Taking Breaks into Account

Determining cost-effective routes requires us to take into account the needs drivers experience on the road, in particular their need to take breaks. Thanks to a new version of VROOM, the open-source software we have developed for optimizing itineraries, this functionality that our clients have been impatiently awaiting is now available through our API.

Time for a break – Photo by Phil Garrison on Unsplash

Flexibility of Time and Location

Up until now we were able to define a break as one of a driver’s several tasks, but that meant pre-determining the location at which the break was to be taken. At times this approach worked well, but as a rule the site of the break depends on the optimized route. With our new approach we can now define breaks as tasks without pre-establishing their location.

Even pre-determining the time of a break can have a negative effect on optimization. It would clearly be foolish to cancel a job simply because performing it would mean that the driver’s break would have to begin at 12:03 rather than at 12 noon sharp, as planned. Moreover, we have to be able to ensure that breaks are taken early enough to allow drivers to meet subsequent deadlines. Our API provides this flexibility, guaranteeing breaks of adequate length that comply with in-the-field needs.

To take an even more complex example, imagine a situation in which the final morning job ends before the midday break can reasonably begin. No one wishes to waste time waiting, and putting off the break could cause delays for jobs that follow. We are now capable of splitting travel time before and after breaks, thus minimizing downtime and providing pertinent solutions even when time constraints are especially tight.

Increased Functionality with the Same High Degree of Performance

The newly developed ability to include several breaks in itineraries makes it possible for us to model a great number of new situations. For example, planning work that stretches over several days and involves rest times at night is trivial.

The good news is that we have been able to add this functionality without significantly increasing algorithmic complexity. In a word, whether taking breaks into account or not, our API continues to provide elegant solutions at the same record speeds as always.

If you would like to try out this new functionality, contact us to get your API key.

Managing Pickups and Deliveries

VERSO’s API for route optimization has just been enhanced. We can now model pickups and deliveries in combination, which allows us to deal with a greater variety of situations. As always, the latest update is based on a new version of VROOM, the open-source software we work with to optimize itineraries.

Photo by RoseBox

A New Functionality

The previous update allowed us to deal with objects that all had to be either loaded when the vehicle set out or brought back at the end of a round. In the trade, pickup and delivery is the phrase used to designate an object picked up and later delivered in the course of the same round. The newly added modeling entity shipment deals with this exact situation.

And all kinds of combinations are possible, for shipment objects can be combined with the previously managed job objects of single deliveries or pickups.

New Uses

It is now possible to optimize the deliveries and pickups of multiple clients to or from a variety of storage areas (warehouses, stores, etc.), all while taking into account the usual factors: priorities, load capacities, schedules, expertise in handling, and so on. When dealing with a multi-site fleet of vehicles, the optimization tool minimizes operating costs by determining the vehicles best suited for a series of pickups and its associated deliveries.

The new feature can also be applied to the transport of people, with possibilities for optimization combined with innovative solutions for carpooling or the use of common-carrier vehicles. In the case of individual requests for transportation, calculation time is so short that schedules can be updated and optimized in real time.

The Same Excellent Results as Always

As has consistently been the case, the results we achieve are both verifiable and reproducible. According to the well-established benchmark Li & Lim 100, our approach obtains absolute optimal results more than 46% of the time, for an average of just 1.22% over optimal cost. And everything is done in record time, with problems involving a hundred different locations solved on average in 256 milliseconds.

If you are interested in trying out this new functionality, contact us for an API key.

New Functionalities and Enhanced Performance

VERSO’s API for route optimization is constantly being updated to respond more fully to our users’ needs. The October 2019 update introduces functionalities designed to fine-tune approaches to problem solving and to allow us to solve new kinds of problems as well. This update uses the 1.5 version of VROOM, which is the open-source software we have developed for optimizing itineraries.

Managing Priorities

Example of how to include priorities in problem solving – Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

When a company is faced with limited load capacities or a limited number of available vehicles or man-hours of work, it is sometimes difficult to get everything done. In the example illustrated above, the job that gets left out is not surprisingly the one located furthest away (left). But what if that job had priority? It is now possible to include priorities in problem solving and ensure that the most important jobs appear in the solution (right).

Combining Deliveries and Pickups

Until now, it was easy enough for us to model simple logistical problems, such as when a vehicle leaves a warehouse with loads to be delivered to various places or when it leaves empty and returns after a round of pickups. But out in the field companies usually deal with a more complicated mix of deliveries and pickups, sometimes at the same location. That makes it far more difficult than it might seem to guarantee that solutions take into account actual load capacities, which depend on the pickups already made, the deliveries yet to be made, and the order in which these operations are carried out.

That functionality has now been implemented. We are now able to work with a mix of pickups and deliveries and ensure that we take into account a vehicle’s actual load capacity at any given point.

Enhanced Performance

To be sure, the introduction of these functionalities involves more complex problem solving, but the icing on the cake is that it has not increased the time needed to generate solutions. In fact, that time has actually decreased both because of various efficiency mechanisms built into the new code and because, while the verification tests needed when dealing with combinations of deliveries and pickups are more complex, there is far less need to have recourse to them. The conventional VRPTW benchmarksshow an average decline in calculation time of nearly 40%.

To learn more, check out the on-line documentation for our API and contact us to see how your business can benefit from these new functionalities.

Launch of VERSO’s API for route optimization

VERSO’s API for route optimization saves time and money and can be easily and seamlessly integrated into any software used for businesses. Following the success enjoyed by clients who have had advanced access to it, we are very pleased to announce its public launch.

Image © Jack Moreh

Resolving Real Problems

To be able to concentrate on what matters most to them, professionals who depend on scheduling for the transportation of persons and merchandise need to devise the most cost-effective routes quickly, both for the logistics of their operations and the services they provide. And this involves working with a large number of variables that are becoming increasingly complex. Our API immediately and automatically generates cost-reducing routes that take into account schedules, transport and intervention times, capacity limits, required features on equipment, expertise in handling, and so on. Integrating our API into software yields immediate rewards and a guaranteed return on the investment.

Performance, Reliability, and Growth

Our API is based on the open-source software VROOM, which stands as a guarantee of its durability. It is designed to adapt to increasingly larger scales and to provide elegant, advantageous solutions in record time. Numerous benchmarks attest to its problem-solving capabilities. By incorporating our API into your software, you will be able to benefit, at no additional cost to you, from the constantly evolving functionality that we will have worked together to predesign.

We invite you to learn more by reviewing the documentation on our API and to contact us to see how we can help improve your current software.