Route optimization

If you're afraid of integrating technology into your company, don't worry, we'll give you the keys to success and show you some examples
3 keys to being successful when integrating technology in SMEs

One of the main fears and brakes faced by SMEs in the face of digitalization is Integrate technology. The dichotomy between choosing an all-encompassing solution, or specific solutions for each problem. The benefit of the first option is that you're dealing with a provider, everything is talked about, and you shouldn't have too many problems. The problem is that it probably doesn't solve your processes in the best way and you have to make a lot of effort to adapt your business to the solution. The other option, small experts, usually provide a better solution for each process, but there is a difficulty in getting applications to talk to each other. This means that two companies collaborate, integrate and that can be a challenge.

More complex systems and technological solutions are increasingly required to optimize operations. The trend of one-fits-all (one solution for everything) is increasingly difficult to find and as companies grow they require more specific solutions, so integration projects are becoming more common, but above all, more necessary.

To give great examples, one of Inditex's great successes has been to have a single centralized stock between warehouses and stores, which allows us to have the status of each of the pieces of clothing in real time and achieve greater success in an omnichannel environment where the customer purchases online, is sent from several centers to be consolidated in the store and for the customer to pick up at the store buying an accessory that he found by chance. But something like that is not only available to large companies, SMEs also have a lot to say, and their scale makes them projects much easier, faster and cheaper to implement.

integrar tecnologia en almacen

The benefits of integrating systems are direct improvements in productivity and in the quality of the service they provide, standardized and optimized operating processes, ease in internal processes, reduction of errors and also homogenization of data.

Why is it presented as a brake or challenge, or Why does it bring so many headaches for companies? Mainly because many companies do not have the experience, the resources to develop these projects internally or personnel with the knowledge to lead a project of this type. The solution, outsourcing these projects, and without good advice the project can be a big headache. For this reason, looking for a supplier who knows the business, the tools to be integrated and who has experience in similar projects are the key to success for an integration project to be successful, to develop quickly and on budget.

Unfortunately, sometimes digitalization brings high costs that companies don't want to face because of the doubt if there will really be a return on that investment. Digitalization with common sense, improving and streamlining processes undoubtedly generates great investment returns. For this reason, it is essential that companies have an orchestrator that understands the need of the business, the company's processes and those points that hold back the organization in order to optimize them through digitalization. The partner will actually implement that improvement, but it requires high-level coordination that will be the key to success.

Strategy, knowledge and execution.

Nowadays, execution is the easiest part of all. There are different types of integrations depending on the available systems and the objective. The most used are those of APIS (Application Programming Interface) where data is transmitted from one side to the other quickly and securely. It is the most used since it is simpler to perform and offers great performance. These are used to enter information to our platform. On the other hand, the most used to extract information is integration by Webhooks, in which the external system receives data when there is an event on the platform.

At Routal, we are constantly working to make integrations an opportunity to further streamline company processes, digitize and automate tasks that don't add value, and concentrate the work of employees on those points where a person actually provides the most value.

Quaker State Success Story: Integrating SAP

Quaker State is a leading company in the distribution of oils and lubricants for vehicles in Mexico. In 2020, they needed to standardize their merchandise delivery procedure and homogenize their operations so as not to rely on one or more people for the replacement of personnel. Faced with this situation, they implemented the Routal solution.

Thanks to the Planner intelligent route planner, they were able to unify processes into one, in addition to generating a single procedure that would be available to any worker regardless of their level of training.

Prior to the integration, the delivery routes were carried out manually, they spent hours daily in the planning process, there was little monitoring of the operation, and obtaining any report on performance metrics was an investment of tens of hours, which greatly limited the ability to make improvement decisions.

Once the integration of their SAP system with Routal was implemented, route planning began to be carried out in an automated manner and in minutes. The risk on the figure of the route planner and the dependence on that person was completely reduced. The creation of metric reports was also automated to improve the control and monitoring of their distribution processes, and most importantly: the data were reconciled and validated. Thus, the entire process was standardized and optimized.

Routal Planner is essential to us. It saves us planning time and makes us more competitive against our competitors” Your Manager has your opinion.

