Written by Ingrid Zwiers
Frequently Asked Questions | 9 mins read

– In the past months since Ab Ovo launched the SmartRouting solution in the Ab-Ovo To-Go suite, we at Ab Ovo have spoken to many prospects in the transportation sector who deal with a vehicle routing problem in some way or another. The types of companies range from express and parcel delivery, groupage and LTL transport to FTL transport, with and without containers and liquids. From these conversation, I want to share with you the five most frequent questions about SmartRouting that have come up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ab Ovo have spoken to many prospects in the transportation sector who deal with a vehicle routing problem in some way or another.

1. Is SmartRouting a TMS system?

SmartRouting is not a Transportation Management System (TMS), but an Advanced Planning System.

Where a TMS system focusses on the administrative elements of your operations, SmartRouting concentrates on providing you with a system that allows you to get the best operational results in planning and execution. It focusses on making the most efficient routes and effectively deals with real-life disruptions, with direct insight in all consequences of a changed pickup or delivery time.

SmartRouting is typically integrated with a TMS system through standard interfacing, both for receiving the orders, as well as for returning the planned and execution details, These interfaces with other systems allow SmartRouting to be seamlessly integrated in your existing system landscape.

2. What does it mean to have the solution as MSaaS?

A Managed SaaS (MSaaS) solution enables your company to get the benefits from a cloud solution combined with the advantages of configuring the solution to exactly meet your needs to gain or maintain your competitive advantage in the market.

The SmartRouting MSaaS solution is a cloud solution, which you can use from within your own network anywhere around the world. This gives you maximum flexibility to scale up in future, without extra costs for hardware, as well as make your workforce flexible in work location. All maintenance on the solution is done by Ab Ovo – taking pressure off the internal IT person/team -, both on hardware and software side. Additionally, we have a customer service team available to help you with any questions that come up during usage.

Due to the specific configuration of our SmartRouting MSaaS solution, we can also offer you to configure the core of SmartRouting. While our solution covers all common functionalities needed to solve your route planning and scheduling puzzles, in some cases we have observed that to maintain a specific competitive advantage, it is important to be flexible with small adjustments. Unlike most SaaS solutions, Ab Ovo’s SmartRouting actually allows those configurations fully and in a timely fashion (no multi-year roadmaps).

Frequently Asked Questions

The SmartRouting MSaaS solution is a cloud solution, which you can use from within your own network anywhere around the world. This gives you maximum flexibility to scale up in the future, without extra costs for hardware.

3. How does SmartRouting compare to competitors?

In short, SmartRouting outsmarts other planning solutions due to full real-time transparency, KPI based planning as well as a state-of-the-art optimizer by delivering a planning which improves customer satisfaction and facilitates growth of your business.

SmartRouting makes use of state-of-the-art technology of DELMIA Quintiq to achieve record breaking optimization results. But maybe even more important, SmartRouting delivers from day 1 of implementation visibility and transparency to your planners.

SmartRouting processes all updates in real-time. That applies to updates from other planners in the team, whether on the same physical location or not, so shared resources  can be used efficiently from multiple locations. Secondly, the real-time updates entered by drivers manually or through GPS, are immediately processed into the planning, so planners see whether driver updates cause late shipments or other issues in the already planned routes.

These real-time updates are crucial for efficient operations, and the planners are supported with visualizations of issues using icons, highlighting and a KPI window. The KPI window facilitates planners to focus on your most important KPIs and gives at all times a view over the current state of the planning. Instead of focusing on utilization or empty mileage, the planner now has direct visibility on the effects on costs (which also allows him/her to make better ad-hoc quotes for customers) and on-time deliveries. This has a huge impact on customer satisfaction and on the growth of your business.

4. What are the unique features of the built-in optimizer?

In short, the uniqueness of the SmartRouting optimizer lies in the fact that it uses real costs optimization (vs distance/duration optimizing) and trade-offs for quality and customer service constraints that suit exactly your business needs.

Where most optimizers in the market focus on reducing distance driven or driving duration, used as a proxy for costs, SmartRouting uses the actual expected costs as the target for optimization. Since the cost structure of vehicles and drivers may be different, one route is optimized based on distance while another route targets reducing duration. This method leads to reducing overall costs.

On top of that, the optimizer also includes several non-costs related features, such as on-time delivery. Instead of on-time delivery being a hard constraint which can never be violated, the SmartRouting optimizer considers this a soft constraint depending on how late it is. In transport planning, a delivery that is 1 minute late is typically not an issue and is not worth spending another 100 euro on to resolve, whereas 1 hour late may be worth spending 100 euro on to prevent. These trade-offs can be configured exactly to your needs, so that the optimization returns results that suit and optimize your business and not a theoretical puzzle.

5. How do I integrate SmartRouting in my existing system landscape?

SmartRouting has extensive standard interfaces to integrate with typical systems, such as on-board computers and a TMS system. These interfaces can – of course – also be used to transfer data directly from an order management system, or into a data warehouse.

The type of data that can be integrated ranges from master data, to orders, resources, drivers, as well as actual updates from drivers. In case no on-board computers are available yet, SmartRouting comes with a mobile app, which can be used by drivers to communicate with the planner and send and receive updates to the planning.

Various methods of communication are available, e.g. message queues or SOAP (using XML), but even Excel imports are supported for less frequent data updates. There is always a  communication method available that supports your needs and requirements.

About SmartRouting

Our SmartRouting solution is a full suite to do route planning and optimization for your transportation puzzle, large or small, simple or complex. Automated planning, continuous optimization, suggestions to the planner are all included.

Instant updates and recalculation of the future plan comes out-of-the-box, to provide full transparency to the planners on their actions and driver updates, which in turn allows the planner to make better decisions.

It comes with a fully developed standard integration package to seamlessly connect to all other systems in your landscape, such as (but not limited to) a Transportation Management System, a payroll system, and on-board computers. In case your system landscape does not include on-board computers with the ability to  sign-off deliveries and track your resources with GPS, our solution also includes a ready-made Mobile Driver App.

For the details of the functionalities of the SmartRouting solution, please have a look at our Solution Sheet.

For more information, contact us with any questions you may have.

Ingrid Zwiers is an experienced Advanced Planning and Scheduling consultant at Ab Ovo for over 5 years. With a background in Operations Research (MSc) and extensive business experience for over 10 years in the logistics sector, she wants to help companies get all the potential savings out of their planning challenges without compromising the competitive edge that each company has.