Route planning is crucial for the road freight industry as it ensures timely and cost-effective deliveries. Nevertheless, efficient planning of routes isn’t an easy task and there are many logistics companies that fail to fulfill orders on time despite doing everything timely in their warehouse. Small and mid-sized logistics companies in particular need to make use of route planning systems that offer performance efficiency and internal integration.
What is a route planning software?
Route planning or route optimization signifies the creation of effective delivery plans by using online platforms. Some of the obvious benefits of using route optimization software are cutting costs, saving time and proper utilization of resources. Manual route planning entails a lot of error since it is not always possible to take everything into consideration while planning a route. Route planning systems, on the other hand, use complex algorithms for the optimization of the delivery routes.
By planning the sequence of stops for the fleets they allow trucking companies to seamlessly conclude the delivery process. Additionally, while planning routes, the system takes various factors into accounts such as time frame, vehicle capacity, number of trucks in the fleet, weather conditions, historical traffic data and more. This allows the truck drivers to identify the fastest and most commercially viable route to reach the destination on time even with several stop-points. It takes the stress off the truck drivers thereby reducing accidents and allowing the road freight companies to avoid delays.
Advantages of route optimization software for the road freight industry
Helps to cut down expenses
Route planning systems identify the most cost-effective routes for delivery. Well-planned routes can help road freight forwarders to lower their fuel costs by up to 30%. This can really add up to the savings of a company in the long term, especially at a time when fuel prices are skyrocketing. Moreover, these systems also help to reduce the time a truck spends on the road. This in turn helps to bring down the maintenance cost of the fleet. Furthermore, by lowering the loss of functional time, they allow the trucks to be in service for a longer time before the companies pull them for maintenance.
Ideal for e-commerce logistics
E-commerce has irrevocably altered the functioning of the transportation and logistics industry. Online shoppers are used to getting their product delivered within 2 days of ordering if not the same day. The extremely short time windows for e-commerce deliveries have made route optimization software an absolute necessity for e-commerce logistics. The trucking companies catering to the e-commerce sector need to implement a route optimization system for multi-drop route planning. This in turn makes the delivery process way more cost-effective. Lastly, these systems can intelligently plan several deliveries based on factors like proximity, one-way windows, driver productivity, etc.
Helps to save time
Route planning software allows trucking companies to plan their routes without spending much time. All they need to do is enter all the orders into the software and then use the pre-planned route templates for seamless scheduling. The machine learning algorithm allows the system to plan the best possible shipping route given the current weather and traffic conditions. They provides all the delivery planning information within just a few minutes thereby helping to save considerable amount of time which is otherwise spend on researching and planning how to move a shipment from one point to another.
Increases safety of the driver and the cargo
Route planning systems are created to help trucking companies to lower the run time of the vehicles. For example, the truckers need to maneuver through the traffic, increase speed to make timely delivery, drive all night on highways, each of which comes with an unique set of challenges that could potentially lead to accidents and delays. Less time spent on the road automatically translates to enhanced safety.
Moreover, many of these systems include a unique feature that allows drivers to avoid taking right, left or U-turns. Simply put, they help to plan a route with minimum turns. Although, this might sound like a trivial advantage, it is an extremely helpful feature that greatly helps to avoid accidents especially while driving at night.
A large number of road accidents happen because of weather-related causes. Route optimization systems allows road freight companies to address this problem by factoring in the weather forecast of the destination on the delivery date and planning a route accordingly.
Mismanagement of time when it comes to delivery can have a disastrous effect on the freight forwarding companies. Route planning software can help to deal with this problem by monitoring the actions of the truckers via GPS tracking and other methods. Real-time monitoring of the drivers allows the logistics managers to improve their productivity by taking necessary actions. They ensure that the drivers get to complete the maximum number of deliveries within the shortest possible time span. Nevertheless, putting too much pressure on the driver could result in disgruntled drivers who might want to leave your company. This is not at all a desirable outcome in a time when the industry is facing a shortage of truck drivers.
This is yet another area where the route optimization software can help. They optimize the route both in terms of distance covered and the number of hours spent on the road. As a result, logistics managers can choose to only assign more tasks to the drivers when their service time reduces. This can greatly help to enhance the bottom like of the company.