Lácteas del Jarama Success Story: Integrating AS 400

Lácteas del Jarama It is one of the most important dairy companies in Spain, it was the first company to introduce mozzarella in our country and its history supports it as one of the main dairy companies in the food service sector.

The successful implementation of Routal was due to the successful integration of its ERP system, an IBM AS400, an extremely robust but difficult to integrate system. To be able to count on a partner like Nakima helped to be able to carry out the integration in just 3 weeks of work and thus reduce the start-up time to just over a month.

The internal leadership clearly identified the need to eliminate steps in the process that would focus logistics personnel on what really provides value: “Deliver quickly, with the lowest cost and offering the best possible service”.

The experience of working with professionals who are experts in this type of project means that companies can think further and want to improve other processes that seemed impossible to improve.

At Routal, we work to streamline integration processes through partners with a lot of experience in all types of technologies and businesses, achieving success so that projects are successful.

Try Routal for free for 10 days click here.

3 keys to being successful when integrating technology in SMEs
On November 26th, in exactly 10 days, a new edition of Black Friday will be held.
Prepare your logistics for Black Friday in less than 2 weeks

On November 26th, in exactly 10 days, a new edition of the Black Friday.

El Black Friday or Black Fridayor is it a commercial event of American origin that is held every year for a day: always on the last Friday of the month of November.

On the occasion of the opening of the Christmas shopping season, great discounts and offers are offered throughout Black Friday in large and small stores, both electronic and traditional.

Black Friday and the Last Mile

Given the enormous impact of this “Black Friday”, a large part of businesses are positively affected on this day, especially e-commerce. According to studies shown in Lobocom,”E-commerce companies increase their turnover by 35% on average during the week of Black Friday”. In addition, the fact about the comparison with Christmas shopping also stands out, “since The benefits may even exceed the Christmas campaign”.

In this regard, it should be noted that the month of November is the month of the year with the highest number of sales, thus surpassing the hitherto unbeatable months of December (Christmas campaign) or January (sales campaign).

In this way, and taking into account the great benefits and business repercussions of this important date, it is essential to formulate a strategy prior to Black Friday, in order to guarantee success in our company.

Preliminary market study

As we mentioned before, a prior approach is essential in addition to creating a strategy focused on Black Friday. Here are some of the key aspects you should consider when carrying out a previous study:

· Knowledge of market trends: know what the dynamics of the market are in terms of purchasing patterns, products or services most in demand or, even, purchase method (in-store pickup, home delivery, etc.), among others. Knowledge of all or some of these trends will help us to establish a more precise and, consequently, more beneficial strategy.

· Analysis of our consumers: in relation to market trends, it is also essential to know our own users or potential customers in depth. Knowing what they want, what they need and how they want to achieve it will provide us with a lot of information to direct a focused and efficient strategy.

· Black Friday marketing strategy: knowing the market and our potential consumers will help us to implement a marketing strategy focused solely and exclusively on Black Friday. Strategies such as email marketing campaigns in the previous days, publications on social networks or even banners and pop-ups within the website itself may be considered.

How to prepare your logistics last mile for a successful Black Friday

Given the enormous success of this “Black Friday” and the great impact on sales in practically all the stores participating in this “black day”, it is essential to establish a logistical preparation prior to this day.

For users, it is increasingly important to speed and efficiency in your purchases. Make a quick and convenient purchase: from anywhere (at home or from the beach) and receive it in the shortest possible time. This entire process is one of the most important aspects for users and one of the most difficult logistically for any company.

For this reason, implementing tools that facilitate logistics operations and, above all, help to efficiently manage delivery routes is vital on such a special date.

Here's how you should prepare for Black Friday in your store:

· Using specialized software in the last mile: the implementation of tools on such an important date as Black Friday will be a fundamental part of your company's commercial success. Tools such as SmartMonkey Planner they will help you to cope with this frenetic sales day in addition to Increase profits, because with Planner you'll plan routes in an intelligent way: the program itself will result in the fastest and most efficient routes in a matter of seconds. With efficient routes, you will not only have economic savings, due to lower fuel consumption, but also time savings, since you will carry out the most optimal route.

