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In the old days, transport managers would provide their drivers with a list of location-based tasks on paper, and the driver would be responsible for completing the list before day’s or week’s end. This method of doing things meant a lot of paperwork, guesswork and trust as fleet managers couldn’t track how efficiently their drivers were completing their tasks.
Thanks to modern technology there is no need for fleet managers to guess where their drivers are and whether or not they will get to their next destination on time. Today, a combined vehicle tracking, PoD and route planning software solution allows both drivers and fleet managers the opportunity to plan effortlessly, assign tasks and monitor progress of drivers on their routes.
Taking Fleets to the Next Level: Using Route Planning Software on a Strategic Level
When improving operational efficiency the first step is still to define an effective strategy. Most managers see delivery route planning software as only helping execute the strategy. However, route planning and route optimisation software can be used on a strategic level. With GIS based route optimisation software strategic managers can plan various ‘what-if’ scenarios including (i) can I service the existing customer base with different size vehicles and/or different types (vans, rigids, artics), (ii) what is the impact of winning business in a new geographic area, (iii) what is the cost impact of a rise in congestion zone charging.
The Long-Term View: Transport Planning for Seasonal Variation
With software-supported delivery route planning, transport managers have many features at their disposal. For seasonal variations routes can be planned and stored in the software for future use. Modern route planning software can also accommodate long term road works that need to be avoided by configuring it to automatically re-route drivers.
Ease of Use: Cloud Deployments
Many of today’s route planning software products are hosted in the cloud. This in itself has several benefits to transport managers. This type of hosted solution means that fleet owners don’t need to download updates or engage in product maintenance, as the product creators perform all of these tasks. Cloud based route planning software can be used for both strategic and operational needs.
Even with Cloud based deployment transport managers, or drivers making deliveries in their own vehicles, can access route planning software and download their allocated routes right to their mobile device.
More Control: Big Brother?
Route planning and route optimisation software, when combined with other systems, can allow for full control of a mobile workforce. Managers can control the planning, allocating, managing, reporting and evaluation of work. Most route planning software offers analytical tools which managers can use to fine-tune the efficiency of their routes. These key metrics can reveal vehicle use, daily logs, time spent at each location, delivery time stamps, cost per visit or route and routing records (audit trail). Each of these can be used by transport and fleet managers to decrease overhead, improve customer satisfaction and improve overall operational performance.
Better Management: An Easier Life
The enhanced visibility that route planning software analytics provides can also positively affect the efficiency of transport and fleet managers themselves. When a manager can see schedules and the activity of their staff, they can make more informed choices in cases where quick action is necessary due to unexpected issues. When needed, work can be assigned or reassigned to a more suitable employee, instantly reducing delays that can negatively affect customer satisfaction.
Thanks to route planning software today’s fleet owners have a definite advantage.