Methods and systems for generating and displaying the capacity of a delivery management system

US 7 313 530B2

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The present invention is adapted to calculate expected capacity utilization information by zone for a respective delivery agent within the zone then to display delivery agent shipping capacity information via a communications network. The present invention further provides a zone capacity calculation and display system that is intuitive and easy for the user to understand. In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, capacity data may be illustrated for a respective delivery agent on a monthly basis. In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the capacity data of a respective delivery agent may be illustrated for a respective zone on a daily basis.

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Claims

1. A method of displaying the capacity utilization of a goods delivery system, the goods delivery system having a delivery agent location, an address and a delivery zone, said method implemented by a computing unit and comprising the steps of:
obtaining delivery agent information of a delivery agent that delivers a plurality of goods, the delivery agent information comprising at least one of a delivery agent location, a delivery agent name, a delivery agent code, a delivery management system schedule name and a delivery agent zone group name;
calculating a first delivery capacity for said delivery agent information, the first delivery capacity comprising a first volume defined by a first plurality of slots, each slot defining a slot volume;
assigning a work unit to each good of the plurality of goods representing a multiplication factor associated with each good and indicative of a portion of the first volume defined by a number of slots used to deliver each good, the work unit generated by a supplier of the good based on a size of the good and a degree of difficulty in installing the good to facilitate equalizing slots for the first delivery capacity;
calculating, by the computing unit, a portion of the first delivery capacity used for said delivery agent information based on assigned work units;
calculating usage information for said delivery agent information based on a single day and a delivery zone;
displaying a periodic calendar format illustrating said delivery agent information and delivery agent statistics for a respective zone for each day in a respective period, the delivery agent statistics comprising at least one of a delivery capacity, a reserved capacity and scheduled deliveries;
said periodic calendar further adapted to have drill down capability to display additional daily details;
determining whether the first delivery capacity of the delivery agent to deliver the goods during a first period is exceeded;
determining whether a second delivery capacity of the delivery agent to deliver the goods during a second period is exceeded; and
determining to deliver the goods during the second period upon determining that the first delivery capacity is exceeded and the second delivery capacity is not exceeded, wherein the goods are configured to utilize the entire second delivery capacity.

Show 6 dependent claims

8. A computer program embodied on a computer readable medium for executing a computer process for displaying the capacity utilization of a goods delivery system, the goods delivery system having a delivery agent location, an address and a delivery zone, said computer program comprising at least one code segment for employing a of displaying the capacity utilization comprising the steps of:
obtaining delivery agent information of a delivery agent that delivers a plurality of goods, the delivery agent information comprising at least one of a delivery agent location, a delivery agent name, a delivery agent code, a delivery management system schedule name and a delivery agent zone group name;
calculating a first delivery capacity for said delivery agent information, the first delivery capacity comprising a first volume defined by a first plurality of slots, each slot defining a slot volume;
assigning a work unit to each good of the plurality of goods representing a multiplication factor associated with each good and indicative of a portion of the first volume defined by a number of slots used to deliver each good, the work unit generated by a supplier of the good based on a size of the good and a degree of difficulty in installing the good to facilitate equalizing slots for the first delivery capacity;
calculating a portion of the first delivery capacity used for said delivery agent information based on assigned work units;
calculating usage information for said delivery agent information based on a single day and a delivery zone;
displaying a periodic calendar format illustrating said delivery agent information and delivery agent statistics for a respective zone for each day in a respective period, the delivery agent statistics comprising at least one of a delivery capacity, a reserved capacity and scheduled deliveries;
said periodic calendar further adapted to have drill down capability to display additional daily details;
determining whether the first delivery capacity of the delivery agent to deliver the goods during a first period is exceeded;
determining whether a second delivery capacity of the delivery agent to deliver the goods during a second period is exceeded; and
determining to deliver the goods during the second period upon determining that the first delivery capacity is exceeded and the second delivery capacity is not exceeded, wherein the goods are configured to utilize the entire second delivery capacity.

