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July 22, 2020 | 18:07

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Perhaps you are here because you want to find the answer to the route optimization question for your business? Perhaps you are the head of a logistics company? Maybe you own a fleet of delivery services? Or maybe you manage a field sales department? Or you might just be wondering what this article is about. In any case, the most effective way to improve your business is route optimization!

Route optimization

A well-designed route planner, which can include an application for management and stops, can significantly increase the productivity of your organization. If we look at data from Allied Market Research, we will see that by 2023 the market will reach 9447 million dollars.

Let’s take a closer look at what route optimization is!

What is route optimization?

We can have an idea about the topic of the article based on the title. But what are we talking about? The term “route optimization” means the creation of high-performance transport plans. For this, the software is used and acts as an assistant to save time, the budget, and other resources. Such software takes into account several factors, such as traffic forecasting, weather conditions, and other scenarios that affect route planning. The human factor, in this case, is too much risk, since there are too many parameters are taken into account.

Route planning

The use of route planning software allows each team member to get the most economical and fastest route at the disposal and allows us to complete the work task most efficiently.

Let’s take a closer look at the main advantages of route planning applications.

Benefits of Route Optimization Applications

  • Improving the quality of user experience. By providing top-level logistics services, you get customer satisfaction, which is the main goal of optimization. Using software to optimize routes allows you to complete tasks on time and avoid risks that lead to customer dissatisfaction.
  • Cost reduction. Whatever route optimization application you use, you can shorten the duration of the route. The only condition is to use the software wisely. Reducing the length of the route reduces logistics costs accordingly. This includes reducing fuel consumption and also allows for less frequent maintenance, as vehicle wear is reduced.
  • Productivity increase. Since the route is an application instead of you, you can feel a noticeable advantage. The software processes huge amounts of data in search of the ideal construction of the march. This will save you a huge amount of time and energy that can be spent on other equally important tasks.
  • Time-saving. In addition to the obvious advantages of route optimization, which relates to the time frame, it is also worth noting that a tangible bonus appears at your disposal. Saving time on the route, you not only get a favorable position in the market but also a margin of time that can come in handy for solving unpredictable situations.
  • Revaluation of resources. Often there is a situation where a logistics company or delivery service consumes an excessive amount of resources for its operations. By optimizing the workflow with the help of specialized software, it allows you to take a fresh look at the current situation. You can evaluate and revise the size of the fleet, thereby reducing costs.
  • These five points are just the tip of the iceberg. We got an idea of ​​the main advantages of route optimization. However, the following question arises: how to choose an application for route optimization?

    Route Optimization Methods

    If all the variables to be taken into account when planning delivery routes are reviewed, it is perceived that as soon as the volume of orders and destinations is a little high, the manual options may fail. Today different companies provide market-specific software for route scheduling, which also provides security, speed, and fulfill other functionalities. In turn, many companies have their developments. The logical condition in all cases is that it be maintained customer database fully updated.

    What is also true is the reduction of operating costs between 5 and 15% thanks to the use of such tools and due to the optimization of each route and the reduction of miles and time spent. In this way, it also improves customer service, among other things, because delivery times decrease. Besides, these systems are capable of handling operations with itineraries that return to the base, routes for carriers without a return to the base trips with one or more stops, itineraries that span several days, daily or weekly planning, deliveries and pickups, planning of the cargo area, detailed shifts of various drivers and even regulations regarding the hours of work for drivers.

    Finding the Right Route Optimization Software

    Route optimization software

    To enjoy the true benefits of route optimization, you must find the correct route optimization application. With dozens of applications available, how do you choose the best one for your delivery company? For starters, go for one that’s cloud-based and syncs with all of your devices, including your smartphone and tablet.

    When choosing the correct route planning app, keep these essential features in mind:

  • Individual routes to help the driver control his activities.
  • Distributed team paths to manage your delivery team more effectively.
  • Estimated projected delivery times to help customers know when to expect deliveries.
  • Real-time monitoring of your fleet and drivers.
  • Dynamic GPS for automatic entry and exit control during multiple stops.
  • Automatic synchronization for the integration of activities between the web and mobile devices.
  • Reports and analysis for information on how to improve business operations.
  • Route optimization software does more than just reduce transportation costs, it helps fleet managers utilize the actionable data provided over time using the software to learn more about the daily operation of vehicle use, driver behavior, fuel consumption, and reduced maintenance costs.

    Opti-Time

    This software provides an impressive space of options for the logistics business of any size. With this program, you can schedule your fleet, coordinate schedules for sales representatives and technical specialists. Opti-time provides automatic balancing of a zone of interest in real-time. This can be called the main advantage of this software. Also, developers provide mobile versions for Android and iOS.

    Pros

  • the detailed setup allows you to be ready for almost any occasion
  • return on investment in just a few months
  • useful feature set
  • Cons

  • geographic location issues
  • high learning curve
  • mainly used by large companies
  • WorkWave

    A cloud program for planning delivery routes and other logistics-related tasks. This application works in real-time and allows you to be in touch with drivers throughout the route. With this program, you can adjust corrections in routes and schedules, compose ETA for employees, and much more.

