In the following article and in the ones linked below we will guide you through the three simple steps required to build your first optimized Route Plan.
The First Step is defining your available resources, i.e. creating and setting the default parameters for the Drivers of your Fleet.
By clicking on the tab My Fleet (top left) you can access an area entirely dedicated to your Drivers. It is here that you create and manage your Drivers before moving on to the Route Plans environment (Second Step), where you can select them for your Route Plans.
The button Create a new Driver allows you to set Driver’s Details and Default Settings.
By pressing the button Create Multiple Drivers you can create more Drivers with the same Default Settings. In other words, if all your Drivers have the same characteristics (Working Hours, Start/End Address, Load Capacity, etc.) you only need to define Default Settings once and they will be applied to all your Fleet. Please note that if you draw a region (see below), the region will NOT be applied to all your Drivers.
Let’s look at Driver’s Details:
- Driver's Name: this is mandatory.
- Email: this optional field is useful to share Routes with your Drivers at the end of the planning process.
- Email content: planned Routes can be shared with different technologies. For instance, you may want to send files ready to be uploaded to your Drivers' GPS devices or simply share a Route Link to be opened with any browser or Smartphone. Choose the appropriate email content for your Driver.
You can also choose a colour for your Driver's routes on the map.
After defining these mandatory fields, click Next to move on to Default Settings. Note that you will be able to modify all your Drivers’ Details and Settings at any time in the future.
Please note that only Start / End Destination Address and Working Hours are compulsory. Feel free to ignore any other settings that are not relevant to your scenario.
Define Default Settings
- Start Address: type the Address from which you want the Driver to start his/her Routes. Under the tab Review Start Position you can fine-tune the actual position on the map.
- Choose an option for the End Destination: if you select Roundtrip the Route will end at the Start Address; if you select Open Route the Route will end wherever is more convenient; if you select Specify End Destination a new field where to enter the End Destination address will appear. Please note that you can also adjust the position of this address under the tab Review Destination.
- The tab Assign to a region (beside the above-mentioned tabs for reviewing positions) allows you to draw a region on the map. All Orders included within its borders will be forcedly assigned to this Driver. Note that Orders outside of regions, on borders or in overlapping regions will be assigned automatically (this means you do not need to stress too much about drawing super-accurate regions). The Driver will anyway be eligible for service even outside his/her region.
All other Settings are accessible by clicking on different tabs.
- Start work at: while building the optimal Schedule for this Driver, the Viamente Route Planner suggests a Route which will start not earlier than the time you set here. Choose one of the times from the dropdown menu or type in your own setting.
- Finish by: while building the optimal Schedule for this Driver, the Viamente Route Planner suggests a Route which will finish not later than the time you set here. Thanks to the optimization process, hopefully the suggested Route will be completed earlier. Choose one of the times from the dropdown menu or type in your own setting. Important Note: if your Driver is supposed to drive overnight and complete the Route the day after, the time set here should refer to the following day: add (+1) to the time definition.
- Flexible Start Time: When the Flexible Start Time option is ticked, the Route Planner postpones the actual departure time if that helps minimize the Driver's Total Working Time. If you prefer a Fixed Start Time, do NOT tick this option and the Route Planner will force the Driver to start as early as the "Start work at" setting. This leads to routes that, on average, are completed earlier.
- Rest Break: this optional field allows you to define the length of a Driver's break (for example for lunch)
- Starting between: if the Driver has a break, these two fields define the Time Window within which you would like the Driver to start his/her break. The starting time of the break will be an output of the optimization process, with the Route Planner suggesting the best moment (within limits of a User-set Time Window) for taking the break, thus minimizing its impact on the level of service.
- Work up to (hrs): This field allows you to specify a maximum number of Working Hours for your Driver, whereas the fields Start Work at and Finish By only define a Start Time and End Time between which the Driver is available.
- Drive up to: This field allows you to specify a maximum number of Driving Hours for your Driver. Whereas working time considers both the time spent driving and the time spent at each stop this counts only the time spent on the road. This is important if your local government has restrictions on how long your drivers can be on the road for.
- Load Capacity: this optional field applies if Drivers transport goods, passengers or anything else and consequently the limited Load Capacity their Vehicles must be taken into consideration in the routing process in order to never exceed it. Leaving it blank will set the capacity to unlimited. Please note that by pressing the green ”+” button you can add a second and third Load Capacity value: this is useful in case your Driver’s Vehicle has different limits (e.g. Load Capacity 1: number of goods, Load capacity 2: weight, Load Capacity 3: volume). The Route Planner will make sure that none of the set values is ever exceeded.
- Driver's Speed Factor: by using this slider you can differentiate your Driver's individual speed from that of the other Drivers. This can be useful if your Fleet defines different vehicles or if you you notice that when executing optimized routes, the Estimated Times of Arrivals are regularly respected by some Drivers but not by others.
- Special Skills: this optional field applies if Orders require (or ban) Skills that only subsets of Drivers claim. You can leave the field blank, or add one or more skills separated by a comma. For a better insight on the use of skills, read how Orders are defined.
The field Fixed Cost allows you to define a cost incurred if this Driver/Vehicle is utilized, regardless of the duration of service.
The Viamente Route Planner always tries to minimize the number of necessary Drivers/Vehicles. While doing this, it will also try to utilize those with lower fixed costs.
The field Hourly Cost (which can be set independently of a fixed cost or together with it) defines costs incurred on a hourly basis when using this Driver/Vehicle. This cost is typically used to define a Driver’s or a Technician’s hourly wage.
The output of the Routing Optimization process is a Route Plan which minimizes all costs: fixed and time-based ones.
Per-mile cost allows you to define a specific cost per mile.
Please note that all Drivers define default values that do not reflect any specific realistic scenario. Define your own values and in case of differences between Drivers, the Viamente Route Planner will try to minimize costs whenever possible.
If you plan over multiple days, you can either decide to utilize the same Driver settings for all days of your Planning Horizon, or you can set different settings for each different day. By clicking on Multiday you can make this choice. You can read more about customizing settings and multiple-day planning at this link.
Important Note. All the settings you define when working under the tab My Drivers are Default Settings: this means that they are automatically applied to your Drivers every time you select them for a Route Plan (under the tab Route Plans). From the tab Route Plans, you can anyway change these settings. All modifications will be valid only for the Route Plan you are working on in that moment unless you tick the option “Save as Default Settings for this Driver”.
Once you have finished creating Drivers, you are ready to move to the Second Step: click on the tab Route Plans and access the planning environment.