· Direct communication channels with your customers: direct communication with users is essential, since in the midst of the digital age, we are used to being constantly connected and informed. With the use of software such as Planner, your customers will be able to receive direct and real-time information about your purchases. For example, your customers will be able to know at all times where their order is or when they will receive it, among others.

· Transportation: given the enormous sales forecast on this date, it is necessary to take into account the company's logistics and transport capabilities. If, as we mentioned before, the increase in sales is greater than 35% compared to other days, we must weigh what the transport needs will be in order to operate successfully. To reach the total of the operation, you must Increase transport of the same exponentially: increasing one third of available transport, at least 10% if sales exceed 35%.

· Logistic staff: in the same way as with transport, it will be necessary increase specialized logistics staff to be able to carry out the day in a satisfactory manner. Taking into account that the increase in sales will be 35%, the available logistics staff must increase by the same number or, at least 10% less. Therefore, the workforce should increase by 25%-35% for that day.

But there are 10 days left, am I still on time?

Of course! One of our greatest achievements at SmartMonkey is, precisely, having launched it to the market the most user-friendly last-mile management tool on the market. In fact, a recent case is that of the Portuguese company Prio, a company that has been able to start optimizing production routes with literally 1 meeting and a 20-minute demonstration.

Don't be less, and do like Prio. Try Planner and start enjoying all the benefits.

Create a schedule in a few minutes with this step-by-step

Try it for free!

Do you want to know more about Black Friday and what are the forecasts for the 2021 edition? Go to our article Black Friday: 50 days until the biggest logistics challenge of the year and find out.

Prepare your logistics for Black Friday in less than 2 weeks
implement actions to ensure the good use of resources and significant energy savings for better logistics efficiency
Energy savings in logistics are possible: 3 measures you should know to achieve energy efficiency in your company

Optimizing the use of resources, especially those that have an environmental benefit, is, to an increasing extent, an extended challenge for society, especially in the logistics sector.

Due to the complexity of logistics operations, many companies face the challenge of reducing costs while being forced to optimize the use and management of resources, as in the case of energy. All of this combines not only environmental awareness and concern, but also a concern to remain competitive with other companies.

In this article, we analyze the importance of implementing actions to ensure the good use of energy resources to achieve a more sustainable future within your company.

Current Situation

The service sector, also known as the tertiary sector, is one whose economic activities are based on the distribution and consumption of goods in order to meet user demand. In turn, this sector encompasses logistics and transport as a subsector, key industries for the development and good functioning of those more developed economies.

However, the logistics industry is a sector in which there is a lot of competition and, given the increasingly specific requirements of users, the improvement of energy efficiency within the logistics process itself has become a key factor for logistics companies to continue with a tight price offer without detracting from the quality of their service.

For this reason, it is essential to implement solutions capable of integrating energy saving mechanisms into their logistics processes in order to achieve resource optimization in addition to remaining at a demanding competitive level such as logistics.

In line with this, according to statements made by Fernando López Zamora, Head of Development at EDF Fenice Ibérica, at the conference”Energy efficiency in logistics facilities” energy efficiency is “a tool for competitiveness and sustainability for companies”.

Emphasizing the fact that “today's industry must prepare to compete tomorrow. And energy and the environment are at the center of this transformation. Therefore, this preparation implies that there is a digitalization of the logistics industry with digital technologies that improve the efficiency of facilities and processes; that are committed to sustainability with efficient uses and consumption of resources; and that they invest in competitiveness to be able to produce the same thing while consuming less”.


Fleet Management System: the incorporation of specialized software for fleet management will allow the planning of shorter and more efficient routes, in addition to also achieving greater and better use of resources, since it will be possible to take into account the capacities of the vehicles, among others.

Warehouses: The incorporation of automated warehouses has established itself as an efficient solution for energy optimization because it ensures greater use of resources, both spatial and operational (intelligent warehouse management systems).

