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The operation of delivery and collection logistics is continually innovating, and one area of constant flux is route optimisation and route planning software. Historically companies rely on one route planning software solution for ‘high density’ operations and another solution for ‘low density’ as each solution has a different set of algorithms to meet a particular set of requirements or mode of transport. For example, modelling a postman’s route requires a different set of algorithms than modelling the delivery of fuel to petrol stations on a national scale. Increasingly these differing requirements can me met with a single software solution that is typically hosted in the Cloud and. What-is-more, the software is offered to users as a SaaS model. A key advantage of SaaS in this context is that the required software can be accessed by any authorised employee on as-and-when required basis. This means that any individual who is approved to do so can obtain the vehicle routing software required to carry out their duties only when they need to. Such a deployment lowers the TCO.
Numbers and SaaS
Across the industry, SaaS is having an impact in not only dynamic vehicle routing but also in software procurement. As of 2014, spending on SaaS solutions represents a long-term investment in global logistics infrastructure valued in tens of billions of dollars. Combined with this SaaS statistic, by the end of 2014, it is estimated that the entire Cloud market will be worth in excess of 80 billion dollars and that by 2020, a figure exceeding 200 billion will have been reached. With supply chain, transport, distribution and logistics organisations being key beneficiaries.
Benefiting from a SaaS deployment
A critical area where SaaS can improve the effectiveness of route optimisation software is where it integrates staekholders involved in the supply chain. Put simply, SaaS means that end users, clients and even drivers can access the vehicle routing software (and the data it contains), via the internet from multiple locations and devices. Such a scenario revolutionises the way in which individuals in all parts of a given supply chain communicate with each other. It means that every person involved in the transport of a consignment can communicate in near real time. A driver, for example, can immediately notify stakeholders of a traffic jam, so they can be diverted via the multi-drop route planning software to the next best destination. Therefore, expectations can be managed more effectively, and collaboration throughout the whole supply chain maintained. This results in a sense of community and connectivity between customer and client which also produces several additional advantages: