Trucking companies don’t need to be reminded that outbound delivery logistics is a competitive business. Any method that can be utilized to optimize delivery routes can save a company money, keep customers happy, and help maintain a competitive edge.
Dynamic routing and static routing are two such methods.
Truck Routing Methods
Truck routing methods typically fall into two categories, dynamic routing and static routing.
Static routing, the traditional method, uses fixed routes, sending the same drivers on the same routes each time they head out. Once upon a time, static routing was carried out manually. Now, manual routing has mostly been displaced by software-based routing.
In a world with real-time or near-real-time transportation analytics data, GPS tracking, and up-to-the-minute traffic and weather updates, dynamic routing software has replaced static routing for many companies.
Dynamic routing adapts to dynamic incoming data to optimize routes for time and fuel efficiency, creating a new route for each delivery run. It allows on-the-fly changes to avoid traffic jams, road construction, and bad weather, and it can reroute drivers instantly to cover deliveries for a broken-down truck.
Although static routing is disparaged by some people these days, dynamic routing and static routing both have their place. The nature of some transportation operations still favors static routing versus dynamic routing. And with Syntelic’s Route Planning software, as we’ll see, transportation companies can draw from the best of both worlds.
What Is Dynamic Routing?
Dynamic routing is a transportation routing technique in which a wide range of selected parameters are analyzed by an automated software application to optimize truck routes for the lowest cost and maximal efficiency. Dynamic routing is often integrated with real-time or near-real-time driver analytics, enabling route planning to adapt to changing conditions in the field on the fly.
Benefits of Dynamic Routing
Dynamic routing benefits transportation companies in a number of ways, several of which are outlined below.
- Adaptability: Dynamic routing—especially when integrated with Transportation Analytics software—enables companies to reroute drivers to avoid traffic jams, bad weather, construction zones, and any other obstacles that arise during the course of a delivery run. And this adaptability factors into the other benefits mentioned below.
- Cost savings: By reducing miles traveled and time spent on delivery routes, dynamic routing reduces fuel and personnel costs.
- Time savings: As algorithm-based, automated applications, dynamic route planning programs save logistics companies time. More efficient route planning allows companies to scale up their businesses and manage more trucks.
- Customer satisfaction: Accurate estimates for travel time allow companies to give customers shorter delivery windows (e.g., windows of one hour instead of four or six hours) and consistently make deliveries on time. That makes for happy customers!
- Driver satisfaction: When route durations are estimated accurately, drivers get home on time, not two or three hours later.
Drawbacks of Dynamic Routing
Although dynamic routing represents an advance in state-of-the-art route planning over static routing in many ways, dynamic routing misses some opportunities that static routing provides.
For example, if your clients receive regular deliveries and have consistent order volumes, you can provide a higher level of service with static versus dynamic routing because your drivers can develop relationships with customers they see on a daily or weekly basis.
What Is Static Routing?
Early route planning involved the manual mapping of static routes for drivers. Today, static routing—sometimes also called skeleton routing or master routing—is more often done in route planning software applications.
Static routing lays out fixed routes drivers follow on each delivery. Static routing works best for trucking companies that serve a consistent clientele with regular orders and predictable order volumes.
Benefits of Static Routing
Static routing benefits transportation companies in a number of ways, several of which are outlined below.
- Facilitating client relationships: With dynamic routing, drivers often don’t serve the same clients regularly. With static routing, drivers visit the same customers day in and day out. This enables them to develop more personal service relationships with customers.
- Drivers operate in familiar territory: When drivers cover the same route consistently, they traverse familiar roads, decreasing their chances of encountering unforeseen obstacles.
- Ease of use: Because static routing is less complex than dynamic routing, static routing software is usually easier to learn and use than dynamic routing software.
- Lower application costs: Again, because static routing is less complex than dynamic routing, static routing software is usually cheaper than dynamic routing software.
Drawbacks of Static Routing
Static routing does have some significant drawbacks, especially when applied in transportation scenarios in which order frequencies and volumes constantly fluctuate.
Static routing does not have the flexibility to efficiently reroute trucks on a daily or weekly basis, and it’s unable to immediately cope with changing traffic, weather, and road conditions.
In addition, because static routing is less automated than dynamic routing and because it takes fewer factors into account, it is more prone to human error than dynamic routing.
How Routing Affects Drivers
Drivers have homes and families—a life outside of work—just like everyone else. With poor route planning, drivers are forced to deal with customers who are upset because their order came outside the delivery window. In addition, poor routes often mean drivers work late, beyond the scheduled time for their routes, arriving late or missing meals with family, soccer games, and dance recitals.
Good routing, no matter the method used to design the routes, avoids driver stress and burnout and gets them home on time.
Dynamic Routing vs. Static Routing
Overall, the question isn’t one of dynamic versus static routing or static versus dynamic routing; it’s a question of which method best meets your needs in terms of reducing costs, maximizing efficiency, keeping customers satisfied, and growing your business.
The types of customers a trucking company serves factor into whether it’s best to use static routing or dynamic routing. Some companies may benefit most from using a combination of these two methods. Whatever route planning challenges your company faces, Syntelic’s Route Planning software offers you the flexibility to meet them head-on.
Syntelic Dynamic Route Planning Software
Syntelic’s Route Planning software is a dynamic route planning application that can also accommodate static route planning, offering our customers the best of both worlds.
Syntelic route planning is a full-featured dynamic route planning program that offers flexible scheduling for all sorts of transportation needs, including outbound deliveries, backhauls, and drop-n-picks. Other features include the following:
- A dispatch planning extension facilitates driver scheduling for local routes, overnight runs, and team routes, optimizing the deployment of drivers and ensuring that hours-of-service constraints are met.
- Tight integration with our Load Planning software guarantees that a multitude of loading constraints are met and no trucks go out overweight.
- Integration with our Transportation Analytics module imports near-real-time data into the dynamic Route Planning software as input for route optimization.
- A master route planning feature is ideal for companies that use static routing. Using the master routing feature, trucks can be scheduled for regular routes, but the software can adjust these routes when orders are skipped or added. This allows companies to take advantage of the benefits of both static and dynamic routing.
Partner with Syntelic to Improve Your Route Planning
Syntelic’s dynamic Route Planning software bridges the needs of companies that utilize master or static route planning and those that use dynamic routing. When you partner with Syntelic to optimize your distribution operations, we don’t merely provide a one-size-fits-all solution; we work with you to customize the implementation of our Route Planning, Load Planning, and Transportation Analytics software for your specific needs.
We also provide initial software training for your personnel and ongoing, on-demand support. Contact Syntelic today to discuss your route planning needs and learn more about how Syntelic can benefit your transportation operations.