Articles

5 Tips to Optimise for DIFOT

by Cameron Craig, 14 December 2021

5 simple ways to meet your DIFOT target

DIFOT: delivered in full and on time. That big green tick. It’s so satisfying isn’t it?

It’s more than satisfying though, because there’s a lot riding on it. Customer satisfaction, winning repeat business, and meeting your KPIs just to name a few.

And there are so many things which get in the way of your drivers arriving on time. Traffic, unplanned maintenance, a lost package. A whole new pickup. Luckily, most things can be avoided or at least planned for so that your driver arrives exactly when expected.

As transport industry veterans, we’ve been around the block a few times. Today we’re rounding up our 5 best tips to help you meet your DIFOT targets.

1. Optimise your routes

Route optimisation is about two things. Firstly, creating the most efficient route possible for your drivers. And secondly, being absolutely sure about meeting time windows and arriving at each doorstep on time.

More efficient routes help you deliver more packages, stick to prescribed time windows and reduce costs. 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But route optimisation itself can be complex and time consuming. 

To truly optimise a delivery route you need to factor in many things: 

  • a driver’s workflow
  • the freight they have onboard
  • the order of their stops
  • the travel time between stops
  • the time taken to complete a pickup or delivery.

The right software can take all of this into account and generate the best possible route for your drivers within moments. 

Route optimisation then becomes an automated process and can save you hours every day. You’ll also reduce your costs and be reassured that you have accurate timing for your whole day.

2. Set time windows and give accurate ETAs

If there’s one certainty in the transport industry, it’s that something won’t go to plan in your day. Routes can change when a customer cancels a job, or adds one in last-minute, or when something goes wrong on the road.

So be sure to use a transport management system that allows you to change your schedule. Make sure you can add, delete or re-optimise routes on the run.

Within TransVirtual, once you’ve set up the best route, you can add the expected minimum and maximum transit times. Set up automated notifications too, so customers know what to expect. (You know those text messages that tell you when your new BBQ tool is expected to arrive.) 

After you’ve set up your time windows, use route monitoring so you know when you need to update your ETAs. That way everyone knows what to expect and you still meet your DIFOT KPIs.

3. Monitor your routes 

When things do change suddenly, route monitoring can be a lifesaver. Route monitoring is more sophisticated than basic GPS tracking, it tells you where your fleet is in the context of their runs.

So your dispatch team can see precise locations along with other important information, like: 

  • the driver’s last stop
  • where they’re going next 
  • new ETAs.

It’s also incredibly useful to help your team who are fielding customer enquiries about the status of their package. Instead of getting contact details, making further calls and then returning the customer’s call, your team can see in real time exactly when and where that package is.

And if things need to change, simply adjust it in the system. That way everyone knows exactly what is expected to arrive and when. 

4. Build breaks into your day

The best planning doesn’t mean much if you don’t build breaks into your day. You will always need to take them at some point, so it makes sense to allow the time in the first place.

If you don’t, you’re not getting a true picture of what your workday should look like. Which means you’re not going to be able to meet those time windows across your whole day. You won’t reach your DIFOT targets.

Besides travel time and stop time, you need to factor in rest stops. Take a few minutes to stop at lunch, get out of your vehicle, stretch and get some fresh air. Doing this now and then can mean the difference between job satisfaction and burnout. No one’s working at peak efficiency and meeting DIFOT targets when they’re busy burning out. 

It’s also important to include stops for fuel and vehicle maintenance in your day. Nothing will delay you more than running out of fuel or breaking down because you haven’t taken time for important maintenance. Using a TMS like TransVirtual to automate your maintenance schedule will mean this part is mostly quick and easy.

Once you’ve optimised your route and planned each stop, make sure you organise the freight in your vehicle accordingly.

5. Organise packages in your vehicle

Imagine, you’ve planned everything just right and arrived at the location bang on time. But you can’t find the right package.

It seems obvious as you read, but it’s an easy step to miss. Packing your vehicle in the right order so that each package is ready exactly when you need it. For the best results, pack your vehicle after you’ve optimised your route. 

A small delay at every stop or during every transit leg really adds up over the day.

Recap

Meeting your DIFOT targets means following a few strict processes. Optimise your routes so you know you have accurate ETAs, use route monitoring and be flexible when needed. Pack your vehicle in the right order, and be sure to build breaks into your day. Using an automated TMS like TransVirtual makes all of this quick and easy. We’ll make sure you deliver in full and on time, every time.

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