Map Business Online provides optimized routing tools for businesses with employees who travel in vehicles. The actual multi stop route planner is launched by the Car Icon on the toolbar. MBO business mapping features can be applied to vehicle routing in ways that support many different business work flows.
At a high level MBO routing functionality encompasses these major functions:
- Identify and Save Route Stops – Import and filter data to determine the routing stops desired by geographic area, drive time area, or other filtered analysis
- Create Optimized Routes – Use routing tools to select start and finish locations, and generate optimized or non-optimized routes
- Share Generated Routes with your employees or driving constituents
- Push printed or saved PDF files of turn-by-turn directions to drivers
- Save map views of proposed routes
- Share interactive web maps with associates and let them generate routes on their own
Import Your Data
Typically multi-stop routing starts with a list of stops. Import your company’s potential routing destinations as a customer spreadsheet, a prospect list or some other database of addresses. There’s lots of help documentation, videos, and blogs on how to do this in MBO help. The Help button is in the top right hand corner of the map application. MBO videos are here on MBO YouTube.
You can certainly assign addresses one address at a time using the address bar in the upper left corner of the map. That’s an incremental process and takes a lot longer than exporting a list from your business system or CRM and map plotting your business data into Map Business Online. And for SalesForce.com users it gets even easier through our direct integration tools.
Once you have your list imported into Map Business Online don’t forget to symbolize it to help you quickly visually identify locations critical to your work flow. You could, for instance, highlight locations requiring immediate deliveries, or patients that need to be seen today, or customers who haven’t purchased in six weeks. You decide, based on your work flow.
Filter Your Data
“You can’t route to all the people, all the time.” – Abraham LinkedIn
Well maybe Abe LinkedIn never said that, but still, the basic concept is true. And for that very reason you’ll need to filter your imported data to decide what deliveries are going to be made today, or what accounts a sales person will call on tomorrow.
Map Business Online let’s you filter by radius (circle search), by polygon, or by drive time/distance. These are geographic or spatial queries that enable a quick scan of your data within a circle or a polygon that you can save as a subset list of your overall data. You’ll be able to create routes with up to one hundred stops per route – a significant time savings in route work flows.
Further, in the Data Window you can create additional spatial queries or search by other factors. Maybe you want to route to all stops in one zip code, or in one county. That would be another spatial query. But you could also search based on information embedded in your imported data – for example, create a list of all customers with total sales reported at less than $1000. You could choose to visit only patients without the Flu. Filtering your data could even help the Grinch decide who is going to get Christmas presents on time this year.
By exporting these results and saving associated files you can keep a file of your delivery stops for any given day. Thus you can use your Map Business Online searches as back-up for work flow activities.
Once you’ve created a routable list of target addresses, you can choose how to route to your destinations. You must decide which order you want to travel in – an optimized order or in the order of your dataset. You could simply selected each destination incrementally – one stop at a time. And you need to decide where your route starts and where your route will end. Round trips are also an option.
Consider start and final stop assignments, perhaps it’s usually your home that you begin and end your routes from? If that is so, create a Favorite stop in the Route Window for your home address. But you can always insert your home address into the Address Bar to the top left of the map and the hover over that point on the map and incrementally select it for a start. Always look for the small Car icon to add stops to routes.
From the Data Window any list you’ve developed can be automatically converted into routes stops with one click – See the Car & Data icon towards the right of the Data Window toolbar. Once those stops have been assigned to the Route window you can still grab stops and change their order – just select them with your mouse and drag up or down the in the list of stops.
When you are ready, click the Route button to create turn-by-turn directions, mileage and time estimates. Consider loading a free print-to-PDF tool to save directions in a PDF file format. This is great for sharing route directions.
In addition to turn-by-turn directions, route results will include total time and mileage estimates. All route calculations are based on the background map data used within Map Business Online. The software considers road classifications, speed limits, turn restrictions, one-way/two-way rules, and many other factors in determining which turns to make, what times will be, and how far you will travel.
Read about sharing route functionality with MapBusinessOnline.com’s free MapShare functionality: MapShare
MBO optimized routing tools are used by package delivery companies, technical service organizations, home healthcare organizations, and sales planning professionals. These tools supplement customer mapping, retail mapping, sales territory planning and many other business intelligence tools.
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