Show 6 dependent claims

15. A apparatus for displaying the capacity utilization of a goods delivery system, the goods delivery system having a delivery agent location, an address and a delivery zone, said apparatus for displaying the capacity utilization comprising:
means for obtaining delivery agent information of a delivery agent that delivers a plurality of goods, the delivery agent information comprising at least one of a delivery agent location, a delivery agent name, a delivery agent code, a delivery management system schedule name and a delivery agent zone group name;
means for calculating a first delivery capacity for said delivery agent information, the first delivery capacity comprising a first volume defined by a first plurality of slots, each slot defining a slot volume;
means for assigning a work unit to each good of the plurality of goods representing a multiplication factor associated with each good and indicative of a portion of the first volume defined by a number of slots used to deliver each good, the work unit generated by a supplier of the good based on a size of the good and a degree of difficulty in installing the good to facilitate equalizing slots for the first delivery capacity;
means for calculating a portion of the first delivery capacity used for said delivery agent information based on assigned work units;
means for calculating usage information for said delivery agent information based on a single day and a delivery zone;
means for displaying a periodic calendar format illustrating said delivery agent information and delivery agent statistics for a respective zone for each day in a respective period, the delivery agent statistics comprising at least one of a delivery capacity, a reserved capacity and scheduled deliveries;
means for said periodic calendar further adapted to have drill down capability to display additional daily details;
means for determining whether the first delivery capacity of the delivery agent to deliver the goods during a first period is exceeded;
means for determining whether a second delivery capacity of the delivery agent to deliver the goods during a second period is exceeded; and
means for determining to deliver the goods during the second period upon determining that the first delivery capacity is exceeded and the second delivery capacity is not exceeded, wherein the goods are configured to utilize the entire second delivery capacity.

Description

This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application, 9D-EC-19335, Ser. No. 09/475,961, entitled Delivery Management System, filed on Dec. 30, 1999, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, and herein incorporated by reference. This application is also related to co-pending U.S. patent application, 9D-EC-19319, Ser. No. 09/475,962, entitled Capacity Monitoring Process For A Goods Delivery System, filed on Dec. 30, 1999, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, and herein incorporated by reference. This application is further related to co-pending U.S. patent application, 9D-EC-19310, Ser. No. 09/475,630, entitled Internet Based Goods Delivery System, filed on Dec. 30, 1999, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, and herein incorporated by reference.

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a capacity tracking and display system and more particularly to an Internet based goods delivery capacity tracking and display system.

Delivery management systems exist that provide capacity utilization information but such systems do not make the information easy to view at a level that is useful to the user. These systems display capacity utilization information based on available capacity, reserved capacity and used capacity on a monthly basis, however, no other formats or related information is displayed.

It is desirable to provide a system wherein delivery and installation capacity can be calculated by geographic area and that can display near real time area capacity in an easily readable format. It is additionally desirable to provide a system wherein delivery capacity information can be displayed on a periodic basis and that provides sufficient detail to enable the user to manage the delivery resources in an efficient manner.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, therefore, this invention provides for a method of determining and displaying capacity utilization of a goods delivery system from a supplier to a buyer utilizing a system having at least one delivery agent, at least one store, at least one manufacturer, and a plurality of buyers, wherein the at least one delivery agent, at least one store, and the at least one manufacturer are coupled to a communications network. In an exemplary aspect the present invention is a method of displaying the capacity utilization of a goods delivery system, the goods delivery system having at least one delivery agent location, address and delivery zone. The method of displaying the capacity utilization comprises the steps of: getting delivery agent information; calculating the delivery capacity for the delivery agent information;

    • calculating delivery capacity used for the delivery agent information; calculating usage information for the delivery agent information; and displaying a periodic calendar format illustrating delivery agent information and delivery agent statistics for a respective zone for each day in the respective period.