Electric vehicles: The electrification of vehicles is becoming increasingly popular thanks to a significant improvement in technology, the reduction of the final cost for users together with a lower cost of use and the absence of limitations on use (large city governments have implemented what are known as Low Emission Zones in order to restrict access to cities to all those vehicles that are the most polluting). Initiatives such as that of the company Avia, who have recently developed the EV12 model, a vehicle specifically developed for the city with 100% electric propulsion, making it an environmentally friendly vehicle.

EV 12 electric vehicle 100% developed by the company Avia

Benefits of saving energy

With the implementation of more sustainable measures that help to save energy in the normal operations of any company, great advantages will be obtained for your company as a result:

  1. Lower costs: The change in perspective on logistics operations, making it a much more sustainable sector, also bring economic benefits, since planning efficient routes will increase productivity while reducing fuel costs, among others.
  2. Decrease in the carbon footprint: Thanks to new ways of proceeding in logistics, such as the use of electric vehicles or the optimization of routes, the impact of logistics operations on the environment is reduced, thus minimizing the known carbon footprint and improving the quality of life in cities.
  3. Improving the corporate image: Today, organizations understand sustainability as a priority issue, and this is reflected in their value proposition. For this reason, more and more companies are taking sustainability into account in their activities and, also, as a value proposition in their marketing and communication strategies.

How can you add to energy savings in logistics? With an effective use of resources and logistics processes, such as planning more efficient and shorter routes or the use of less polluting vehicles. All of this will not only contribute to environmental efficiency but also to greater economic profitability for companies. If you want to know more about logistics and sustainability, don't miss our article about Green Logistics.

Get on board with energy efficiency with Routal Planner for 30% more efficient and sustainable route planning.

Energy savings in logistics are possible: 3 measures you should know to achieve energy efficiency in your company
Here are some of the 4 key factors that will help you increase your company's logistics productivity.
How to increase logistics productivity: the 4 key aspects to consider to increase logistics efficiency

Find out how to improve logistics productivity in 4 simple steps

La productivity It is an essential indicator for analyzing the state and quality of logistics management of your company. Here are some of the recommendations that will help you increase logistic productivity of your company

Use of metrics and KPIs

To evaluate logistic productivity and process performance, the use of KPIs is essential (Key Performance Indicator). These indicators will help you measure and quantify your company's performance and compliance with established objectives. According to the article Logistics KPI: discover how to increase the productivity of your company from the technology consultancy Enzyme Advising Group, the incorporation of these parameters is an essential component in the success of any company.

It is recommended that when defining the logistics KPIs, they are developed based on the S.M.A.R.T. (Smart, Mmeasurable, Achivable, Realistic and Time-Bound) model:

  • Specific: in line with your company's mission, vision and strategy.
  • Measurable: Quantifying results will be key to strategy planning and subsequent decision-making.
  • Achievable: define objectives as long as they are acceptable and real
  • Realistic: objectives should be defined according to the capabilities and particularities of the strategy
  • Time-limited: objectives with a limited period of time.

Within the KPIs, it must be taken into account which ones can be useful within each of the phases of the logistics process. This will make it easier for you to extract performance data from each department. Here are some of the most important in the different phases of the logistics process:

  • Purchase and inventory: it is essential to measure the service offered by our suppliers and carry out an inventory in order to have a good organization (know the content, avoid possible errors and even reduce costs)
  • Distribution: Quantifying the orders to be placed and evaluating the productivity of your employees will increase the efficiency of your warehouse
  • Transportation: automating tasks related to transportation, thanks to the use of software specialized in route planning and optimization, will make the last mile an efficient and optimal process for your customers
  • Order and delivery management: It is necessary to know times and quantities when carrying out a delivery service, since it will depend on increasing management and operational performance

Increase customer satisfaction

Prioritizing a stable relationship focused on customer satisfaction is the first step and an essential step to achieve success and thus increase logistics productivity.

To establish a good relationship with your customers, you must offer optimal communication throughout the process: it offers direct access, real-time monitoring of information, includes alerts, etc. It is also essential to guarantee adequate technical support: the resolution of incidents or questions that may arise quickly and effectively is essential for the satisfaction of your users. All of this will make them have all the information they may require and will help them build a much stronger relationship with your company, which will also have an impact on logistics productivity.

