Making Vehicle Routing Software Work
Route Planning Software
1. Being aware what you want.
Most companies cite reducing costs or increasing efficiency and customer support levels as the cause of wanting a routing system. However there can be other drivers like responding to business growth or adjustments to legislation. Whatever the reason it is essential that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on your drivers are set in the beginning so you can accurately measure if you have achieved your objectives.
Route Optimisation Software
2. Get everyone fully briefed.
Putting a routing system in place will require support from other departments. Start by getting senior management backing for that project. Having this available from the outset is essential and will make it easier to introduce any necessary business change, e.g. altering driver's start times or changing how collections and deliveries are created. It is critical that the IT department is involved since they will need to allocate some time to resource to the project. Make sure you include your transport planners because they will be the main users and beneficiaries of the system.
3. Analyse the needs you have.
Describe your business and transport requirements in more detail, preferably in writing. Specify what you really are transporting, how products are packaged for transport, what constitutes a purchase, when does it need to take place, what resources (drivers and vehicles) you can find? A critical area of your operation concerns loading and unloading the vehicles, the length of time does it take, how orders might be arranged on the vehicle, are there any packing rules that ought to be followed? Getting this right constitutes a real difference to your results.
4. Keep your supplier can truly fit the bill.
Conduct a 'beauty parade' of vendors and test their capabilities by asking them to take a representative sample of your respective transport data and show you how it would be routed. The ability of your chosen routing system to correctly 'model' your operation is the single most important factor that you ought to spend time on. Be careful when comparing optimised results as being a different setup can transform the results and beware the supplier who plans to 'sort that issue out during the implementation' - their solution may not actually work for you!
5. Evaluate support and take up references.
Check support Service Level Agreements and make certain your chosen supplier can offer local support at any given time when you need it. Don't forget to use up references from companies sticking with the same planning challenges - the most effective reference visits will always be ones that are carried out with no vendor present that you can then ask the really searching questions.
6. Plan the implementation.
When you have selected a vendor the next task is all about managing the changes that'll be introduced into your business. This could be involve visiting customers at different times from what they have become accustomed to. If drivers are actually going into unfamiliar territory then this Sat Nav system, preferably from the routing software is ideal. The planner's role might also change as a routing system eases their workload and time freed up might be spent on more productive activity.
Implementations will most likely follow a fairly standard path applying agreeing a detailed specification, sorting out customer data, ensuring the routing strategy is interfaced with the sales or ERP system, cleaning data, installation, training, parallel running and go live. Your selected vendor should have a precise methodology covering every one of the above aspects. Typically of thumb, the harder effort you put into the implementation process, the faster it is possible to go live as well as the greater the scale of advantages achieved.
7. Measure what you must have done.
After going live there exists usually a settling in process and tweaks are made to your operational setup - this is a normal part of the process. However this is the time to start measuring your improved performance up against the KPIs identified in Step 1. This will help to quantify the return on your investment (ROI) on the project - something which your senior management will want to see.