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The logistics business is concerned with moving goods and cargo between destinations. In global terms, it is an industry worth over 3 Trillion dollars and efficient delivery route planning has proven to be an integral part of the continued success and future development of the whole global enterprise. For the industry to continue growing and evolving all stakeholders in the value chain strive to work together efficiently driving down costs and enhancing end client satisfaction.
Most deliveries will require the use of route optimisation software in one guise or another whether that be multi drop route planning software, frequency based planning software or short distance dynamic routing software. It is likely that ad-hoc tasks or alterations will present themselves as the cargo is carried along the route so dispatch management software is oftern deployed in conjunction with the route optimisation software. In this context instant electronic communication and data storage has been intrinsic to the logistics business for decades.
Distribution and Cloud Computing
Cloud-based ecosystems are evolving into an intrinsic component of logistics and distribution. All elements of the ecosystem from the courier route planning software to the type of hardware purchased are now all part of the same construct. The technology is supplied via the internet and so is accessible from any web-enabled device. In addition, all users can access the technology they need on theirown terms via a whole range of rental or pay as you go contracts. In 2013, in the UK alone over £1.5 billion was spent on route planning software, with approximately 20% of this being spent on cloud-based solutions. According to both the IT and logistics industry, both of these figures are set to increase in the coming decades. The fundamental reason is that the philosophy behind SaaS and cloud computing are almost identical. It means that all the stakeholders involved in the movement of cargo (logistics) do not have to purchase or build theirown software solutions. It means that both distributors and clients can engage together with an outside provider and access the vehicle route planning software via from the Cloud.
Cloud Based Architecture
There is currently (as of 2014), a steady gravitation by suppliers toward utilising a cloud ecosystem to support many logistics companies and their clients using the same route optimisation software and related solutions, such as GIS, vehicle tracking and dispatch management software. This is increasingly leading to more standardisation of software across the logistics industry. The developers of vehicle route planning software and related solutions are working with clients to ensure that software functionality can be delivered when and where required using various hardware (PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone) and Cloud based ecosystems potentially hold the key to success.