WHAT IS AN ALGORITHM?
What lies behind algorithms and how they solve the daily challenges in logistics and service.
04 March 2022 · Christoph Bertram
Smart algorithms are at the core of the Solvares Group solutions. They ensure that our systems support you effectively, whether in transport logistics, in truck dispatching or in route planning for field service and sales. But what actually is an algorithm?
We encounter algorithms every day. The Google algorithm determines which search results we see. The algorithms of online shops recommend further products for our purchase. Even traffic lights on the road and our household appliances are also controlled algorithmically these days. In all these processes, a certain sequence of predefined steps runs in the background.
WHAT IS AN ALGORITHM?
Simply put, an algorithm is a set of instructions for solving a particular problem. Originally originating in mathematics, algorithms are now mainly used in computer science. There they serve to calculate the desired solution from the user's input.
A simple example of an algorithm is a cooking recipe: this is nothing more than the instructions for making a certain dish. By following the recipe step by step, you execute the algorithm.
Algorithms in computer science basically work according to the same principle: The 'ingredients' in this case are the input data. The algorithm converts it into the output data or uses it to calculate the solution to the problem.
The individual steps of the calculation are not written down in natural language, as in a cooking recipe, but formulated in a specific programming language within a software.
WHAT ROLES DO ALGORITHMS PLAY IN LOGISTICS AND ROUTE PLANNING?
In logistics and route planning, there are typical optimisation problems that have occupied mathematicians for more than a hundred years:
The travelling salesman problem (also Traveling Salesman Problem or Traveling Salesperson Problem): On a tour you must visit as many important locations as possible as a salesperson or as a supplier - without driving double routes and thus wasting time and fuel unnecessarily. How do you determine the optimal route?
The Backpack Problem: If you pack a backpack, you have to manage the space and think carefully about what you put in it. The same applies, for example, to the loading space of vehicles. But also for the planning of orders that are to be 'packed' into one day. Which appointments should your service do today and which no longer fit into the working day?
You can still manually plan the tours of two to three employees or vehicles with a few appointments, customers or stops to be reached. The more employees, orders or destinations are added, the more difficult it becomes to solve the problem of the optimum tour.
SMART SOFTWARE IS DOUBLY ATTRACTIVE FOR COMPANIES
This is where the right software comes into play: thanks to powerful algorithms and the processing power of computers, software programmes not only solve the travelling salesman problem and the backpack problem within a very short time, but also all other problems in logistics planning.
With the right algorithm, you achieve better and more efficient results than by hand: the software can make a large number of complex calculations in a very short time. The automation of processes through suitable software is therefore doubly interesting for companies:
Algorithms are not only better than humans at finding optimal solutions to a logistics problem, but they also speed up processes and increase efficiency.
INTELLIGENT OPTIMISATION: THE ALGORITHMS OF THE SOLVARES GROUP
So what exactly do our algorithms do?
Our software solutions serve to optimise the entire value chain from transport logistics, truck dispatching and telematics to sales, field service and service. The algorithms of the Solvares Group are excellent at solving complex logistical questions with many parameters, spontaneous temporal changes, and numerous resources.
These are not standard solutions. Rather, they are based on many years of experience and intensive research work. Here is a compact overview of our software solutions along the entire supply and service chain:
The Algorithms from Städtler Logistik optimise the entire transport logistics, from transport management (TMS) and warehouse logistics to route planning and freight controlling. With the leading logistics software from Städtler our customers achieve above all a reduction in transport costs.
Opheo Solutions is the specialist for truck dispatching and telematics. Opheo's software solutions take all the calculations out of the dispatcher's hands. Thanks to AI-based route optimisation and smart logistics, transport logistics companies can forecast both time expenditures and kilometres.
FLS – FAST LEAN SMART cost-optimises scheduling and route planning in field service and delivery for 30 resources and more. The leading technology behind it makes it possible to plan efficient routes and tours and to continuously react to all changes. The result is cost savings, fewer kilometres driven, less dispatching and time spent, and increased customer and employee satisfaction.
With the algorithms of portatour® field staff plan their visits and tours independently. The software supports you in achieving your Sales targets, by focusing on the right business partners. An intelligent algorithm automatically selects who you should visit and optimises the route at the same time.
THE RIGHT ALGORITHM AND THE RIGHT ADVICE
Our algorithms are designed to optimise resources. They help companies to plan and control better. In doing so, they not only make processes more efficient, but also enable higher revenue and an increase in value creation.
However, a software solution will only help you if it fits your industry and your company. This is where you benefit from our decades of experience. Because Solvares Group brands are not only among the leaders in their industries because of their powerful algorithms, but also because our employees have decades of experience in implementing a wide range of requirements. People and algorithms ensure your success.
Further suitable contents:
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