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But which software systems provide the greatest Return on Investment contributing directly onto the bottom line? And is there a software system that does so across many sectors?
For companies that have a transportation function – whether that be in-house or outsourced to a 3PL – dynamic route planning software and route optimisation software is typically one of those solutions that delivers on profit in the short term.
Contractors in all sectors gain much from having the right software systems in place. Working on contracts means that cost control is essential in order to keep the P&L for that contract in the black. Specialist software systems can cater to a wide range of services carried out by these companies, such as with vehicle routing for waste removal, recycling, street cleaning as well as transportation of the public, adult social care transportation, smart meter reading, technical installation & maintenance, parcel and post delivery, amongst other tasks. The key cost benefit being reduction in fleet size, working hours and fuel consumption.
Private Sector – Technical
There are a wide range of businesses that fall within the private sector providing goods and services of a technical nature – utilities, light manufacturing, maintenance, etc. In order to take care of their customers and ensure their products get to all that require them, many companies will deliver not only nationally, but also internationally. This can result in a company having a significant number of vehicles on the road at any given time, often with a mixed fleet of company owned vehicles, contract vehicles and also courier contracts, which will require a solution that allows for route planning as well as courier selection based on least cost.
The ability to quickly select which orders should be outsourced to the cheapest courier is an essential function of any route optimisation software deployed to manage a mixed delivery operation. Moreover, it is one function that instantly provides savings contributing to a quick ROI. Such software ideally should interface with third-party software, such as Sage and Microsoft Dynamics, for the instant transfer of orders between the ERP and the route planning software.
Waste management is an on-going concern as it is an issue that is not going to go away, and route optimisation and route planning software is well established in this sector. Many waste collection operations use route optimisation software primarily to streamline the fleet whilst maintaining the existing service levels or for planning and managing the introduction of new services, such as, food collection. Interestingly the Public Sector is way ahead of the game adopting route optimisation on a regular basis whereas the big four contractors have really only flirted with the technology. In the last couple of year more and more regional contractors have turned their attention to route optimisation.
What is striking about the attitude of the largest national contractors is their failure to adopt route optimisation software in the tender processes or when bidding for a contract extension; a key step in the profit planning process.
Route planning software is an essential tool for delivery companies – national or local. With increasing competition, increasing levels of deliveries and customer expectation, it is necessary to do as much as possible to stay ahead of the pack.
With the use of the right software, prudent companies will be in a position of being able to plan routes and make every working day more efficient, enabling them to easily meet targets set for themselves and advised to customers.