By Joe Francica

Why maps and schedules need to play together...
The economic slowdown in which we find ourselves has not precluded companies from spending on solutions that save money.Such is the case with, what I would call, "GeoLogistics" -- a marriage of GIS and Logistics.
In the early 90's we thought GIS software functionality that had the ability to create routes over a street network was quite useful.Some software was capable of doing not only point to point but multiple point routing; some were even able to create the "Chinese Postman" scenario of routing to both sides of the street.These were tools that fell well short of being effective.

Meanwhile, large transportation delivery companies like Federal Express (in those days) and UPS were employing engineers with PhD's in logistics to determine efficient ways to schedule vehicles...thousands of vehicles; as were the U.S.Postal Service, Wal-Mart, BOC Gases, and many others in a wide variety of businesses.

The fact that transportation was, and is, rooted in geography necessitated the marriage of spatial technology with logistics and route planning.Put a different way, you can't have routing without scheduling.Hence the arrival of several solutions that addressed this need such as those developed by Descartes, RouteSmart, and GIRO.The later 90's saw the emergence of products such as ArcLogistics Route (ESRI) and TransCAD.  And today, it is common to find GeoLogistics embedded into field service management software such as from InterGis and ClickSoftware.

In fact, Field Service Management (FSM) is a growing market that begs for more spatial awareness.Companies such as WennSoft, ILOG, and MDSI are using maps to display routes.Still others, such as ViryaNet, Manugistics, and FieldCentrix are less focused on displaying routes but are looking at how GIS can play a greater role.

Turning Brown into Green!
What Brown can do for you at UPS Logistics

In this month's feature interview, we spoke with Len Kennedy, Vice President of UPS Logistics.Mr.Kennedy provided us with the reason large transportation and distribution companies need to build efficiency into their operations.Quite save a lot of money.When you can remove vehicles off the road using a GeoLogistical system, you save fuel, labor, and maintenance costs.

Mr.Kennedy said, "we conservatively quote them (UPS customers) between 5% and 9% reduction in their fleet operations." UPS Logistics is a wholly owned subsidiary of UPS Supply Chain Solutions with over 1000 customers.

Published Tuesday, December 3rd, 2002

Written by Joe Francica

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