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DHL’s Greenspan Algorithm Tackles High Cost of Delivery Logistics

Greenplan, a DHL-financed startup company, is launching an algorithm to optimize delivery routes and stop sequences in logistics.

The algorithm leverages the full potential of smart routing, using all information and data available to optimize transport routes in an entire delivery area, Greenplan said, while existing solutions are dealing with smaller sub-areas to cope with complexity. According to Greenplan, this sets a new benchmark because it bolsters the industry’s efficiency and sustainability efforts without compromising the quality of planning.

The algorithm was developed by scientists at the University of Bonn in cooperation with DHL logistics experts. Greenplan supports customers with their road freight business and last-mile deliveries, as well as field service providers with their service schedules.

“We at Greenplan want to help make the industry more efficient and sustainable,” Dr. Clemens Beckmann, CEO at Greenplan, said. “With our smart and powerful algorithm, we are tackling the complex task of efficient route planning by offering a precise and reliable solution that can be integrated into existing systems.”

Beckman said Greenplan differs from other tools on the market by calculating routes according to historic traffic information available on street level.

“This, in turn, enables our customers to save up to 20 percent on costs compared to standard route optimization solutions and to lower their carbon footprint accordingly, simply by reducing kilometers driven,” he said.

The company noted that the growing e-commerce market has fueled demand for same-day deliveries, while the contract logistics market increasingly looks at just-in-time processing. The Greenplan algorithm is equipped for such cases and capable of digesting targeted addresses and individual delivery time windows on a shipment level.

By considering time-of-day and street-specific travel times, Greenplan also finds the optimal starting time for delivery trips. These improved trips increase the predictability for customers and appear natural to drivers, it added.

Greenplan also helps customers with their green strategies by enabling CO2 emission reductions through shorter distances and fewer trips. The algorithm is also capable of considering specific parameters for electric vehicle fleets, like range limits per vehicle.

“Altogether, the smart algorithm leads to decreased costs and lower CO2 emissions for the same delivery work,” Greenplan said. “This helps not only logistics companies, but also supports field service providers who need to plan schedules of their workforce.”