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Blog January 2017

7 top tips for choosing the right routing solution

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Martijn Schimmer Intelligent Optimization Solution Advisor

Investing in a route planning solution can help your business make the most of invaluable time by ensuring that drivers are given the best routes and that deliveries are made efficiently and on time. But wouldn’t it also be great if you could also improve asset utilization, improve and even enhance customer service, reduce mileage and driving time, lowering your overall carbon emissions?

Making the move from manual routing and scheduling to an automated system can help your business to achieve all of the above but only if you choose the right solution.

Here are some areas to consider, when selecting a route optimization solution:

  1. Frequency – you will initially want to consider how regularly an automated planning system needs to recalculate your routes e.g. weekly, daily, or in real-time. Some systems specialize in seasonal planning, and others cater to specific industries and their known requirements. It’s worthwhile having the details of your schedules to hand before you speak to suppliers.
  2. Adding/updating new orders - how often are new orders added? If your answer is more than once a day, then you may need to continually re-optimize schedules. You will need a solution that considers the existing routes and available resources to make the most suitable changes to a driver’s route.
  3. Long-term scenario simulations – would it be useful to simulate scenarios and to understand the consequences before making adjustments to your fixed structure such as depot locations and vehicle types? Assessing your long-term resource needs and evaluating the implications of a change enables you to make an informed decision.
  4. Integration with in-cab solutions - applications available for smartphones and tablets are developing rapidly and are reasonably simple to integrate. This, for example, means that a request for GPS navigation between stops from the route list in AMCS Mobile can go directly to a commoditized navigation application. Numerous other straightforward integration options are available.
  5. Geocoding / cleansing data - understanding where your data is inaccurate can be tricky. It’s worth bearing in mind that some route planning solutions offer an alerting function that highlights any inaccurate addresses or enables geocoding during order taking. Assessing customer address data accuracy is vital for a reliable route optimization system, so it’s worth considering the level of data cleansing / geocoding that you require.
  6. Loading - depending upon your current business model you may transport various sizes of containers on the same load. Knowing the different combinations of containers that can fit onto each vehicle (and how they should be stacked to utilize the space in the vehicle) will help the consultation process with a supplier. It will also enable them to identify any additional efficiency gains.
  7. Reporting - how do you currently share data insights and KPI reporting with key stakeholders? For example, will information need to be shared across your management teams, call center, operations, and logistics managers, planners, and drivers? Ensuring that your chosen solution has the right functionality for reporting is important and also helps demonstrate ROI. It’s also worth considering how you plan to identify operational trends for the future, predict cost implications, and also identify possible preventative measures.

Whatever your business model and requirements, the team here at AMCS can help you to:

Maximize asset value whilst driving down maintenance, fuel, and operator costs Win and retain customers with better service, pricing and response times Free up capacity for more customers, more routes, and more revenue. Our team will provide expert advice and insight into your optimization needs.

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