Transportation

Fleet Routing with the VRP Solver: Balancing Workloads

As a route planner or manager, it can be critical to consider the human component when planning.  The perception of fair division of labor is key to keeping a happy workforce.  In this post we will examine how to balance the workloads across routes.

The many ways to fairly balance workloads

Here are a few ways to balance routes:

I’m sure I have only touched the tip of the balancing iceberg.  Tell us how you would like to balance your workloads.  Currently we can encourage the VRP Solver to balance based on total time.

Steps for balancing workloads based on total time

1. The first step in balancing workloads is to know what the average route total time should be for the problem. Set the problem up without worrying about the balancing and solve it.

Shows the Initial Solve of the VRP Problem for Balancing

2. In the above example you can see that the total time is not well balanced between these four routes, although is typically the best total time for all routes.  The next step is to understand what the average total time should be for the routes.  This gives you a goal for completely equal division of work time.  The statistics for the TotalTime field will give you this information.

Understand the Average Total Time for the Routes

3. Now that you know what the average should be add that time (or rounded down to a whole number) to the OvertimeStartTime field. You will also need to add overtime cost.  A good rule of thumb is double the CostPerUnitTime field.  However, the higher you make the CostPerUnitOvertime value the more the solver will try to keep the TotalTime under the OvertimeStartTime.

Add the Average Total Time to the Overtime Start Time

4. Finally, resolve the problem to see the changes.  Although this results in a slightly bigger total time for all routes, it is now a more balanced solution.

The routes after balancing based on total time.

To see this example in action, watch this demo.

Get Involved

We would love to know how you would like to balance your routes.  Answer this poll to share with us your preferences.

About the author

A product engineer on the Network Analyst Team. Heather works primarily with the VRP solver.

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