MapMechanics includes more features in latest version of scheduling system
MapMechanics’ TruckStops VRS, one of the UK’s leading vehicle routing and scheduling systems, is now more intuitive in the way it displays routes on screen maps, more convenient to use for multi-solution modelling, more precise in the way it finds call points and more attractively priced. A more flexible training programme has also been introduced.
The new version 10 of TruckStops VRS will be launched at a webinar hosted by MapMechanics on 14 September at 2pm BST. Both existing and potential TruckStops users are warmly invited to attend the session, which is scheduled to run for between 15 and 20 minutes and will show how the new product can help users route vehicles more efficiently and save money.
TruckStops, one of the world’s best-established routing and scheduling optimisation systems, has been supplied in Britain by MapMechanics for nearly twenty years, and following a recent change in distribution arrangements, is now delivered to UK users in a version that reflects their specific requirements even more closely than before. The latest advances are among the first to reflect this new UK focus.
TruckStops VRS now includes new "line of route" functionality, which enables the user to choose all or any part of the route and display the actual roads and streets along which the vehicle has been routed.
Users can click round each route, examining the journey between any pair of call points. This gives the planner greater confidence in the results calculated, and enables the user to check anything that does not feel intuitive – the route between two specific customers, instance.
The new "line of route" capability is included in every copy of TruckStops VRS together with the traditional "crow fly" view, which displays routes on maps as straight lines between call points – ideal for showing the structure and sequence of a route in easy-to-understand form.
Previously offered as an add-on, enhanced postcode geocoding is now included in every UK copy of TruckStops. This adds more precise location information to each postcode in the user’s data (for example, depot, customer or collection point addresses). The new UK postcode file can position each call point to within 1 metre of the centre of its postcode, and includes both current and historic postcodes (as not every customer database is completely up to date).
This more precise file means that stops are much more likely to be placed on the correct side of the street, and so is particularly helpful for those undertaking doorstep collections and deliveries.
TruckStops Batch is another function that is newly available to all users. This enables TruckStops to perform a series of optimisation "runs" without user intervention. Batch provides a "set and forget" system that points TruckStops to the user’s chosen input files (describing orders to deliver and available vehicles, for instance). The input files and the optimisation for whole batch can then be created and started by any user, or automatically by another in-house system.
Now available to all users, this functionality is also advantageous to strategic users, who can set TruckStops to run a batch of fixed-route revisions for different depots or different scenarios – using a range of fleet configurations, for example.
Simplified pricing has been applied by MapMechanics across the TruckStops range. Users now no longer need to choose between enterprise or individual desktop licensing terms, or worry about whether batch mode is included. A single, comprehensive version takes account of all these possible requirements.
Finally, a more flexible arrangement for TruckStops training has been introduced. Training has always been one of MapMechanics’ strongest points, and now the company has launched a system that combines the best of hands-on person-to-person training with online "webinar"-style training.
The previous two-day course is now replaced with a single day covering the elements that every user needs, while a new webinar series called TruckStops Focus provides detailed instruction on topics only required by those setting up the system or undertaking less routine tasks.
TruckStops is used widely both for fixed-route planning, where delivery runs are the same from week to week, and for ad hoc daily scheduling – for instance, on parcels or home delivery work, where orders and call points vary constantly. It is also used for strategic modelling of possible delivery patterns; for fleet configurations; and to help determine the shape of proposed delivery networks.