Route optimisation is the process of calculating and generating the best possible routes for drivers over their entire work day. It considers multiple factors, such as a driver’s work schedule, the order of stops, types of vehicles in the fleet, traffic, weather and limitations such as narrow roads or low bridge clearance.
A powerful and intelligent system can help optimise routes to make them more efficient, keeping drivers on schedule, and reducing unnecessary costs and admin.
Why is route optimisation software useful for my business?
Planning routes sounds simple but getting from point A to point B in the most efficient manner is a very complex undertaking. It requires a deep understanding of your fleet, customers, road networks, as well as changing traffic and weather conditions. If a typical work day for a driver is around 20 stops, there can be over 100,000 possible route combinations. Creating the most efficient journey for just one driver can take hours of planning. In its essence, route optimisation is about calculating the most effective journey for all stops to get to each location quickly and efficiently and generating turn-by-turn navigation for your drivers.
What sets route optimisation apart from other general navigation software and applications available?
Standard navigation software will create a single A to B route based on distance alone, and if you’re lucky, traffic conditions. While these are useful for shorter, single trips or even just gaining a general understanding of the possible paths to the destination, these won’t consider factors unique to your industry, for example the heavy vehicle and transport industry is heavily governed with road restrictions. Route optimisation can use a number of varying factors such as a driver’s work schedule, the order of the trips, vehicle profile, traffic and the time that the driver needs to complete jobs by.
An efficient route might not be the one with the least distance – this could include diverting drivers to jobs that don’t require crossing busy roads during peak hour traffic, avoiding bridges that are unable to tolerate the vehicle’s weight or assigning trips that are close together in location to be done back-to-back during the trip.
Route optimisation will not just take drivers from A to B, but C to D to E and beyond in the most streamlined way possible.
How does route optimisation work?
The solution is a super-computer grade of technology. It works by taking all the necessary information about your fleet and runs it through a powerful server-side engine. This is a server that’s programmed to make all the necessary calculations and processes needed to generate the most ideal route. Once a driver’s schedule is entered, the engine’s highly-detailed mapping data and available vehicle profiles, time windows, road conditions are analysed to create a complete journey.
Setting up the system is a very consultative process and takes the entire fleet into account. If there’s already GPS fleet tracking software installed, the solution can look at any historical data, and factor that into creating routes and determining the best vehicle in the fleet for the job.
What other benefits does route optimisation offer my business?
It helps to reduce admin time as routes don’t need to be mapped out by hand from cross referencing paper maps, real-time weather data and driver logbooks. Drivers are also able to be viewed on the road using route optimisation, so staff don’t need to contact the driver to determine if they are on schedule or experiencing a delay.
This in turn improves customer experience as the technology allows businesses to send real-time location data, either through a direct map link or text message of the ETA directly to them. There’s no mystery around when a delivery or pick-up will happen, and customers stay in the loop throughout the entire journey with ease.
Route optimisation also helps reduce operational costs. More efficient drivers’ complete jobs faster and use less fuel. Fleets aren’t overworked and stay in peak condition for longer, oil levels don’t need to be changed as often and tyres go through less rotations, helping to reduce the number of maintenance checks throughout the year. You may even be able to reduce your overall fleet as more efficient routes allow vehicles to complete the work of two or three.
Route optimisation reduces the friction of calculating and executing routes, allowing fleets to run as efficiently as possible and with the greatest level of ease. You can plan for multiple trips with confidence that drivers are getting to customer and returning to base without hassle, reducing the risk of delays and fear over whether drivers are getting to destinations in the best way possible.