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Planning ahead for the unknown

By [email protected] - 29th January 2007 - 17:31

A route plan for parcel services and haulage firms that dynamically adapts to the order situation, yet only slightly varies over the course of the day â impossible if only 20 to 50 percent of the jobs are known in the morning? Researchers in Dresden are working on the problem.
Image:Fraunhofer-GesellschaftPlanning vehicle routes for logistics providers is like forecasting the weather: Known events are compounded by unknown factors that can change the situation entirely. True, the clerk who coordinates the vehicle routes â the dispatcher â knows which parcels have to be delivered where before the trucks leave the depot. However, he does not know which pick-up orders will come in once the trucks are en route. âAll day long new orders come in, existing ones are canceled or changed, but no more real planning takes place,â reports mathematician Axel Simroth of the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI. Although dispatchers build a safety margin into their route plans, they are moving on thin ice. If they allow too great a margin, they will waste valuable capacities. If they allow too little, they could cause delays.In a joint project with logistics experts from GTS Systems and Consulting GmbH, the IVI researchers are developing mathematical decision models and methods: A special software program creates vehicle route plans in real time, dynamically making allowance for the order situation.Full article available at:

Author: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

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