Special equipment codes provide a means to inform DirectRoute to load a stop on a vehicle. If you are routing using a fleet with various special equipment or your customers require special equipment for delivery, there may be a need to use special equipment codes.
Equipment Codes are alphanumeric, one to three characters, and user-defined; the user determines what characters/numbers will be used to define any requirements that exist. These codes are entered in the EqCode column in the Stop File to identify the specific requirement for that stop. Any number of codes can be used together per stop and are separated by a dash between each.
X3: 53ft Truck
X3-LG-FB: Combination of the three
A stop that is coded in this manner can only be loaded on a truck designated with all three of these codes in the SpEq field in the Truck File.
It’s important to remember that the use of SpEq codes on a truck does not preclude the truck from loading or servicing a stop without these codes, but simply identifies the truck as being able to meet the special requirements of some stops.
Not allowed, truck does not have matching SpEq code;
Not allowed; truck does not have both SpEq codes
Allowed; truck has both SpEq codes
Allowed; any truck can service any stop with no EqCode
NOTE: A truck without a SpEq Code can service any stop without an EqCode, but a stop with an EqCode can only be serviced by a truck with the matching SpEq code. Likewise, a stop without an EqCode can be serviced by any truck, with or without any SpEq Code designation.
TIP: Place vehicles with Special Equipment Codes at the bottom of the Truck File. During the routing process, DirectRoute starts with the first available truck in the Truck File to start loading stops. Stops with no Equipment Codes may go on any vehicle. However, stops with Equipment Codes may only go on those vehicles coded to accept them. By placing vehicles with Equipment Codes on bottom of the Truck File, this ensures that the stops with codes will have vehicles available for loading.
A Back Haul is a stop to be picked up (versus delivered) after the truck has been unloaded, and taken back to the terminal; it requires that the truck be empty before it arrives at the stop to be picked up. Back Hauls can be identified in the Stop File using an EqCode of BH. During the routing process, DirectRoute will place these stops at the end of the Route after all other stops have been delivered.
NOTE: There does not have to be a corresponding Back Haul code in the Truck File. Stops coded as Back Hauls can be loaded on any truck unless the stop has additional constraints, such as size restrictions or other EqCodes.
TIP: When shown in the Route Book, Back Hauls are shown with a negative capacity. A column heading for Back Haul Totals may be added to the Header Report in the Route Book.
Back Hauls should not be confused with a regular pickup for delivery to the Depot. This type of pickup could be at any location between two delivery stops, anywhere on the route. The BH code should not be used for this type of stop. For less than truckloads, set the stop quantity to 30,000 and DirectRoute will include it in the routing process.
Priority Codes allow the user to change the order in which stops are loaded in the construction phase of route building. Priority Codes are identified using the exclamation symbol (!), followed by a sequence number between 1 and 9, entered in the EqCode field in the Stop File.
Typically, DirectRoute will load the farthest un-routed stop on an empty vehicle and proceed to load additional stops within the same vicinity on the vehicle. Using Priority Codes will change this behavior, giving priority loading, or preference, to stops with a Priority Code, over non-prioritized stops.
A Priority Code does not insure that a stop will be the first stop on a route, only that the stop gets loaded before all others without a Priority Code (to indicate priority delivery, see Sequence Codes). When assigning the sequence number, 1 is used to indicate the highest priority and 9 the lowest.
!1 indicates a higher priority than
NOTE: There doesn’t have to be a corresponding Priority Code in the Truck File. Priority stops can be loaded on any truck unless the stop has additional constraints, such as size restrictions or additional EqCodes.
When stops require priority delivery over other stops, the use of a Sequence Code (Seq Code) will force DirectRoute to build the route using the delivery sequence input for each stop.
A Seq Code is a 2-digit number (01 thru 99) used in the EqCode field in the Stop File, to indicate delivery order. Stops with the lowest sequence number (00, 01, 02, etc.) will be loaded before stops with a higher number (10, 23, 99, etc.). Any numerical code (without alpha characters) entered in the EqCode field is assumed to be a Seq Code.
When using Seq Codes, all of the stops must have a Seq Code; blank cells in the EqCode field will be given a null value (00), which will force a first delivery, while a value of 99 will force a last stop, or delivery. When combining Seq Codes with another EqCode, separate the two with a dash.
The table below represents coded stops in the Stop File. Based on the EqCode field input, you can determine when/how these stops will be loaded and delivered.
Stops A and G must be delivered before B and E (Seq 01 takes precedence over 02 and 03).
Stops C, D, and F have no Seq Code assigned, so the software will assign a null value (00). Since 00 indicates the highest precedence, Stops C, D, and F will be forced to deliver first, ahead of stops A, G, B and E, even though they were designated for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd delivery by the Seq Codes 01, 02, and 03.
To avoid this error, Stops C, D, and F should be assigned a numerical value that will ensure delivery sequence in the proper order.
