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4 Ways Vehicle Route Optimisation Can Boost Your Bottom Line

When it comes to transport planning, wasted miles equals wasted money. With fuel prices on an upward trajectory, ensuring that your transport operation is making the most efficient use of every drop of diesel in your vehicles is a high priority. Add in the headache of unexpected delays or detours and you have the perfect recipe for both lost income and lost customers.

Most transport operators will know that routing and scheduling software can significantly cut costs by automating the process of managing all the transport constraints that a distribution operation faces every day. But here we’re going to drill down into some more specific ways that your vehicle route optimisation could boost your bottom line.

1. Planning routes to deliver the heaviest items first – Vehicle weight can have a huge impact on fuel consumption levels. By optimising your routes to ensure that the items that weigh the most are delivered first you gain a quick win in terms of fuel efficiency. By the same token collecting the heaviest items last means you are only paying for the cost of transporting these directly back to your depot rather than ferrying them around for the rest of the day. Imagine the inefficiency of a drinks distribution operation delivering all of its small deliveries first and leaving the half load of heavy beer barrels to the final drop?

Today’s most advanced route planning software can remove the ‘heavy lifting’ element by automatically producing a series of planned stops which can take advantage of this cost saving strategy.

2. Combining collections and deliveries – Allocating both collections and deliveries to the same vehicle, for example by integrating supplier backhauls into your delivery schedules, can improve efficiency and turnaround times. Vehicle route optimisation means that your vehicle and driver can carry out both operations – without needlessly returning to the depot and incurring the additional time and fuel costs empty running entails.

While this might be a tricky and time consuming task to do manually, route planning software makes it much easier for your business to manage deliveries and collections as part of a single planning process. For some of our customers, this is also vital to their production process. For example, collecting empty oil containers for replenishment to reduce the number that need to be stored at the production site.

3. Maximising vehicle loads – Empty vehicle space is often needless transport spend, so it makes sense to ensure that you are making efficient use of every cubic metre of cargo space. With up to date volumetric data on the size of your transportable goods your route planning software will be able to come up with optimised routes and schedules that maximise vehicle fill, while also taking account of all the other constraints involved.

Whether you are transporting groceries, beds, or building supplies, maximising the volumes carried per vehicle means having fewer vans or trucks on the road, thereby reducing operational costs.

4. Identifying and eliminating deviations from the plan – Sometimes the best made transport plans aren’t followed but if you don’t know a driver is covering an additional 50 miles each day to eat their lunch at a favourite viewpoint, or a customer site always keeps the driver waiting 30 minutes before they start unloading, you can’t eliminate the problem.

Integrating vehicle tracking information with your route planning software will allow you to compare the real world performance of your delivery operation with your optimised plan. For example you can identify if more miles have been driven than predicted on a specific trip or a driver has not arrived at a customer site at the expected time. The transport manager can then use this data to identify why during the driver debrief and work out with the driver if it’s avoidable going forward. This visibility of the real-world operation helps improve driver and vehicle utilisation but also keeps your transport operation costs down to a minimum.

Every transport operation is different but in our experience, controlling costs is high up on every organisation’s agenda. To find out how Paragon’s route planning software could benefit your transport operation, why not get in touch with one of our experienced team today to understand what benefits Paragon could deliver to your business.

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