A decade or so ago, customers were more than happy to wait a few days for home delivery services, but that’s simply not the case today. With increasing customer demand for same-day and next-day delivery, companies need to make faster last-mile deliveries which require finding the most optimal and cost-efficient delivery routes.
Route planning for logistics is a complex process that considers several factors, including traffic, fuel costs, customer availability, and weather conditions. Additionally, it has to take the number of orders in a particular area into account to enable maximum deliveries per dispatch, thereby making logistics a viable and profitable service for a business.
WHAT DOES ROUTE PLANNING FOR LOGISTICS AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES ENTAIL?
Fundamentally, route planning is the process of computing the fastest, most cost-efficient routes to optimize transport and delivery operations. It also takes into account other aspects of logistics like great customer service, driver efficiency, carbon emissions, and various other business KPIs. The most advanced route planning software solutions are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that rely on historical data, as well as real-time information such as traffic updates, vehicle size, and driver schedules, to determine the most optimal routes for vehicles in a fleet.
A primary advantage of using modern route optimization software is that it’s cloud-based, allowing fleet managers to share alerts and updates with drivers in real-time with no loss of data. In turn, this results in improved customer communication as companies can provide more accurate delivery estimates. Servicing a large area and having a vast number of deliveries to make puts businesses at risk of falling short of customer expectations. With route planning software, you can reduce logistical redundancies making delivery more time- and cost-efficient.
ROUTE PLANNING CHALLENGES IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Logistics is just one aspect of supply chain management and it involves striking a balance between meeting customer expectations, delivering goods as efficiently as possible, and achieving maximum profitability and competitiveness. Every logistical decision is crucial; making the wrong one can be detrimental to company revenue and customer satisfaction. For these reasons, route planning is essential to a healthy supply chain and meeting your overall objectives.
Logistics and distribution companies face a number of challenges on a daily basis, many of which are a direct result of rising demand and the need to accommodate customers’ short-notice requirements. Customers have come to expect a higher quality service and a level of communication that includes accurate transportation schedules and detailed route information. In such a dynamic environment, route planning for logistics minimizes transportation risk by enabling fleet managers to anticipate disruptions and develop strategies to respond to those disruptions.
As such, route planning has to account for factors such as the weight and volume of the products being moved, vehicle weight capacity, loading times, and driver characteristics. Carefully analyzing your resources enables you to design routes that reduce operational costs without compromising delivery times or quality of service.
BENEFITS OF USING ROUTE PLANNING SOFTWARE
Consequently, investing in route planning software can help you provide better service by improving the speed and accuracy of your deliveries. Seeing as customers need constant updates, DATASCOPE WMS provides much-needed visibility into the supply chain from receipt of inventory to shipment. This way, you can plan your routes better while appreciating the following advantages.
IMPROVED CUSTOMER SERVICE
Whether your customers expect same-day or next-day delivery, you can plan routes to better meet their requirements. You can also keep customers up-to-date via their preferred communication channels, including automated SMS or emails. Faster response times and speedy deliveries not only increase the productivity of your logistics team, but they also guarantee positive reviews and referrals from your customers.
REDUCED FUEL COSTS
The rising cost of fuel has prompted companies to plan for more efficient transportation and delivery routes. There’s also the issue of sustainability, where businesses are expected to monitor and reduce their carbon emissions. Route optimization software allows you to closely monitor fuel efficiency to help reduce costs, and it facilitates investment in more cost-efficient vehicles for your fleet.
MONITOR DRIVER PERFORMANCE AND OTHER KPIS
Route planning allows logistics companies to schedule fleet movements in such a way so as to keep closer tabs on driver performance, guarantee they’re following all relevant regulations and sticking to their schedule. You can also monitor a number of other KPIs, including delays, average delivery time, and cost of delivery, to find areas for improvement.
ROUTE PLANNING WITH DATASCOPE WMS
Traditional methods of route planning do not address the real-time challenges that affect your business every day. With DATASCOPE’s Load Planning and Shipping modules, you can effectively monitor your fleet network in real-time and give your staff the tools they need to make better shipping decisions and track all movement on the warehouse floor. Some of the most popular features of these modules include:
- The ability to see load volumes by route, and the progress of these orders as they flow through the distribution center.
- The Outbound Supervisor prioritizes outstanding picking based on the time the truck will return to the DC for second trips, and it displays this info on a visual dashboard.
- Route optimization functions allow the planner to move orders from one route to another based on truck capacity and freight weight.
- For companies that own their own distribution fleet, truck capacity utilization can be accurately measured in the Load Planning module and targets set.
- The Shipping module allows for seamless integration into all major shipping lines. Rate shopping of orders ensures that the most optimal carrier is selected.
If you would like to learn more about the route planning capabilities within DATASCOPE WMS and what our software modules can do for you, schedule your demo today.