Are you using or planning to use on-premises software for your company's truck router? If you're answering in the affirmative, you may be setting yourself up for future disruptions. Even in industries that remain tied to brick and mortar showrooms and old-school ways of doing business, it’s now definitively the age of the cloud—with recent data showing that the public cloud service market is likely to reach around $362 billion in 2022.
Cloud computing continues to evolve, and many industries are ditching their legacy software and moving to the cloud, the logistics industry included. This kind of thing may have been less common even a few years ago, but for many sectors, the pandemic has only hastened the realization that cloud-based technology offers opportunities that on-premises deployments simply can’t. As physical offices closed, it became more necessary than ever to have a fully secure and well-maintained IT infrastructure in place.
But the results of the pandemic are far from the only reasons that a cloud-based truck route planner might be necessary.
Why Your Truck Router Should Be Cloud-Based
Continuous Routing Availability
Limited access to your route planning software makes scheduling, routing, monitoring, and managing deliveries more difficult and less efficient. With on-premises deployments, it’s all too common to run into access issues around physical server locations—and that’s even before you think about downtime, which tends to be much lower in the cloud these days.
This extends not just to things like dispatching and routing, but also to providing up-to-date information for your customers and drivers. On-premises systems are prone to silos and don’t facilitate rapid sharing of data—which means that pushing the latest optimized route to drivers isn’t easy, and staying in touch with customers can be virtually impossible.
Again, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be exceptionally challenging, as companies have had to deal with constant delivery demand changes. Enterprises relying on cloud-based solutions have been able to adapt better to the quick changes needed in their workflows brought by all of the upheaval.
Why? Because cloud technology—the right cloud technology, anyway—is designed to be scalable. That means that when there’s a dramatic swing in demand, you’re able to up your routing capacity without adding new servers (something that simply wouldn’t be feasible to do in time for the holiday sales rush, for instance). And, to be sure, the ability to dynamically optimize routes is one of the best tools you can leverage around demand volatility.
Even outside of volatility and uncertainty, businesses often need to scale to accommodate business growth—this is, simply put, much easier in the cloud.
Easier Management for Your IT Department
A cloud-based dynamic route planning software vendor can provide better service and also help companies lower their costs. Software providers often boast experienced, dedicated teams who will help in managing your solutions, freeing up your IT employees to focus on other tasks.
Just what exactly should you look for from the support provided by a cloud-based routing software vendor? Here's a list:
- Round-the-clock secure access to the company's solution
- Upgrades to the software, patches, and application of fixes
- Redundancy, contingency, and disaster recovery
- Performance tuning and monitoring
- Support for IT integrations with other solutions
- 24/7 customer service
If your vendor is committed to putting out innovative software, they’ll also push frequent updates to improve the functionality—all without your staff having to overcome any big hurdles. Companies will have access to the most updated versions of their cloud-based truck router along with quick access to the latest security patches. These are crucial to ensure that the solution is working at its best.
Your IT team will be freed from the responsibilities of performing and managing upgrades to the local software dispatched across the company's multiple locations. If you’re working with other cloud-based solutions (e.g. for your accounting or point of sale functionality), this has the potential to make life much easier—and ultimately save you costs.
Streamlined Integration Between Your Truck Router and Other Technology
This is related to the point above, but it bears its own section: cloud native applications are generally going to offer easier integration with other enterprise supply chain management software. It’s hard to overstate how important this can be. The typical fulfillment cycle might touch your company’s point of sale, ERP, WMS, TMS, route accounting, telematics solution, and more. If you don’t have an easy, automated way to make sure that the delivery data you’re seeing across all of your solutions is accurate and up-to-date, your ability to make smart, agile decisions about your supply chain is going to get bogged down quickly.
Luckily, cloud technology is fundamentally better suited to easy integration than on-prem technology deployments. This means that you can easily create a more connected delivery management process that’s better-suited to powering “right-time” deliveries. This might involve something as simple as feeding granular GPS data into your routing system to improve the accuracy of your ETAs to integration with route accounting or ERP systems to help simplify delivery costing.
Using a cloud-based system goes beyond merely having remote access to your solutions. A cloud-based truck router also offers companies consistent software performance as well as scalability.
Like we alluded to above, most businesses want to expand, and a cloud-based solution is a great partner during business expansion. Companies that want to either cover more geographic areas or take in higher delivery volumes will have more complex routing needs. A cloud-based route planning software can quickly adjust to the new business needs of the company while offering consistent service levels and performance. This is because the cloud can accommodate new regions or capabilities without much effort required.
It's essential for any organization, and not just those involved in logistics, to have a backup of their data. However, not all organizations are zealous in ensuring the backup of their data stored in hardware, thus they are at a loss when their hardware breaks down. A cloud-based solution provider ensures that your data is always available and is backed up regularly. This means your company will still have access to stored data even if your office or facility experiences a disaster.
Again, there are also fewer risks of software downtime with a cloud-based route planning solution due to its higher levels of resilience. Less downtime means a reduction of inconvenience, costs, and the possibility of disruptions to your operations.
You will also have more peace of mind knowing that your data is secure. The result of all the above is that you don’t have to spend as much money on active IT management, you don’t have to spend as much on physical infrastructure, you don’t have to spend on computing power that you’re not using, and you don’t have to expend valuable time and effort on fixing the output of your legacy system for complex routing problems that it can’t handle.
In this way, a cloud-based truck router solution presents a truly cost-effective option. The cloud-based system lessens the burden on the in-house IT team and helps businesses scale up and adapt to new business needs. In the end, cloud-based route optimization software is no longer an option these days—it's a necessity.