Container Truck on Highway with Polygon Network World Map Graphic and Location Pins.Running a transportation and delivery business is all about staying ahead of the competition. By using innovative technology and actively managing client relations, you can consistently and steadily grow your customer base. Developers are constantly working on new tools to help address existing challenges in the trucking industry throughout all levels of the supply chain. From the moment an item is manufactured to the moment it reaches its final destination, it should be properly stored and seamlessly transported.
Getting cargo from one place to another as quickly as possible is one thing, doing it while maintaining the most efficient business practices is another. The goal of transportation companies is to deliver items according to client standards without compromising the bottom line. One way to ensure that your fleet is working to the highest standard is to invest in route optimization.
What Is Route Optimization?
Route optimization involves finding the best, most cost-effective route for delivery drivers in a fleet. This does not always mean the fastest route. As a feature of Syntelic’s Route Planning software, we offer route optimization that is intended to improve and streamline your trucking operations. The optimal route will be selected based on the following factors:
- DOT rules and regulations
- Delivery time windows
- Destination location
- Vehicle weight and volume load capacity
- Time to drive between stops
Manually optimizing delivery routes is a time-consuming process that rarely yields the same level of results. There are too many possible paths in multi-stop jobs for a person to efficiently consider.
What Is the Optimal Route?
The perfect route is not always the shortest and quickest route from point A to point B. Trucking companies must plan around roads, one-way streets, height-restricted areas, tolls, speed limits, traffic, and parking restrictions.
These obstacles make finding the optimal route much more difficult. Even with ample knowledge of an area and its typical traffic conditions, unpredictable events can drastically change delivery times if truckers get caught in delays. Syntelic plans the best route but allows the driver to go off-script if necessary.
Why Is Route Optimization Important?
Route optimization has become crucial to running a transportation company for the three reasons listed below.
- Business scale: Assuming other aspects of your trucking operation are going smoothly, it is not strange to see exponential growth as you start making successful deliveries. At first, a person may have no problem planning the optimal route for trucks. However, as the amount of vehicles, number of orders, and distance traveled all begin to increase, it will be difficult for employees to keep up with the growth.
- Human bandwidth: As reliable as humans can be, there is only so much the brain can comprehend at once. The time it takes a human to perform route optimization for large-scale operations is not justifiable in comparison to using a route optimization program.
- Competition: If you want to keep up with or outperform other businesses that offer similar services, you need to optimize routes simply because they do too. The advantage that route optimization offers is enough to put one operation ahead of another. If you want to be competitive in the industry, you must stay up-to-date on the technology and tools you use.
Running a delivery operation is an expensive endeavor. The initial cost of vehicles and equipment is high; ongoing costs like fuel and maintenance will continue to incur expenses throughout operations. Any strategies that can be used to increase revenue and avoid unnecessary costs should be utilized to the fullest extent.
Can I Plan My Own Routes?
True route optimization requires a comparison of all possible routes between a given set of stops. While this is more theoretical than realistic—as some routes are not viable in the real world—the more options you can analyze the better. Understanding all of your choices allows you to make the best possible decision to define your delivery routes.
We recommend using a program like Syntelic that considers and compares all factors and chooses the most appropriate path. Some companies prefer to handle their own route optimization. Even though the difference in efficiency might seem negligible, over time, the money that could’ve been saved with route optimization software will compound to a significant value.
Human Route Planning vs. Route Optimization Algorithms
Experienced route planners have always been good at finding satisfactory solutions. Those who know their city, their drivers, and their fleet can offer a lot to streamline deliveries. Humans can weigh tough decisions between conflicting priorities and harness data that’s not in the routing system.
The downside of using humans for route optimization presents itself when things start to get more complicated. When you add more destinations and drivers, the number of potential possibilities grows. While there are only so many realistic paths to take in the real world due to other factors, it stands to reason that a computer can perform simultaneous multi-level algorithmic calculations faster than a person can.
Syntelic uses dynamic route planning to ensure each delivery is as efficient ass possible.
Benefits of Route Optimization
Syntelic offers software that aims to address trucking complications; our route optimization application does just that. Here are some of the ways in which a route optimizer will help you improve your trucking operations.
Shortened Delivery Times
Whether you are dropping off goods at someone’s doorstep or transporting freight to a separate warehouse, you need to be on time. Every minute saved also gives you the opportunity to utilize that free space.
Although the optimal route is not always the quickest, it is often faster than many of the alternatives.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
In today’s world, customers hold certain expectations when they order freight. The success of your transportation and delivery company depends on you meeting those needs.
When a client is satisfied with the services and/or goods you provide, they will tell other people. Whether this happens in person or through online reviews, it can make a serious impact on how your business grows––or fails to grow.
Scalability and Growth
One important benefit of vehicle route optimization is the ability to multiply your delivery operations without an excess of added route planning time. The difference between a human optimizing one route and ten routes is significantly greater than the difference between a computer optimizing one route and ten routes. You could eventually reach a point where there are millions of potential paths to take and a human would likely become overwhelmed.
Especially when you start adding more vehicles to your fleet, a delivery route optimization system allows you to scale your business with less effort.
Other Route Optimization Benefits
Below are a variety of other benefits that route optimization provides to a transportation company.
- Better bottom line: The true measure of route optimization––and any business strategy for that matter––is profit. Route optimization helps increase the revenue per driver and minimize costs without breaking regulations or negatively affecting your quality of service. More efficient deliveries means more money for the company.
- Reduced maintenance costs: Any time spent driving will put wear and tear on a vehicle. Delivery vehicles carry heavy loads for long distances, which can take a toll on their mechanical health. Minimizing drive time and distance traveled ultimately leads to lower maintenance costs and longer lasting fleets.
- Reduced fuel costs: Similar to the benefit above, better routes lead to more money saved on fuel expenses. Trucks carry a lot of weight, and rarely get more than five-ten miles to the gallon. Considering how far they often travel, these miles add up fast.
- Reduced idling and downtime: One of route optimization’s goals is to lower the amount of time necessary for stops. Within regulations, our scheduling and dispatch software will help plan routes that don’t involve a lot of downtime to prevent truck idling. This saves resources and allows drivers to get their jobs done quicker so they can get back home.
We use only the most reliable technology to create our products. This way you can be confident that you are getting a tried and tested tool for your company.
Route Optimization FAQ
What other systems can be used to improve route optimization?
Route optimization should be used in conjunction with several other programs––such as Load Planning and Transportation Analytics.
Load Planning is important because it stocks delivery vehicles in a way that they are easy to unpack along the route. If a truck must make multiple stops, freight should be packed in a way that mirrors the order in which items must be dropped off. Otherwise, drivers may have to dig out large amounts of cargo just to get one item at the bottom and reload everything after.
Transportation Analytics is important because it collects a wealth of information that can be harnessed from your Route Planning software and electronic logging system for flexible, ad-hoc planning versus actual reporting.
Syntelic Route Planning Software
Here at Syntelic, we aim to provide you with as many tools as we can to optimize your delivery operations. No matter what stage of the supply chain you focus on, we have something to offer you. Third-party logistics (3PL) companies and private fleet operations both stand to benefit from our software.
Our route optimization and route planning applications apply the most accurate data possible to develop effective top-down delivery methods. We will work with your team throughout the entire implementation process to ensure that all necessary members know how to use them properly.
Once the tools have been implemented, you will be able to see the effects almost immediately. The time and money saved with our products justifies itself in no time.
If you are wondering how Syntelic can be of service to you, feel free to reach out, we would love to hear from you.