Paths

A path connects location points within your supply chain: a product can be transported from one location to another only if these locations are connected by a path. Paths are unidirectional. To define a path for the reverse travel direction, you must create a new table entry.

Paths can be created manually or automatically.

A pair of locations within your supply chain can be connected by multiple paths

The defined connections may not be shown on the GIS map for the following reasons:

Column

Description

From

Defines the starting location point of the path, which can be any of the following:

  • a location taken from the Locations table
  • a list of locations taken from the Location Lists table
  • a customer from the Customers table, in case a location is used by this single customer
  • a group from the Groups table

To

Defines the ending location point of the path, which can be any of the following:

  • a location taken from the Locations table
  • a list of locations taken from the Location Lists table
  • a customer from the Customers table, in case a location is used by this single customer
  • a group from the Groups table

Cost Calculation

Sets the formula for calculating transportation cost for the path:

  • Product-based cost - calculated as Cost per specified product measurement unit * volume(unit) + Add cost, where:
    • Cost is the cost for transporting one item of product in the specified measurement unit no matter the distance.
    • Volume is the amount of the shipment.
    • Add cost is a fixed value. Add cost is commonly treated as the cost of vehicle provisioning.
  • Product&distance-based cost - calculated as Cost per product measurement unit *volume(unit) * distance, where:
    • Cost per product measurement unit is the cost for transporting one item of product in the specified measurement unit to the distance of one kilometer,
    • Volume is the total amount of the shipment and distance is the travel distance.
  • Fixed delivery cost - a fixed Cost number, which is the shipping cost per single vehicle. If a shipment involves several vehicles, the resulting cost is calculated as Cost * Number of Vehicles. If no Vehicle Type is set, the provided value is the total shipping cost. No other parameters are taken into account.
  • Distance-based cost - calculated as Cost per km * distance, where Cost per km is the cost for transporting a product to a distance of one kilometer no matter the weight and distance is the shipping distance.
  • Product&distance-based limited distance - allows you to set distance limit that will prevent vehicles from setting off if violated. Calculated as Distance range * cost per product measurement unit *volume(unit) * distance, where:
    • Distance range is the min and max distances (specified in the Distance lower limit and Distance upper limit cost calculation parameters) that must not be violated by the delivery path length
    • Cost per product measurement unit - the cost for transporting one item of product in the specified measurement unit to the distance of one kilometer
    • Volume is the total amount of the shipment 
    • Distance is the travel distance

    Note the following combinations:

    • If the length of the path that is used to deliver the goods is less than the specified Distance lower limit, or larger than, or equal to the specified Distance upper limit, vehicles will not set off.
    • If the length of the path that is used to deliver goods is less than, or equal to the specified Distance lower limit, or is larger than, or equal to the specified Distance upper limit, vehicles will set off.

Cost Calculation parameters

The field displays the resulting formula for calculating transportation costs for the path in accordance with the selected Cost calculation type. The formula parameters are initially set to zero. Double click the cell to open a pop-up dialog box allowing you to set the parameters of the corresponding policies:

  • 0 * amount unit + 0 - for Product-based cost. The formula parameters are Amount and Add cost.
  • 0 * amount unit * distance - for Product&distance-based cost. The formula parameters are Cost per specified product measurement unitvolume and distance.
  • 0 - for Fixed delivery cost. The parameter is Cost.
  • 0 * distance - for Distance-based cost. The formula parameters are Cost per km and distance.
  • Distance [0): 0 * volume * distance - for Product&distance-based limited distance. The formula parameters are Amount unit, Cost per unit, Distance lower limit, Distance upper limit. 

CO2 Calculation Parameters

The field displays the resulting formula for calculating CO2 emissions for the path in accordance with the selected Cost calculation type. The formula parameters are initially set to zero. Double click the cell to open a pop-up dialog box allowing you to set the parameters of the corresponding policies:

  • 0 * amount unit + 0 - for Product-based cost. The formula parameters are CO2 per unit and Add CO2.
  • 0 * amount unit * distance - for Product&distance-based cost. The formula parameters are CO2 per specified product measurement unit, the specified product measurement unit, volume and distance.
  • 0 - for Fixed delivery cost. The parameter is Cost.
  • 0 * distance - for Distance-based cost. The formula parameters are CO2 emissions per km and distance.
  • Distance [0): 0 * CO2 * distance - for Product&distance-based limited distance. The formula parameters are Amount unit, CO2 per unit, Distance lower limit, Distance upper limit. 

Currency

The type of currency that the payment will be made in.

Note: The list of available units comprises the units defined in the ALX settings.

Distance

Defines the path length in the measurement unit specified in the Distance Unit column.

If set to zero, the path length at the experiment runtime is calculated according to the Straight setting.

Distance Unit

The Distance measurement units. 

Note: The list of available units comprises the units defined in the ALX settings.

Transportation Time

[Available in SIM scenario type]

Defines the transportation time for the path in the specified Time Unit.

Note: The value can be either fixed or stochastic (defined by a probability distribution). For details on providing fixed or stochastic value refer to this section.

If Transportation Time is set to zero:

  • If Distance is non-zero, the path's transportation time is calculated at the experiment runtime as Distance divided by vehicle speed. Vehicle speed is taken from the Vehicle types table or set to default (50 km/h) if no vehicle type is set.
  • If Distance is set to zero, the path's transportation time is calculated at the experiment runtime according to the Straight setting.

