Planning routes for a fleet of trucks has never been an easy task, except perhaps for very small logistics operations with a single-figure-sized fleet. If your company ships to hundreds of customers each day, using a multi-drop fleet of 50 or more vehicles, producing an optimal daily plan is pretty much impossible without the help of software.
Finding the Right Software
With new solutions finding their way regularly into the marketplace, choosing route planning software is becoming trickier. The following four tips will help you know what to look for among the products and vendors competing in the growing route optimization space:
1) The Right Level of Computing Complexity:
If the quantity of orders and the customers you deliver to remain fairly constant, you probably don’t need a software product that builds routes from scratch each day. However, if the volume of orders can fluctuate greatly from day to day, a solution that creates optimal routes on a dynamic basis will be highly desirable.
2) Re-optimisation capabilities:
If your company’s routing requirements are complex and you need to start planning before all orders are captured, it’s worth choosing route-planning software that can re-optimize each time fresh orders are added to the schedule.
3) Mobile driver routing and vehicle tracking:
Your truck drivers are more likely to follow your planned routes if you can translate them into turn-by-turn, in-cab GPS navigation. A route planning application that integrates with enterprise mobility to collect vehicle-tracking data will be helpful for comparing actual performance of individual routes against the planned versions.
4) KPI dashboards and reporting:
This is linked to tip #3 above. If you’re choosing route planning software that integrates with vehicle tracking, you shouldn’t let the valuable data go to waste. A good KPI dashboard can show you for example, the difference between planned and actual kilometers for each route.
Improve Planning Productivity
Automated route planning software is improving in effectiveness and costs are coming down. As well as optimising routes for improved fleet running costs, they offer the further advantage of doing in minutes what a human route planner couldn’t do manually in a day. Automation can therefore save you money in the transport office as well as out on the road.
For the best chance of a fast and full return on investment, keep in mind the four tips in this post. They’ll help you choose a route planning software solution that meets your operational needs now and into the future.