Findlay Foods - Routing System Improvements - 2017

 SHORTCUT KEYSrouting help


Our new routing system has been designed to let you quickly assign open orders to a truck, organize those orders into a desired call sequence, assign Drop numbers for those orders for each truck and then print the pick slip documents with the drop and truck numbers prominently displayed.

The new system has been designed to allow you to route, drop and print a single truck at a time if you desire. Now you can Route the easiest truck first, get guys picking groceries while you work on the more complicated trucks.

The new Routing System also allows you to partially route a truck, save your work, then put it a side to finish later in your shift once further expected orders arrive.

Our new Routing System was designed to be flexible.


The basic idea here is that we have a pool of un-routed calls, (all of the orders we want to route on to trucks). We start at the top of our list of calls and we pick and assign a truck # and start assigning calls from that pool to that truck number. Once all the calls are assigned to a truck, it is very easy to re-arrange the order.

We are especially lucky in that our Route Numbers (the heading is circled in yellow below, the Route Number is circled in red) are closely mirrored by our truck numbers. Route Numbers will not always match truck numbers, there are lots of curves that reality can throw at a trucking company but it is worth noting, the similarity between the route numbers and the truck numbers is there by design. We might as well take advantage of it.

The image directly below is a sample display page of our un-routed trucks. Things to notice here are:

1) Rte - This column shows the "pre-assigned" route for this call as understood by our system.
2) The City our customer is located in: in this case - Kingston (yellow background)
3) ! symbol with reverse intensity - Signifies that there is an SI (SI = Shipping Instructions) for this order. (F9 Key will show all calls with SI's)
4) 298 - Assigning the Pasta Shelf Call to Truck 298

routing 1
An advantage we have is that, by and large, the calls listed in our pool of un-routed calls are presorted by our system so that the order the calls are presented to us are already routed in the proper order and tagged with the "normal" truck number for that route.

Most of the work has already been done for us. Our main job is to deal with the irregularities and the curve balls.

Once the Calls are arranged in the order we desire, the last step is to assign the Drop Number. Don't get confused here, Calls are different from Drops. Each Invoice/Order is a call. It is quite possible and very common to deliver multiple Calls to a single Drop.



When we enter the Routing program, we will encounter a screen like the one below. Our Routing program allows us to move in and out of the Routing System to access other parts of our business system. Each time we enter the Routing System, it will ask us whether we are starting a New Routing Session or do we want to work on the session on the currently active in the system.

This is an important point to understand. If you want to continue working on a Routing Session currently in progress, simply press ENTER, should you want to start a new Routing Session you would press "N" for New. If you select a New Session you will be asked to type in the word "YES" to confirm you are starting a New Route.

Why all the fuss? Selecting New will delete and erase any Routing Session currently in progress, any work done in the current session will be lost. This is a powerful command, just like a chain saw, it deserves respect because it can hurt you if you are not careful with it.

Screen 1routing 00


To start the Routing process, select the date you wish to Route Trucks for. This will be the date the trucks deliver the groceries. If I was starting a Routing Session Monday Sept 4th at 6PM to route trucks for delivery on Tuesday Sept 5th then I would select Tuesday Sept 5th as my Routing date.

Similarly if I was part of the day shift and I was routing a truck to be delivered later on the same afternoon, I would be routing for Monday Sept 4th.

Initially your are presented with all of the un-routed calls.

Screen 2routing 2

The calls are sorted so that calls without route numbers appear at the top of the list.

All of the un-routed calls at the top have "000" route numbers.

The "000" calls are really where the work is.

While there are no hard and fast rules, at the start of a new Route, our experienced Routing Operators prefer to move to the trucks with routes marked and start there. They assign as many of the orders to trucks as possible.

Scroll down till you see calls with Route Numbers attached to them.

Lets pick Truck 186 to start Routing.

Screen 3routing 3
Screen 4routing 4

To select a Truck we use the F2 key - "Select Truck/Van".

We are going to select Truck 186 to start our routing task.

Screen 5routing 5

To add a call to Truck 186, scroll to the row with the call  you want to route and hit the "Enter" key. This assigns the call to the selected truck and starts to number the Drops.

Don't worry about the drop numbers yet, lets just build the truck, then we will go back and make sure the drops are in the right order.

Screen 6routing 7

We continue selecting calls to add to the Truck by hitting the "Enter" key, note that the cursor automatically moves to the next call in our list of calls. Once you have selected all of the calls for this particular truck, we hit the "ESC" key.

Screen 7routeing 8

The image below is an example of the Summary Screen. This screen shows that we have 13 calls Routed to Truck 186. Only 174 calls to go. In the screen above, we have Truck 186 selected, if we hit the Enter Key here we will be able to order the calls we have selected for that truck.

Screen 8routing 9


As our routing session progresses we need to periodically check to see if there are any new orders in the system. We call this Importing! To Import, go to the Summary Screen and press "F1".

You will be prompted for the Delivery Date. Careful here, remember that the Nightshift will usually be Routing for the next day's delivery date and Dayshift will usually Route for today's date. Getting this wrong can be confusing.

New orders will appear in the N/A row.
routing summery 1
As you can see in the image above, we imported 272 new orders into the system.

We can read the number of new calls under the Pick Slip Column. This lets us know that we had "0" N/A calls before the import and that 272 were added on the last import.

The Yellow asterisk (*) beside the 272 in the Calls column, lets us know that there are new calls added to this row.