    Pros

  • impressive scalability and speed
  • low learning curve
  • the ability to make notes at stations
  • Cons

  • non-refundable contract (at least one year)
  • duplicate data synchronization can complicate work
  • TourSolver

    This application is designed for enterprises of all sizes: from large corporations to small companies. This software differs from the previous ones in the presence of tools that allow you to keep track of dates, vehicles, customer preferences, and much more. TourSolver also provides a simulator that predicts a future route before it starts and displays the result based on user queries.

    Pros

  • unique tools
  • convenient work in the application
  • availability of everything necessary for route optimization
  • Cons

  • high learning curve
  • high price compared to other applications
  • Team RoadWarrior

    This application is highly targeted at representatives of small and medium-sized businesses: insurance agents, suppliers, and couriers. In addition, Team RoadWarrior provides a web-based application for dispatchers in which you can create, edit, and improve planned routes.

    Pros

  • the application works on Saas, Cloud, Android, iOS
  • performance statistics for future decisions
  • real-time work, territory management, delivery settings
  • Cons

  • there is no invoice option in this software
  • lack of delivery tracking function
  • high learning curve
  • My Route Online

    This application allows you to export Excel files inside the system to build and optimize routes. This includes addresses, stops, deadlines, and more. The dispatcher can work with the driver in real-time, providing him with possible corrections in the march. My Route Online provides a mobile (as well as GPS) navigator for the driver who paves the way following the current conditions of the order and the situation on the road. You can reload and save routes in the cloud storage and display a scalable map of the route and territory.

    Pros

  • perfectly copes with rapidly changing conditions and voluminous data arrays
  • availability
  • the ability to leave notes on the route
  • making a route from a remote place
  • Cons

  • non-refundable contract
  • duplicate data may cause a mess in the workflow
  • How to Choose the Best Route Optimization Software?

    There are a number of factors that should be considered when choosing the right application for route optimization that matches the conditions of your company.

  • The application must retain its functionality even in cases of interruptions in communication.
  • Possibility of remote collaboration. This must include cloud storage and the ability to (at least) work with operating systems such as iOS and Android.
  • Flexibility. Despite the apparent straightforwardness, violations in the supply chain are ongoing. So the route optimization software should always be prepared for unpredictable situations. In addition, the application should help as quickly as possible to find a new solution.
  • Integration. This is also an important aspect of working with this application should be quick integration into your ecosystem. I would not want to export the Excel file manually each time, would you? You will need a solution that quickly integrates into your CRM.
  • Data points. Another important aspect is the competent integration of data points. These data points include historical data of a particular route, traffic conditions, weather conditions, and of course – distances.
  • Cost. It’s important to choose a program that fits your budget. Remember that many of the quality providers work only under the condition of an irreplaceable contract throughout the year. This aspect is important to consider when planning risks. This includes the budget.
  • Feedback. Learn in detail the history of the developers, as well as the user experience of drivers and your competitors. Firstly, it will tell you about the presence of a client base. Secondly, you will make sure that software developers listen to their customers and take part in the development of their product.
  • Support. Having a well-assembled support team is far from the last advantage. As soon as you start working with the new platform, you will most likely have a lot of questions, the answers to which you need to get quickly and in detail. Otherwise, you will have to face constant delays in the workflow, and this will be directly related to the representatives of the product you purchased. Nobody wants to lose money because of someone’s incompetence.
  • Wrapping up

    Planning the transport routes for the distribution of products to customers represents a high cost both in personnel and in means for any company, whether it is a specialist in logistics operations, manufacturer, or distributor. It is not relevant if the origin is a central warehouse, a regional warehouse, or a manufacturing plant. Spending remains high. And logically, such expense is reflected in the final price of each product, representing a very significant percentage. Also, the cost of shipping any item to its destination has an impact on the margin associated with the orders served.

    The planning of transport routes becomes an activity that is critical for its importance in achieving the budgeted sales objectives, without going into the assessment of what an unfortunate management influences in customer loyalty or the image that can perceive this from the company. That’s where route optimization apps come to play. Delivering a product late or poorly lowers the agreed level of service and can wreck all the way to trust.

    But route planning does not start when the goods leave their origin for the customer, but in the same warehouse, waiting on pallet racks or at the end of a manufacturing line. It influences and affects many logistics operations that take place inside the warehouse or at the end of a manufacturing line. For example, in many distribution centers, when launching picking orders, the route and the delivery position within it that each order occupies are already taken into account.

    In this way, chain expeditions are prepared to load each delivery van, leaving the merchandise at the bottom, in the middle, or at the beginning of the passenger compartment for loading, depending on the corresponding delivery point throughout the journey. The same happens with long-distance routes since, according to the departure time of the trucks, the merchandise of the one that has to leave first is prepared before. And it is that many logistics operators, manufacturers, and distributors base all the operations of their warehouses on the prior planning of the routes they have made.

    Tags

    #Logistics#Route optimization#Route planning
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