Tour Planning
Trackfox Winter Service Software

This is how you plan your personalized tours.

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Chapter 5

Chapter Five: Tour Planning. The key point is: scenarios contain tours, and tours contain orders. For a functioning scenario, orders must be created first, followed by the correct creation of tours, just as we have done. To plan the tours, click on the “Unscheduled Orders” field first. In this field, we find a summary of all the important details of the unscheduled orders in a clear overview. With this information, we can now easily plan a tour. The goal in planning an excellent tour is to visit as many locations as possible in a short time. One essential factor here is the working time per order, and ultimately, the time limit of a tour in terms of total working time, consisting of travel time and work time for all orders combined. In winter services, the pure operational times for tours should not exceed 6 to 7 hours since additional loading and unloading times, refueling times, as well as return times from the last order to the depot, are not included. There are many other factors that influence the total time, but considering all eventualities is simply not possible. However, for refinement, as briefly described in Chapter Two, we have the option to apply various individual parameters to scale the working time in the software. Now let’s start planning our tours.

First, let’s look at the map and see a variety of white pins representing the unscheduled orders on the map. We can check and uncheck the “Unscheduled Orders” box at the bottom right of the screen as needed, but for now, we need them visible for planning. First, we drag a tour into the detailed view. By the way, this is also possible with multiple tours simultaneously.

When there is a certain number of tours or orders in the detailed view, it is also possible to scroll up and down to maintain a good overview of the detailed view. In the detailed view, the specific previously assigned depot within the created tour appears as the starting point. Now let’s start with a simple logic and move unscheduled objects into the tour. First, we take the orders that are closest to the starting point or the depot and gradually work our way outward. With each order we move into the tour, the route is updated and displayed on the map for better orientation. Here, we can also see a line with arrows indicating the direction of travel.

At the same time, as we move more orders into the tour, the values displayed below the tour in the detailed view also change. These values provide valuable support in planning a perfect tour. We repeat the tour planning process a few times at this point for illustration purposes and then move some orders into the second tour we created to get a better understanding of how it works. It is important to know that all orders moved into a tour are automatically placed at the back in terms of order sequence, but this can be changed at any time. Each tour can be optimized in terms of time by clicking, allowing time savings of up to 50 percent. For easier identification of unscheduled orders, we have two options. Firstly, we can use the input mask for “Unscheduled Orders.” As soon as we enter a street name or customer name, the specific orders will be displayed to us via the auto-filter function.

Secondly, we can click one of the white pins on the map, which automatically highlights the corresponding order in the “Unscheduled Orders” field. When creating a scenario with multiple tours, we can see the different tours, including order stations and tour routes, displayed on the map in colors matching the tour. Using the checkboxes next to the tours, we can hide or show tours on the map. The scheduled orders can be removed from the tour or moved to another tour by right-clicking or using the mouse’s drag function. They can be

temporarily deactivated, deactivated overall, or deactivated only within the tour. Additionally, we can directly access the data management of each order through this method. In the detailed view of the tours, we can also see some interesting information at the bottom, such as the distance traveled, included orders, the area to be cleared including machinery and manual work, and other details relevant to optimal tour planning. Some of these details can be hidden if desired by clicking on “Tour Settings” located to the right of the tour names. Here, we can choose to hide revenues and hide the footer. Hiding revenues will only hide the revenue information, which can be useful, for example, when showing Trackfox to an employee who should not see the revenue. Alternatively, by hiding the footer, we can hide all the details.

In the detailed view of the tours, we have three symbols. The clock symbol allows us to auto-optimize a tour, keeping the routes as short and efficient as possible. The cross symbol allows us to discard the most recent changes made to the tour. The checkmark symbol allows us to apply the changes made to the tour.

Important: We must save all changes made in scenarios to prevent them from being lost. This applies to changes in tours within scenarios as well, and it can be done through the green checkmark in the tour window for a specific tour. Alternatively, we can use the disk symbol at the top right, which is even better as it saves all changes in all scenarios and tours. Different scenarios are particularly useful when completing many tours within a day. For example, the order sequence in tours can be planned differently for each day or for the weekend. This allows for automatic consideration of closed businesses on weekends as well. Furthermore, it is possible to manually geocode individual pins by moving them. This is useful when Google Maps does not precisely locate the pin created from the address, requiring adjustment. We can also switch between the car and flight modes. While the car mode shows the real routes by car from one station to another, the flight mode displays the airline, i.e., the direct route between stations. Especially in extensive planning with a large number of objects, we recommend switching to flight mode.

In the desktop version of Trackfox, we can print tours as well. To do this, simply click on the printer symbol at the top right, then select the specific tours to print. A preview of the print version will appear, which can be confirmed and printed. All printed versions of tours have a date for better identification. Generally, we also recommend providing employees who work with the app with a printed copy of the tours to ensure operational continuity in case of a system crash or mobile device failure. It is worth mentioning that regular backups of all Trackfox data should be performed using the “Data Export” option under “Data Management” and then “Orders”.