Businesses often think of Route Optimization software as a guide for telling them the shortest distance between point A and B. Even though Route Optimization software do provide that facility, modern-day software is a lot more than chaperones for guiding shipments from one location to another.
The advanced solutions in Route Optimization allow route planners to manage a fleet, get driving directions, add multiple stops, improve productivity and increase SLA adherence. Optimizing Routes can thus lead to saving fuel costs, additional pick-up/delivery stops, reduction of labour overtime costs and minimizing human dependency.
With Multi-Stop Route Planning and Optimization becoming the need of the hour for virtually every business operation, it becomes imperative that organisations choose their Enterprise Route Optimizer with utmost care.
How to Choose a Route Planning System
Here are the factors to keep in mind for selecting the correct and best Routing Software for your business:
1. Real-Time Traffic Consideration
A study says that in 2017, U.S. alone incurred a congestion cost of $305 billion. Considering real-time traffic can not only save your logistic costs but can also ensure on-time delivery and better adherence to SLAs for increasing customer delight. Businesses should look for software that plans routes and calculates ETA based on dynamic, real-time data.
2. Order-Vehicle Constraints
Many a time software tend to focus on cold, hard data and ignore real life order-vehicle constraints. Often, two different genres of products, ex- electronics and perishable can’t be shipped together, at other times, a specific kind of product, say medicines can only be supplied in special vehicles. Softwares that consider these vehicle routing constraints / problems have a better chance of helping businesses in real-world scenarios.
3. Accurate Geocoding
Virtually every Route Optimization API available in the market boasts of a geocoder. However, converting addresses into a particular point on the map to precise latitude and longitude coordinates is a task easier said than done. Understanding ambiguous addresses and comprehending local contexts is the key for accurate geocoding. Having a stellar database of local addresses and apartment locations is also a big plus.
4. Historical Data Inspection
Your Vehicle Route Optimization Software should examine historical data on three levels- Riders, Customers and Time of the day. A rider’s historical evidence can tell you about his skills, expertise, preferred time of deliveries and preferred region to work.
On the other hand, a customer’s historical data in the enroute analytics can tell you about his preferred time slots, availability and any special instructions for delivery. Historical information of a given time of the day can give you insights about the prevailing traffic conditions of a region and working/closing hours of a particular building. Your delivery route planner should learn from past experiences and plan routes accordingly.
5. Rider Preference Consideration
One of the biggest challenges in the implementation of routing plans is the resistance from the on-ground operations team. These teams are used to work in a particular manner and to change their entire operating system is a massive transformation for them. To smoothen out this process, it is important that your software takes preferences from the on-ground team to phase out the traditional system rather than trying changing the entire procedure on a single go.
6. Change Management
In case your on-ground team is still adamant on their traditional ways, it would make sense for your software provider to assign you a group of on-field experts who convince your on-ground resources and make the transition smoother. Training modules, incentives and success stories from other organizations can help motivate your on-ground staff to get used to your Vehicle Route Optimization API.
7. Analytics and Report Management
Your Route Optimization software should give you the ability to track and manage your entire operations in real-time on a single platform. It should allow you to track the actual routes vs the planned routes and should help you compare the performances of your different business hubs. Your Route Planning Optimization software should also provide you with a unified dashboard that allows you to track your operations in real-time.
8. Dynamic Route Planning
Your software should have the capability of optimally handling on-demand orders along with scheduled orders. Rerouting on the go is another feature that is increasingly preferred by businesses. In case the orders/preferences of the customers change while the rider is out to deliver, your Route Optimization software should be able to change and create new routes for the rider dynamically.
With routing requirements of companies becoming complex, it is of prime importance that companies choose the Vehicle Routing software according to their needs and based on the realtime constraints. Software that plans routes intelligently to improve delivery efficiency and reduce costs will edge over others in the future.
How Locus can solve your supply chain vehicle routing problems?
Locus’ Route Optimization Software i.e., ‘Locus Dispatcher’ provides businesses with an intelligent route planning suite that generates optimal & profitable delivery routes along with efficient resource utilisation plan by using geocoding instead of pin codes.
With Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning coming to the fore, Route Optimization Algorithms can help your logistics in every mile of delivery and Locus can be your partner in this journey of intelligent routes.