TruckStops, online at www.TruckStopsRouting.com and one of the longest-established systems of its kind, is used widely by business, government and local authority organisations to plan the movements of commercial vehicles, cars and pedestrians, either on a fixed basis or from day to day. In either case it calculates logical journeys that minimise time and cost and maximise efficiency.
Version 12 of TruckStops vehicle routing and scheduling solution introduces a variety of new features to enable users to modify details of its behaviour – either to make it conform more closely to their existing business practices, or to reflect their knowledge and experience of on-the-ground operating conditions.
A powerful new feature enables users to override the TruckStops road speeds with their own speed estimates for specific times of day.
“However, sometimes operators know that special factors apply to their operations at certain times of day. With TruckStops 12, they have the ability to apply a ‘quick and dirty’ blanket speed adjustment just for their chosen time band. For instance, they can in effect tell TruckStops: ‘Make the speed 10 per cent slower between 8 and 9 am’.”
Not only is this feature invaluable for fine-tuning TruckStops in the light of day-to-day experience; it also makes it easier to modify its results when it is being used as a strategic modelling tool.
Enhancements have been made to the way TruckStops presents and outputs data. Users can now colour-code call points so that they are easier to identify and pick out on a map of proposed routes. As examples, users could code deliveries as green and collections as red, or differentiate between types of product or delivery point (standard and organic milk, for instance).
Improvements have also been made to the way TruckStops outputs maps and data. For instance, the Route Reporter function, which shows routes either as direct links between locations or by actual roads travelled, can now output the line-of-route results to a spreadsheet file for use in an application such as Excel. Moreover, in a multi-route implementation, it can automatically allocate each route to a separate spreadsheet tab. Stop points for each route are listed in order, and underneath them a map of the route is displayed.
The standard list of vehicles output after each TruckStops run is more configurable in version 12. As well as listing vehicles by loading efficiency, it can also list them in the order in which the list was originally set up by the user – by truck size or type, for example.
A variety of other refinements are introduced in TruckStops 12. For instance, a small but invaluable modification enables users to pop up more information about call points from the optimised routes displayed on screen. By right-clicking on a location, users can now see a range of information about it, including its postcode, address and other details.
Other new features include enhanced processing of redispatch routes and improved display of information about “not loads” (calls that TruckStops could not schedule without breaking some of the user-defined rules, for example). A single mouse click displays the total number of items not-loaded.
As always with new versions of TruckStops, version 12 includes the latest digital maps and postcode data.
“The features in this new version of TruckStops have been added as a direct result of listening to our customers’ comments and requests,” says Mary Short. “We have made it even easier for users to get TruckStops to work the way they do.”
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MapMechanics has been providing innovative solutions in logistics planning, sales and marketing, digital mapping and geographic analysis for over twenty years.
MapMechanics develops, supplies and supports TruckStops, one of the world’s best-established routing and scheduling solutions, and its portfolio includes a wide range of optimisation solutions. Examples include specialist systems for optimising transport of full or part loads, for servicing a high density of calls on the same streets and for optimising use of pallet networks.
Backing up its extensive product range, MapMechanics offers a comprehensive service of implementation support and training.