Route planning and optimization is one of the most crucial tasks for fleet managers as it is directly related to better efficiency and cost savings. The multiple benefits of fleet route optimization contribute to improving customer satisfaction, which in turn, encourages repeat business and loyalty.
Your fleet’s route optimization solution should be dynamic, with due consideration to multiple variables, including traffic patterns, weather, number of vehicles and vehicle health, driver performance, number and location of stops, and cross-vehicle coordination.
How to Effect Route Optimization
Gone are the days when businesses would do fleet route planning and optimization manually. Manual route planning is antiquated, and this approach comes with unnecessary risk because of the inherent inefficient use of resources.
Today, route optimization is done by software powered and backed by fleet GPS tracking systems. The system weighs all variables simultaneously to calculate the optimal route and then quickly sends updates across the fleet.
There are three main route optimization strategies for fleets, as summarized.
- Static Routing
This is the least used route optimization strategy these days, and this is because it lacks flexibility. With this strategy, fleet managers and other route planning team members only adjust the routes semi-annually or annually. Route planning under this strategy is based on geographical areas.
Static routing works best for fleets doing longer hauls and those fleets that follow a predictable timetable on every trip. Succinctly put, it works for fleets that deliver to the same locations on a consistent or recurring timeline.
- Dynamic Routing
This strategy considers historical data and traffic trends to adjust routes daily. If your business’s routes tend to switch up on a daily basis, then dynamic routing may be the right strategy for you.
Dynamic routing allows route planners to make changes up to the loading of the truck. Unlike static routing, the dynamic strategy doesn’t lock fleets into one specific route. If there are any issues with a route, the planners may make the necessary changes even on the day of the delivery.
- Real-Time Dynamic Routing
This is a more current strategy than standard dynamic routing, and it is no surprise that it is the most popular and effective strategy. While dynamic routing considers daily orders, real-time dynamic routing considers consecutive daily orders and uses complex algorithms.
Under this strategy, team planners optimize routes for the drivers while they are on the road as variables change, such as a shift in traffic patterns and new jobs added to the schedule. It’s an excellent strategy for businesses whose fleets serve local areas, such as tow trucks. As customers make new orders throughout the day, they are added, in a logistical order to the route.
Making the Right Choice
The circumstances and needs of fleets vary, so the choice of route optimization software and techniques also varies by fleet. To inform your choice, consider your industry and type of business. Is it a freight company or a service company? Is the scheduling for your fleet consistent or changing?
Another critical factor is your operation size, that is, the number of clients you must service on any given day, as well as the number of drivers and vehicles in your fleet. Also, consider your fleet’s service area, which covers the locations of clients and a schedule of all intermediate stops.
A Worthy Investment for Your Business
All-round resource optimization, particularly route optimization, offers a great return on investment by increasing operational efficiencies, reducing operating costs, and enhancing customer satisfaction. You can look forward to this return on your investment if you have the right route planning and optimization tools.
As highlighted, identify your needs and base your choice of route optimization on these needs. You can quickly and more efficiently optimize your routes using telematics and fleet tracking systems with routing capabilities.