How it works

Once started, the experment analyzes the input data and proceeds to designing the milk runs:
  1. The experiment calculates the sum of demand of each customer for all the products for each shipment.
  2. Having received the total demand, it calculates direct shipments
  3. To deliver the rest of demand that is left after the direct shipments, the experiment must find a paths (among the ones defined in the Paths table) that are available within the whole shipment period.

    Note: Delivery is always made at the end of the period. Which period? Aha! That's where it gets tricky. Let's see into the following:

    Hence the choice of the path for each shipment. Let us say, the experimet duration covers the period from 1.01.2018 till 12.31.2018 and we have 4 shipments a year. This divides the experiment duration into 4 equal periods, 91 day each. The shipments in this case will be made on the following dates: April 2nd, July 2nd, October 1st, December 30th. The New Year's eve will not be considered, since the time periods must be equal.

    This is where the experiment starts to design a network by connecting every pair of objects (Site - Customer, Customer - Customer, Customer - Site). This is done by applying the paths from the Paths table that are available for every shipment date separately. The segments connecting the pairs of objects are not necessarily taken from only one available path. The experiment takes all paths that are available within the required period of time and combines them to create a complete network of segment connections from one object to another.

    If there is no active path covering the whole shipment period (e.g. the first one January 1st - April 2nd), certain segments of network (connections between the pairs of objects) will not be available. In this case the experiment will look for a path that is at least active on this particular shipment date (April 2nd) to create every possible connection in the network on the day the shipment must be made. If there is no required active path on the shipment date to be found, the network will be used as it is by the experiment to finally create the optimized delivery routes. This will result in certain routes to be longer than expected and, as a result, more expensive.

    Note: If no path (defined in the Paths table) is set to be available on the shipment date, a message will pop up, informing you that not a single customer could be reached within this shipment period due to the inavailability of paths. To fix this you can either define paths to be available for the required period or change the required numer of shipments.

  4. Finally, the experiment creates optimized delivery routes using the network designed in the previous step.


Related topics

Running the Capacitated TO experiment

Results of the Capacitated TO experiment