How important is scheduling and route planning to your business?

Optimized scheduling and effective route planning are essential for an enterprise. 2020 has been challenging for our business, and conserving cash has become the new normal. Teams across enterprises are trying to identify cash leaking holes and fill them up. Meanwhile, negotiations are back on the table for existing contracts.
The other way to conserve cash is to optimize business operations. Any company working in the space of first and last mile delivery or having a can significantly optimize their field operations.

What is scheduling and route planning?

Scheduling and route planning is a process to align every individual with tasks or actions best suited for ultimate goals. We can use scheduling & route planning individually or company-wide to focus on high priority tasks, meetings, or deliveries.
We are excited about schedules and planning. The best example would be athletes who follow their training and rest schedule religiously to train their bodies and minds for maximum results. Similarly, a delivery organization can save a lot of money and effort while optimizing its operations. It can achieve maximum delivery in the minimum traveled distance, resulting in reduced delivery cost, hence, savings.
In our daily personal lives, we work hard on our schedule optimizations without realizing that this is core to our DNA. Today, several technologies are available to implement scheduling and route planning in organizations resulting in increased efficiency. It’s easy to apply once you understand how it works; organizations can choose a forward or backward scheduling strategy based on their current mode of operation, both in some cases.

Benefits of scheduling and route planning

1) Increased revenue
2) Increase in overall process efficiency
3) Compiling with SLAs
4) Satisfied workforce

What is the distinction between routing and scheduling?

There is a key difference between scheduling and routing. Scheduling can be defined as the method to plan time intervals for delivery executives to make assigned deliveries. Routing refers to mapping routes for delivery agents or field executives to ensure the deliveries mentioned above happen on time. The idea is to use roads that are either the shortest or the fastest.
Looking at them closely will give us a better idea of the difference. Collating all delivery or service requests, determining how many vehicles or staff members you would need to address these, and assigning them to agents at specific time intervals will be scheduling. Scheduling is imperative to ensure your field operations are meticulously planned and executed. It precedes routing and is necessary to manage workloads and staffing needs.
Routing or route planning essentially mapping out optimum routes for delivery based on your scheduling. The quickest or shortest paths will ensure delivery times and customer delight. Routing is crucial when you need to plan for vehicle capacities, transportation costs, and time.

Five steps to optimize schedule and route planning:

Five steps to optimize schedule and route planning

1) Prioritize

Before you start thinking about where to start, first we need to set a target. Either I am looking for cost savings on deliveries, or I want to beat the delivery timeline. It’s better to have one goal at a time for better results. In some cases, you can aim for more than one target at the same time.

2) Identify constraints/variables

It is essential to factor in most of the variables that we might get during our execution.

  • What are the urgent tasks?
  • Do we need a particular skill to complete the job?
  • What is the capacity we can consider?
  • Can we group a few of the tasks?
All the above questions will be your constraints to feed while you plan your schedule. We also need to segregate our constraints into resource constraints and task constraints.

3) Plan

While starting the planning exercise, we need to keep priority tasks first to help you move one step closer to your target. Once you have planned all the critical tasks, you should look into the remaining tasks and segregate them into urgent vs. low priority tasks, repeat this till you complete all your tasks.

4) Review

When you start your day as per the optimized schedule, a lot of real-time constraints can come. A classic example of a delivery use case could be one of the delivery agents on emergency leave. To meet all the SLAs, we need to replicate the same and optimize with the current resources at the disposal.
The review is one of the most critical steps of the scheduling and route optimization because a lot can change in real-world dynamics.

5) Execute

Send the optimized schedule to your resources and sit back and relax, and feel the power of optimized workflow.

How Dista helps organizations with scheduling & route planning

At Dista, we help companies with optimized deliveries, pickups, reverse pickups, sales & services schedules for their feet on the street (mobile workforce). This includes use cases from industries like logistics, food delivery, quick service restaurants, ride-hailing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, eCommerce, retail, FMCG/FMCD, telecom, banking, insurance, and other financial institutes.
Below is the step by step breakdown of how Dista helps business with their scheduling and route planning exercise.

1) Priorities

Dista helps in achieving below mentioned targets/goals.

  • Reducing overall cost
  • Variable workforce management
  • Increase profit/Revenue
  • Workload management
  • Saving time & etc.

2) Identify constraints and variables

Businesses need to upload (API integrations) the order master into the Dista platform with all the mobile workforce’s input constraints, capacity, and skills. You can also add service or delivery level constraints or specifications that can be used right away or at any event trigger. Dista is a highly customizable platform, and we can add any constraints that suit your business requirements.
Identify constraints and variables

3) Plan

With Dista, you can get the optimized schedule with a planned route for a day, week, month, or year, depending on how far you want to plan your workforce.
We offer a job timeline view to make it easy for you to see which mobile workforce is on what schedule on which day of the week. With the Asset timeline drag and drop feature, you will rebalance the workload if anyone is on emergency leave.
Dista also has a summary view to show jobs’ status in real-time, and the Dista Nudge and notification framework help send nudges to the mobile workforce for any missed SLAs or deadlines.
Dista operations summary

4) Review

After you have your plan generated, you can view the schedule and make changes as and if needed, with manual override, or you can also change constraints and rerun the optimization and compare the two plans. Dista helps dispatchers or fleet managers to set time and day when you need an additional mobile workforce to complete the order volumes and vice versa.
Routing and scheduling

5) Execute

Dista will automatically share the jobs to the respective mobile workforce through the Dista mobility application (iOS and Android). They are shown jobs in sequence to complete, and any workflow can be added with the jobs to be filled at the time of delivery of service completion.
If you want to make changes after the job has been assigned to your mobile workforce, we help you with dynamic scheduling and load balancing.
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