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MapMechanics vehicle routing and scheduling systems at Service Management Expo 2010

Whether your field service team’s visits cover the whole country, or are limited to a clearly-defined local area, advances in the scheduling systems from MapMechanics mean that their movements can be planned and routed more quickly, conveniently, accurately and affordably than ever.

The depth and scope of MapMechanics’ solutions for this market can be seen on the company’s stand (no. 710) at Service Management Expo 2010, which runs at the NEC, Birmingham from 21 to 22 September.

Organisations scheduling the movements of people who make multiple calls on the same roads or streets, whether driving or on foot, can now benefit from an advanced MapMechanics product, StreetServicer, which is typically used for activities such as door-drop media distribution, meter-reading and similar engineering and maintenance visits, and has just been introduced by French newspaper group Sud Ouest to help streamline home delivery rounds.

The new version of StreetServicer offers improved reporting and route calculation. It now takes into account banned turns and other traffic restrictions. These new features are in addition to important StreetServicer features such as optimising routes over a wider area, and creating multiple routes automatically if the task involves more visits than one person could achieve. Users can also vary the prioritisation given to the time taken or the distance covered and can apply a fixed cost per route and a "preferential penalty", which allows users to re-optimise networks without disturbing an established pattern of operations.

The latest version of MapMechanics’ flagship scheduling optimisation solution, TruckStops VRS, incorporates a wide range of enhancements, and is delivered in a form that reflects UK users’ requirements even more closely.

TruckStops VRS is regularly used to schedule travel by car and motorcyle or on foot, as well as deliveries by goods vehicles. The current version is 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. More flexible training has also been introduced.

New "line of route" functionality, which supplements TruckStops’ traditional "crow-fly" view, enables users to choose all or any part of the route and display the actual roads and streets along which the vehicle has been routed.

For operators who use TruckStops to calculate fixed, recurring routes, MapMechanics has developed RouteRefresher functionality. This makes it possible to delete call points such as visits to former customers without the need to run a full TruckStops optimisation process again.

A key new MapMechanics solution for network analysis, territory balancing and strategic planning is GeoXploit. This offers users the kind of powerful presentational, thematic and analytical capabilities more typical of a high-end GIS (geographic information system), yet does this straight out of the box, combining the world-renowned GeoConcept GIS with a range of inclusive, pre-configured digital map data and business and demographic data.

Moreover, the price of GeoXploit represents a substantial saving on the cost of buying all the component parts separately.

As a result, users without deep experience of mapping software can quickly and affordably display their own data on maps, colour-coded where appropriate, in order to plot, review and analyse information with a geographical element.

For operators seeking a more wide-ranging solution, MapMechanics has also developed a simple yet powerful web-based job booking system, which allows centrally-based management to plan journeys by locally-based vehicles and staff, which can be optimised with a system such as TruckStops.

MapMechanics will also be revealing more details of its new Process Promise, which underlines the way the company processes, formats and regularises the data it supplies to suit customers’ software and applications – often saving them many hours of preparatory work (with significant cost). Products suitable for scheduling and service management applications include map data from established names such as NAVTEQ, Ordnance Survey and the AA, as well as newer products such as UKMap.

MapMechanics’ service management portfolio ranges from strategic network planning and territory optimisation right through the practical tasks of day-to-day appointment scheduling and journey optimisation, and the company also specialises in supplying and configuring the mapping, business and demographic data to support its applications.

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