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Planning of delivery sequences in fixed territory structures: Example of a CEP service provider

Use Case description

An Austrian CEP service provider works with fixed territories to which vehicles and drivers are assigned. In the morning, the drivers load their vans with the packages for their area and then use a handheld device to plan their route. The system optimizes the delivery sequence and gives the driver a specific delivery order. The drivers not only deliver but can also collect parcels.
If a package is added later, the driver enters it into the system. The order is integrated into the existing schedule in a meaningful way. When driving off at the depot, the route planning is completed. The route plan is automatically sent to the head office and serves as the basis for ETA calculation and notification of customers. 
At the end of a shift, the driver drops off the undeliverable parcels at a parcel shop where the customer can pick them up later and drives back to the depot. 
The route planning is subject to a number of restrictions:

  • Time windows (e.g. opening hours)
  • Scheduled backhauls
  • The drivers themselves can determine the time of their lunch break
  • The parcel shop shall always be the last stop on the route

The load
The vans are being loaded with 150 to 200 parcels and packages weighing up to 30 kg.

The fleet
The fleet includes about 2000 vans, which are distributed over several bases. Usually, the drivers start and end their routes at the base. 

The customers
Both individuals and companies

The staff
All drivers operate in a fixed territory. The planning of the routes and the delivery sequence is done by the drivers themselves by using a handheld device. The planning results as well as the actually driven routes are being transferred to the headquarters for analysis and evaluation.

Problem characteristics

Depot-based round-trip planning

The trips start and end at the same depot. On the trip, the individual deliveries and backhauls are made.

Day trips

The trips are completed within one day. There are no overnight stays.

Single vehicle

 The individual territories are planned separately. This means that exactly one vehicle is used per planning.

Customer time window 

Time windows are only relevant for the business customers. Private customers can be delivered at any time during the day.

Service times

The service times are based on average durations as the drivers do not know whether the customers at the delivery locations are at home or not. This can have a significant impact on the actual service time.

Trip Sections

It can always happen that some deliveries cannot be fulfilled because the related customers are not at home. These parcels are brought to the parcel shop. Therefore this stop is always included in every trip.

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