Solving the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem

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You’re trying to fit more boxes per truck, aren’t you? Obviously, the goal is to maximize profits by getting as close to 100% utilization per truck as possible. But those darn trucks — they only have so much room and a maximum weight load they can carry.

This is the capacitated vehicle routing problem. In other words, how can you carry more boxes so that you can increase profits? When looking at multi-state or multi-city routing, you might have heard this called the traveling salesman problem. In the past, solving these issues meant operations research teams spent hours looking at advanced algorithms and formulations looking for the optimal solution. In fact, one could easily conclude – transportation science has no simple solution. Or does it?

That’s not a feasible solution for most small businesses looking to optimize their delivery schedule. So, let us optimize your routes and schedules. If you use OptimoRoute, you don’t have to worry about the capacitated vehicle routing problem because we solve it for you. Just input all your data, set the capacity of your delivery vehicles, and we handle the rest.

Skip to the part that interests you the most:
What Is the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP)?
Why Is the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem So Difficult to Solve?
Beat the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem With OptimoRoute

What Is the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP)?

The capacitated vehicle routing problem (also known as a CVRP) is one of many vehicle routing problems (VRPs.) These are a set of challenges that trucking and delivery businesses face in which route optimization is needed but challenging to obtain. This specific VRP, the CVRP, focuses on creating the ideal route for each vehicle of a fleet so that the maximum amount of deliveries takes place and the maximum amount of cargo space is used.

There are many variables to consider for the optimization problem. Each vehicle has a limited carrying capacity, which is measured both by cubic volume and weight. In addition, other factors like fuel usage, driver schedule, and priority must be considered with each package and route.

In the ideal world, solving the problem means each driver and truck using 100% of the capacity and minimizing fuel usage or travel time to create maximum profits. However, it never works out like that. In reality, one truck might only use 60% of its capacity while using a lot of fuel, while another uses 90% and an average amount of fuel.

Why Is the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem So Difficult to Solve?

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Photo by Norma Mortenson from Pexels

The CVRP is difficult for a number of reasons, especially as more drivers and deliveries are added to the roster.

Trucks have differing capacities

Every truck has specific limitations for carrying capacity as determined by its make, model, and year. Furthermore, the truck dispatching problem implements limitations spell out how heavy a load it can travel with and how much space is inside each vehicle. When determining routes for each vehicle, running totals for cubic size and weight must be kept.

These totals make sure every vehicle never exceeds its limits as more packages are dropped off and picked up. While this is simple to track on a small scale, increasing the number of vehicles in your fleet or adding deliveries to your schedule makes tracking these numbers exponentially harder.

Time windows for delivery and driver schedules matter

Each truck is driven by a driver who could need to take a lunch break, stop for gas, or stop to rest. In addition, delivery points might have specifications about a drop-off time or pickup time. Large volumes of this information can be overwhelming, making manually planning routes with mathematical programming a difficult challenge.

Yet, even if each route could be planned in advance, one last-minute change due to sickness or a cancelation could spell disaster. Accounting for all of these factors at the last minute makes the task go from challenging to impossible. In this case, your deliveries that day might not happen at all.

Certain deliveries take priority

If one of your customers paid for a faster delivery, then that package will take priority over another package, even if that’s not optimum. Similarly, scheduling problems can arise if you deliver time-sensitive products; then, your route might need to account for spoilage first before any other factors.

Accounting for factors like this can reverse what would otherwise be an ideal schedule. For example, minimizing gas usage (ideal for cost and the environment) might see you driving to house A, then B, then C. However, to make sure that one delivery doesn’t spoil, you might have to go to house C first, doubling your gas mileage.

Manual route planning and optimization are cumbersome

If it isn’t already apparent, trying to account for every factor by hand is futile. It simply is not possible to completely solve the CVRP as there will always be big boxes, heavy boxes, and limited space in each vehicle. Even with one truck’s route, there are dozens if not hundreds of things to think about — the weight and size of every package, driver schedules, return to central depot, truck capacity, the delivery window for each package, and the best (least traffic and turns) route to take.

Add more trucks and now you must do that for every package, driver, and truck. Cross-referencing what could be hundreds of potential routes to determine which is the best is a task best left up to computers that use mathematical programming to find the optimal solution.

Beat the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem With OptimoRoute

OptimoRoute is a scheduling and routing software that uses computer technology to account for any and all factors relevant to a delivery. It takes this information and optimizes each driver’s schedule in order to maximize profits as much as possible — making the problem none of your concern.

Input vehicle capacity constraints and driver availability for easy tracking

Keep track of your fleet of vehicles, their drivers, and what each vehicle can carry by creating trucks in OptimoRoute. Once you have your vehicles, you’ll be able to add additional information, like changing starting points or ending points, for example, if your drivers’ routes often start from their homes. Other factors like zones and mileage limits can also be added to make sure each vehicle is optimized with all factors in mind.

Import orders into OptimoRoute to save time

OptimoRoute lets you import a list of orders for the day, week, or month directly into our routing platform. After importing your orders, obtain an optimized schedule without manually entering each order. You can even import attached notes, like delivery windows or instructions. Importing in this manner is faster and eliminates human error, saving you time and money.

Automatically Get the Fastest, Most Efficient Routes With OptimoRoute

Unlike manual route optimization, OptimoRoute’s primary goal is to perfect your route optimization process automatically. Our software will find the optimal route for each driver and put the ideal packages on each vehicle. You don’t have to know mathematical programming or understand how to read computational results.

Simply set up your trucks, enter the capacities and driver windows, import your orders, and watch your capacitated vehicle routing problem vanish. OptimoRoute even allows for open space for last-minute deliveries, meaning less work when those inevitable changes happen.

Try OptimoRoute today to see how you can solve your capacitated VRP — optimizing your routes and increasing profits automatically.

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