If we then route one of those new orders to Truck 298-B and then look at our Summary Screen we see this on our screen:

routing summery 2
What this screen is telling us is that Truck 298-B has 10 Pick Slips printed and one new order that has had a Pick Slip printed for it.

If we go look at Truck 298-B, we see:

summery 3The orders with the "P" at the line, highlighted in Green, lets us know that Pick Slips have been printed for these orders, the top line, without the "P" is our new order. No "P" on the end of the line means it has not been printed.

Once the Pick Slips for a truck have been printed, any order added to the truck, affectionately know as "Add-Ons", will appear at the top of the Truck List. They will always be Drop #1 if they are added after the Pick Slips have been printed.



We are now looking at the calls we have selected for Truck 186. Note that as soon as we entered this page we are in "MOVE" mode. You can also enter "MOVE" mode by hitting the "F5" key.

Let's look at the truck we have just built. Notice that there are two calls being routed to the Maple Manor RR, notice also that both these calls are marked as "Drop 2" This signifies that both these orders are going to the same customer and will be delivered (dropped) together on the second call.

It will be very common to "drop" multiple "calls" at a single Customer address. This is easily achieved when we "run through the Drop numbers", the last stage of building a truck. We can re-arrange the order of the Drops quite easily.

As practice, lets swap the positions of the two calls highlighted in Yellow and Green.

Screen 9routing A1

First, we scroll down to the call we want to move, in this example we will scroll down to the Wellington Bakery call.

Basically what we do here is, pickup the row, move it to where we want it to be positioned and then we release it in that position. Here's how that is done.

When we have the cursor highlighting the order number for the Wellington Call, hit the "Enter" key, you should see the entire line get highlighted. Now, when you move the cursor with the arrow keys, you will see the entire highlighted line move with you. Simply position it where you want it to be and hit the "Enter" key to "release" the line. Notice that as soon as you hit the "Enter" key, the highlighting disappeared and the line for the call is now in it's new location.

 Screen 10routing move 2



Once we have the Truck built and we are happy with the Call order, the final step is to finalize the Drop Sequence. We do this my hitting the "F7" - DROP key.
 Screen 11routing drops
Here we are in "DROP EDIT" mode. Calls are numbered in a sequence starting at Drop #1. Drops that are for the same location all get the same drop number.

In our example above, we have two calls for Drop #3 and again two calls for Drop #6.

Drop numbers are always in sequence! You can not skip a Drop Number!

Hitting the "Enter" Key advances the cursor to the next line in our list.

Once you have finished numbering each drop, you will be prompted to "Print Pick Slips" for the truck you just built.

One of the key features for the new Routing Program is the ability to build a truck and print the pick slips for that particular truck before other trucks are built.

 Screen 12routing print ps


At this point we have successfully routed, arranged the drop numbers for the route and printed the pick slips already numbered with the Truck and Drop Numbers. In the image below we see an example of the new Pick Slip Format.

In the top right hand corner of the document you will see the Ship Date, the Truck Number and the Drop Number.

pick slip example2


At this point we have successfully routed call for one truck. We have organized the Drop Numbers and Printed the Picking Slips for that truck.

We now basically repeat the same process for all of the trucks. As we route each truck, our pool of N/A Calls will decrease till it is zero. Once all of the calls are routed and the picking slips are printed, the routing is finished for the night!

Screen 13routing summery screen


Let's look at adding in a Call that has a 000 Rte assigned to it. These are orders that have been sold to customers that do not have an assigned delivery schedule. These are by and large all unique orders, each one has a story, these are the calls that need the human eyes on them.

In the example below I have assigned all 9 calls that were tagged with a Rte 455 to Truck 455. Let's assign a couple of un-routed calls to this truck!

Screen 14truck 455b
First off we use the "F2" , VAN, function key to select a truck, in this case we will select 455 then we use our TOGGLE function key "F3" to look at all of the un-routed calls. Now all we have to do is move the cursor to the row we want to select and then hit the Enter Key, we have just added that call to our truck.

In the video example below I add calls for Blessington Store, Corner Bar and Gas, Delectable Fine Foods.

Adding Un-Routed Calls to a Truck
As you can see, the three new calls were added to the top of the truck as the first three calls. The order of the calls can easily be re-organized, see the example above.

Screen 15455 selections


Before the Pick Slips are printed it is possible to open up an Order and view or edit it.

You can view any order by highlighting it and pressing "F6". Viewing does not change the order's status, but if you want to change anything on the order you must first select "R(emove from Rtng)". This command removed the order from the Routing system and places the order back in the order pool. As long as the date on the order is not changed, the next time you Import new orders it will be drawn back into the system.
Screen 16routing r2


It is possible that when we go to Print Pick Slips after we have ordered the Drop Numbers, we receive an error message that "Order XXXXXXXX is open, do you want to By Pass the Order?", there is an option to Bypass the offending order and continue on with printing the Pick Slips.


To check that we have finished our Routing Session, we will check the Summary Screen.

Basically our Routing Job is done when:
  • All of the orders to be delivered are Routed to a Truck
  • All of the Truck Pick Slips have been printed
  • We have no N/A calls left in the Routing System.
We look on the Summary Screen to check that under the Pick Slip Column we have a "P" beside every Pick Slip total.

Further we can see from the Summary Screen below that we have dealt with all of our N/A orders, we know this because we do not have an N/A row on the Summary Screen.

Screen 16routing end
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