Route Planning for Logistics and Distribution!

Route planning

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Route planning article and permission to publish here provided by Vardan Markosyan.

Route planning is essential for logistics and distribution companies as it allows them to provide a more efficient delivery service.

There are many transportation challenges in the delivery industry and multiple factors can cause delays, resulting in poor service and customer complaints. In order to ascertain the optimum route for multiple deliveries, many logistics and distribution companies use the latest in route planning software. 

What is route planning for logistics and distribution companies?

Route planning for logistics and distribution companies is a type of advanced software application to help optimize transport and delivery operations. Route optimization algorithms calculate the best route according to various real-time data such as traffic updates, vehicle size, and driver schedules. It also monitors performance at all times reporting driver information, fuel efficiency, carbon emissions, and various other business KPIs. 

Route optimization software is cloud-based, which means all information can be shared and communicated any time and anywhere. This means that not only do drivers and fleet managers get constant alerts and updates, but customer communication is also improved. Companies can provide more accurate delivery times and keep their customers up to date.  You can learn more about it here.

What are the main challenges logistics and distribution companies face?

Logistics and distribution companies face a number of challenges on a daily basis. Many of these are due to the rise in demand. Transportation and fuel costs can be high and companies need to find new ways to be more efficient. There is also a driver shortage at the moment, meaning some businesses are struggling to meet higher demands. There has been an increase in delivery types, and now more customers are also expecting next day delivery and tighter windows.

Customers are also expecting a higher level of service and communication. This means notifications in real-time, accurate delivery times, and parcel tracking options. Seeing as customers need constant updates, logistics companies need to have visibility on the entire supply chain from receipt of inventory to storage, and shipment. This is essential in order to plan an accurate schedule, and inform customers of arrival times.

5 Things you should know about how route planning can help grow your business

Route planning software can help you grow your business in several ways. It allows you to provide a better service by improving the speed and accuracy of your deliveries. This results in customer satisfaction and a better reputation for your business. Here are five things you should know about route planning for logistics.

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●     Meet customer requirements

By being able to provide more accurate delivery times and narrower windows, you’ll be able to meet customer’s expectations. You can also keep customers up to date via the method of communication of their choice, SMS, or email, for example. You can also be more flexible about where are when you deliver the goods. By improving your customer service you’ll receive positive reviews and referrals.

●     Reduce fuel costs

Route planning software also monitors fuel efficiency so you can reduce costs. It also finds you the most cost-effective routes so you can really optimize your journeys for efficiency in general. 

●     Monitor driver performance

Keep your drivers safe and under supervision by monitoring their performance. You can ensure each driver is following regulations and the correct schedule. You can also monitor the safety of their driving. This will help you find out if you have any weak links.

●     Monitor KPIs

Route planning monitors a range of KPIs that affect the growth of your business. These include delivery times, delays, fuel costs, and average time and cost of delivery. With this data, you can focus on areas for improvement.

●     Get ahead of your competitors

Customers expect a fast reliable delivery service with constant updates, so if you can provide this you’ll be able to get ahead of your competitors and become a leading name in the market.

5 factors to keep in mind for selecting the correct route optimization software for your business

In order to select the right route planning software for your business, you need to prioritize the features that are most important to you. Here are five factors to consider.

●     Geocoder tools

Geocoding helps to prevent inaccuracies in addresses by converting them into geographic coordinates. This location data will be maintained even if there is a change in route, preventing errors and delays in finding the destination.

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●     Dynamic route planning

Automized route optimization based on real-time data such as traffic and other factors that could cause delays means that drivers can manage last-minute changes. It enables the intelligent planning of on-demand deliveries by providing multiple route options.

●     Performance analytics and reporting

All data is displayed on a centralized dashboard relating to optimized routes, fuel efficiency, and driver performance. Data from past deliveries is also analyzed to keep businesses up to date with customer preferences. Performance analytics gives you the chance to continue to improve your service and find any weak points.

●     Autosave

The autosave function allows the route planning software to keep functioning even if the internet connection is lost. It’s updated in real-time securing all the vital information for the journey, so you don’t have to worry about any interruptions causing delays.

●     Speedy processing of delivery routes

Fleet drivers and managers need to respond quickly to the updating of any route changes, so it’s important that there are processed as quickly as possible. All updates and communications take place in real-time, improving the efficiency of your delivery service.

These are just a few of the advanced features of route optimization. Route planning is an intelligent software that gives businesses the data they need to provide the most efficient service possible. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have led to advances in route planning applications.

Fleet managers and drivers now have access to more data in real-time and this can be leveraged in order to improve their service overall. Routing software enables many businesses to keep up with the rise in demand for accurate and reliable deliveries and customer expectations. Reduce costs, minimize delays, and provide the best service today.

Author

Vardan Markosyan is the CEO at Less Platform. He spent decades of research and consultancy on business process optimization and system design.

Written for Supply Chain Game Changer and originally published on January 11, 2021.

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