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Grounds Maintenance contractors and in-house Local Authority teams spend much of their time loading, driving, tipping, re-loading between time in-between tasks at various geographical locations. By reducing the time spent loading, unloading and travelling, one can achieve more productivity within the day lead to greater profitability. The concept of dynamic vehicle routing can ensure that this is the case.
Understanding the Route
It is essential first to understand the requirement in visual terms. Take a map of the area/s in question placing a pin representing each task (job) – a paper map might do but a digital one makes life easier and the analysis more accurate. This enables you observe how different areas can potentially be divided into routes for each team or employee based on average time to complete tasks, vehicle capacity, length of working day, site access restrictions, etc. Route planning algorithms then calculate the most cost effective routes based on the given parameters.
Complete tasks within Close Proximity of each other?
This is what a manual planner does. However, if job A produces a high volume of green waste that requires a drive to the tip it might be more efficient to complete smaller jobs B and C first, do a tip run, then return to job A even if this is not geographically ‘tight’. Making a call like this is magnitude with multiple teams with varying job types which is why route optimisation software invariably produces more efficient routes.
Swap Clients for Route Improvement
If you have clients located on the local authority boundary think of sub-contracting them to a neighbouring authority. There is no point servicing a remote customer when it is not effective to do so but better to maintain a satisfied client who at least creates revenue even if the profit is marginal.
The majority of places experience periods all day long when traffic gets lighter or heavier than normal. Take note of low-traffic times and plan to travel mostly during such periods. Conversely, schedule to work for clients during peak traffic times. Modern route planning software can assist with this.
Route Planning Software
Single vehicle routing software is available online but to facilitate proper planning of routes in a manner that cuts down on fuel consumption and drive time for more than, say, five vehicles it becomes necessary to utilise specialist route planning software. Route planning plays a major role in operating grounds maintenance contracts that are profitable and productive. Knowing how to service accounts efficiently can help to maximise your income.