And is it right for your business?
In the transport and logistics game, efficiency is king.
If you can get the goods into consumer’s hands faster and more reliably than your competitors, you’ll win repeat business. It’s pretty simple isn’t it? If only it was easy, too. When done manually, allocating efficient routes to the right drivers and vehicles can be time-consuming, expensive and riddled with errors.
So what is route optimisation software and how can it help you?
What is route optimisation software?
Route optimisation is a process that finds you the most efficient routes for your drivers over their entire work day. It considers multiple factors:
● 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.
Route optimisation and truck routing software takes all of this into account and generates the best possible route for your drivers. When you use the software, route optimisation becomes an automated process that saves you time, fuel and money.
How does the software work?
Route optimisation software uses state-of-the-art technology to gather information about your fleet and run it through either a powerful server-side engine, or one based in the cloud.
If it’s a server-based software (rather than cloud-based), the server must be programmed to make the calculations needed to generate the optimal route.
A side note: cloud-based software tends to be easier, cheaper and faster to update making it more flexible to your business needs as you grow and change in the future.
So what will you actually do?
First, you’ll scan your deliveries into the app, and then, in order to create a complete journey for your driver’s work day, the software will analyse:
● highly-detailed mapping data
● time windows
The end result? You’re automatically shown the most ideal routes, to help you shave time off every trip you make. It all adds up, doesn’t it?
Why use route optimisation and not just general navigation software?
General navigation software, like Google maps, is useful for single trips or even just to understand the possible delivery routes. It’ll get you from A to B based on distance alone (or maybe traffic conditions too).
Route optimisation software considers factors unique to your industry. The heavy vehicle and transport industry, for example, is governed by road restrictions.
Route optimisation software looks at:
● vehicle profile
● the order of the trips
● a driver’s work schedule
● the time that the driver needs to complete jobs by.
You’re in the business of delivery operations, so you’ll know that an efficient route might not be the one with the least distance. You might need to divert drivers to other jobs so they don’t cross busy roads during peak hour traffic, or avoid bridges that can’t carry their weight.
So you can see, route optimisation software won’t just get your drivers from A to B, but then to C, D and beyond in the most efficient (and profitable) way possible.
Why might route optimisation software be useful in a business?
It’s clear by now that planning routes is a complex task. Routing sounds simple, but requires a deep understanding of changing traffic and weather conditions, road networks, customers, and of course your fleet.
Route optimisation software gives you back what can be hours of planning, by automating the process as soon as you allocate your drivers for the day. It also shaves time off every trip. Those labour costs are adding up without it, aren’t they?
It also works in real time if there are any sudden changes that are out of your control. The software will let you optimise while your drivers are on the go.
Of course, the key to this is to have multi-stop functionality built into your software.
At its core, route optimisation software is developed to:
- calculate the most effective journey for all stops
- get to each location quickly and efficiently
- generate turn-by-turn navigation for your drivers.
What are some benefits to a business using route optimisation software?
It hardly needs to be said now, but let’s briefly spell out the major benefits to your business.
Integration. When integrated with your app workflow, drivers will know what they have on board, where it needs to go and the fastest way to get there.
No data entry. There’s no need for data to be entered into 3rd party websites or apps, you’ll have all the route information you need.
Tighten costs. When you minimise the distance travelled, the stop duration and fuel consumption, you’ll shave your costs, including overtime.
Delight customers with prompt service. With clever route optimisation you’ll get goods into the consumer’s hands faster than your competitors.
One-step process. Route optimisation software takes the hassle out of planning trips. Scan your deliveries into the app, press one button and let it calculate the shortest route for you.
Turn-by-turn navigation. It couldn’t be simpler to get around. Direct your drivers, every step of the way.
On-time KPIs. Accurate departure and arrival times mean KPIs will be met or exceeded. Take the best route on the day and you’ll meet your performance metrics.
Over to you...
Has this helped you understand route optimisation better?
We hope so, because at TransVirtual we share your focus on delivering a better service to your customers and making your runs faster. Route optimisation should be on everybody’s radar. If you know someone in the industry who could benefit, please share this guide.