Optimal planning and delivery scheduling

The Smith Institute helped Geoplan to improve their product range and business strategy.

The problem

Geoplan is committed to continuous improvement across all of its products and processes and the most recent example of this can be seen with their newly developed territory optimisation and route scheduling optimisation algorithms.

The purpose of this project was to improve the offering to their customers with the objective of providing seamless optimum territory and route schedules for their clients.  This serves as a logical extension to the delivery of actionable information to field workers with the overall aim of waste reduction.

The solution

The Smith Institute's team worked with Geoplan to design two algorithms, one for route planning and one for territory optimisation. The team reviewed the academic literature on analogous problems and down selected appropriate techniques for the two algorithms. The methods were then implemented in software, using the team’s expertise to overcome the difficulties presented by the additional constraints required in the real-world scenario.

In the route planning problem, a variation on the simulated annealing optimisation method was implemented to find shortest routes subject to a number of constraints including delivery time-windows.

For territory optimsation a robust Voronoi cell partitioning algorithm was developed, with a suitable annealing schedule that enabled good solutions to be found quickly under constraints including contiguity and arbitrary territory weightings. When benchmarked against currently available commercial software, both algorithms performed better, with the added benefit of being specifically tailored to Geoplan’s requirements.

The benefit

As a result of working with the Smith Institute, Geoplan have been able to improve their product range and business strategy. The new algorithms are now available to their clients, both as standard products offering functional extensions to their tools GeoAnalyser and SKIN, and within bespoke tools.

We believe we have identified an excellent partner for future developments of this type. The Smith Institute have shown commitment, patience, openness and flexibility throughout and not least a unique range of skills that will allow us to move our business forward.

John TaylorManaging Director at Geoplan