
At the end of each day, the plan is rolled, dropping off the day just completed and adding a new day to the end of the plan, always keeping the configured number of days available for further work assignment.
The Strategic Movements team recognizes that not every business can use fully dynamic routing to plan routes each day.
For those with a master schedule used to plan routes, we offer static route planning where predetermined plans are used as the basis of the daily work assignment.
And for those that have specific scheduling needs, we offer two methods of manual routing that allow efficient scheduling and automated interfaces to move data from a business application through the routing process to either a GPS or handheld terminal solution for effective tracking.
Last week, I wrote a blog post, Compliance Reporting For Last Mile Deliveries to show the benefits of tracking vehicle locations throughout the day, and comparing the actual delivery performance with what was planned. These benefits can be obtained not only by the organizations using dynamic and static routing, but by those using manual routing as well.
Please visit our website at www.strategicmovements.com for complete details.
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