Plan freight transportation routes with multiple stops


You can use route plans and route guides for complex transportation routes that have multiple stops. If the same route will be used on a regular basis, you can set up a scheduled route.

Route plans

A route plan contains route segments that provide information about the stops that are visited on the route and the carriers that are used for each segment.

Diagram of the route setup process from Hub types to Validate setup.

You must define the stops on the route as hubs. A hub can be a vendor, a warehouse, a customer, or even just a reloading place where you change the carrier. For each segment, you can define "spot rates" for various charges, for example:

  • Charges for traveling to the given segments
  • Charges for a picking up the goods
  • Charges for dropping off the goods

Each route plan must be associated with a route guide.

Route guides

A route guide defines the criteria for matching a load to a specific route plan. For example, you can specify an origin hub and a destination hub, limits for the container volume or weight, and a shipping carrier, service, or group.

Route guides are available on the Rate route workbench page, where loads can be matched to routes either manually or automatically. If the route guide is for a scheduled route, it's also available on the Load building workbench page.

Scheduled routes

A scheduled route is a predefined route plan that has a schedule for the shipping dates. Scheduled routes and non-scheduled routes differ in the way that loads are assigned to them. If you assign a non-scheduled route by using the Rate route workbench page, only the load and the route guide are validated.

If you assign a scheduled route, the dates and addresses from the orders and the hubs, and the date on the route plan, are also considered. You don't have to use the Rate route workbench page to manually assign loads to a scheduled route. Instead, you can use the Load building workbench to suggest that loads be built based on the customer addresses and delivery dates from sales orders for a given scheduled route.

For scheduled routes, the route plan will have fixed origin and destination hubs. Typically, the shipping carrier and service will be the same for all segments, but they can differ. The destination hubs are created by using the postal codes of the customers who are visited on the route. Several route schedules can be defined for one route plan.

The route plan must be associated with a route guide. However, for scheduled routes, the plan can be associated with only one route guide. The route schedule is used only to create the actual routes on the Route schedule page. You can use the default load template when you propose loads on the Load building workbench.

Load building workbench

The Load building workbench uses the customer addresses and delivery dates from sales orders, and the scheduled routes that are available, to propose a load. By default, the values from the route are entered on the workbench. However, you can select a from date that is earlier than the from date on the route.

When a load is proposed, the delivery address and delivery date of all open sales orders are checked. If the postal code of the delivery address matches the postal code of a hub in the route plan, and if the delivery date is within the range that is selected in the criteria, the sales order is proposed for the load. The capacity of the load template is also considered.

For scheduled routes, only one load is proposed at a time. However, when you're not using schedule routes, multiple loads can be proposed. If you have a sales order that isn't included, you might have to use a different load template (for example, a load template for a bigger truck or container) or plan an extra delivery.

Plan loads by using hub consolidation

It can be useful to consolidate shipments in a hub when you deliver goods from different warehouses to the same customer, or when goods are delivered from multiple vendors to the same warehouse.

Building loads

Before you can use hub consolidation, you must enable the In transit planning option on the Transportation management parameters page. You must also create the hubs where consolidation will occur. The following diagram shows an example of hub consolidation.

In this case, sales orders from different warehouses are going to the same customer. The basic loads are created based on sales orders in the usual way by using the Load planning workbench page.

To consolidate the two loads in a hub before they are delivered to the customer, on the Load planning workbench page, in the Transportation field, select Hub consolidation. When you select the correct hub for each load, the loads will have the hub as the drop-off destination. You will also have two transportation request lines in the Supply and Demand section on the Load planning workbench page.

You can then add these two lines to a new load. This new load will have both sales order lines and will also have the hub as the pick-up address and customer A as the drop-off destination. The three loads are then ready to be rated and routed like any other load. You can select whatever shipping carrier that the system suggests for each load. 

Diagram showing Hub Consolidation adding two loads to a new load.

You can also use the same method to consolidate loads for multiple transfer orders. In this case, customer A in the diagram is a warehouse. Alternatively, you can consolidate loads for multiple purchase orders, where the loads are delivered from different vendors to the same warehouse.

You can have more than one consolidation hub and can consolidate in multiple hubs for more loads that come from different warehouses. After you build your basic loads and use the hub consolidation option, you can build the new loads by using the consolidated transportation request lines. Then, you can rate and route your loads.

Include container weight and volume on load

The functionality for including the container weight and volume on a load gives a clear representation of the total weight and volume of containers and items that are going on a load.

A load contains a single shipment or multiple shipments, and these shipments contain distinct items that belong to a single sales order or multiple sales orders. The items are stored inside a container, and containers are loaded on a load. Items that are outside a container can also be part of a load. Based on these conditions, the system calculates values for the weight and volume on the load by considering the weight and volume of both containers and items.

If the calculated values aren't precise, you can adjust them by entering the actual values for the weight and volume on the load. The values for the weight and volume are used in transportation management processes. For example, the values are used in the rate route workbench, where they help define the rate and route for loads, and they are also used for transportation tenders and driver check-in.

The functionality for including the container weight and volume on a load applies in transportation management processes, such as the rate route workbench, transportation tenders, and driver check-in.

The number of containers that should be considered for a load is calculated based on the weight and volume of the container and on the percentage of the container that is used.

To set the weight and volume for a container, select Warehouse management > Setup > Containers > Container types.

To set the container utilization percentage, select Warehouse management > Setup > Containers > Container groups, and then enter a value in the Container utilization percentage field.

Dock appointment scheduling

After all inbound and outbound shipments are set up, there comes a time when carriers make appointments to pick up or deliver loads. Watch the following video to see how to set up an appointment.