How to efficiently manage a fleet of vehicles operating from a central base is a common problem in many industries. Disruptions like traffic jams cause delays in deliveries, use more fuel and produce more CO₂ emissions.
Dr Güneş Erdoğan’s Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) Spreadsheet Solver helps organisations optimise their deliveries by calculating the best routes for their vehicles.
Güneş's tool uses an algorithm to calculate the distance between distribution centres and delivery addresses. The algorithm factors in things like vehicle type, one-way streets and likelihood of traffic. It then calculates the most efficient sequence of deliveries.
The VRP Spreadsheet Solver is free to download and adapt. Güneş has also recorded a video tutorial with simple instructions to help companies modify the tool to their needs.
Güneş’s research has saved companies over $2 million.
Organisations who use the VRP Spreadsheet Solver use less fuel and encounter fewer delivery delays. It also lowers the risk of accidents and reduces carbon emissions, as vehicles spend less time in traffic.
The tool has been used worldwide and has been downloaded over 10,000 times.
Although Güneş created the tool to optimise the movement of goods, it can be used in other sectors like transport, waste collection and healthcare.
Charity begins at home
The research behind VRP Spreadsheet Solver started with a collaboration across five UK universities. They set out to investigate using satellite technology to develop a better routing system for collecting a major UK charity’s donation bins. As part of this work they created an algorithm which generated a route and schedule that saved the charity up to 30% on journey costs.
Clarity is King
A central challenge of Güneş’s research was to create an adaptable tool that combined a complex algorithm with a versatile yet simple interface.
Güneş developed his tool in Microsoft Excel. As Excel is the standard data analysis software, his solver easily integrates into most businesses' systems.
A global solution
Güneş’s tool looks to be a game-changer, bringing a modern solution to a familiar problem. Its versatility and simplicity mean that it can be adopted by many industries across the globe. To help boost its use, Güneş has translated the solver into Turkish, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Indonesian, Urdu, Bengali, Swahili and Malay.