Does your business have flexibility regarding when orders can get done? Do you try scheduling orders based on when you might be in the area? You might have some constraints, like: within a certain week/always on Tuesday/a specific time window. And then you just try to schedule the rest of your orders efficiently around these constraints?
A workflow consisting of a flexible time frame with more specific constraints can be a real burden for planners. Resulting schedules are not only very time-consuming to create: they usually compromise constraints, and are nowhere near as efficient as they could be.
Weekly planning can help you and your team accomplish important tasks with optimal time management, all while getting ahead for the next week. Whether you’re a regular weekly planner or not, having a scheduled plan can help you get through your to-do list and help your business accomplish short and long-term goals.
With our Weekly Planning feature, OptimoRoute is currently the only route optimization software that can effectively plan weekly schedules which take into account all of your planning constraints, such as:
- date range (e.g. service needs to be done between May 2nd and May 6th)
- available days (e.g. service needs to be done in a particular week but either on Monday or Thursday)
- time windows (e.g. customer is at home only after 5pm)
- order type
- vehicle and driver constraints
The Big Benefits of Weekly Planning
There are numerous game-changing benefits of using Weekly Planning:
- Planning is fully automated: little or no manual intervention needed.
- You’re able to create the most optimized and efficient schedules possible, up to five weeks at a time.
- You’ll simplify your scheduling process, while still creating flexible schedules that maintain the parameters you specified.
- Schedules can still be updated if changes occur, such as cancellations or last-minute orders, without compromising existing orders.
- It’s fast, whether you start planning a week before, on a Sunday night, or Monday morning, your weekly plan can be created quickly.
- Weekly Planning means you can manage your business better: the way you allocate resources, your workforce and your workload.
- Meet contract commitments and deadlines by ensuring that you use all available resources to get all of your work done on time.
How does Weekly Planning work?
It’s as simple as planning a daily schedule – but you specify the multi-day time frame in the application, as shown here:
The schedules created will still take into account all of the order, driver and vehicle constraints that your business needs to apply. For more detail, see the Weekly Planning Help Topic.
All of the functionality and flexibility that OptimoRoute offers for daily planning is still there when you use Weekly Planning:
- sending routes to the mobile application for drivers
- supporting order skill requirements
- scheduling lunch breaks and limiting overtime
- managing last-minute staff unavailability
- adding new orders, removing canceled orders
- scheduling according to your customers’ time windows of availability
Have a read of the following OptimoRoute customer use cases, to see how the Weekly Planning feature helps different businesses successfully manage their individual workloads.
Inspection Service Business
A workplace inspection service business performs routine inspections such as fire extinguisher inspections, and ad hoc inspections of premises following incidents of damage, such as gas leaks.
The business uses OptimoRoute’s Weekly Planning to forecast schedules 5 weeks at a time. This allows them to add new orders as they’re received, with OptimoRoute always creating optimized routes and schedules for their inspectors. All inspections are first scheduled with a 2-hour time window. One or two days before the order, the start time is more precisely scheduled, and the customer is notified.
Given that the business performs inspections statewide, it must allocate inspectors depending on the counties in which they’re certified to work. OptimoRoute takes this into account, without compromising the optimization of the routes created.
- The business’s planning process is now easier and faster than it used to be using their previous routing software. Simply put, planning time has gone down by 50%.
- Thanks to more efficient routes, on average each inspector has been able to do an additional 2 jobs per day – without any additional payroll hours!
Vending Machine Business
A vending machine business has regular stocking orders at various locations, but also does last-minute stocking when popular items are close to running out.
Using the Weekly Planning feature in OptimoRoute, the business schedules regular stocking orders 5-7 days in advance. When urgent deliveries are needed, they’re easily slotted into the next 1 or 2 days – according to when drivers will be already be in the area.
With OptimoRoute it’s easy to take into consideration the opening hours of their various stocking locations, while avoiding the locations’ busiest periods. This keeps order durations to a minimum and avoids causing disruption – especially at locations such as hospitals.
- The vending machines are now always well-stocked. By avoiding empty display chambers, the business doesn’t miss out on selling opportunities: within the first month of using OptimoRoute’s Weekly Planning, revenue increased by 15%.
- Mileage has decreased: before, urgent orders would be added to a driver’s schedule, regardless of the area the driver was servicing. Now, they are slotted into schedules based on which drivers will be in the area. Routes are not only optimized and efficient, but fuel costs have been cut by a quarter.
Food Distribution Business
A food distribution business supplies vegetables to restaurants, and prepares packaged salads for supermarkets and gas stations. It delivers to customers multiple times during the week, only during the specific loading hours of each location.
Now that the business uses OptimoRoute’s Weekly Planning feature, it easily plans Monday to Friday schedules, weeks in advance. It has full-time drivers, but also contracts owner operators. By planning in advance, owner operators can be booked on time – avoiding last-minute scrambling to find available drivers.
OptimoRoute easily assigns various orders to refrigerated trucks and regular trucks, while maintaining optimized routes and schedules. When a packaged salad delivery takes up one half of a refrigerated truck, OptimoRoute assigns the same truck other deliveries that should be kept cold to maximize freshness (such as leafy greens).
- The first time the business used Weekly Planning, the schedule used 2 vehicles less than had previously been needed. This has been repeating consistently: the same amount of work is now being completed with fewer vehicles, less miles, and less fuel.
- By having the delivery sequence in advance, depot staff prepare loads for trucks more efficiently, with less stress and confusion. The optimally organized picking and packing process is on average 40% quicker than it used to be.