There are many aspects to running a successful trucking business. Here at Syntelic, we take pride in the services we provide. Our Route Planning, Load Planning, and Transportation Analytics software have helped numerous companies reach a higher level. We also take pride in our ability to offer products that work in cooperation with other trucking software.
Delivery scheduling, for example, is an important part of managing your trucking fleet. This can be done manually or with software. Syntelic does have a scheduling module that helps monitor driver availability with historical driver hours, but it’s rarely necessary for our routing clients. Most of our customers can easily schedule drivers around the routes created with Route Planning.
Larger companies with complex multi-level routes, however, may also benefit from creating a delivery schedule system in combination with our routing software.
What Is Delivery Scheduling?
Delivery schedule planning involves optimizing your strategy to ensure you are getting the most out of company resources. Establishing a flow from beginning to end gives your team a template to work from each time a new order is placed.
Delivery scheduling helps you plan how and when orders will be delivered to their next location. The better your visibility is, the more you can gain insight into your process and work to improve it.
It can be difficult to manually plan every delivery on the fly without a plan or system in place. If you have any intention of delivering cargo on time to the customer who ordered it, you should have a process covering everything from customer request through delivery.
Syntelic Route Planning helps you schedule deliveries by building the most optimized routes for your carriers. Once you are able to look at a mapped-out version of the customers you must reach in a given delivery, you will be able to more accurately predict the time that the ride will take.
Our Load Planning software can also improve your truck loading process to save time in the warehouse and on deliveries. Both of these factors should be considered when scheduling your upcoming deliveries.
Importance of Delivery Schedules
A good delivery schedule planner helps you improve supply chain operations and meet customer demands. If your whole team knows the process, it is easier to deal with issues and avoid delays. Improved scheduling can help save resources and further satisfy customers or business partners.
How to Plan Delivery Schedules
Planning delivery schedules is a tedious process that involves a whole lot of luck. The first step is to ensure that your routes are optimized to the best of your ability. Efficient routing will make it easier to assign drivers and make slight alterations.
Once you have optimized your routing system, you should ensure your routes can be accessed by drivers on the road. Most onboarding companies will have a small internal computer in the cabin of the semi-truck that displays the optimized route and communicates real-time information back to the carrier. Upon the truck’s return, travel data will automatically be input into the Syntelic software for improved adaptive routing the next time around.
After you have guaranteed that your drivers will all be following the best routes, you must gather driver and vehicle availability. It is the responsibility of a delivery scheduler—or delivery scheduling software—to assign drivers to the predetermined routes. Sometimes these schedules can be planned in advance; other times they must be revised in the moment to accommodate last-minute changes.
Challenges in Delivery Schedule Planning
Delivery scheduling poses unique challenges in the trucking industry. Attempting to organize all of your carrier and warehouse tasks into one streamlined process takes extensive visibility and adaptability. Below are some of the problems we often see when creating delivery schedules.
Not Enough Processes
Some businesses do not have a clear system that allows them to address deliveries in a uniform manner. Without a system set up to insert customer orders, there will often be many issues and delays.
Smaller companies can get away with this impromptu strategy, but larger operations must have a more efficient process. With a manual scheduler, carriers often rely on skeleton routing–a method of routing that involves making slight adjustments from a consistent route template–to streamline planning.
Syntelic Route Planner provides dynamic routing—finding the best route across all vehicles every time—with little to no effort on the part of the scheduler. Instead of hours spent determining the best path, someone can spend 15 minutes editing an optimized route and send the drivers on their way.
Routers vs. Drivers
Sometimes there is a communication barrier between the warehouse and the back office. The person making the route might be basing their decisions on how much they can cram into a truck trailer. In an effort to maximize their profits and make it look like they are doing the most efficient job, they might create expectations that the warehouse employees cannot meet.
Conversely, drivers might be unhappy with a router’s decision and pressure them to change it. If a driver always does the same route and isn’t open to change, they may try to get back on their original route. Using a software like Syntelic’s will prevent both of these situations from occurring.
Syntelic keeps truck loads realistic and doable for the warehouse. And when that proves impossible, the plan can be easily altered and no one will need to take the blame. If a driver doesn’t like the route they’re assigned, there is no person for them to pressure because it was created by an algorithm—and it’s the optimal route.
Planning deliveries is complicated when you don’t know which drivers will be available. Syntelic collects data on past deliveries to try and provide a general overview of any schedule patterns, but driver availability may change from week to week.
Sometimes a driver may call at the last minute to drop out of their route. This can have a ripple effect on the rest of the drivers, as the stops still need to be covered. We’ve even seen situations where an individual called in sick, everything was reorganized, then another driver called in sick. This can put a lot of pressure on the person in charge of scheduling drivers and lead to unnecessary delays.
