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September 11th 2012 - What's new with the Viamente Route Planner

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2015 11:19AM EST
Here is the Viamente Route Planner today!



For this release of the Viamente Route Planner, we have worked both on creating new features and on improving usability.

As to the new features, we have focused on taking our model even closer to your real-world scenario:

  • You can now consider Traffic when planning, by defining areas with different traffic-factors.
  • Special Driver Regions can be drawn on the map for making sure that Orders included within a specific Driver's region are actually served by that Driver.
  • Driver/Vehicle Costs (both fixed and hourly) are now now taken into account as the Route Planner tries to minimize resources.
  • Work up to ... hours: you can now define a maximum number of actual working hours for your Drivers and not only a Start and End Time.

In terms of usability, some of the improved aspects are:

  • The tab My Fleet, which takes you to a new area dedicated to the definition of Drivers.
  • New Deploy buttons, always available and which now allow you to download directly Route Links and GPS files.
  • Visualization Layers and a new Layout.

If you want to read more about these and other features, keep reading!


Traffic

By clicking on the tab Traffic Profiles you can start creating a new profile or load previously saved ones. Each profile can have one or more regions.



To create a new region, click on Draw a new region and when you finish defining its borders, by adjusting the slider specify the impact traffic has when Drivers travel through that region (slider to the left: minimum impact; slider to the right: maximum impact). Estimated Times of Arrival will therefore have a better accuracy.



After defining all the regions for a profile, you can save them and then use them in the planning phase. When you click on Save you will be asked if you want to apply this region to your current Route Plan.

You can anyway click on the tab Route Plans and load Traffic Profiles at any time. Just select a saved region from the Traffic button dropdown:


Driver Regions

Sometimes we want Orders in certain areas to be assigned to specific Drivers. At the same, we want to make sure that Drivers can also serve further Orders if they are left with any residual availability after completing their area.

This is exactly the reason why the Driver Regions feature has been added to the Route Planner: all the Orders included within a certain Driver's region are forcedly assigned to that Driver, but the Driver is still eligible for serving Orders outside his/her region. This way, no chance to generate efficiency is lost.

Click on the My Fleet tab (top left) and access a Driver's Default settings:



By clicking on the Assign to a region tab and on the drawing button on the map, you can start defining the region's borders. Other Drivers' regions are shown concurrently and each region has the Driver's color code to distinguish it from others (blue in the example below). Regions can be deactivated by pressing the on/off button. When they are not active, only their borders are shown (yellow and red in the example below).



After all regions have been defined, you can add Orders and click on Plan Optimal Routes. All Orders are assigned to Drivers on the basis of their regions, Orders in overlapping regions or on borders are assigned automatically. The best efficiency is guaranteed by the fact that Drivers, after serving their region, are utilized even for Orders outside of their regions if they have any residual availability.


Driver Fixed and Time-based Costs

When defining a Driver's settings, by clicking on the tab Costs you can now set two different values. You can use only one value or the other, or you can set them both.


  • Fixed Cost is a cost you will incur everytime this Driver/vehicle is utilized, regardless of the duration of service. It can be  used to take into consideration administrative/maintenance overheads or a Driver's daily wages.
  • Hourly Cost is used to compute the time-based cost of this Driver's Route.

When assigning Orders to different Drivers, the Viamente Route Planner keeps the Total Working Costs (depending on Idle Time, Driving Time, Service Time) to a minimum. The software considers all the possible variables and the impact deriving from choosing for service one Driver/vehicle over another.


Work up to a maximum number of hours

Under the tab Working Hours there is a new parameter that can be set: Work up to a max number of hours.



This field allows you to specify a maximum number of Working Hours for your Driver, whereas the fields above only define a Start Time and End Time between which the Driver is available.

This is particularly useful when a very wide Working Time window is set for a Driver (12 hours in our example).

Setting a wide window, in fact, allows the Route Planner to determine the best moment for a Driver to start service, in order to serve as many Orders as possible.

On the other hand, if the first and the last point to serve are very distant in time, such a setting may result in a very early Start time and a very late End time for the Driver in question, and this may exceed the actual number of hours he/she is allowed to work (8hours in our example).

By setting a Maximum number of Working hours, it is possible to keep the Time Window as wide as needed, while at the same time making sure that a maximum number of working hours is taken into account.


New Layout

Several aspects of the Viamente Route Planner's layout have been improved.



The tabs on the top part of the screen allow a better management of your resources, Route Plans and account. Let's look at the different tabs.

 

New Tabs - My Fleet

By clicking on the top-left tab My Fleet you can access a new area entirely dedicated to your Fleet and Drivers.




It is from here that you  manage your Fleet and Drivers, creating new ones and defining Details and Settings before moving on the Route Planning environment. You can read more about setting Details and changing Settings here.

An interesting new option is the Create Multiple Drivers  feature.



By pressing the button Create Multiple Drivers you can create more Drivers with specific Details and common Default Settings. In other words, if all your Drivers have the same characteristics (Working Hours, Start/End Address, Load Capacity, etc.), after defining their personal Details, you only need to enter Default Settings once and they will be applied to all your Fleet. Please note that if you draw a region (see above), the region will NOT be applied to all your Drivers.

By clicking on Add Driver you can keep adding as many Drivers as your subscription limits allow. When you are done, press Next to define common constraints and Settings.

Driver Settings are now organized with a more structured layout. By clicking on the different tabs, you can define and change all your Driver constraints and access new features (likeDraw a region or Cost  - see above) and the usual ones (Working Hours, Skills, Review Start Position, etc.).



It is worth having a look at another new usability improvement.

By clicking on Copy Settings you can in fact speed up the process of creating/amending Drivers and copy all settings from an existing profile or to new ones.


New tabs - Route Plans

This tab takes you to the usual Route Planning environment. From here you can select Drivers for your plans and Add Orders as usual (read more about the Route Planning stage).



The Route Plans area has some additions.

All the usual deploy options (Print Directions, export to Excel/CSV, Send Routes via email - with or without files for GPS devices) are now always accessible from here.



By clicking on the buttons, it is now possible to access new options:

  • Print Directions: by selecting All Routes you can print a map that shows all Routes at once
  • Export as GPS files: you can download directly files for GPS devices from here, choosing different formats (regardless of the format you specify for your Drivers' email).
  • Export Route Links: download all your Driver's Route Links at once.

Let's also look at some other buttons you can access from the tab Route Plans.


Layers



By cliking on this button you can toggle your visualization options on the map, hiding or showing Routes, Traffic Profiles and Driver Regions.


Select a Traffic Profile



The Traffic button allows you to activate/deactivate a saved Traffic Profile. You can also create a new profile (read more about it earlier in this article) or edit a saved one.


Save as Subfleet

This option, which used to be named Save as a group, is accessible from the Route Plans tab, under Drivers (see screenshot below).

By selecting it you can create a Subfleet with all the Drivers currently assigned to a Plan. Please note that Driver's settings will correspond to the settings for the current plan, so they may differ from Default Settings defined under the tab My Fleet.



The real improvement is that after you save a subfleet, you can decide to make it a Default subfleet which will be automatically assigned to all future plans.

In order to do so, click on Select Drivers, then on Subfleets and Defaults. Saved Subfleets will be shown and by selecting Make Default you can automate the assigment for all future Plans.



We have already spoken about the new tab Traffic Profiles.

Please note that we have also moved the Support and Log Out buttons to the top-right part of the screen, accessible from any tab you are currently in. By pressing the ? button you can access our knowledge base and all its articles.





 

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