ServiceCore offers route optimization designed to simplify schedule creation. This tool analyzes your stops for the day, and displays them in a way that offers the shortest route for your driver to take.
In this article you will learn about Route Optimization, including how to use it and how its calculations are made.
Before You Start
There are a few things that will need to be established in ServiceCore before routes can be created and optimized.
- You will need to make sure that your technician has been added as a user
- You will also need to have jobs assigned to this technician
- Using the Day view on the Schedule may make it easier to view schedules for optimization by day so that you can see every job for the day and make any manual adjustments you may like
- All sites must have Latitude and Longitude coordinates in order to use the route optimization function
- You must click the "Refresh Schedule" button at the bottom of the screen to see the optimized route when you are viewing a route on the Map View on the schedule
How is the Optimized Route Determined?
There are a variety of factors that affect the routes created through optimization. ServiceCore utilizes an application to solve what is called the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) through Google’s Neural Network system. The TSP is based on the idea of a salesman traveling to multiple cities, and needing to find the shortest path that takes him or her to each city.
ServiceCore will test as many routes as possible in a specified amount of time, and return the shortest path that has been found. If the Optimize command is pressed multiple times, it is very possible that multiple routes can be found. We encourage running the Optimize command more than once if the route that is found does fit the needs of you or your driver.
How Total Distance is Calculated
"As the Crow Flies"
Google’s application works off of distance “as the crow flies”. This means that this total distance does not take into account the following items when calculating total distance:
- Driving distance as it would be calculated via roads, streets, and highways (distance is calculated straight line from point to point)
- Road closures that alter paths
- Weight limits for bridges, overpasses, etc.
- Height restricted routes because of bridges, overpasses, etc.
- Abnormal traffic patterns, rush hour, accidents that cause delays, etc.
- Geographic blockers such as lakes, mountains, coastlines, rivers, etc.
- For example, the distance between two job sites going straight over a lake may be 2 miles and total driving distance is 8 miles.
- In this case, the total distance you see when optimizing a route would be 2 miles instead of 8 miles
How to Optimize a Route
To optimize a route, follow these steps:
- Make sure all sites on the route have Latitude and Longitude coordinates
- Navigate to the Schedule and make sure the Day view is selected
- Locate the technician whose route you want to optimize
- Click the Gear icon
- Click Confirm in the pop-up that appears
- You will then see a message appear briefly across the top of the schedule as the route is being optimized
- Once the route is finished being optimized, you will see another message appear briefly that the route has been successfully optimized
- To view the final result of the route optimization, click the Map Pin icon to view the route on a map
- Important: If you are using route optimization from the Map view, you must click the "Refresh Schedule" button at the bottom of the screen to see the new, optimized route.
- If you want to change the order of any stops, drag and drop to change the order of jobs on the left sidebar by grabbing the handle and moving the job higher or lower in the list of jobs
- If you want to re-optimize the route from this screen, click on the Gear icon at the top of the sidebar again
- Each time you change the route, you will see the total distance change at the bottom of the sidebar
Possible Errors with Route Optimization
Due to a variety of factors, Route Optimization can never be 100% perfect. Some of these are due to the limits of technology, and others simply cannot be accounted for.
Please note that improved route optimization and distance calculations are on the ServiceCore product roadmap (no pun intended). Once more information is available, we will update this article with the latest information.