Remember, the use of any Seq Code in the Stop File will require that ALL stops be assigned a sequence code.
Sequence Preference Codes
A Sequence Preference Code (SpEq Code) is a dollar amount assigned to be multiplied/added to any stop in which delivery preference is requested. The dollar amount is placed/used in the EqCode field, adjacent to any other special code, in the same way, that any other special code is used.
When DirectRoute builds and optimizes routes, it will calculate a cost for the route (ref. cost fields in the Truck File). If SpEq Codes are used in the Stop File, the system will add an additional cost to the routes, equal to the assigned value for the preference code multiplied by the stop Seq Code number, minus 1.
The earlier in the route the stop is sequenced, the lower the calculated cost; the later in the route, the higher the calculated cost will be. As a result, DirectRoute will attempt to reposition the stop to the first or earliest position on the route. Additionally, it is possible DirectRoute will be able to re-sequence the route without increasing mileage.
NOTE: It is important to always test values to ensure they do not have an adverse effect on operations.
Territory Codes, used in both the Stop and Truck File in the EqCode and SpEq fields, will force routes to remain within a certain area. Territory Codes are identified by using the symbol @ with two alphanumeric characters (ex. @A2).
Territories can be as small as one truck, or have multiple routes assigned. If drivers are assigned to a specified territory and their routes should not cross territory lines, then Territory Codes could be used in the Truck File to restrict which stops (Territories) can be loaded on the truck.
The main difference between a Territory Code and a normal EqCode is that the codes on a truck must be a subset of the codes on a stop, whereas with normal EqCodes, the stop codes must be a subset of the codes on the truck.
In the table below, Customer X can only be serviced drivers assigned to Territories 1, 2, and 3 (@1, @2, @3), but not by the driver assigned to Territory 4 (@4).
NOTE: Any truck can service a stop without a Territory Code. In most cases, if Territory Codes are used, they are placed on all stops and all trucks.
Exclusion Codes are used to specify that two or more stops cannot be loaded on the same vehicle. These codes are identified by using the caret symbol (^) with alphanumeric characters (ex.
^Competitors) in the Equipment Code field of the Stop File. Stops with the same Exclusion Code will not be loaded on the same vehicle.
NOTE: Exclusion Codes are "hard" rules, meaning the Load algorithm must always exclude stops. The system would leave a stop unloaded versus inserting it onto a route where another stop exists with the same Exclusion Code.
^Competitorsprevents their combined orders from being placed on the same truck.
Stops coded with an Exclusion Code can be loaded on any truck unless the stop has additional constraints such as size restrictions or additional Equipment Codes. There does not have to be a corresponding Exclusion Code in the Truck File.
Inclusion Codes are used if multiple orders are being delivered to the same area to ensure they are placed on the truck which regularly runs the route in question. These codes are identified using the ampersand symbol (&) in the Equipment Code field of the Stop File.
NOTE: Inclusion Codes are "soft" rules, meaning if the Load algorithm runs into another hard rule such as
Capacity, or another EQCode, it has the ability to break up stops with the same Inclusion Code and will place them on another route.
&OutletMallensures all these deliveries will be placed on the same route.
Stops coded with an Inclusion Code can be loaded on any truck unless the stop has additional constraints such as size restrictions or additional EqCodes. There does not have to be a corresponding Inclusion Code in the Truck File.
Origin-Destination Pairs (OD Pairs) can be used to force DirectRoute to load a pair of stops on the same route, in proper order, as an exception to standard Depot-to-Stop routing.
TIP: For best performance of the software, OD Pairs should account for less than 20% of the total Stops in one routing solution.
The lower sequence number in the pair (#AA1) represents the Origin stop, while the higher sequenced number (#AA2) represents the Destination stop.
OD Pairs must be used as a pair; if a single stop lists an OD Pairs code, there must be another stop at some point in the route with a matching code.
DirectRoute determines the first stop on a route during the construction phase of a load building and looks for any stops with OD Pair codes.
If found, the stop coded with the lowest number is loaded first.
Example 1: #AA1 would load before #AA2, as the number 1 is lower than number 2. DirectRoute then checks the capacity of the vehicle against the volume to be picked up, ensuring there is enough space on the vehicle when it leaves the terminal to pick up the Origin Stop.
Example 2: #AA1 and #AA2 are assigned for pickup and delivery. Vehicle capacity is set at 17,000 pounds; 14,000 pounds are loaded at the terminal for various stops on the Route, and an additional 2,200 pounds must be picked up at another location before all deliveries can be made
This would be a valid use of OD Pairs. The stop with the matching OD Pairs code need only be loaded after the pick. The remainder of the route is built in the usual manner, with appropriate consideration given to other equipment or sequence codes.
NOTE: The first Stop of any OD pair in a route will always display itself in the Route Book as a negative number, representing the Stop as a pickup.