The case for route planning software might seem like a no-brainer for individuals responsible for manual planning every day. But the wide range of supply chain technologies now vying for a slice of the transport or IT budget – and the resource to implement it – means that the business case must be absolutely compelling.
Any business case for route planning software must show how the proposed solution can address your transport operation’s challenges while also meeting wider business goals. Typically these challenges might include:
- Planning takes too long – creating a transport plan manually is easy if you have 1-2 trucks. But with 10 or more vehicles, the task is almost impossible to do manually, especially if you take into account all of the constraints and service levels that must be matched with available drivers and resources. With route planning software, the transport plan can be created much faster, freeing up planners to find other ways of creating transport efficiencies. Often it also allows transport operations to delay the last order cut-off point, providing a better experience for customers and better utilisation of the fleet.
- The driver shortage – the shortage of drivers across the industry has pushed retaining good drivers to the top of every transport operation’s list. Transport managers need to maximise the use of their drivers with well-planned routes that also make sure all the drivers get a full day’s driving made up of feasible routes. With route planning software, you can achieve this and make sure you build routes that accommodate the Working Time Directive and – where possible – routes that can support better work/life balance for your drivers.
- The need to maximise utilisation of expensive assets – While the number of hours a driver can work is restricted, this is not the case for trucks. Expensive vehicles and trailers need to be utilised as fully as possible. Route planning software can help you plan the best use of your fleet while incorporating regular maintenance requirements, and keeping mileage costs low.
- Demand for better customer service – shorter lead times, tighter delivery windows, more accurate ETAs and increased visibility when there’s a delay. The demands for better customer service place a lot of pressure on the transport office. Automating your planning allows you to create optimal routes and schedules with accurate arrival times that make the best use of your fleet. Knowing that your customer doesn’t allow deliveries before 10:00 means your driver won’t arrive at this location at 9:00 and have to sit waiting in the yard for an hour. Good for the customer and good for your fleet operation. Going one step further and integrating vehicle tracking systems with your route planning software means you can also provide your customers with services like arrivals boards or ETA updates via email or SMS.
- Saving money while improving sustainability – Cutting costs is top of everybody’s list. But what about reducing emissions? Keep on top of your game by using the “what if” scenario planning inherent in most route planning software to reduce mileage and CO2 emissions. In fact you should be able to use operational software to model all types of scenarios to enable the continuous improvement of your transport operation.
- Making management reporting easier – Route planning software allows you to produce management reports on the fly, or to automate the distribution of reports. For example, you could send a report detailing the percentage of on-time arrivals or delayed arrivals to the customer services team. Any data that you use in your transport operation can be held in your route planning software and then exported in multiple formats, allowing senior managers to better understand performance, lower costs and improve efficiency.
Ready to start writing your business case? Why not have a look at some of the benefits that our existing Paragon customers are already enjoying, including how quickly they saw a return on investment after implementing Paragon’s route planning software.
If you are worried about how long will it take, how much resource will be required and how much disruption it might cause across the business, have a look at our step-by-step implementation process designed to ensure our customers are up and running as quickly as possible.
Here at our Dorking HQ, we have built a virtual transport office where you can see for yourself how Paragon could help you reduce costs and improve customer service. We can model your operation using your transport data, as well as demonstrate the Paragon software that is relevant to your transport operation. Why not get in touch to speak to a member of our team, or arrange a visit to the Paragon Technology Centre?