FAQ's

Frequently asked questions about the Route Optimiser software

What is Route Planning?

Route Planning implies the ability to build and evaluate individual routes.

Using the input of placenames, postcodes, addresses or coordinates the result is presented in the form of a map and an Itinerary.

The map contains a road network with speed attributes, restrictions for weight and one-way road attributes. Routing systems uses the road network for each calculation evaluating each road type. The result can be presented in either Word or Excel in detail with breakdown of driven km per road class (eg Toll roads) in each country.

What is Route Optimisation?

Route Optimisation implies the ability to plan and optimise routes for an entire vehicle fleet.

The optimisation takes into account order volumes, constraints such as time windows, vehicle requirements, etc.

Route Optimisation systems provides effective vehicle scheduling management, allowing reduction of transport costs whilst maintaining client service. A schedule may constitute of orders for a day, but may also cover a period of three months.

The tremendous flexibility of the system makes it ideal for planning day-to-day multi-drop or trunking routes, producing detailed quotations or assessing alternative logistics strategy.

Planning levels: What includes Strategic Planning?
Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is as the name suggests a long-term planning. Strategic planners within a company are few, often centrally located problem solvers or internal consultants. Planning systems are usually installed locally on the user's own PC or webb-based. Input data is obtained from eg ERP systems. The planner uses such as Excel to process the input data to suit the current issue and a format that can be used in planning the program. Once the data is read it's time to perform the simulations in the system. Sample questions:

  • Where is the optimal stock depot located?
  • What happens to the cost of transport at the closing of a distribution center?
  • How does customers' time requirements affect transport cost?
  • Where should I put my HUB?

Output can be eg Maps and Excel reports with indicators of different scenarios.

Planning levels: What includes Tactical Planning?
Tactical Planning

The principle of the tactical planning is to create a basis for a daily planning that is reused - a fixed Route plan. The reason you want a fixed Route plan may be to serve as shops need to have staff available to handle the delivery. Many food distributors have such obligations, and then you can not change plans at short notice. The advantage of the tactical planning method is that the IT project is quite simple: you can work with local installations of route planning software, have relatively few users and, as with strategic planning, download files from the ERP system for further processing in eg Excel. In some cases, use Excel as the data source for planning. It creates a simple table with stores which are imported into the planning tool. The disadvantage of tactical planning is that with a fixed structure, it lacks the daily adjustment of resources. Example of use:

  • Design of district and vehicle areas
  • Generate routes for the week days for all vehicles.

The main output is the Route plan that are distributed to relevant drivers printed on paper or downloaded to the PDA for example.

Planning levels: What includes Operational Planning?
Operational planning

If you make the daily re-planning based on available orders and resources it is called operational planning. To get a valid operational planning it requires a link between the routing system and the company's order system. The IT part of the project will be somewhat more complex and also must verify that the data in the order system is correct. The route planner must be assured that all information in the system are correct and may be used for decision. Practical experience has shown that the technical link between the system often is relatively easy to implement but they often underestimate the difficulty of cleaning the data in the order system. These errors can be of many kinds: wrong addresses, PO boxes for deliveries, wrong information in the weight and volume, etc. When you have started an operational planning will achieve the multiple values:

  • Optimal usage of drivers and vehicles.
  • Daily adjustments to the current situation.
  • Efficient utilisation of the planning staff.
  • Ability to quickly make strategic simulations or tactical planning.

The output is the same as for tactical planning, such as itineraries for drivers and overview Maps.

Planning levels: What includes Live planning?
Live (Real-Time) planning

Some industries have a need for continuous reprogramming during the day. It can be a courier service or transportation service. You would then want a scheduling system integrated into the order system or in a map-based traffic monitoring system. A good implementation provides extremely quick response if there is opportunity for joint planning when the new orders are received. The planner does not interact with the planning process, all is done automatically with built-in functions in the order system. For example, you can start an optimisation each time a new order will be added. In the case of real-time planningm, it will require the same high standards of accurate information for operational planning. By providing the order system with validation (checking that each input data is reasonable or correct) you can avoid wrong decisions, or time-consuming manual correction. Since scheduling systems should be fully integrated into order system it requires a major IT project than any other type of planning. Characteristic of real-time planning are:

  • Continuous real-time optimisation is suitable for the industries that receive new orders during the day and who immediately need to make quick decisions.
  • Better results with optimisation than with the only map, the planning system has full control of what each vehicle is loaded with, and what other orders are assigned to the vehicle.
  • When the optimisation is integrated into the order system it requires minimal training.
  • Optimal usage of vehicles, drivers and the planning staff.
  • All planners have access to the optimisation functions.

Output is presented in the form of a draft choice of vehicle for the order.

Detail level of digital maps?

Route Optimiser provides a comprehensive range of maps around the world. Detailed maps down to street level, from providers like TomTom can be used with all Route Optimiser systems.

In addition to a detailed road network that includes restrictions for weight and one-way attributes, each map contains placenames, zipcodes and street addresses.

Can the Route Optimiser systems use zipcodes?

Absolutely! Route Optimiser has the most comprehensive database for zipcodes in Europe.

Each zipcode has a centre that is used to geocode customers according to zipcode data.
Example: Major cities in Sweden have an accuracy equivalent to neighborhood level.

