Driver Skills Route Planning and Optimization
Not all customers require the same types of services. That’s why one driver with a specific set of skills may not be able to service all of your customers. Imagine you have more than 5 drivers with different skill sets and more than 100 customers that require different services. Solving the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) and the Vehicle Route Problem (VRP) will require going through literally billions of possible routing scenarios.
Route4Me’s Driver Skills feature allows you to compute through hundreds of thousands of addresses with different required skills in seconds. Route4Me will automatically match the skills specified in your drivers’ profiles to the skills required to service each location and output an optimal number of stops per one or multiple routes for each driver.
To use the Driver Skills feature, enable the “Advanced Constraint – Driver Skills” add-on for your Route4Me account.
Here are a couple of examples where Route4Me’s Driver Skills feature can help you save hundreds of hours of route planning and windshield time:
Example 1: You are offering mobile vehicle maintenance services and you have 10 drivers or mechanics with different skill sets. You need to service 500 customers daily, and each customer may require different services. You have to figure out the most time-efficient way to assign the right team members to the right customers and then plan multiple cost-effective routes for each driver.
Example 2: You are in charge of a logistics operation with thousands of daily transactions. Your fleet transports different types of cargo that require drivers to have different types of driver’s licenses. You need to figure out a way to deliver to all locations while factoring in your drivers’ different driver’s licenses and then plan one or multiple routes with optimal driving sequences for each driver.
Driver Skills Route Optimization Process
- Add one or multiple driver skills (tags) to a driver’s profile using the Custom Data Add-On.
- Specify whether a driver must have all or any of the skills required to service the given addresses.
- Upload a spreadsheet with route addresses and driver skill(s) required to service each address.
- Specify the preferred optimization settings and parameters.
- Route4Me will output the most optimal number of optimized routes with automatically assigned drivers that have matching skills.
Add Driver Skills to a Driver Profile
You can add Custom Data to a driver’s Route4Me profile when creating a new driver profile (Add Sub User) or by editing the profile of an existing driver (Edit). To do so, go to Users from the navigation menu and then select the preferred option.
Next, scroll to the bottom of the driver’s profile settings and click on the Add New Custom Data button.
In the Create New Row window, input the “driver_skills” Key and then add one or multiple skills in the Value field. To add multiple skills, separate them with a comma. Click on the Save button to save the changes.
NOTE: Driver Skills can also be used as tags that are matched to specific addresses in the optimization process. Therefore, you can use any preferred custom tags that best accommodate your business and routing needs. For example, the Driver Skills feature can allow you to plan routes for drivers with different shifts. When planning your routes, you can use shift tags, and the system will optimally pair your addresses with one or multiple drivers that are on duty at that moment.
After adding one or multiple tags, check if these tags have been attached to the member’s profile and click on the Save button to apply the settings.
To configure the Skills Matching Type, use Route4Me’s Advanced Configuration Editor to enable the following configurations:
|SKILLS_MATCH_TYPE||MATCH_ANY||For a driver to be assigned to an address, the driver must have the skills that match any of the Required Skills specified for the given address. For example, if the driver has A, B, C, D skills and the address has A and B as Required Skills, then this driver can be assigned to the given address.|
|SKILLS_MATCH_TYPE||MATCH_ALL||For a driver to be assigned to an address, All of the driver’s skills must match All of the Required Skills specified for the given address. For example, if the driver has A, B, C, D skills, then this driver can be assigned only to those addresses that have A, B, C, D as Required Skills.|
Add Required Skills to Customer Addresses
To plan routes with addresses that have Required Skills, go to Plan New Route from the navigation menu and then select the Upload a File route data import method.
Next, specify the preferred route and optimization parameters:
- Go to the Optimization tab;
- Select the Multiple Drivers Route optimization type;
- Select where you want your optimized route(s) to end.
After that, format your route data file following Route4Me’s Spreadsheet Requirements. To apply the Driver Skills optimization to the addresses you are importing, add the Required Skills (required_skills) column, and then specify the required skills for each address. When planning routes with Driver Skills, you can plan multiple routes with a Single Depot or with Multiple Depots.
After uploading a file with route addresses and required skills, make sure that the system recognizes the Required Skills (required_skills) column. If the Required Skills (required_skills) column has the Custom prefix, it indicates that the system doesn’t recognize the corresponding column, and its title needs to be adjusted.
Once the addresses with the required skills are imported, Route4Me’s optimization engine processes them in the following order:
- Compares the required skills in the imported file with the skills of all your drivers.
- Groups addresses with the same sets of required skills based on the drivers’ skills availability.
- Determines and outputs the most optimal number of routes based on the optimization parameters, specified routing constraints, and the number of available drivers.
- Automatically assigns each planned route to the driver that has the required skills.
Each optimized route will contain only those addresses that have the required skills corresponding with one or all skills of the assigned driver. Once a driver is assigned to an optimized route, this route can be automatically dispatched to the driver’s mobile device.