Another aspect of sending drivers out is their familiarity with the planned route. If Jim always handles deliveries in the city, and Joe always navigates the back roads, it may benefit your operations to keep them where they are comfortable. Driver scheduling systems do not always take this factor into account.
Syntelic allows approved personnel to manually edit the routes for swift optimization. The drivers’ routes can be switched or tweaked in the best interests of the company and the customer.
Regardless of how you organize your schedule, there may be unforeseen circumstances that inevitably delay your routes. Bad weather, traffic accidents, road closures, animal collisions, and more factors may ruin deliveries.
Syntelic software works in combination with delivery scheduling systems to help you manage your employees and vehicles effectively. With our automatic route planning, you and your carriers will have a better understanding of how long deliveries will take.
Delivery Scheduling Software Benefits
Even though delivery scheduling is only one part of the entire process, the holistic nature of optimizing your entire supply line can result in monumental benefits for your company. Creating in-depth plans for deliveries that are informed by Syntelic Transportation Analytics and Resource Management will revolutionize your delivery operations.
Here are some of the positive effects you might witness:
- Scheduled deliveries prevent drivers from being overworked or double-booked.
- Implementing the optimized routes will reduce fuel costs.
- Planning deliveries with Route Planning will save managers a lot of time.
- Scheduled deliveries lead to better customer satisfaction.
- Delivery schedules improve the scalability of your business as it grows.
- Planned deliveries allow you to make more accurate ETA predictions.
- Better planning means faster delivery times.
- Solid delivery plans make last-minute changes easier to handle.
All aspects of your transportation business stand to benefit in some way from a delivery planning system.
How Other Trucking Softwares Help When Scheduling Truck Deliveries
Fully appreciating the specifics of how Syntelic software can complement delivery schedule planning involves understanding how our products work. Each program performs a different—but related—function.
- Route Planning: Our Route Planning software automatically analyzes all upcoming deliveries and determines the optimal route for carriers to do them all. The optimal route does not necessarily refer to the shortest or quickest path. It factors in other important qualities like deadlines, driver schedules, and mid-route stops. Planning a single route does not require complex computations, and can be done manually with ease. Planning multiple routes for multiple trucks is incredibly difficult. While many different routes will work, Syntelic Route Planning will provide the most effective route and explain why it is optimal. Delivery planners can then schedule drivers and deliveries based on our estimates.
- Load Planning: Our Load Planning software organizes all the cargo being transported into a list that explains how they should be loaded. The best loading strategy could differ based on the optimal route or the need for temperature-controlled cargo. You can define additional characteristics of the load in our software to make it automatic or manually switch around boxes. Load Planning ensures that freight is packed safely, legally, and in a way that will not delay drivers when they are unloading. Loading issues can ruin delivery plans. Whether that means an accident, damaged cargo, or the items someone ordered being buried behind another client’s items, our software can help to prevent that and make your plans more reliable.
- Transportation Analytics: Our Transportation Analytics software keeps track of many valuable metrics throughout the supply chain, including issues with loading, upcoming orders, and real-life data from carriers.
Delivery Scheduling FAQ
Can scheduled deliveries change?
It is not uncommon for a customer to change their mind after ordering a delivery. Whether this means canceling, postponing, or changing the shipment, it can have an effect on all other planned deliveries. Scheduled deliveries must be able to adapt up to the point a driver departs on their route, and beyond. Syntelic Route Planning will automatically update when new information is input into the system, saving time for drivers and routers alike.
How long does it take to implement a new delivery schedule?
Depending on the complexity of your delivery operations, creating a schedule can take hours. Sometimes an employee—or team—is solely responsible for creating driver schedules. Syntelic automatically designs the most efficient route plans so scheduling becomes much simpler.
We do have a Resource Management software that displays driver availability and helps plan schedules, but it only works if drivers are inputting the proper data. In a perfect world, we could handle all aspects of delivery scheduling. Until then, however, we can offer you the next best thing: a prepared route with accurate delivery estimates to help you plan effective and reliable schedules.
What information does a delivery schedule consider?
Delivery schedules require information beyond who is available at the moment. To effectively plan schedules for future deliveries, information like shift preferences, planned vacations, holidays, and more must be factored in.
Syntelic Route Planning and Delivery Scheduling Solutions
Syntelic’s Route Planning software is designed to be easily integrated with any level of an existing system. We offer simple routes based on a complex algorithm that was made by truckers, for truckers.
When you improve your routing, every part of your supply chain will experience positive consequences. Drivers will be happier with more accurate route times, routers will enjoy simpler decisions, warehouse employees will receive clearer deadlines and expectations, etc. The whole operation will benefit from the acquisition of just one of our products.
Most of our routing customers do not have a need for additional delivery scheduling systems. If you decide that both are necessary, we will help implement Route Planning in a way that coordinates with your delivery schedules to create the optimal planning process.
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