The Difference Between Batch Optimization and Continuous Optimization Can have Significant Effects on Route Planning Results and Customer Service
With batch optimization, orders and their associated pick-up/delivery date and times are either known in advance through master routes and/or placed throughout the day in dynamic environments. Typically route planning for the next day is then done by sending all the work in batch to the route optimization system. Customer call outs to confirm delivery times, if used, are done when the optimization process is complete for the batch of orders.
Only the most advanced solution providers offer routing and scheduling solutions with embedded continuous optimization capabilities. Continuous optimization is the ability of a routing system to continually work in the background to back incremental improvements for better results and provides the ability update routes in real-time as orders flow in.
Think of it this way: delivery options are being analyzed and offered while the orders are actually being placed, rather than waiting for a batch of orders. The problem of how to create the least cost, most effective plan is continually being worked on and refined by the system vs. having a single batch optimization process run against it. This helps to create more precision in the route plans, and ultimately better results.
Route planners and operational managers also benefit significantly from having visibility into actual route plans in real-time at any point in the day vs. waiting for batch results. This enables better management of resources and supports efficiency initiatives such as wave picking.