02/05/16 by Egor Korneev.
Route Tracking – best approach to automatic arrival?
LoadTrek has recently expanded the automated route stop arrival and departure tracking to include both the location radius and the geofence of the location. Why retain both options? Which one is better for you? Let’s begin with a discussion of each methodology and the primary working principles behind each.
Location radius is a circle, typically 0.4 miles, around the location geocode. The on-board computer registers the arrival event when the vehicle enters the location radius and stops for a period of a few seconds.
The dispatching software automatically creates a default radius for a location with a valid address. This is a big advantage in a busy dispatching office. It saves time. The disadvantage of the location radius is the lack of precision in describing the actual boundaries of the facility.
Geofences are multi-vector polygons which users can precisely shape to a customer’s facility. An arrival to a route stop is recorded as soon as the vehicle crosses the boundary of the geofence. Unlike the location radius, the vehicle does not have to stop for the arrival to occur.
A dispatcher must build the geofence with clicks on the map, placing points around the boundaries of a location. Then, the geofence is sent to the devices in vehicles. The process to replace the default radius with a geofence is simple and takes only an extra minute. Yet, even that amount of extra time can be a significant disadvantage in a busy dispatching office.
What approach to use?
On the surface, each approach accomplishes the same task, creating an automatic arrival record when a vehicle enters a facility. Location radius is generated by the software. Geofences require extra setup by the user. When is the extra work justified? Let’s consider a case.
A large facility is located in an urban area. The location radius must remain relatively large to include the entire facility. As a result, the radius extends outside the boundaries of the facility and includes neighboring roads. A vehicle approaches a facility on a road that wraps the perimeter of the facility. The vehicle stops at a traffic signal and the arrival event is recorded, but the vehicle has another few minutes of driving remaining, and there is a line at the security gate. The vehicle enters the facility fifteen minutes after the arrival time was first recorded.
If the precision of the arrival times is important to your operation, then this is a good case for creating a geofence. We advocate using geofences for arrivals in all cases. They offer additional reporting capabilities that location radius lack, such as geofence-specific speed limits, inclusion or exclusion zone indicators, alerts on arrivals. However, If you run a very busy dispatch operation with multiple new pickup and delivery locations each day, then the simplicity of the location radius could be a good choice.
A company can use both approaches simultaneously, for different locations. If one location has a defined geofence, then the on-board computer will use it for arrivals and departures. If another location does not have a geofence, then the system will automatically fall back on the location radius for the route progress tracking.
In the later posts, we will discuss the Vicinity Arrival Reports that compare arrivals into location radiuses and location geofences. These reports can help you troubleshoot locations that require extended time to enter and cause non-compliance with the shippers’ schedules. Stay tuned.
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Written by: Egor Korneev
Edited by: Dushan Yovovich
To Comment: http://www.loadtrek.net/route-tracking-radius-geofence/
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Many opinions on equipment utilization – What does the utilization number represent?
Everyone agrees that equipment utilization is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Fleets prioritize utilization differently on the list of KPIs, but generally keep it near the top five analysis priorities. High utilization is a great indicator of a high revenue, low cost per mile, and a healthy bottom line.
However, even fleets that understand the importance of the utilization number eventually wonder “What does the utilization percentage number actually represent?”
Fleet Utilization Trend for 10 days
The premise appears simple – vehicles are utilized by moving and pulling a load, and vehicles are not utilized while sitting idle in the yard – but does everything fit cleanly into those two categories?
In this post, we will discuss utilization based on miles, in terms of miles driven per day. In another post we will discuss utilization based on hours and revenue.
We find that a majority of fleets measure utilization based on miles. For example, your fleet may set a goal of 3000 weekly miles as a 100 percent utilization threshold. Meeting or exceeding that goal counts as 100 percent utilization, and anything below your goal is calculated as a proportionate percentage of your goal, all the way down to zero miles, or zero percent utilization.
So far, so good, and very simple. However, there are varying approaches to how to count miles. Some fleets consider it adequate to calculate utilization based on all miles. If the truck is moving, then dispatchers cannot use it elsewhere. The truck is utilized.
Weekly Utilization Trend for a vehicle
Other fleets prefer to discount empty miles from the calculation – if there is no revenue generated per mile, then the truck is not utilized. Empty miles can skew utilization metrics. For example, you may send a Milwaukee-based truck to pick up a load in Chicago, ninety miles away, then take the load to Grand Rapids, bring another load back to Chicago, and then send the truck home, to Milwaukee. The truck has a 580 mile day with 400 revenue miles. If the utilization percentage is based on all miles, with a goal of 600 daily miles as 100 percent, then the truck is utilized 96 percent. That looks great, but is potentially misleading. If the empty miles are discounted, this truck is utilized only 66 percent. Big difference! Of course, if the rate per mile is high enough, then a fleet can make a case for counting empty miles.
Larger fleets profit from further refinement of utilization calculations, and may introduce weighted categories into the equation. For example, one fleet’s utilization calculation might count only 50 percent of the stem miles, but 75 percent of the deadhead miles that occur between two loads. Another fleet may count 100 percent of miles for headhauls, but only 95 percent of miles for the backhauls.
Fleets can also count the revenue per mile as a weighted factor in the utilization calculation. For example, the miles on a fronthaul at $2.49 per mile would account for a higher utilization percentage than the same miles on the way back at $1.99 per mile.
Daily Utilization by Hour for Five Units
So, which is the best way? That depends on a few factors. If your fleet does not use a dispatching software able to connect to on-board devices, your only option may be a simple ‘all miles in’ approach. If you run a dispatch software as a part of your transportation management system but lack personnel and time to interpret sophisticated weighted parameters, you may benefit most from the revenue miles utilization schema. Arguably, you could achieve the most accurate results with the comprehensive approach that uses weighted parameters.
Increasing the relative precision of a utilization calculation has a trade-off. As you introduce more factors into the calculation of a number, that number becomes harder to understand. When the calculations are too obscure, the information itself may become less actionable. What do you actually need to fix if you see a problem?
We would like to hear your opinion. What is utilization to you? What method do you use, and why? If you are a LoadTrek Software customer, what methodology would you like us to use as a default?
Please leave a comment on this post! We will read the comments and consider your suggestions for our next software release.
Written by: Egor Korneev
Edited by: Dushan Yovovich
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