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Dynamic Scheduling – Session 4

In this session we’ll discuss Best Practices for using Dynamic Scheduling Interface.  The session will provide insight into how other operators are successfully running Dynamic Scheduling, which can help you develop a good set of procedures.

Operating the DS Screen

Step 1: Review the scheduled POS list.  Get a sense of where the driver will be located

From the Route View, select the date to be scheduled.  For illustration purposes, let’s say we are dispatching at 7am today and finalizing the route schedule for tomorrow.  In this step, you will be looking at tomorrow’s date.

View the summary details for each route.  The data shown on the DS screens is based upon the last DS run.  This will either be the nightly process or a manual run.  If you use remote data and data arrives after the nightly DS process, you may decide to manually run DS to utilize the most recent machine activity.

Compare the total number POS with the number of location stops.  This is a quick spot check to see how many machines and Stops have been scheduled.  The number of machines and stops scheduled is determined by dynamic settings configured on the route.   To view the scheduled POS list, click on the Floating POS Schedule List, or double click on the route and select the Scheduled Only POS button or double click on the total number of stops for the selected date.

By default the POS Views will display scheduled POS based upon your last saved sort setting. The first time, the list will be in chronological order from highest to lowest based upon the weighting factor (for the selected schedule date).   You may decide to click on the column header for customer or Stop to sort the view so machines in the same Stop are listed together.

Preview the selected POS.  The goal is to get a sense of the geographic area in which the driver will be located, as well as a feeling for the depletion levels in the scheduled machines.

Step 2: Review the Missed POS list for the scheduled day.  View the list of machines

The next step is to review the list of machines which have surpassed a maximum threshold and have not been scheduled. The goal with this step is to review these machines which really need service and determine which should be added to the schedule.  Generally, machines are on this list for the following reasons:

A) The service day is not open resulting in the dispatch being unable to schedule the POS on the day.  This generally happens when the service days open are limited to improve banking algorithms.

B) The route has grown too big for the driver to service machines in a timely manner.

C) The Dynamic Scheduling Route Settings for number of machines and stops for the route are too low.

  Double click on the Missed POS number in the route total section for tomorrow.  This will change the POS listed to the POS which could not be scheduled.  Be sure to uncheck the Scheduled Only button for the screen to display the unscheduled POS.

Step 3: Adjust the schedule as needed.

If you determine changes are necessary, follow the steps below to adjust the schedule.

Making Scheduling Changes

To remove a POS from the schedule, right click on the POS day and defer the schedule.  If the POS is set for dynamic, the recommended choice is Cancel Stop.  This will cancel the schedule for today and allow DS to include this POS when it generates the schedule for the following day.   If the POS has a static schedule, you may find one of the other options more appropriate.   Once the schedule is removed, you will notice ‘X’ in the schedule box for the POS.  This indicates the POS was scheduled, but it has been removed.

To add a POS to the Schedule,  right click on the POS day and choose ‘Schedule for this Day’ , ‘Schedule and Force Inventory for this Day’, or ‘Schedule for this day on ANOTHER route’.  Once the POS is added to the schedule, the schedule box for the POS will be ‘M’.  This indicates the schedule was manually added to the POS.

Step 4: Review the POS Missed list for the day after the schedule day. These are machines which you may be able to schedule tomorrow and avoid a critical service issue.

The next step is to look ahead and see if there are any machines which will be missed the day after tomorrow.  If these machines are in critical need of service, you may be able to add them to tomorrow’s schedule and avoid customer service issues.   Adjust tomorrow’s schedule as needed.  You may repeat Step 4 looking additional days into the future if you have POS will multiple closed days in a row, or you are dispatching over a weekend.

Step 5:  Save Changes and Lock the Day.

Completing a Route

Once all schedule changes have been made, they must be saved before exiting the POS view and returning to the route view.

On the toolbar, choose the green checkmark to save your changes.  Choose the red X if you wish to undo all the changes you have made since the last save.

When you are satisfied with the schedule for the route, the day must be locked.  Right click on the route totals for the day and choose ‘Lock Day’.  The locking function is important as it prevents the auto-scheduler from making any new changes and it makes sure the VendMax schedule tables match.

Note:  The LOCK feature is available at 3 levels:  Route, Customer Location and POS.   All three have a similar function, which is to make the selected schedule (route, location or POS) un-touchable to the auto-scheduler.   Here is an example of how you might use locking at the location or the POS level:   

  1. You run the auto-scheduler and it generates the target list of POS.   
  2. You decide to add 10 more machines to the schedule.   
  3. If you lock the 10 new POS and rerun the scheduler, it will regenerate a new target list that includes the 10 machines you locked.

Changes can be made to a locked route, location or POS by choosing the unlock option.   Remember to relock after your changes are finalized and saved.

It is recommended that you Lock the Day for the route as your final step.  

Optional Step

For users just starting up on Dynamic Scheduling, it is recommended that you preview all machines to develop a better understanding of the dispatch process.    

From the POS View, uncheck the Scheduled Only button for the screen to display all POS on the route.

Scroll through the POS list, with a focus on machines exceeding your most important threshold with high weighting factors. Keep an eye on machines that are in the same area (same Stop, location, etc) as already scheduled machines.  If machines nearby will need service shortly, they could be candidates for over-riding the schedule.  You may find sorting the POS list several times is very useful; by Stop when you have many banked machines, and by your primary threshold makes a lot of sense.  

A good way to scroll through the list of machines is to concentrate on the setting that is most important to your business.  For example, the bottom left corner is sold out products.  As you scroll down the list of machines, look only at that field.  This will help identify the most important machines.  View the other data to see additional status details.

If you have machines on a static schedule, be sure to review these machines and remove machines from the schedule which do not need service.  This will make room for dynamic machines which do need service.

To see which products are selling down or soldout, there are several options:

  1. Double click anywhere on the POS row to bring up the products at the location.  The status of every product in the machine will be visible.  Core products are designated with an asterisk in front of the description.
  1. On the toolbar, select the option to show soldout products and columns when you mouse over the fields.  Core products are designated with an asterisk in front of the description.

This pop-up provides the same view as option #1, and eliminates the key strokes.

3.  On the toolbar, select the option to show depleted items. This view adds the product depletion to the main POS View.   Colors are used to highlight depletion levels.  Red indicates depletion percentages that exceed the upper threshold and yellow indicates percentages that have passed the minimum service threshold.   Products with the highest depletion percentage are listed first.

These views enable you see the sales rate of every product over the displayed number of days.  This is valuable scheduling information.    Be sure to look a day or two into the future from the day you are scheduling.  If you have more machines in need of service than the driver can handle, look at the next few days and see whether the machine status worsens (increased # of sellouts, etc).   You might find a machine that can go another day or two without any impact on sellouts, sales, etc.

Updated on May 4, 2020

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