Unless we know a route by heart most of us now use a Sat Nav in the car, or an app on our Smart Phones, to guide us accurately to our destination. Instead of spending the whole journey glued to a road map, we’ll sit back and – for the most part – let the Sat Nav take the strain. Given this new reality, is it realistic for a transport operation to manually plan routes for hundreds of deliveries each week?

We’ve put together a list of 5 tell-tale signs your organisation needs a better way of transport planning.

1) Planning your routes takes more time than it takes to drive them

Manual route planning and scheduling is a slow, tedious process – planners will rarely be able to take in to consideration all of the parameters it’s necessary to consider in order to create a really efficient plan – and it will only get worse as your business grows.  Manual route planning that depends on a single person is also a business risk. What happens when they go on holiday, fall ill or leave the company?

Routing and scheduling software reduces hours of manual work down to mere minutes, ensures the multitude of variables are factored in and enables the process to be handled by anyone with the appropriate training.

2) Offering later, more attractive order cut-off times is impossible

An inability to offer later cut-off times may be stopping your business from growing. Lengthy manual planning means that you have to set deadlines for processing customer orders earlier than your rivals who have already embraced automated planning. Being able to offer a faster, responsive service is a pipe dream – leaving your customers wondering why they aren’t using another provider.

With routing and scheduling software in place you can offer cut-off times which are hours ahead of what you are currently offering – while last minute changes can more easily be greeted with a “No problem” instead of a “No way”.

3) Delivery and collection time slots are too vague…and still get missed

The days of residential customers being happy to wait in all day for a delivery are over, while the consequences of missing a promised B2B delivery window can be far reaching for your customer’s business…and potentially yours if the contract is cancelled. If you’re facing competitors who can offer two hour time slots AND meet them with confidence then it’s time to ditch the manual planning process you’ve been struggling with.

Automated route planning and scheduling makes it simple to organise a route within much tighter time constraints and turn the accurate scheduling of time sensitive deliveries into a reality.

4) Your drivers fluctuate between being overworked and underworked

Inefficient manual planning is resulting in a highly variable schedule for both drivers and your fleet: staff are frustrated at the lack of a consistent workload, lorries are leaving the yard half full and, worst of all, deliveries are being missed because drivers ran out of time.

Professional routing and scheduling software enables you to increase the efficient use of your resources by optimising delivery schedules, vehicle capacity and driver utilisation. Better still, you gain the ability to model the realistic effects of proposed changes in a virtual environment before taking the crucial decision to implement them.

5) Inbound call volumes about deliveries are tying up your office staff

No sooner have you put the receiver down then the phone rings again…and again…and again. Customers calling to enquire about their deliveries are clogging up your phone lines leaving clients with more complex questions waiting in the queue. Manual planning means that you are unable to offer customers tight delivery and collection timeslots – resulting in frustration for them and an endless procession of “Where’s my delivery?” calls for you.

Routing and scheduling software not only makes it possible for you to tell clients precisely when their delivery is coming, it also enables you to keep them informed via an automated text message or email: confirming arrival times and even updating them if the driver hits an unexpected delay.

If any (or all) of the above are ringing true then perhaps it’s time to find out more about  how Paragon’s range of route and scheduling software can benefit your organisation. For a chat about your transport operations, why not get in touch with one of our experienced team today.

Alternatively, if you’d like to find out a little more information about Paragon first, here are a few examples of customers that have adopted our routing and scheduling software to improve customer service and operational efficiencies:

Nectar Imports – leading drinks distributor in the South of England
NRS Healthcare – installs, services and recycles mobility products for the social care sector
Moores Furniture Group – a leading manufacturer of kitchens and bathrooms in the UK
Fragilistics – UK’s only dedicated mirror delivery operation

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