Transport Planning Module

The TRANSPORT PLANNING module is a map based GEOGRAPHIC DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM (GDSS). It is designed to support decisions in the control and planning of milk transport operations.

The TRANSPORT PLANNING module displays the supplier locations on a map of the collection area. Associated with a supplier’s location on the map is information on that supplier in terms of volume, quality, quota etc. By pointing at a supplier’s location (via a mouse or other pointing device) the user can display this information. The size, colour and shape of the symbol displayed for each supplier can vary depending on this information so the user can view or print a map showing the distribution of a parameter e.g. butterfat, quota position.

The historical milk collection routes can also be displayed on the map. A summary of the information about the routes can be displayed e.g. volume of milk on each route, length of each route. The user can select the suppliers that he proposes to transfer from one route to another. The consequences in terms of milk volume and quality on the route are immediately displayed. The optimal sequence for collecting the new routes can also be calculated.

Alternatively the user can set up a collection plan from scratch. In this scenario, the scheduler is drawing on his personal experience to manually construct feasible new plans reflecting the numerous and complicated factors involved.

Supporting the Scheduler

The philosophy behind the TRANSPORT PLANNING module is to support the scheduler to more effectively carry out his task. The system supports the situation where the scheduler is modifying an existing collection plan or where he is designing a completely new collection plan.

When modifying an existing plan the scheduler can use the actual volumes collected or can used planned milk volume got by adjusting the historical values by a some % to take account of expected changes in milk volumes.

Where the scheduler is modifying an existing plan the scheduler can display the historical routes on a map of the collection area. He can also display summary information on the route driven:

  • No of suppliers on route
  • Volume collected
  • Truck capacity
  • % utilisation
  • Expected % butterfat based on most recent sample for suppliers on the truck
  • Expected % protein based on most recent sample for suppliers on the truck

The scheduler can see also the consequences of the planned milk volumes for the existing plan. By pointing and clicking he can transfer suppliers from one route to another and see immediately the consequences in terms of the above parameters. Based on the road network MAPS2000 can calculates the optimum sequence to collect the suppliers on the routes and also the distances and times involved. A more detailed look at route 2 above, for example is shown in Fig. TP2:

This route has been optimised using the road network and the sequence of the route can be displayed and printed (See Fig. TP3)

If the scheduler is calculating a new sequence of routes from scratch then MAPS2000 displays the planned collections on a map of the collection area. Suppliers can be allocated to a route or transferred from one group to another simply by selecting them with the mouse. This can be done by pointing and clicking at an individual supplier. Alternatively a number of suppliers can be selected by dragging a circle or rectangle or by drawing a polygon around a number of suppliers.

Optimal allocation

We have developed routines to allocate suppliers/routes to clusters of specified volume so as to minimise distance. This can work for fixed location or variable locations.

If the fixed location option is used then the user can specify for each location the volume of milk to be supplied. The user can then select any group of suppliers/routes and the system will determine the allocation of theses route/suppliers to each location to provide the target volume at each location based on minimising distance.

In the variable location option can be used to determine the best location for milk assembly points for milk collection. The user specifies the maximum cluster size (usually truck capacity). The user then selects any group of suppliers and the system the determines the location of assembly points so as to minimise distance.

Transport Module - UDS Software
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