Logistics software developer Descartes Systems says it has combined route planning and wireless mobile technology to create the next generation of mobile resource management (MRM). The first fruits of its new MRM 2.0 “initiative” are four products intended to handle complex, dynamic routing problems and field sales management.
Up to this point, route planning and MRM have been viewed as two separate technologies, according to the company. “This created two significant problems for customers,” said Chris Jones, executive vp-- solutions & services. “First, the architecture of the two technologies sets only allowed for simple, non-real-time integration because route planning solutions were batch-based and MRM solution interfaces used historically-oriented performance data. Second, integration of the technologies was left to the customer, resulting in potentially costly, time-consuming and fragile implementations that had limited value.”
Descartes MRM 2.0 allows two-way message creation in real-time based on events, allowing for dynamic control of trucks, drivers and other mobile resources, according to the company. It has also created an alliance program for software, hardware and wireless network providers to develop new logistics solutions based on its MRM 2.0 concepts.
The first of its MRM 2.0 products is Route Planner, a web-native program designed for large enterprises or complex routing problems. It can help companies make real-time planning decisions such as routing changes or delivery appointments based on updates from mobile devices and a centralized master data base.
Route Planner On-demand is a web-native planning, dispatching and tracking solution that combines route optimization, dispatching, AVL and GPS mobile technology for small- to large-enterprises with more basic routing and resource tracking problems, according to Descartes. Sales & Merchandiser Management is a closed-loop system to plan, track and approve sales activity and authorize payment. The two Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products can be used independently or together to synchronize sales and merchandiser activity with delivery operations, the company said.
Descartes Area Planner is intended for LTL and small-package fleets that face dynamic variability in volume, demand and customer locations. Using advanced simulation techniques and evaluation of historical and predicted demand, the SaaS solution can determine the proper number of vehicles needed and the requirements to support time-critical services, according to Descartes. It also allows fleets to record and evaluate the actual performance by driver and service area.