Planning Routes with Service Times
Route4Me’s Service Times parameter makes it much easier for you to account for the time your team has to spend on servicing each stop of every route. For example, you run a food delivery business that requires visiting 10 customers per one route, and you calculated that just driving the route takes around 1 hour. In reality, you have to find a parking spot for your vehicle, unload the cargo, get on a particular floor of the customer’s building, and so on. If servicing each client takes around 15 minutes, then the total route time will increase to 3.5 hours which is significantly higher than just 1 hour of driving. Often, some customers require more service time than others and then calculating the total time it takes to finish the route gets even more complicated. With the Service Times parameter, you are able to define the same or different service times for each stop on your routes and the system will automatically compute the total route time, providing more realistic and precise time figures for completing the route. With the properly calculated service times, you can make your operations more streamlined and efficient while saving time, improving customer satisfaction, and making more money.
To plan routes with the service times constraint, first, go to “Plan New Route” from the navigation menu.
After that, adjust the following route optimization settings:
- Go to the “Optimization” tab;
- Select “Multiple Drivers Route” optimization type so that the system can automatically plan and optimize more than one route if needed;
- Choose where to end the route(s) after the last stop is visited and serviced.
NOTE: Selecting the “Multiple Drivers Route” optimization is recommended but optional. If you want to plan a “Single Driver Route,” select the corresponding optimization type.
Next, use the corresponding fields for defining the maximum number of routes that can be created from the imported addresses and the maximum time duration (DD:HH:MM) for each created route.
NOTE: The “Maximum Number of Routes/Vehicles” and “Maximum Route Duration” constraints, as well as the “Multiple Drivers Route” optimization type can be enabled through the Feature Manager as components of the “Route Optimization for Multiple Drivers with No Advanced Constraints” module. Alternatively, when registering a new Route4Me account, select the “Advanced Route Optimization” package that has both constraints included.
If you want to apply the same service time to all stops on the route, go to the “Schedule” tab and then input the preferred service time into the corresponding field.
After that, specify the rest of the route parameters to your preference and then click on the “Create Route and Proceed to Add Addresses” button.
Next, import the route addresses using one of the previously selected methods. When importing a spreadsheet with route data, for it to be successfully processed, the spreadsheet must contain a header row and data rows. The header defines the type of information you are importing, while the corresponding data rows contain the actual information/values that you import into the system. Besides the obligatory “Address” column, you can also include other data columns. If you want to define the service time constraint for each stop on the route, then you need to add the corresponding column to the import file. In the “Service Time” column, you can define the same or different service times for each route stop.
To learn more about Route4Me’s spreadsheet requirements, visit this page.
Once you uploaded the spreadsheet, Route4Me processes the imported data and displays it in the corresponding window. For the system to process the data automatically, select the “Auto (attempt detection)” option respectively. Alternatively, you can manually match column titles to the data contained in the corresponding columns. To proceed, click on the “Continue to Review” button.
In the “Verify Addresses on Map” window, you can view all imported and processed addresses on the map, as well as check their geocoding statuses. Green colored dots indicate that the corresponding addresses were successfully geocoded with “High Confidence.” Addresses that have yellow colored dots next to them should be reviewed and fixed accordingly.
Once the route is planned, it is optimized and then opened in the Route Editor where you can modify it, as well as added to the Routes List with all your routes. To view or change the service time of a particular order/stop, first, open the route that contains this stop in the Route Editor and then click on the corresponding stop to open its menu. In the “Time” section of the opened stop, you can view its service time in the “Service Time” field. To modify the “Service Time” value, click on the corresponding field and then input a new value respectively. To apply the same service time value to all stops on the route, first, click on the gear icon in the “Service Time” field and then select the corresponding option.
Depending on the “Maximum Number of Routes/Vehicles,” “Maximum Route Duration,” and the service time of each imported address, the system automatically plans the corresponding number of equally-sized and efficiently optimized routes. When the service times of all stops are aggregated and the “Maximum Route Duration” constraint is exceeded for one route, new routes are planned accordingly. If multiple routes are planned, then they are automatically opened in the Routes Map. When the system plans multiple routes, each route is suffixed with its corresponding progression “Part” number next to the original name of the route.
Once you planned one or multiple routes, you can start assigning users and vehicles to them. To do so, click on the gear icon next to a particular route and then select the preferred option from the list. To learn more about all methods of assigning users and vehicles to your routes, visit this page.
When the applied “Maximum Number of Routes/Vehicles” constraint is exceeded, the system may automatically plan one or multiple “Unrouted Destinations” routes. The “Unrouted Destinations” routes contain the stops that did not fit into the planned routes due to the exceeded optimization constraints. When you have one or multiple “Unrouted Destinations” routes, you can use the timeline in the Routes Map for moving stops between different routes.
Route4Me’s interactive timeline that operates in real time allows you to move stops from one route to another and instantly synchronize all changes across all associated devices. To do so, click and hold on a particular stop from one route and then drag it to the preferred sequence position on another route. Thus, whenever you have stops that did not fit into planned routes due to the exceeded optimization constraints, you can always manually distribute them to different routes in a fast and effortless manner.
Route4Me provides near real-time data synchronization across all associated computer and mobile devices so that any changes made from the Route4Me Web Platform can be effortlessly synchronized with Route4Me’s iOS and Android mobile apps in a matter of seconds. Thus, managers and dispatchers back at the office can modify the service time parameters of any stop/order and instantly synchronize these updates with the mobile devices of the drivers who are out in the field.
To learn more about viewing and managing dynamic service times, visit this page.