In this article, you will learn how to use the Plan My Routes function.
Solution: Enable you to plan your routes with the click of a button, fully optimizing the space in your delivery vehicles.
- You have a Connect Professional Tier Subscription
- At least one vehicle is added
- At least 1 delivery is created
Plan My Routes
The Plan My Routes functionality automatically distributes the delivery loads efficiently across your vehicles, prioritizing capacity and the time windows specified for an on-time pickup and delivery.
Once you have your orders entered, click the Plan My Routes button.
The Route Planner will activate and create routes taking into account these parameters:
- Pickup and delivery times
- Service time duration of each pickup and drop-off stop
- Vehicle capacity
- Number of vehicles available
- Organization delivery hours
- Vehicle base address
When your route(s) are ready, you will see the deliveries in the proposed order suggested. You can then edit as needed with drag and drop, or Send to Driver.
If there are any unassigned deliveries they will be displayed at the top.
Please be aware that all application functionality, including editing routes and deliveries, creating new deliveries, and updating settings, will be locked while a Plan My Routes request is being processed. API calls to update Connect data will also be restricted while the algorithm is running in order to preserve data integrity.
Hints and Tips
Here are a few hints and tips for getting the best results from the Plan My Routes algorithm:
Organization Delivery Hours
Your organization's delivery hours dictate the hours during which the algorithm will schedule deliveries. We recommend setting them to the hours you want your drivers loading trucks and out on the road. The broader the hours, the more flexibility the algorithm has to schedule deliveries.
However, beware that if your organization's delivery hours extend beyond when your drivers are scheduled to work you may be paying a lot of overtime or have deliveries that cannot be completed before your drivers end their shifts.
For the best results with the algorithm, make sure your organization’s delivery hours and the delivery time windows you specify for each delivery are aligned.
Delivery Time Windows
Pickup and Drop-Off Time Windows can be as flexible or as strict as your business operations demand. If you do not have a strict time that a pickup must be completed by or if you are ok with your driver leaving and returning to the same pickup stop more than once in a day, we recommend setting a broad pickup time window. This gives the algorithm the most flexibility to determine an optimum route.
The same is true for Drop-Off Time Windows. The wider the time window, the more likely the algorithm will return a result.
In order to budget for time spent serving customers at pickup and drop-off, the Plan My Routes algorithm considers the service time duration at pickup and drop-off when determining the route a vehicle should take. If multiple deliveries share a pickup location and time window, the algorithm will use the sum of all pickup durations at that spot.
For example, if Delivery A, B, and C can all be picked up at 123 Sesame Street between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, and Delivery A has a pickup service duration of 15 minutes and B and C each have a pickup service duration of 5 minutes, the algorithm would allot 25 total minutes for loading the truck and completing the pickup stop.
Vehicle Capacity is an important input in the Plan My Routes algorithm. Capacity is configured per vehicle in the Vehicle Settings. How you measure the capacity of all of your vehicles can be adjusted at an organization level by a member of the Dispatch team.
Some available options are skids, boxes, square feet, weight, units, parcels, and others, but if you have a special request just let us know. All vehicles must use the same capacity units. This makes it easier for the algorithm to compute the available capacity across your entire fleet.
Each delivery has a required size field, measured in the capacity units configured. If you are struggling to get results from the Plan My Routes algorithm, please verify that the size of any given delivery does not exceed the configured capacity of your vehicles.
Vehicle Base Address
The Vehicle Base Address is used as the starting point for every route. If the vehicle base address is not provided, the first stop on the route will be used as the starting point for the route. If you deliver from multiple locations, we do not recommend configuring a vehicle base address.
If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A Dispatch team member will reach out to you for support.