Optimizing resources: transport and logistics productivity

The optimization of resources when it comes to transportation is essential for the benefit and efficiency of your company, since it will help to control the traceability, trajectory and tracking of shipments. In addition, planning delivery routes efficiently and optimally will result in significant economic and time savings. Therefore, the use of specialized route planning software such as Planner, from SmartMonkey, will be a key element in increasing the logistics productivity of your company.

Design of planning systems, logistics scenarios and efficient warehouses

It is essential to have a good warehouse design, since it will have a direct impact on the supply chain and its effectiveness because this will help to manage one's own supplies properly and to greater logistic productivity.


The design or redesign of the warehouse should take into account key aspects, such as the prior analysis of the warehouse's space needs and associated areas, together with a previous study also of the expected inflow and outflow.

Do you want to know more aspects of the logistics market? We recommend that you read the article Digital transformation in the logistics sector: the 5 keys to achieving digital success to learn about the latest trends in the sector.

If you want to increase the logistics productivity of your business, join Planner and reinforce the scalability of your company.

How to increase logistics productivity: the 4 key aspects to consider to increase logistics efficiency
Having trouble finding directions on the map? In this article, you'll find the secrets of improving georeferencing and avoiding having to manually clean addresses.
Information pills
Training pills — Ep 3. — Address geocoding

We know how hard your day to day is. Planning routes is a tedious job that requires a lot of concentration and experience. From we want to help you, that's why we launched a series of training pills to help you improve day by day. Our goal is for you to plan better, faster and more successfully.

Shall we start?

In today's post, we'll talk about one of the biggest problems: georeferencing, or Geocoding in English. This term refers to being able to convert a written address into coordinates (GPS) on a map.

This fact, which may seem so trivial and obvious, is a very complicated process indeed. How many times has Google Maps taken you to the wrong place? In my personal case, dozens if not hundreds of times. And I have a personal anecdote, in the middle of the Swiss Alps, snowing and carrying a heavy suitcase, I sent my wife and me to the other end of town. That's a long time ago, but I'll never forget it...

This anecdote cannot happen in your daily life. Your business depends on it. Luckily your delivery people know the areas well and have no problem getting to the places. (A secret, they were lost many times before and now they have already learned 😉)

How can we better geolocate?

Very simple, following a few small formatting tricks depending on the place you want to geolocate. These are our recommendations after working with all of these countries and finding a way to be the most successful.

Argentina	Pedro Moran 5002, 1419 Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Australia	Macquarie St, 6 Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Brasil	Rua Barão de Iguape, 681 – Liberdade, São Paulo
Chile	San Pablo 1130, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Colombia	Carrera 14 112 96, 110111, Bogota D.c., Colombia
España	Calle de Azcona, 17, 28028, Madrid, España
USA	895, 29 Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, United States
Mexico	Calle Tlaxcala, 151, 06100, Cuauhtemoc, CDMX, Mexico
Peru	Avenida 28 de Julio 1595, 15048 Miraflores, Peru

By following this recommendation, you will achieve much more success when it comes to geolocation, either by manually uploading your addresses or by importing them in bulk using an XLSX file.

Bonus track — Importing GPS coordinates on Highway

The world of geocoding changes radically when we have the GPS coordinates of the places we want to go to. In this case, the concept is called reverse-geocoding, or reverse georeferencing, which tries to convert GPS coordinates into a street and a number. This work is very simple on the part of map systems and the error is usually minimal.

The good news is that you can use GPS coordinates directly on the Highway platform and our system will do the reverse geocoding for you.

We simply have to copy the coordinates following this format:

Latitude, longitude
41.387021, 2.170123

It is important to keep the decimal separator with the dot and the separator between latitude and longitude with a comma. This is the Anglo-Saxon format, which we will find in most map systems (Google Maps, HERE, OSM,...).

We hope it was useful and we look forward to seeing you next week!

