Investing in a route optimization platform can help your business make the most of valuable time and assets by ensuring drivers have efficient routes and collections are on time. Making the move from manual routing and dispatch to automatic route optimization can help your business improve asset utilization, enhance customer service, reduce mileage and driving time, and lower your overall carbon footprint.
To ensure you get the optimal return on your investment, below are 5 keys to consider as you embark on a route optimization project and achieve your goals:
- Geocoding – having accurate customer address and container location data is important in ensuring optimal results. A systematic approach to capturing and cleansing this data is highly encouraged. A number of solutions and approaches exist including upfront data capture, automatic geocoding inside the route optimization system or GPS location verification. You need to understand the accuracy of your data and put steps in place to create the foundation for successful commercial route optimization.
- Time Windows – understanding when your customers need to be serviced is similarly important. Put systems in place to gather this data as much as possible. For existing customers, speak with drivers and operations staff that know customers daily routine. For new customers, gather the data as part of the order generation process.
- Stakeholder Buy-in – this maybe something that is overlooked, but it’s a key point to get everyone’s buy-in so that all stakeholder needs are identified and understood. Technology can do great things and yield tremendous results, but without buy-in by all involved the optimal results will be hard to achieve. Agree the process and set expectations on the pending changes to ensure all involved are on board.
- Change Management – a willingness to embrace change is a key part of the journey. Agree the process for rolling out the optimized routes. When reviewing new routes, ensure drivers and operations staff are part of the sign-off process and are accepting of the changes. Set out the benefits that will impact the drivers, including the positive impact on the customers they serve.
- Measurement & Feedback – with any new optimized routes understanding what is working and not working is vital. Reviewing the outcome of the routes with drivers is important. Making changes based on feedback will help to foster buy-in and gain acceptance from all involved. Putting this business process in place will enable you to continue to tweak the routes to incorporate driver feedback and finalize on routes that work for your business and customers.