Neighbouring Postcode Sector lookup table streamlines ‘first-cut’ delivery planning – Logistics operators need no specialist software to use MapMechanics’ new resource
Transport and logistics organisations doing resource planning or analysis at postcode sector level can now run queries to find adjacent postcode sectors without needing specialised mapping software or data. Instead, they can use a new data set called Neighbouring Postcode Sectors from MapMechanics, the UK-based specialist in logistics planning and optimisation systems, and in digital mapping and related data.
There are more than 9,200 postcode sectors in Great Britain, each containing hundreds of unit postcodes, and most of them are next to several other sectors. It is often useful to be able to find adjacent sectors – for instance, when allocating goods to delivery vehicles and building up route plans.
The Neighbouring Postcode Sectors file is in essence a lookup table. It is supplied in simple CSV (comma-separated value) text format, which makes it compatible with most spreadsheet and database applications, as well as with mapping software and routing and scheduling systems.
The data is ideal for providing the basis of a first “broad-brush” sort without specialist software – for instance, at a parcel depot. In the past, finding adjoining postcode sectors usually demanded analysis with a digital mapping tool, but with this new data users can avoid that overhead, relying instead on spreadsheets or other widely-available tools.
When used with a system such as TruckStops, the data can help ensure that deliveries or collections are grouped together logically and handled in the most efficient sequence.
Neighbouring Postcode Sectors can be invaluable for correcting misapprehensions about the way postcodes work. For instance, operators at a delivery depot might mistakenly assume that postcode districts SW12 and SW13 are adjacent, and that sectors within them will therefore be quite close to each other.
Analysis with the Neighbouring Postcode Sectors data will show that this is not necessarily the case, and help produce more economic “first-cut” delivery plans. The data also has a role in other logistics-related activities such as analysing customer catchments, planning territories and allocating deliveries to individual depots.
The new Neighbouring Postcode Sectors data is an example of MapMechanics’ Process Promise scheme. This recognises the fact that data is often supplied in a generic form, which may not be easy to use straight out of the box.
MapMechanics’ Process Promise takes care of the processing of data. For example, roads may not be correctly linked together for use in routing and scheduling applications. In essence, MapMechanics converts raw data to real-world requirements, saving users the need to do the job.
MapMechanics has been providing innovative solutions in logistics planning, sales and marketing, digital mapping and geographic analysis for over twenty years.
- MapMechanics develops, supplies and supports TruckStops, one of the world’s best-established routing and scheduling solutions, and its portfolio includes a wide range of optimisation solutions. Examples include specialist systems for optimising transport of full or part loads, for servicing a high density of calls on the same streets and for optimising use of pallet networks.
- MapMechanics distributes a wide range of data products including AA, NAVTEQ and Ordnance Survey digital mapping, as well as leading business and demographic datasets from many sources throughout the world. This data is listed on MapMechanics’ intuitive new transactional data web site, www.allmapdata.com, which is probably the most extensive and up-to-date listing of its kind in Britain.
- MapMechanics is the UK distributor of the GeoConcept geographic information system, which is used extensively in a diverse range of fields such as depot planning, retail planning, marketing, healthcare, environmental planning and management, transport and logistics, site selection and territory allocation, telematics and command and control applications, policing and broadcasting, and central and local government.
- MapMechanics also uses digital map-based technologies to offer an extensive range of Web, desktop, paper and component solutions for a variety of business applications, from atlas production to business analysis, site selection, customer profiling and vehicle routing and scheduling.
Backing up its extensive product range, MapMechanics offers a comprehensive service of implementation support and training.