How do you plan the most optimal transport route?

Logistics services are vital for every city. Photo: iStock

Logistics services are vital for every city. Photo: iStock

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas are swiftly growing all over the world. This increase calls for a higher demand of logistics services. No matter if it is the industrial, trade or hospitality sector, they all rely on deliveries that arrive on time and without damage. But how do transport service providers plan and optimise their routes in busy inner-city areas taking order-, customer- and vehicle-specific restrictions into account?

Shops, restaurants, hotels, but also construction sites rely on their goods to be delivered according to schedule, be it on a weekly or a daily basis. But for transport service providers to schedule their vehicles and optimise their routes while considering various restrictions is complex. Especially when it comes to optimising routes with plenty of stops and possible alternatives, logistics service providers typically struggle to find the most efficient routes, stop sequences and vehicles assignment: On a tour with only two stops aligning the right sequence is still manageable as there are only two different sequences possible. With three different stops, the number of potential sequences already triples.

Uncovering the fastest way and the best sequence

But adding just a few more stops in, one planning task turns route optimisation into a real challenge. And with a growing level of complexity due to time or load restrictions, driver qualifications and roadside restrictions, the time it takes to calculate the optimal solution also increases tremendously. If we look at a simple example in the city of Melbourne, Australia, consisting of one depot, four vehicles with different capacities and 52 orders, it would take about 18 hours to deliver the goods covering a distance of just under 190 kilometres.

But for transport service providers, it is essential that they always utilise their resources in the best way possible. How do transport service providers then manage to save costs and, at the same time, provide a better customer service? The key is an automated planning system for route optimisation and vehicle scheduling. If we take another look at the example above: Businesses can save up to fifteen percent of the kilometres travelled thanks to a fully automated route optimisation tool.

Planning with PTV Smartour
But which software offers the most benefits and helps service providers master logistics in urban areas in next to no time? PTV Smartour increases the efficiency of vehicle fleets, eases the scheduling workload to create compliant and safe driving plans. The user-friendly software optimises trips in terms of quantity, sequence, duration, and length. Yet that is not all: It also takes restrictions, such as truck attributes, customer opening hours and drivers’ hours of service into account. And the list goes on because, for example, manual changes to the road network are also possible.

For a fast flow of information with short waiting times and an increased service quality, PTV Smartour equips logistics providers with the perfect software to meet the challenges posed in urban areas.

Do you want to know how you can optimise your specific use case? To learn more about our logistics software solutions, download our free white paper here.