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The Difference Between Manual And Automated Route Planning

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

It is undeniable that effective routing affects the company’s customers, its supply chain and the overall development. On a day-to-day basis, route planning and planning should be optimized to keep the costs at a minimum. This can be done manually or automatically using a computer software. So what are the differences between these methods? Which one is better for your system?

1. Manual route planning and scheduling

There are three tasks involved in manual route planning and scheduling, including compiling data, planning and calculating.

Manual route planning and scheduling
Manual route planning and scheduling

a. Compiling data

The first step a manager has to do is compiling data. This is when all the data is gathered and analyzed. There will be a few questions needed to be answered regarding the delivery data, time frame, order quantities as well as shapes and sizes, mode of transportation and even delivery frequency. In addition, information like the number of orders, loading and unloading time or vehicles restrictions … should be collected. After all the questions are answered and the data are gathered, the next step can begin

b. Planning

The goal for planning is to find the most efficient route that minimizes the resources needed and the distance traveled. There are two principles widely used to plan trips and routes are maximum drop and full use of vehicles. This can be the most time-consuming process since the demand and delivery constraints must be taken into consideration. A typical real-life version of VRP is so complicated, since managers have to answer: what is the most optimal way to allocate 1000 delivery points to 50 vehicles, while satisfying dozens of constraints like: maximize vehicle capacity, different vehicle types like motorbikes, truck, van, different time windows of customers, number of depots, road block, traffic conditions, order temperature, and so much more.

Vehicle Routing Problem
Vehicle Routing Problem

Depending on the complexity, a normal person would have to spend at least 2 to 4 hours to, to some extent, solve a real-life version of the Vehicle Routing Problem. That is ¼ to ½ of a normal working day. Unfortunately, people still have to spend that much time everyday to accommodate for every delivery.

c. Calculating costs

The final yet very important task involves fixed and variable cost calculations. While the fixed costs are calculated based on the number of vehicles used in the fleet, variable costs are calculated through the cost per kilometer for each vehicle type per day. This information will then be used to calculate the fleet’s time and load utilization. After such a long process, the manager can finally have the official route planning.

2. Automated route planning and scheduling

Because of the complexity of the process, there are more and more corporations switching to an automated route planning system. With customer demands for service, speed, competitive forces, escalating competition in the market, industrial revolution and more, manual route planning is no longer proved suitable for corporations.

Automated route planning and scheduling
Automated route planning and scheduling

In this 4.0 era, route optimization system is proven to boost operational efficiency by solving vehicle routing & scheduling problems which thousands of Distribution, Manufacturing, 3PL companies are struggling with. Cutting cost in transportation has been a concern for many companies, as they are responsible for a huge capacity and fast-paced movement of the industry.

In this situation, planning and scheduling in a conventional way would take companies so much time and costs. A transportation management system (TMS) or route optimization system might be the key to lessen the logistics burden. Not just simple as finding the shortest path connecting delivery points, the route plan also needs to take several robust and flexible attributes of each business into account. Once all is considered, logistics managers now can rely on a route optimization software to boost efficiency rather than manual work, and track all delivery activities on a real-time dashboard.

Abivin vRoute - Automated route planning
Abivin vRoute - Automated route planning

Understanding this high demand of companies, Abivin combines route optimization for multiple models like Distribution Center Model, Pickup & Delivery Model, long-haul, medium-haul, short-haul, last-mile, container freight, cold-chain, cross-dock, and more, into one platform. Abivin vRoute helps businesses automate their processes and reduces costs and resources. This solution is designed specifically for resolving transportation constraints in ASEAN countries.

Abivin vRoute can automatically generate optimal routes that satisfy more than 20 parameters including load capacities, multiple time windows, cross-docking, truck and bike delivery. In addition, the application provides geo-track vehicles in a real-time map, get geo-fencing alerts and mobile ePOD to update delivery progress, measure deliverymen's performance.

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I believe the automated one is more popular nowadays. I also heard lots of positive words s about the automated route planning.

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