Route planning software exists to enable logistic-intensive companies to efficiently plan and organise their deliveries and collections, sometimes across multiple locations. There is very little difference in functionality between externally hosted delivery route planning software and its desktop counterpart (as in effect it is one and the same – the only difference being from where users gain access). Cloud-based multi-drop route planning typically is fully automated with no user interaction and so offers less functionality. Which style of deployment is most suitable depends primarily on the requirement and circumstances of the business in question. These circumstances are as innumerate as they are subjective and require consideration of variables such as:
- The level of user input required in the planning process
- The quantity of variables involved in planning, eg, own fleet or 3rd party, only on certain days?
- The degree of standardisation across orders, eg, are all delivery parameters the same?
- Whether or not the IT side of the business is outsourced or sub-contracted and able to cope with Cloud solutions
- The degree of access required by stakeholders, eg, planners, managers, drivers
- The level of replanning required in response to enroute issues, such as, traffic, breakdowns, etc
Other considerations include whether the planning is frequency based, strategic or dynamic and the degree of integration required with 3rd party systems. As a rule of thumb the more complex the planning operation the less likely that a Cloud based solution will deliver the functionality required…. As of 2015 anyway.
Resource and Total Cost of Ownership
The total cost of ownership (TCO) for a Cloud route optimisation solution is lower than that of a desktop product. This is primarily due to there being no need for PC or server hardware on-premise. The advantage (certainly for smaller operations) is that the administration of the Cloud based multi-drop route planner software is the responsibility of the supplier. Also, the payment model is such that customers can often stop paying for Cloud systems at end of a pre-specified term. Note that for Cloud based services users must have reliable access to the Internet… so connectivity is a key issue.
For users with complex planning requirements that need high functionaing route planning software, a hosted solution produces a lower TCO than an on-premise deployment. Whilst there still might be hardware-associated costs the adminisitation overhead is borne by the route optimisation software supplier.
About Integrated Skills Limited
Integrated Skills, operating out of Romsey near Southampton, is a specialist provider of routing and route optimisation software, smartphone & tablet solutions, environmental management software, highways management software as well as environmental consultancy in the following sectors:
- Environmental service operations
- Highways service operations
- Parcel & post
- Newspaper deliveries
ISL is a partner of ESRI for the ArcGIS platform.
For further information contact email@example.com.