Route planning has always been one of the complex elements of last mile delivery—especially when the only real option was to plan routes by hand. Many businesses are still planning routes manually—still others are using legacy technology whose output requires serious manual massaging, but some are already investing in advanced route planners for trucks to make their enterprises more competitive.
Modern route planning software automates tasks that were once completed using conventional methods involving spreadsheets, paper, and ink. Today's route planning solutions typically leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to find not only the quickest but the most cost-effective routes by collecting historical data and learning from it.
Of course, AI is only impactful if it’s used in the right way. The best route optimization software solutions leverage AI into more accurate ETAs, smarter address resolution, rapid route adjustments, and more. All these routing capabilities help businesses significantly improve their bottom line figures. Here's how:
Businesses that fail to provide their drivers with optimal routes are wasting gas and time. Manual planning takes hours to complete—and even then there’s no competing with the processing power of a cloud-based routing solution. In contrast, a smart route planner for trucks offers well-planned routes in a matter of minutes.
Route planning software typically requires businesses to establish their parameters and import orders that have been configured to the specifications of your particular routing use case. From there, SaaS solutions can provide accurate routes in minutes regardless of the number of delivery drop addresses entered.
The solution optimizes routes by taking into account various factors affecting delivery times such as turn restrictions, traffic and weather conditions, time window requests, driver skill, and more. In this way, you cut down on the costs associated with generating routes while simultaneously ensuring that those routes are more cost effective in terms of capacity and resource utilization.
Increased Agility via the Right Route Planner for Trucks
Aside from offering reliable optimized routes, the right software will offer delivery scheduling features, enabling fleets to adapt to real-time events. This means route planners and fleet managers can make changes on the fly even after optimizing routes and assigning drivers to delivery tasks.
For example, when a truck unexpectedly breaks down, then the dispatcher or fleet manager can assign the best available driver or delivery team to take over the deliveries. Likewise, in case a customer requests to change the delivery address, you can easily adjust routes in the system and alert drivers to the changes. This way, any unexpected event won't wreak havoc on the rest of the schedule for the day.
Lower Fuel Costs
Fuel is often the single biggest expense for large fleets. Providing drivers with the most optimal routes daily means fewer miles traveled, fewer stops on the road, and less idling. All this helps in minimizing fuel and time wasting, which directly impacts your bottom line.
Route planning solutions allocate delivery tasks to the most suited driver and vehicles based on the requisite work hours available and skill sets. This leads to the optimal use of vehicles and personnel. As such, the right routing software enables companies to make the most out of each drivers' shift daily as drivers can make more deliveries per shift. Hence, the productivity of drivers and technicians is improved. In this way, companies can maximize their assets and personnel without cramming so they don't have to purchase additional vehicles or hire additional personnel.
Better Asset Health
Trucks depreciate faster when they are traveling too many miles each day. Luckily, a delivery route planner for trucks can help prolong delivery vehicles’ lifespan and ensure that they won't depreciate as quickly. Vehicles that are being used with minimal idling due to heavy traffic conditions and making fewer starts and stops last longer. Optimally using vehicles helps slow down wear and tear, resulting in lower maintenance and repair costs for the company. If you’re integrating telematics capabilities into your route planning, this effect can be even more pronounced, enabling you to keep overall fleet management costs much more manageable.
Advanced route optimization should also offer data analytics tools capable of analyzing both real-time fleet data and past performance. When you can evaluate the impact of increasing geographic coverage, changing vehicle capacity or days of delivery, or adding new drivers and vehicles, you can make informed choices about your business. Data analytics tools help enterprises to easily analyze the impact of any change or decision as they expand their business, and they can be a huge help in terms of gaining clarity into what, exactly, is happening on the day of delivery. When you turn the last mile from a black box into a fully transparent process, you can find and implement cost optimizations with comparative ease.
Increased Business Growth
It’s no secret that consumers increasingly expect fast and accurate deliveries, along with real-time updates on their orders throughout the fulfillment process. Route optimizing software helps satisfy these demands by empowering enterprises to provide customers with accurate expected times of arrival (ETAs), on-time deliveries, and real-time updates regarding their orders. This helps businesses offer a great delivery customer experience and thereby increase customer retention rates, seriously bolstering your bottom line.
For B2B businesses, advanced route management software can also help you to determine which stops are profitable and which aren’t. You can preplan new routes or areas of coverage and make informed decisions about how they’ll impact costs and revenue. In this way, you can make informed decisions about taking on new business and maintain a strong competitive posture when trying to win that business in the first place.
The right route planner for trucks can drastically transform delivery operations and enable businesses to save on costs and increase their profits. The right software enables companies to cut down on mileage, fuel consumption, and vehicle maintenance costs, while helping them retain customers and win more business. Combine all that with the ability to make savvy, data-driven decisions about your operations, and you’re looking at a potential impact that’s hard to ignore.