Locations play a crucial role in efficient route planning, directly impacting travel efficiency and resource utilization. They represent geographical points, encompassing a variety of destinations.
- Places where orders are picked up or delivered. This can either be order-specific or a depot site.
- Points where a vehicle’s route starts or ends.
A location's attributes are divided into geographical features and stop-related characteristics.
The geographical properties of a location consist of latitude and longitude, which represent the geographical coordinates used to specify a position on the Earth’s surface.
A stop is a scheduled visit of a location for the purpose of picking up or delivering an order. The start and end of a route are not considered to be a stop. The stop properties describe the requirements to schedule a stop at a location.
- Preparation duration — The amount of time required to complete necessary preparations upon arrival at the location. This duration resembles various activities that need to happen before tasks can be executed, such as parking, administrative tasks or any other essential tasks associated with the location visit.
- Time slots — A location establishes time slots, determining when tasks can be scheduled for execution. The time slots restrict when the optimization can schedule an appointment to pick up or deliver an order. An appointment is a consecutive sequence of tasks that have been assigned the same time slot. The appointment should adhere to timing restrictions. The preparation duration, specified by the time slot, is considered part of the appointment and will be scheduled before the tasks. Further restrictions on the available time slots may be imposed by orders and depots.