Training pills — Ep 3. — Address geocoding
We will learn to optimize routes by defining zones for each of the vehicles.
Information pills
Training pills — Ep 2. — Optimization of routes based on Zones

We know how hard these days are. Planning routes on a daily basis is a tedious job and since we want to help you, that's why we launched a series of training pills to help you improve your daily life. We want you to better plan your work and for that, training can help you gain that plus.

In today's episode, we'll be optimizing by defining Delivery Zones. This strategy is the most common in any distribution and logistics company to solve the daily problem of route optimization.

This is a very complex problem, also called Traveller problem, and given the large number of possible solutions ( Factorial of the number of places to visit) and the limitations of our brain, humans developed a strategy to simplify the problem called Divide and Conquer developed in ancient Rome and with great uses today. This strategy or algorithm tries to reduce the problem into smaller problems in order to arrive at a solution in a reasonable time.

It may seem like the most successful and efficient strategy to solve this problem, but in many cases it generates a loss of efficiency if all the routes are analyzed together. The typical example of lack of efficiency can be found in the use of zip codes as a zoning system. When a fair order is on the border of the next zip code and all other services in that zip code are away from this one.

Postal codes, since they are not generated based on the concentration of services, generate fictitious boundaries that impact the performance of distribution operations, although at the same time they help to streamline the organization and sorting of the distribution.

Example of a customer just outside the zip code (red pointer) — Capture Google Maps

Black and white people don't exist in logistics, and that's why right now is where other very important external factors come into play. The time and experience of the delivery people.

In logistics, there is nothing more expensive than time. Therefore, any action aimed at reducing time is always very welcome. In the example above, dividing by zip codes is a simple job, anyone is able to make groups by a predefined code. For this reason, that strategy is good and is widely used. It is a decisive strategy in a short space of time with acceptable performance.

The other key factor is the delivery person's experience. Our customers tell us that experience can make a performance difference of more than 3x between an expert worker and a non-skilled worker. So it's a very important variable to consider.

The objective is to be able to plan a route achieving good results in a very short time without having experience.

Smartmonkey goal

To this end, defining areas that represent the deliveryers' experience together with a route optimization system can be a good strategy.

How do we define a zone in Highway?

A zone is an area where all the services included in it share the same attribute. For example, they are part of zone 1. Once a zone has been defined, we must assign at least one vehicle to this area so that it can perform the services.

To be able to define zones, we use the concept Provide — Requires. Conceptually, we are generating groups of services by a label that can only be assigned to vehicles/routes that share/provide that same label. (For this reason, the labels must be exactly the same.)

zona 2

In this example, we have assigned to each of the services in each zone a Requires restriction depending on the zone that corresponds to it. This way we can group them according to the image.

The second step is to assign which routes you are going to or are going to cover which zones. To do this, we simply must Edit The Provide restriction Of each of the routes and Assign it the same label as the routes What we want you to do.

Provide restriction for each of the routes

All that remains is to press the optimize button to achieve the optimized route through zones. As we can see in the image, the services have been assigned exactly according to the areas we had indicated.

Routes planned taking into account the zones using the restriction provides

You can then download an example XLSX document with the services. You can see that there is an extra Requirement column, and we must assign it to the Requirement concept when uploading the XLSX to the platform so that it automatically assigns the zone label to it.

Sample document for getting on Highway Download an example XLS

Finally, after having the routes optimized, we could play to modify some route service, assigning it manually and see if there are any improvements or if it can be distributed in a more balanced way, but we will see this last tip in future chapters.

Training pills — Ep 2. — Optimization of routes based on Zones
Story about Sant Jordi, home delivery and how to combat coronavirus
Success stories
Sant Jordi, day of the book, the rose and the delivery

Sant Jordi is always a special day, books, roses, queues and people, lots of people. Everyone is out on the street, enjoying a magical day for both children and adults. It is the day of the year when the most books are sold, 7.5% of annual sales In the city of Barcelona.

DSC 9369

This year will be special. We'll have to spend it at home, enjoying a good read, our recommendation for these days The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb. This year we will save ourselves the hassle of Las Ramblas and we will have to buy the roses online. Without a doubt, a special year.

