Workload. Stores per day. Daily drive time. Yes, every input or constraint is taken into account by the MasterRouter algorithm. And your best iterations may include the necessity of sales or delivery sleep outs. This bears the question of how sleep-outs benefit your business?
Optimal routing software should provide strategic benefits, such as defining specfic regions or territories, determining how many and the best location for resources in each case, and studying the change in cost under a range of different conditions. It should ideally optimise your workforce and resources per scenario.
Within this niche, the MasterRouter software from Opsi Systems has been designed to create the most efficient and cost-effective scenarios for companies wishing to plan their sales and delivery routing well ahead of time.
The software takes into account real-life constraints, while analysing sales and distribution problems so as to create optimised master routes for periods ranging from a few days to several months.
Sleep-outs for sales reps can become particuarly important when a great deal must be done in areas far from the rep’s home. Resources would be unnecessarily squandered if a rep were to head back home, rather than staying over in the area to finish the necessary visits in the morning.
MasterRouter is able to provide detailed modelling to customers for best effect, ranging from en-route sleep-outs that include limits on total number of sleep-outs in a period to maximum consecutive number and permitted sleep-out days.
This software product, which has been around for more than a decade already, gets all the inputs from Opsi Systems staff or the customer, and feeds them through a unique and sophisticated algorithm to allocate which resource should service each customer and on what combination of days. In this way, it is possible to achieve the best possible utilisation of resources – especially when customers have a delivery window in which they must be seen, or in which their products must arrive.
Data is input into the system, including information about reps and/or vehicles, along with their starting locations and hours of work, as just a few examples. All details are important because sales reps often start their journey from home, rather than the office. If reps are only allowed to work five hours a day, for example, they may not be eligible to do a sleep-out. Or: they may only fit in a sleep-out when it allows them to complete their hours for the week the following morning (after a long day out previously).
In an operational sense, customers who are signed up to MasterRouter can have their own set of days and all the other parameters established – but the ad hoc element can still rear its unexpected head.
To stay ahead, we recommend that you also read “The art of combining planned and emergency visits in field service route planning” to find out how to make allowances for the unexpected, in exactly the same way that you know to put a long-term plan in place.