With rapidly increasing fuel and maintenance prices, careful routing to reduce mileage and time is a critical aspect of fleet management. However, demands for rapid shipping have to be factored in, which makes it harder to plan routes for the shortest distances. Last mile and supply chain businesses, delivery companies, and any businesses with fleets can benefit from route optimization and route management software.
Route management is the strategic planning of routes for the delivery of services, products, or materials. Route management can help improve the efficiency of any business that has drivers, fleets, or couriers.
Route planning is a component of route optimization; it consists of creating a plan for reaching a given destination point. Route optimization, however, involves finding the cheapest and most efficient way to do the trip. Route optimization helps you achieve maximum productivity by reducing mileage and time traveled as much as possible.
Route planning uses route planners to plan routes ahead for efficiency, which is an essential first step to optimization. However, there is more to optimizing than a static designated route.
How does fleet route optimization work? Routes that are shorter, faster, and more fuel efficient are chosen, combining deliveries into one delivery route, where possible, and otherwise making a delivery route and delivery operations as cost-effective as possible.
Planning manually is better than nothing, but many variables mean mistakes are easily made, and the process is time-consuming at best, especially if you need to plan for multiple destinations.
The software greatly simplifies route planning and route optimization. Route planning software includes automated route planners, to save critical time compared to manual planning. However, route optimization software has many additional features to help you increase efficiency and ensure all drivers are on the most cost-effective route at all times.
Traffic is a major barrier. Finding the best routes for heavy traffic, even as it changes, helps to boost efficiency and reduce costs. Route optimization software can help by updating routes based on real-time traffic data.
Optimization software often includes several features on top of automated planning software, including live tracking and arrival updates, real-time route optimization, rerouting options to account for changing traffic conditions, scheduling and dispatching tools, as well as actionable analytics.
Route optimization reduces mileage, and increases the deliveries you can fit in, resulting in better productivity and profits. Route management works best when each stage of the process is streamlined. For best results, route management needs to go beyond basic route planning, to include optimizations for scheduling and dispatching, tracking and navigation, tracking, and analysis and insights.
Progress and advancements are ongoing, businesses continue to get more competitive, and yours is ever-changing and growing. Scalable, growable solutions are critical, and having a forward-facing plan is essential.
Assess your operations for areas of improvement. Take note of what competitors are offering, such as shrinking service windows or offering lower delivery costs with more efficient routes.
Deliveries should be split evenly amongst drivers to maximize resources and company vehicle utilization so drivers and fleets are used to full capacity.
Tracking and monitoring driver performance and route progress is recommended, too, to help you ensure on-time delivery, as well as safety. You can take action immediately to address a potentially late delivery and any unsafe driving behaviours, such as speeding, sharp cornering, and more. Monitoring missed or late stops and unauthorized changes in stops can help with customer service concerns. Overtime, driver fatigue, unauthorized use of vehicles, and excessive idling can be minimized.
Real-time fleet dispatching lets you respond to situations as they arise, letting you dispatch new jobs, change pickup, and drop-off locations, and more, to stay agile.
Reliable ETAs, alerts on unforeseen delays, and fast and safe delivery route processes keep customers happy and should be managed. Good route management software helps with this and other fleet operations.
It can be difficult to measure last-mile performance meaningfully but it is critical. Benchmarking metrics like customer satisfaction, reduced expenditures, and other performance markers help with goal setting and planning. A last-mile telematics solution and route optimization software that records and reports on real-time data and historical data with actionable analytics for business planning helps significantly.
Effective last-mile delivery and fleet management need superior routing, driver/vehicle tracking/management, communication software, and integrated solutions. This makes simplifying processes, planning efficient delivery routes, and maximizing benefits and efficiencies possible.
Solutions and automation beyond software help fleet managers, and route planners, too, providing timely information for addressing issues during the delivery process and ongoing fleet and delivery operations, as well as for long-term business planning and setting business goals.
Good software that helps with the route management process helps you schedule and dispatch. and reschedule routes instantly, for quick and agile deliveries. It is easier to keep everything on schedule, improving customer retention and satisfaction. It can determine the most efficient routes with a click of a button, increasing fleet efficiency and productivity and reducing fuel costs and payroll for significant savings.
Fleet managers are easily able to monitor driver behaviour productivity and assess delivery processes. Vehicle availability can be checked instantly to increase utilization and to divide deliveries equally.
Data-driven analytics support informed decisions for both immediate responsiveness and long-term business planning. It is easier to scale and adapt quickly and effectively.
Optimizing routes and tracked deliveries means more accurate ETAs, faster delivery, and on-time delivery to keep customers happy.
Connected Vehicles can help you with fleet route optimization and fleet tracking systems, including integrated software solutions.