Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, March 30, 2009
Quintiq, a leading supplier of advanced planning & scheduling (APS) solutions, is playing a central role in the dynamic route planning module of Deutsche Post DHL’s SmartTruck pilot project. Other project partners include the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the German Aerospace Agency (DLR), the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and Motorola.
Planning and scheduling transport routes is an extremely complex task. Quintiq’s “Pick-up & Delivery” (PUD) planning solution optimizes routes and ensures that available vehicle capacity is utilized to the maximum. Thanks to its dynamic planning capability, it is possible to relay ad hoc pick-ups to vehicles in real time while they are in transit. In doing so, the system takes journey times, customer service, workloads, cargo capacities and processing time into account. Unutilized capacities can be identified at a glance and can be used immediately. DHL’s upcoming SmartTruck pilot project in Berlin will initially involve eight delivery vehicles, two of which will be fully electronically integrated with the system.
Dynamic route planning not only calculates the best route in advance, it is also the first system to take into account real-time traffic information in inner city areas, for example traffic jams or construction sites, and adapt routes accordingly. This is achieved by monitoring DHL vehicles and almost 500 Berlin taxis using GPS (Global Positioning System), making it possible for the first time to effectively measure traffic flows in inner city areas and generate suitable responses. This not only saves on costs and time, but also reduces fleet fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. If the technology proves successful, the company expects this innovation to bring about a significant improvement in customer service.
Deliveries will also be tagged with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. This will allow continuous logging and monitoring of the vehicles’ load status. This will help DHL to achieve greater precision in its pick-ups and deliveries, react more flexibly to ad hoc orders and provide customers with precise information about pick-up times.
“This kind of concept is completely new in the industry,” enthuses Dr. Keith Ulrich, Head of Technology & Innovation Management at Deutsche Post DHL. “Dynamic route planning not only calculates the best route in advance, it is also the first system to take into account real-time traffic information in inner city areas, for example traffic jams or construction sites, and adapt routes accordingly,” he adds.
“The SmartTruck project is an important step forward for Deutsche Post DHL. One that will enable the company to react considerably more quickly and more dynamically to current developments,” says Arjen Heeres, COO at Quintiq. “We’re pleased that we have the chance to take part in this important project.”