Drive times, territory ‘locking’ and more specific user parameters introduced
5th May 2011 - Organisations planning or modelling geographical territories and allocating resources to them can handle the task with much greater precision, flexibility and control with the new version 2.0 of Territory Manager from MapMechanics, the specialist in map-based analysis.
Not only does version 2.0 of Territory Manager introduce the option for users to take account of drive times in the planning process; users can now also specify criteria that stipulate where the key location should be within each territory; can “lock” some existing territories, so that these are retained while others are re-optimised; and can define territories by grid lines or other regular shapes where more specific boundaries such as postcode sectors are not available. The system can now also perform more thorough optimisation where extra precision is required.
Territory Manager is a paricularly effective planning tool because it can take many different criteria into account at the same time, and weight them according to user preference. For example, it can simultaneously balance numbers of customers, driving distance from depot and volume of goods. Moreover, the system can apply these criteria while at the same time ensuring the resultant territories meet the user’s preference for producing compact areas.
Where criteria appear to conflict, the priority weightings can for instance ensure that the driving distance is given twice as much importance as balancing the number of customers.
Territory Manager is used widely for tasks such as defining sales areas, franchise areas and dealerships and creating depot networks. Its applications range from sales force management to transport network development, and users range from retailers to logistics companies.
An appealing new feature is the freedom Territory Manager gives users to specify preferences for whereabouts the key resource should be within each territory. They can specify, for instance, that the resources (known as “poles” in Territory Manager terms) should be no more than a given distance from each other or from the edge of the territory.
By providing the option to take drive times into account as well as traditional crow-fly distances, the new version allows users to come up with more accurate real-world solutions. So, for example, it might be possible to create a franchise network with no franchisee within 30 minutes’ drive time of a competing franchisee; or customers might always be allocated to outlets within 20 miles of their home location.
For users who may be creating territories in countries that don’t have postcodes or similar systems for specifying geographical areas, Territory Manager 2.0 can create grids or hexagons as building blocks for the territories. Users can, however, also continue to define territories by familiar designators such as postcode sectors, wards and so on.
Sometimes organisations might want to leave satisfactory territories intact, but re-optimise adjacent territories to better effect. With Territory Manager 2.0 this is now possible, thanks to a feature called territory locking. Using this, specified territories can be excluded from the optimisation process, while territories in the rest of the area under scrutiny are re-defined.
Finally, version 2.0 of Territory Manager offers users more options in terms of how long the optimisation process is run. When required, Territory Manager can produce a valid and effective solution fast, but for those who need a more precise answer, the system can be set to run the optimisation process for longer, fine-tuning the results.
Territory Manager 2.0 is one of a range of territory management and network planning solutions from MapMechanics.
- MapMechanics has been providing innovative solutions in logistics planning, sales and marketing, digital mapping and geographic analysis for over twenty years.
- MapMechanics develops, supplies and supports TruckStops, one of the world’s best-established routing and scheduling solutions, and its portfolio includes a wide range of optimisation solutions. Examples include specialist systems for optimising transport of full or part loads, for servicing a high density of calls on the same streets and for optimising use of pallet networks.
- MapMechanics is the UK distributor of the GeoConcept geographic information system, which is used extensively in a diverse range of fields such as depot planning, retail planning, marketing, healthcare, environmental planning and management, transport and logistics, site selection and territory allocation, telematics and command and control applications, policing and broadcasting, and central and local government.
- MapMechanics also uses digital map-based technologies to offer an extensive range of Web, desktop, paper and component solutions for a variety of business applications, from atlas production to business analysis, site selection, customer profiling and vehicle routing and scheduling.
- MapMechanics distributes a wide range of data products including AA, NAVTEQ and Ordnance Survey digital mapping, as well as leading business and demographic datasets from many sources throughout the world. This data is listed in the Data Catalogue, which is probably the most extensive and up-to-date printed listing of its kind in Britain, and is published at least once a year, as well as being available on the Internet.
- Backing up its extensive product range, MapMechanics offers a comprehensive service of implementation support and training.
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