In an exemplary embodiment, capacity utilization is displayed on a daily basis for a period of one month, said monthly data adapted to be displayed for any adjacent month of the monthly date being presently displayed.

The periodic calendar is further adapted to have drill down capability to display additional daily details. In one aspect, a specific day of monthly data may be viewed displaying default capacity, override capacity, capacity used, and percent capacity used.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of the communication interchange between components of the goods delivery system of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an further illustration of an Internet based communications network and associated elements illustration in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of a delivery management system of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a process flow diagram of the delivery management system which utilizes the capacity monitoring process of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a process flow diagram of operation of the delivery management system;

FIG. 6 is an process flow diagram of the capacity display process of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is an illustration of an exemplary monthly capacity report of the present invention; and

FIG. 8 is an illustration of an exemplary daily capacity report of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to collect delivery agent shipping capacity data over a communications network, then to calculate expected capacity utilization information by zone for a respective delivery agent within the zone. It is a further object of the present invention to provide zone capacity information for a respective delivery agent and a display system that is intuitive and easy for the user to understand. In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, capacity data may be illustrated for a respective delivery agent on a monthly basis. In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the capacity data of a respective delivery agent may be illustrated for a respective zone on a daily basis.

Now referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, which illustrate the major components comprising goods delivery system 100, wherein like reference numbers identify like elements, goods delivery system 100 comprises components that cooperate in a process that integrates logistical supply chain parties by utilizing the Internet, commercially available scanners, and Internet based programs. The system creates the capability for a product distribution supplier to seamlessly interact with sellers of the supplier's products and suppliers to the sellers and buyers. Each supplier to the seller, and alternatively, to the buyer, is hereinafter defined as a delivery agent 212. All parties of the above identified logistical supply chain may execute roles and responsibilities while minimizing human interaction between the parties.

Goods delivery system 100 comprises at least one supplier 152, at least one delivery agent 212, a logistics intermediary 154, at least one store 158, and communications network 160. Additionally, a respective buyer 156 can interface with goods delivery system 100. Buyer 156 typically places an order at a respective store 158 requesting a desired good to be shipped, a desired delivery date, and a desired installation service. At each store 158 delivery agent 212 and supplier 152 there is at least one computing unit A 169, which is coupled to a computing unit B 167 via communications network 160. In one embodiment, communications network 160 comprises a Internet based communications link 171 and a web server 163. Communications link 171 may use audio and alternatively fiber optic communications means to support server 163 based communications. In one embodiment computing unit A 169 and computing unit B 167 communicate using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Server 163 is typically a Internet based server which interfaces with a plurality of browsers so as to effect Internet based communications. One exemplary server is the Netscape Application Server NAS. Computing unit A 169 and computing unit B 167 comprises a respective browser. One exemplary browser is the MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER 4.0. Computing unit A 169 may also comprise a commercially available display 165 and a commercially available scanner 159. Scanner 159 also has a scanner display 161, a keyboard 173, and is adapted to interface with computing unit A 169.

In an exemplary embodiment the server may be accessed by a respective computing unit A 169 and computing unit B 167 by providing a web address having a registered Uniform Resource Locator (URL) hyperlink www.geappliances.com and by providing an associated password on most commercially available web browsers. Computing unit B 167, located at logistics intermediary 154, houses the software which comprises the above referenced delivery management system and the capacity monitoring and prediction system of the present invention. It is noted that the electronic manifest may be located at any component of the goods delivery system, including, for example, store 158, delivery agent 212, and supplier 152. Computing unit B 167 provides a delivery management control process that effectuates control and enables information storage for goods delivery system 100. Additionally the delivery management system and the capacity monitoring and prediction system of the present invention may comprise a computer program storage medium readable by a computer system and encoding a computer program of instructions for executing a computer process for tracking and predicting the capacity utilization of a goods delivery system.

Citations

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US 6,975,937 B1 - Technique for processing customer service transactions at customer site using mobile computing device
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