Tour planning

Tourenplanung beinhaltet als Instrument der Logistik vorrangig die Festlegung des entfernungs-, zeit-, kosten- und serviceoptimalen Einsatzes des betriebseigenen Fuhrparks für vorgegebene Kunden-/Depot-Strukturen. Eine systematische Tourenplanung wird von Logistik-Dienstleistungsunternehmen, Unternehmen mit eigenem Fuhrpark, für den Works traffic und für den öffentlichen Nah- und Fernverkehr durchgeführt.
The route planning problem can be seen as a combination between the classic transport problem and the round trip problem (traveling salesman). A three-part question arises for the optimization of the vehicle fleet:

Which customers are supplied on which tour?

Which route is chosen for this tour?

Which vehicles are to be used?

The aim of route planning is to minimize the (total) vehicle fleet costs while maintaining a specified performance level or to achieve the highest possible performance standard with a specified budget. The problem of single / additional depots, vehicle fleet and customer-specific restrictions, seasonal fluctuations in sales and capacity utilization as well as restrictions under labor law must be taken into account.

The bandwidth of route planning ranges from relatively simply structured decision-making problems with a homogeneous structure of the goods to be transported and a fixed customer structure with few routes and customers, to the planning of complex systems with heterogeneous quantities of goods, changing recipients and daily changing restrictions on all tours and routes of a large vehicle fleet, e.g. a large forwarding company.

There are basically three possible solutions for solving the different tasks of route planning: manual route planning, the use of standard software for route planning and specially created software for use in the specific decision-making situation. The question arises as to whether daily operational planning should be carried out or whether periodic, strategic route planning is sufficient.
Manual route planning without the support of modern information technology is only conceivable today with simple decision-making problems, as the planner can only carry out calculations and planning steps to a limited extent in the available disposition time. Manual processing is not an option for decision-making problems with a large number of influencing factors.

For route planning with a complex decision-making basis, the use of standard software available on the market, adapted to the user's decision-making problems, is recommended. The advantages are the fact that a large number of restrictions can be taken into account through the use of EDP and the calculation of a large number of cost-optimized tours and routes that can be carried out in the shortest possible time.

If the program packages available on the market are inadequate or if they do not meet the requirements of the user, it is possible to purchase specially created software.

The information technology networking of all company areas enables a more efficient implementation of the route planning due to the improved database. For example, data from the order and customer files are meaningfully linked with route planning data.

Fleet information systems with mobile data acquisition also enable quick adjustment and control measures to changed environmental situations as well as efficient control of the services provided. The economic importance of IT-supported route planning for large distribution companies (eg large haulage companies) lies in a sometimes significant reduction in distribution costs as well as in an improvement in the quality of services. The extent to which the transport costs can be optimized by a different sequence of the unloading points, by a different routing or by a changed allocation of the shipments to the individual vehicles results in individual cases from the subsequent computer-aided or optimized disposition of the same transport tasks with a corresponding evaluation of the quantity structure.

An improvement in the quality of service can be achieved with the help of computer-aided route planning through faster adaptation to the daily changing demand, through minimization of scheduling errors (misjudgment of the temporal and spatial vehicle capacities) as well as a secure consideration of all components of the complex transport task.

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