Route Optimiser has a very extensive postcode database of nearly 230,000 postcodes for Europe as below:

Albania (35), Andorra (7), Armenia (60), Austria (2426), Belarus (122), Belgium (1173), Bosnia & Herzagovina (143), Bulgaria (139), Croatia (976),Cyprus (1571), Czech Republic (2938), Denmark (1223),Estonia (1464), Faroe Islands (119), Finland (3047),France (6455), Germany (29682), Gibraltar (1), Greece (722), Greenland (29), Guernsey (6), Sweden (15089), Hungary (3024), Iceland (148), Ireland (22), Isle of Man (52), Italy (4890), Jersey (3), Kirgizstan (215), Latvia (1200), Liechtenstein (13), Lithuania (920), Luxembourg (3804),Macedonia (320), Malta (30), Moldova (20), Monaco (3), Netherlands (24337), Norway (4491), Orkney Islands (3), Poland (22816), Portugal (525), Romania (110), Russian Federation (43149), San Marino (1),Slovakia (1608), Shetland Islands (6), Slovenia (549), Spain (11216), Switzerland (5143), Turkey (7470), Ukraine (18330), United Kingdom (13407), Vatican State (3), Yugoslavia (1957), Aland (32) Total: 229933

What are the different versions available?
PC version (Desktop)

A client installation of the system on a regular PC running Windows.

Integration (API)

Route Optimiser module built into a new system and acts as a hidden component. Plans can then be easily automated.

Online (Cloud)

The system is installed on a Webserver. Works both on the Internet and Intranets. The client side needs only a web browser.

In which file formats can I import data?

Data (eg Orders) can be imported in several standard formats, but the following formats are the most common ones:

  • XML
  • Fixed ASCII
  • CSV or CSV (delimited text)
  • Excel
How does the Route Optimiser Route Optimisation work?

Route Optimiser Route Optimisation is very sophisticated and we can not fully describe how all parts work. But we can provide a summary description of how the core functions are working.

Scheduling is based on several components:

  • A digital map is the basis for all travel time calculations.
  • A planning profile contains information on eg working hours, vehicle types, products, etc.
  • An order file imported by the user, contains attributes and is given a geographic location (coordinate).
  • Each order may contain numerous attributes such as time windows, stoppage time, vehicle access requirements, etc.
  • All settings in the planning profile represents a framework that scheduling must obey.
  • Route Optimiser Route Optimisation can be done both automatically and semi-automatically.
Automatic scheduling:

Allows the system to sort all orders by a priorities. Orders are allocated to different routes according to the optimisation algorithm and order priorities. A second step of optimisation is the optimsation of the actual call sequence, in other words, the routes are optimised sequentially.

Semi-Automatic Planning:

The allocation of orders to the various routes is controlled entirely by the user. It is possible to build routes interactively, for example by using the map, order lists and solid districts. As the routes are built, the user can choose at any time to optimise the call sequence, both for the entire route and sections of the route.

What is distance matrix technology?

Route Optimiser has several solutions for time and distance calculations.

In summary, the solutions are grouped into two categories.

Distance Table:

A distance matrix table is created in a large operation that includes travel time and distance between a certain number of starting points and destinations. Route Optimiser provides tools to process these journeys, but also perform the consultancy in the field.

Dynamic solution:

Route Optimiser tools are built into the external system to generate distance and travel times as required. By calling the Route Optimiser system, you get straight back a result based on a day-to-date map. Several integration options are available, see Integration in FAQ below.

How to integrate with Route Optimiser systems?

Both the Route Optimiser Route Planning and Route Optimisation systems are available as modules for integration.

The methods of integration are many - for example, it is possible to send input to the Route Optimiser Route Planning in the form of an XML file through Socket Communications.

Text format is another way to define input for Route Planning.

By calling Route Optimiser modules you may quickly get the results back that may in turn be processed by external systems. Settings define the file formats for export. Output could be, for example map files of routes, detailed Itineraries, Excel reports, etc.

Do map contain restrictions such as weight?

Yes. Route Optimiser own maps contains attributes for weight classes.

One-way road attributes is another restriction which is included in the map data.

It is also possible to add your own restrictions on the map such as: weight, width and height.

Which countries has map coverage?

Maps down to street level for the whole of Europe and several other countries in the world. Route Optimiser has both their own maps, and working with mapping providers such as TomTom.

There are a wide range of maps available.

Can you have different speeds for different cities?

Yes, it is possible to define the speed variations of individual geographical areas by making a choice directly in the map.

The map of the Route Optimiser system can be configured in several ways. In addition to speed the user can add prohibitions and restrictions on routes and areas.??


Need Help?

Our staff are here to answer your questions call +44 (0) 121 585 6633

What Our Customers Say

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Route Optimiser is a flexible transport planning tool that has met ACS&T's business requirements. It has benefited the company through improved visibility of routes and the efficiency in which these are defined.

ACS&Tquote
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During our recent peak season we didn't have to hire any additional vehicles to cope with the increased loads, an indication of proper route engineering. Our return on investment has been an overwhelming 700% over a very short period. Most other software packages would only provide us with scheduling functionality whereas the solution provided by Route Optimiser addressed our particular needs.
(National Sales Productivity Manager)

Simbaquote
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We evaluated the market and Route Optimiser had everything we wanted from a Routing and Scheduling product, without the expensive up-front costs. ( Jerery Thorne - Managing Director )

AVICAquote
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We are delighted to have secured access to this innovative product which combines proven performance and a high level of functionality with a low entry cost per site. Since acquiring Route Optimiserwe have already secured two multi-site accounts where the ability to confidently predict our base costs and service levels were key to securing agreement with new customers.
(Managing Director, Ian Bryan)

Waste Per Sequote
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From the very early days of implementing Route Optimiser we achieved significant cost savings and raised our efficiency profile with our customers.
(Clare Stannard, IT Manager

Millbrookquote