Time Unit

[Available in SIM scenario type]

The measurement unit that the Transportation Time is measured in. 

Note: The list of available units comprises the units defined in the ALX settings.

Straight

Defines the path graphical representation on the map and the method for calculating travel distance and transportation time for the path. 

The graphical path representation on the map is regulated as follows:
  • If Straight is enabled, the path is depicted as a straight line.
  • If Straight is disabled [default state], the path is depicted as an actual route. Road network data is obtained from the ALX routing server.

If both Transportation Time and Distance are set to zero, the Straight option defines how the travel distance and the transportation time for the path are calculated:

  • If Straight is enabled, the path travel distance is calculated as the geodesic distance between the From and To location points. 
  • If Straight is disabled [default state], the path travel distance is calculated as the length of the actual route. Road network data is obtained from the ALX routing server.

Vehicle Type

The vehicle type (previously defined vehicles in the Vehicle Types table) used for shipping products along the path. 

The selected vehicle provides the Speed value that is used for calculating the path Distance or Transportation Time.

Transportation Policy

[Available in SIM scenario type]

Transportation policy regulates the handling of the orders for the amount smaller than the selected vehicle capacity.

The orders are handled as follows:

  • LTL - Less than Truck Load - the truck does not need to be necessarily fully loaded. Order for any amount is shipped.
  • FTL - Full Truck Load - order(s) will not be shipped until at least one vehicle is fully loaded (in accordance with the Min load, ratio value).

    For example, if an order is received for 0.1 amount of vehicle capacity and Min load, ratio is set to 0.7, the order will not be shipped. If the next order is received for the amount of 1.4 units of a vehicle capacity, the total ordered volume will constitute 1.5 units which is enough to cover the threshold ratio of two trucks. As a result both orders will be shipped in full scope.

Note: If no Vehicle type is selected for the path, the FTL policy will be similar to LTL, since there will be no basis for comparing the ordered amount with the vehicle capacity.

Min Load, ratio

[Available in SIM scenario type]

[The value is applied only if Transportation Policy is set to FTL]

The value sets the threshold for the ratio between the ordered product amount and the vehicle capacity. If the threshold is exceeded, the vehicle is treated as fully loaded. The value is provided as a fraction in the interval between 0 and 1. For example, the Min load, Ratio of 0.7 implies that if a vehicle load exceeds 0.7 of its capacity, the vehicle is treated as fully loaded.

The system compares the product amount and the vehicle capacity based on their mass and volume characteristics. The data for the comparison is taken from the Products and Vehicle Types tables, respectively. As a result, two separate ratios are produced: the masses ratio and the volumes ratio. If any of these ratios exceeds the Min load, Ratio, the vehicle is treated as fully loaded.

Aggregate Orders

[Available in SIM scenario type]

The option defines whether the orders are accumulated during the time period defined in Aggregation Period. The resulting amount is shipped after this period ends.

Orders aggregation works in connection with the path Transportation Policy:

  • If Aggregate Orders is turned off and Transportation Policy is set to LTL, an order for any amount is shipped without any delay. If Transportation Policy is set to FTL, an order is not shipped until at least one vehicle is at full capacity.
  • If Aggregate Orders is turned on and Transportation Policy is set to LTL, the order is shipped in full only after the Aggregation Period is over. If Transportation Policy is set to FTL, an order is shipped as soon as any of the following conditions is met: the Aggregation Period is over or at least one vehicle is at full capacity.

Aggregation Period

[Available in SIM scenario type]

[The value can be set and applies only if Aggregate Orders is turned on]

The time period during which the orders are aggregated.

Time Period

The time period during which the paths are used.

Name

[Available in SIM scenario type]

Specify the name of the path.

It must be a meaningful name since you will refer to it in the Events table to change the state of the path.

Inclusion Type

The status of the path:

  • Include - the path is included, so vehicles can use it to get to the destination.
  • Exclude - the path is not used in the scenario. If selected, the table record will be grayed out to denote the current inclusion type. The table record stays editable.
    Note: If you feel that your scenario contains too many objects marked as "Excluded" and you know that you no longer use them, you can instantly remove all such objects.

Creating a path manually

To create a path manually, you add a new entry to the Paths table and provide the path parameters. These parameters are set depending on the source data you are provided with.
For example, you can be provided with the actual values of the distances between the locations of your supply chain or the transportation times for location pairs. In this case, you can create a path based on these exact values. Alternatively, you can create a path based on a geographical route, which can be either a straight line, or the actual road network segment. In this case, ALX will automatically calculate the corresponding distances and transportation times. 

Creating a path automatically

Paths are created automatically when you create a new scenario or run a GFA experiment:

Multiple paths for a pair of locations

A product can be shipped from one location to another by different means of transport: by air or by truck, as for instance. You can define the vehicle parameters in the Vehicle types table and create a path entry for each vehicle type in the Paths table.

The resulting paths will have different transportation time; transportation costs can also differ for them. Depending on your optimization goal, one of these paths can be more preferable. When you run an experiment, the system will choose the optimal path according to the rules defined in the Path Selection Mode table.



 

Related topics

Expanding table records

Connections of the GIS map elements