A perennial problem for private fleets is controlling delivery cost. The final mile – the movement of product to the end users – is usually the least efficient part of the supply chain, accounting for over a third of a company’s total delivery cost. Issues such as poor route planning, traffic, weather and lack of communication between drivers and dispatchers can have an adverse effect on a company’s delivery budget. In today’s competitive business environment, an efficiently-run delivery operation that not only reduces cost but increases customer satisfaction can give companies a significant advantage over their competition.
Automating is Key
The most effective way of tackling the problem of inefficient final mile delivery is by using routing optimization software. Strategic route planning and optimization through the use of such systems allows businesses to create an optimal truck routing solution based on the needs of their customers, geographic restrictions, and historical data. These systems analyze the most efficient routing scenarios based on a variety of factors such as: vehicle type used; customer time windows and special requirements; high traffic areas and rush hour models; road restrictions and driver restrictions.
The immediate benefits of using routing optimization software include:
- A significant reduction in route planning time
- A reduction in miles driven, which will decrease fuel and maintenance costs
- A reduction in driver hours
- A decrease in missed time windows
- Creating territories and seasonal delivery models
- Balancing workloads across a multi-week planning period
- Running “what if?” scenarios to determine how the addition of large customers or a proposed depot would affect delivery operations
Adding Mobile Communications to the Mix
When combined with dispatch functionality integrated with Mobile Communications, the system becomes an even more powerful tool. Dispatchers have the ability to make changes in a driver’s route throughout the day when unexpected issues arise. Two-way communication provides dispatchers and customer service with up-to-date delivery status. Customers have the ability to track delivery status of their order and to receive notifications if their delivery will be delayed. Mobile Proof-of-Delivery and Real-Time Route Visibility keep companies connected with a vital part of their business.
Robust reporting, business intelligence, and transportation analytics software help companies manage and run their businesses. Plan vs. Actual reports allow them to measure the success of their route plan and to make adjustments to maximize efficiency, while account history, delivery performance and profitability reports provide additional tools to measure success.
Results = Control
Routing, scheduling, and dispatching software systems help companies get a handle on their Final Mile delivery costs, but they do so much more. By creating optimized routes that improve adherence to delivery time windows and by increasing the visibility of delivery activity throughout the day, customer satisfaction increases. Powerful analytics tools help companies fine-tune their business in order to better plan for future needs. Reduced delivery cost, improved customer satisfaction, and business intelligence reporting is a winning combination for operating a world-class delivery operation, and it is for that reason that routing optimization software systems have become a vital tool for achieving that success.