How We Differentiate Ourselves

How we differ from our competitors
through fully customised, advanced route planning software

A Different Approach

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Optrak takes a different approach to implementing vehicle routing than most of our route optimisation and logistics planning competitors. Whereas our competitors will normally sell “out-of-the-box” solutions we ensure we fully understand your requirements and tailor the product and implementation process to suit your routing and scheduling needs.

This approach is possible due to the strengths of the product and the extensive experience of Optrak’s consultants, implementation team and support staff.

As a result, Optrak offers, in addition to the common features and processes of a computerised vehicle routing solution (CVRS), the following extended functionality – which either surpasses in flexibility or entirely transcends that of our competitors:

Advanced Route Planning
Functionality

Rich Data Model

Optrak4’s data model includes detail such as order lines and products (not usually found in most CVRS which tend to work at an aggregate level). This provides the customer with more accurate modelling which in turn leads to more realistic resource utilisation. It is also a critical factor for the loading algorithms.

Historical Road Speeds

Optrak4’s historical road speed functionality offers a more accurate time model for route optimisation. Research has shown that the use of historical road speed leads to an 8% overall reduction in modelled journey time and a consequent 4% saving in distribution costs.

This saving results in a one-vehicle saving on most days on a fleet of 20 vehicles with more accurate speeds, better estimation of journey times and better estimates of arrival times at customers.

Soft Time Windows

Optrak4’s Soft Time Window feature allows the users to permit a small margin of ‘earliness’ or ‘lateness’ – enabling the Optrak4 optimiser to weigh the cost of breaking certain SLAs with the routing benefits – potentially saving a whole truck day.

Customers have complete control over which customers have soft and which have the standard hard time windows – and for the soft time windows, the extent and the cost of using them.

Prioritisation

In Optrak4 you can set priorities on individual orders to ensure you meet delivery times on specific customers, letting you provide a higher level of guarantees to key/vulnerable customers. Priorities can be set automatically on the basis of customer characteristics, or set manually on the day.

Multi-day Route Planning and Reducing Lead Time

Optrak4 takes into account due date of orders. Must-go orders are prioritised but you can also take into account close-by orders with longer lead-times. If you are hard-pressed to deliver all due orders then some can be given a lower priority – but if you have the time and capacity you can make an “early” delivery to save revisiting the area one or two days later. This not only gives greater routing efficiency but also allows you to reduce overall lead time for most orders without compromising high priority deliveries.

Reflecting Customer Demands

With Optrak4, you record your customers’ access restrictions and the system will always take them into account, improving the customer’s confidence in your service.

Combining Optrak4 Messenger and Realisation, planners can also inform customers of impending deliveries, ensuring that customers are prepared to receive their orders promptly – reducing unloading times and giving customers greater satisfaction and engagement with your service.

 Integrated Loading

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Most vehicle routing solutions use a simple “cube” measure to determine how much fits onto the vehicle without taking into account either the intermediate containers, such as pallets, which goods are loaded into, or in what order goods need to be unloaded as the trip progresses. In order to avoid over-filling a vehicle or to provide the driver with access to orders, this leads to safety margins – for example planning to 85% capacity to avoid problems.

Highlighting its integrated loading as a key differentiator, Optrak4 combines the specific dimension/element aspects of each order, as well as intermediate containers, with a detailed mapping of customer vehicles (whether standard or multi-compartment). This allows the optimiser to fill the space and arrange goods on the vehicle to load the vehicle for maximum capacity.

The vehicle load requirements are then mapped to a layout that corresponds to the trip sequence – as an integrated part of the optimisation process – for maximum trip efficiency. This ensures that at each customer site, orders are accessible, whether they are being loaded or unloaded, speeding up time at client site.

As a result, customers get greater vehicle utility and virtually eliminate the need for safety margins – leading to greater volume utilisation across the whole fleet.

Operations Management

Carrier Rates and Assignment

With Optrak4 you can build in the different carrier rates and factor these into your operational optimisation to
determine the most cost efficient options for your needs. The optimiser takes carrier rates into account – routing orders on your trips where you can do them more cost-effectively, or leaving them if the carrier rate is comptetitive. To give you full control you can manually assign the orders to the chosen carrier and upload the results back to your order processing system or WMS so that they can be picked early and put aside for carrier collection.

Driver Engagement

With Optrak4 Planner each driver is assigned precise instructions on drop sequence and arrival times. The Driver’s Manifest report – a printable Optrak4 Publisher report which you can give or send to the driver – clearly lays out the drop sequence, the expected time at each drop, and any time windows for the visit.

Optrak4 Messenger supports this process further by automatically sending an SMS message with start time to each driver to let them know when tomorrow’s round will start. With Optrak4 Realisation, you can then ensure that they are following the plan and can monitor their progress.

Trunking

In Optrak4 you can plan your outbase deliveries as if for a stocked depot by trunking your orders. Optrak4 can generate one or more trunking orders to transfer the goods from the central warehouse to the outbase for onward delivery. Trunking orders are linked to their component orders – so if those change or are cancelled the trunking order is automatically updated.

The trunking orders can then be routed – either as an outbound order from the warehouse or a collection order from the outbase.

If you are using an Optrak4 integrated loading module, the trunking order can be configured to implement similar rules to your normal deliveries – allowing goods for particular customers or sites to be kept together on pallets or roll-cages, to eliminate re-packing. The containers are then placed on the trunking vehicle grouped according to final trip and delivery sequence, to facilitate transfer.

Industry Specific Loaders

Optrak4’s integrated loading modules are customised to the specific requirements of your business; tailored both down to the vehicle types and capacity within your fleet and the nature of the products you are delivering.

Existing specialisations include:

  • Bulk loading for fuel oil, lubricants or chemicals.

  • Multi-temperature vehicles for food and drink distribution

  • 3D load modelling for large/’ugly’ item transportation

  • Pipes and other cylinders.

  • Packing to roll-cages and pallets, including floor-space optimisation of different shaped containers.

KEY BENEFITS

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