Paragon Software Systems Inc., a software company focused on vehicle routing and scheduling, announced that Egg Farmers of Canada has purchased its routing and scheduling software. EFC will use the software to improve the efficiency of its team of home-based field inspectors who audit and deliver biosecurity and animal welfare programs across 1,100 Canadian egg farms.
By using Paragon to centralize weekly schedules and optimize routes, the organization is aiming to get a clear view of the calls its inspectors need to make each year, identify spare resource capacity and reduce journey and travel time. Michel Smith, EFC field operations manager, reports that the software is a significant upgrade to scheduling inspectors’ calls manually.
“Previously the inspectors would do their own planning,” Smith says. “With Paragon, we are able to centralize this function giving a detailed view of the farms, the workload and resource capacity. With our inspection team covering the whole of Canada, we need to optimize the resource, which is why we’ve opted for Paragon. I know that we are going to see savings from a journey perspective because the software will optimize the routes, and it will also help us gain efficiencies. However, if I need to add more visits because of additional work, it will allow me to see our existing capacity and resource availability for growing the business. Before we brought in Paragon, it would have been virtually impossible to do that.”
EFC inspectors can travel on average 370 miles a week, with some members of the team covering up to 46,600 miles a year. Their home bases are classed as “depots” within the software, and en route hotels also are programmed to allow for overnight stops when necessary. The software will be used to produce weekly schedules with the routes planned from the depots. The weekly schedules are produced four weeks in advance, so that inspectors are pre-advised of their workloads.
The inspectors report to EFC each week, and the schedules are re-optimized to cover any open jobs so that calls can be rescheduled. Because biosecurity is essential for preventing cross-contamination and ensuring disease control, the system manages the order of the visits; younger flocks will be visited first, with follow-up calls planned for older flocks later in the day or week, whichever is the most convenient and time-efficient.
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