Multi-compartment routing allows you to define capabilities and a compatibility matrix. This information allows the optimization software to generate routes with the lowest cost, using the fewest trucks while still meeting customer delivery constraints.
If your involved in bulk product delivery and operate more than 10 trucks/depots, it’s important to take advantage of multi-vehicle / multi-compartment routing to enhance operational efficiency and customer service. Multi-compartment routing can save your company 20% of the total transportation costs by optimizing routes and maximizing truck capacity utilization.
Maximize Savings with Multi-Compartment Routing Optimization
To fully grasp the benefits, let’s outline how the optimization process works and how you can leverage a multi-compartment routing solution. Our solution particularly excels in multi-compartment routing, especially when dealing with products like lubricants that require combo trucks with varying compartment numbers. Here are the three key aspects of our multi-compartment routing solution:
- Compatibility Matrix
- Capabilities and Calendars
- Route Optimization
Step 1 – Compatibility Matrix
The first step of configuration is setting up the trucks and trailers with compartments and their compatibilities. For each compartment, various parameters need to be defined, such as the allowed products (compatibility matrix), filling requirements, volume, and total weight. These factors play a crucial role in preventing over-filling and exceeding weight limits.
The optimizer used in our system understands variable compartment layouts. It can adapt to situations where slot 1 might contain a 500-gallon tote one day and a 330-gallon tote the next day. The compatibility matrix plays a key role in establishing these configurations.
Step 2 – Capabilities and Calendars
You can use the optimizer to define capabilities for any resource, including trucks, trailers, drivers, and customers. Capabilities represent user-defined feature, such as “metered vehicle” or “high speed pump.” This allows you to align the capabilities of trucks with the requirements of customers or products. For example, you can specify that bulk lubricants require the “meter” capability, ensuring that only vehicles equipped with valid compartments and meters are considered for bulk lubricant orders. Similarly, assigning the capability of “short trucks” to customer 123 prevents the routing of full trailers that may not fit their facilities.
In addition to trucks and customers, capabilities can also be assigned to drivers. For example, a driver can have the capability of “mine safety certification.” This ensures that only drivers with that certification are assigned to orders involving customers with the same capability requirement.
Capabilities are most commonly assigned to trucks and trailers. If you have specific equipment with a particular capability, it will only be matched to orders that require the same capability. This ensures precise resource allocation based on the defined capabilities.
In addition to capabilities, you can assign calendars to resources. This feature allows you to define various time-based constraints, similar to assigning capabilities. The most common resource calendar is establishing customer service hours, where you can specify multiple service windows throughout the day. By incorporating resource calendars, the routing engine considers time constraints to determine if the specified service hours can be met. This helps prevent the blocking of dock bays during peak periods.
Additionally, one-time calendars can be added. This includes holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, where there are customer closures or limited service times. By incorporating these one-time calendars, the optimizer takes into account these occasions while building routes and schedules.
The optimizer takes both capabilities and calendars into account during route planning. In some cases, a route may still be feasible but violates a “soft constraint.” For instance, if a customer closes at 5pm, but the optimizer predicts that the order would be completed by 5:10pm, the route can still be considered. Similarly, if the total volume of orders on a truck exceeds the compartment’s capacity slightly, such as 1010 gallons in a 1000-gallon compartment, the dispatcher has the option to accept the route after acknowledging the violation of this constraint. This provides flexibility in managing constraints and making informed decisions.
Step 3 – Route Optimization
In a straightforward scenario, let’s consider a depot with 10 trucks and 100 orders. The optimizer will automatically generate routes and might determine that only 8.5 trucks are necessary, optimizing resource allocation.
While the knowledge of dispatchers regarding territories and customers is valuable, it’s crucial to evaluate their performance. How do you assess the optimal distance they should drive, the expected duration of routes, and whether your assets are being utilized efficiently? Without a planning tool, these aspects remain uncertain. Additionally, without a mobile solution, you lack access to driver actuals and route compliance data, which are key metrics for measuring logistics efficiency.
Data-Driven Logistics & Mobile App Integration
By transitioning from paper-based and older dispatch systems to a multi-vehicle, multi-compartment optimization solution, you can centralize dispatch operations and establish a foundation for “Data-Driven Logistics.” Route optimization allows you to leverage the knowledge from your dispatchers and transform it into software, enabling scalability and providing tools to enhance dispatcher efficiency.
Multi-Compartment Routing Solution
Our comprehensive multi-compartment, multi-vehicle routing solution, combined with the goRoam mobile app, delivers the most advanced optimization and mobile capabilities built specifically for bulk logistics. Together, they provide a powerful platform for implementing “Data-Driven Logistics” within your operations.