A short intro into optimisation

At Solvice, we build solvers. We are experts in mathematical optimisation and operations research.

## Classes of optimisation methods

We can identify between two classes of optimisation methods: *exact algorithms* and *heuristics*.

## The need for clever algorithms

Optimisation is the process of finding the best schedule for your customers and your business. The global optimisation process assesses millions of time slots and mobile worker options to produce schedules. It then assigns each schedule a grade and uses the schedule with the highest grade, putting upcoming appointments into the best order.

Millions of options? Let's do the math. Let’s say there is 1 mobile worker and 11 appointments to schedule. That gives her 11 factorial possibilities.

11! = 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 x 8 x 9 x 10 x 11 = 39,916,800

If her computer can evaluate 10,000 options a second, she works out the following equation.

39,916,800/10,000 = 3,991 seconds or 66 minutes or 1.1 hours

So, reviewing the options for 1 mobile worker and 11 appointments takes over an hour. What if she had 16 service appointments? It would take about 66 years.

As this math shows, optimising a schedule is a complex process that takes time and computing power. But it’s worth it, because a good schedule helps your business become more efficient while delivering on your business priorities. Priorities like scheduling more appointments, reducing travel time, containing overtime costs, and increasing customer satisfaction.