We want to take advantage of this important date to see the success of initiatives that, in a normal year, would hardly have achieved such overwhelming success.

One of our customers is using Highway as a tool to optimize the distribution of roses on such a special date as Sant Jordi.


Thanks to the power of the Highway route planner, they have been able to grow in deliveries and reach customers that would have been impossible for them before.

Like them, hundreds of other customers are entering a world such as home delivery. A channel that had often been completely forgotten. Thanks, or unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced the launch of new marketing channels such as Ecommerce and its own distribution and home delivery.

We are seeing this in our traditional customers, distribution companies to the HORECA channel that are converting to home distributors overnight.

Pastry shops such as Cropics they were able to deliver all the Easter monkeys in record time and have the detail of leaving a monkey at my wife's grandmother's house 😁. These types of details make being able to help small businesses make you proud of the work you do and of seeing how you can help more people around you.

repartidor roses sant jordi a casa

We are in a very difficult time for many companies and families. There is little help to get through this crisis and reaching those people we can help is always a challenge. I encourage you to share our story, the story of our users and customers, companies that are embarking on a new adventure, delivery. Without experience, without processes, but with a desire to fight and face the corona, you are not alone.

We won this together.

Sant Jordi, day of the book, the rose and the delivery
On-demand distribution is an industry that is growing at a very high speed. New companies appear every day, especially in the market of
Intelligent Dispatch for On-Demand Distribution

The distribution on demand is an industry that is growing at a very high speed. New companies appear every day, especially in the market for food, beverages and deliveries of perishable products. And the competition is wild. Efficiency is a key metric in the “I want it all and I want it now” era and the most critical part is what happens from when a new order is placed until it is delivered.

Today I want to focus on the problem of sending new orders, that is, how to decide which courier service the order should be assigned to when an order enters the system. This is because the dispatch today is not addressed systematically. Optimizing the dispatch system can minimize delivery time and improve customer satisfaction.

The operating paradigm of companies that deliver on demand can be divided into two different types:

  1. Operations based on a single warehouse are those operations focused on a single tank. This warehouse has several dealers and the programming is done once to obtain an order list; usually grouping orders by area. Amazon Prime is a good example of this paradigm.
  2. Operations based on multiple warehouses are those operations that rely on choosing the order in one of the multiple warehouses and delivering it to a customer. In this case, the delivery people are scattered around the city, and once a new order arrives, it is assigned through a shipping process to one of the multiple delivery people. Companies such as Uber, Just Eat, Delivero, etc. operate this way.

The problem of dispatching is solved more or less satisfactorily in the first scenario thanks to the possibility of linking together a list of deliveries and considering it as a Traveling Seller Problem (Traveling Salesman Problem) with some pre-clustering restrictions (OK, I know that TSP is an expensive problem, but... come on, it's about Amazon).

On the contrary, in the second scenario, it is not so clear that the problem is being optimally addressed. How can a new incoming order be added to a running scenario? There are tons of variables to consider:

  • Can the courier make multiple collections before starting to deliver?
  • Can an already assigned order be reassigned to another courier service?
  • Do all orders have the same priority? (for example, all orders must be delivered no later than 30 minutes after placing them)
    Do orders need to be delivered by a particular vehicle?
  • ...
Photo by Roman Mager/Unsplash

Modeling this scenario can be quite challenging, and that's why SmartMonkey has been working on this problem for a while. We call our solution Online Programming Optimization Model (OSOM) (Yes, branding isn't one of our strengths 😅, but phonetically it sounds like “incredible” and that's pretty fun). OSOM can model business restrictions and find a feasible solution to the dispatching problem.

In the simulation below, we have modeled a world where:

  • A courier service can be assigned multiple pickups and deliveries at the same time
  • and the first next service of each messaging service is fixed and cannot be reassigned in subsequent iterations.

The visualization contains twenty iterations of the world divided into two steps:

1. New incoming services are marked in gray.

2. Services are dynamically assigned to deliverers to optimize overall delivery time.

Intelligent Dispatch for On-Demand Distribution