GEOG 850
Location Intelligence for Business

7.3 Case Study in Routing/Scheduling


Case Study, Part 1: Delivering the "Goods"

You have been hired as a consultant to help "Sweet Nothin's Tasty Muffins" to understand their delivery needs and suggest a solution for their business. Please review the Scenario below and identify the following:

  1. How will geospatial thinking and technologies help the business?
  2. Is their problem just a routing problem, or is there more to the story?
  3. What "free" or "very low-cost"  online applications will help Sweet Nothin's address their needs?

Your challenge is to identify the best and lowest cost solution for Sweet Nothin's Tasty Muffins. There is a rumor that they may be acquired by a very large bakery and will need a full time consultant to help manage their growth. In some sense, this is a full-time job opportunity.


The bakery, "Sweet Nothin's Tasty Muffins," (located at 100 West College Ave, State College, PA, 16801) has built a good reputation over the last two years for high quality baked goods. The business has grown from delivery of muffins out of your home kitchen to the great downtown State College bakery location.

Recently, Sweet Nothin's been contacted by Starbucks' district manager for the Centre region and a couple of additional local coffee houses in nearby towns to provide all of their muffins, scones, and coffee cakes. This opportunity could provide a chance for real growth—Sweet Nothin's knows their baking staff can handle the increased demand, but they need to ascertain whether you can handle the delivery logistics associated with this sudden growth.

Currently, they deliver all of the goods to the handful of shops they do business with. They know they are going to have to hire drivers and secure delivery vehicles but they are not sure if they need 1, 2, or 3 drivers to handle the increased business. Their good friend, a local florist, tells them he uses a routing application to help with planning his deliveries—they want to try a software package to see if it will help with their dilemma. Starbucks and the other potential customers would like to make the switch to Sweet Nothin's baked goods soon, so they had better get started planning!

At least two of their bakers, Barb and Johan, are interested in picking up some additional hours, and, lucky Sweet Nothin's, they both have minivans with roomy cargo areas! Until Sweet Nothin's is reaping the rewards of the continuous increased business, they decide Barb and Johan are the perfect solution to their near-term plans.


In addition to your own assessment of the situation and conversations with the coffee shop managers, the following are guidelines for solving their delivery dilemma:

  • Barb and Johan will each drive their own minivans. Sweet Nothin's want to provide them roughly the same extra income, so they plan to have 2 drivers with approximately the same availability.
  • Sweet Nothin's current baking schedule allows for the vans to be packed and ready to start delivering at 4 am. You would like to pay Barb and Johan roughly two extra hours wage, so Sweet Nothin's initial plan calls for deliveries to be completed by 6am.
  • Starbucks has insisted that its deliveries arrive no later than 5:30 am to be in the counter cases when their stores open.
  • It takes approximately 10 minutes for each delivery (to park, take the trays in and hand over the invoices). Sweet Nothin's will use a 10 minute service time to start their planning.
  • Each driver can handle 10 orders in his/her minivan. (At this point, Sweet Nothin's is only planning 10 total "orders"—this should be more than enough, as combined, Barb and Johan can handle a total of 20 "orders".)

Key Consulting Steps in Selecting a Solution:

Step 1. "Drivers" You will need to create a driver record for Barb and one for Johan.

Make sure you include:

  • Starting location (the routes will be roundtrip to/from Sweet Nothin's Tasty Muffins downtown bakery).
  • Start and Finish times.
  • Load Capacity.

Step 2. "Add Orders" listing all of the addresses of Sweet Nothin's potential customers.

Note: You may find problems with geocoding, based upon the data you got from your customers. (HINT: The airport is in the 16823 ZIP code. And while the Starbucks on N. Atherton has a mailing address in State College, it is technically located in Park Forest Village, PA.) You need to be able to correct addresses and geocoding when update your orders.

Also, you will need to provide the ability to adjust the orders to meet any special customer requirements.

Step 3. "Plan Optimal Routes" Once you've set all of the driver and order criteria to meet the guidelines, you can plan your routes! You may find it necessary to adjust certain elements to develop a desirable routing plan—remember, Sweet Nothin's is counting on you to spend their dollars wisely to efficiently plan their routing. (Hence, you may find it necessary to adjust your or your customers' expectations.)

Step 4. Once you have a route plan with which you're comfortable, save this route plan so you can return to it later.

Now, with this route plan established, move on to part 2:

Case Study, Part 2: Growing Pains

Congratulations—Sweet Nothin's Tasty Muffins continues to grow and experience success! But with all growth comes growing pains—consider variations in this section (Part 2) on your current routing solution for Sweet Nothin's.

Perhaps Sweet Nothin's should call their business Sweet Nothin's Tasty Muffins and Such? Starbucks has asked them to supply ALL of its local baked goods. It's time to revisit your routing solution—you're going to need to allocate their drivers differently to accommodate the growth at Starbucks.

Are you able to do the following with one solution and not another?

Step 1. Open your saved routing plan.

Step 2. Increase the "Load Units" for the three Starbucks locations from "1" to "3" to accommodate space in the vehicle for the additional delivery goods.

Step 3. Better increase the "Service Time" too—it won't take three times as much to unload, but perhaps you need 15-20 minutes at each location?

Step 4. Barb really prefers to drive in and near State College (where all three Starbucks are located)—assign Barb to the Starbucks locations.

Step 5. How do these changes affect your routing solution? What other accommodations will you need to make?


Post a comment in Canvas to the Lesson 7.3 - Case Study: Transportation & Routing forum including:

  1. A screen shot of the Part 1 route map and any brief comments you wish to make about the process (ease of use, missing features, additional considerations).
    1. NOTE: Please make sure your screen shot is "zoomed" to something visible--a screen shot of your entire monitor may not be as valuable as a screen shot of a very interesting route or Gantt chart.
    2. NOTE: Please keep your comments brief here and limit your screen shots
  2. Discuss your success in adapting to this new Part 2 routing plan, using the questions in Step 5 to guide your discussion.
  3. Include a screen shot of the Part 2 route map, driver Gantt chart or order schedule, as necessary, to support your discussion.

Due Tuesday 11:59 pm (Eastern Time)
Check the Calendar in Canvas for specific time frames and due dates.