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The fleet supports multiple services including the collection and delivery of secure & signed for documents as well as standard packages and letters.
The initial project investigated mixed service routes and the potential for merging depot locations, as well as to adapt to changing contract commitments. In a detailed modelling exercise, DX RouteSmart users – working with industry experts from Integrated Skills – were able to prove that a 10-12% reduction in costs and routes across all thirty-two depots was achievable. The modelling was conducted on approximately 420,000 weekly stops.
With comprehensive training & mentoring from Integrated Skills, the team at DX were able to build a core competency in route optimisation using RouteSmart-for-ArcGIS. Integrated Skills supplied the cloud-based HERE street data (which includes all Road Routing Information (RRI)), combining it with historical delivery-day data to plot accurate service locations (delivery points) in RouteSmart.
Combining RouteSmart route optimisation skills with local knowledge – supplied by site general managers – detailed plans were formulated at a postcode sector level to inform the forecasting of resource availability for the individual managers and their depots.
The postcode sectors element remains crucial in planning activity as the items handled by DX are sorted by postcode at their depots. Data was meticulously cleansed and steps were proposed to improve the set up process in regard to maintaining data quality. Once comparing the new data to Ordnance Survey datasets final checks were made. An automated set-up process was created to combine all the required data and coincide with project workflows to create a ‘RouteSmart ready’ project data file.
Data challenges were overcome, such as, aligning the real service location with historical data taken from handheld scanners. Discrepancies arose due to a mix of out-of-date address data and scan records that were not geographically near the delivery/collection point.
One particularly challenging requirement was the routing of delivery points with established time-windows. Limits for route start and end times and limits on overtime & driver hours had to be considered when solving the routes. Furthermore, depots could only begin servicing once the daily influx of items have been sorted. These issues were tackled with multiple approaches, such as capacity measuring exercises, using tools from RouteSmart – including “RS Deluxe Time Windows” functionality and creation of new routes from scratch.
RouteSmart has proven its worth and a multitude of plans using the tool for the next financial year have been created. The outcome proved successful with cost reduction objectives met and a seamless transition at operational level which enabled change to be made without customer service disruption.