In the world of transportation and logistics, each day brings with it a unique set of challenges. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take control of your route plans by evaluating your existing processes and improving your overall operations. Easier said than done, right? Luckily, with the right solution in place you can streamline your operations and stay ahead of the competition.
Read on as we explore four logistics trends you’ll want to follow in 2018 – and learn how a routing solution can help get you there!
#1 – Unified route planning and GPS tracking
If you have a set plan for the day, it’s only logical that you want to follow along to see how it’s executed. Operations managers, dispatchers, and route planners often need to dive into the details to uncover why, where, and when the day went awry. Even if you trust your drivers and have a solid plan backing them up, there are always unexpected events that can pop up like traffic, accidents, or vehicle issues.
With more visibility into your day and tracking added to your route plans, you can expect to not only manage more effectively but you’ll see efficiency gains and more productive team members. According to a Software Advice survey, 95% of business operators saw an increase in punctuality, and the number of serviced orders after implementing GPS tracking devices into their vehicles.
Not only can you compare the planned vs. actual to each other, but you can stay connected to your team while they are out on the road. This can result in fewer calls, less distraction, and quick answers for you.
#2 – Using data to your advantage
Numbers don’t lie. Data can help you make smarter decisions for your business, identify areas of opportunity, and determine where you need to improve. So while your team builds reports on sales, marketing, or support – it only makes sense to track your route plans’ results.
Accessing a route plan analytics dashboard will benchmark performance metrics like: order completion, on-time arrivals, deviations from the plan, and KPIs. By reviewing your results you can identify trends (based on day of week, month, or driver), make hiring decisions, coach drivers who are underperforming, or make adjustments where needed.
#3 – Providing an enhanced customer experience
If you’ve ever ordered furniture or scheduled service from your cable company, you know the dreaded feeling when you’re told “you can expect us to arrive anywhere from 10am to 3pm.” That’s practically the whole day!
So, what if you could do things differently and give your customers a specific time window or even better, let them choose when they are available to enhance their customer experience? With a route planning tool working seamlessly behind the scenes, your sales or support team members can confirm the time with the customer and keep them happy.
Not only can you take their requests into account in an efficient manner, you can also give your sales and support teams visibility into the day. When you have GPS tracking layered into your plans they can follow the approved plan to see where the driver is planned to be at any given moment, follow breadcrumb trails to see activity or live positions, and check in on live ETAs (estimated time of arrivals) to see how traffic or customer delays have impacted the plan.
#4 – Preparing for same-day requests
Walmart and Target’s recent acquisitions of Parcel and Shipt make the need to prepare your operations for same-day delivery even greater. How do you expand your offerings without disruption? To get started, you’ll want to take a mixed-demand approach so that you continue to serve existing orders, use your resources efficiently, and keep costs as low as possible.
Using a dynamic route planning tool allows you to build optimal routes even while planning on-the-fly. With a mixed-demand approach, you can:
- Blend existing and on-demand orders
- Give each of your drivers/vehicles a buffer for anticipated requests
- Maintain visibility on costs for each delivery
- Increase transparency