With over 10 years of experience in the telematics, trucking, and routing industries, Allen Goetz, PTV America’s Business Development Manager, is no stranger to the struggles dealt with by fleet managers on a daily basis. Neither is PTV Group – Teletrac Navman partner and specialists in software for improving fleet planning and operations, PTV Group equips fleets with the tools to get more than from point A to point B. Here’s what Allen had to say when I asked him about how important route optimization is to fleets of all sizes.
What are some of the biggest challenges fleets face in planning and executing delivery routes?
Allen: The planning and execution of delivery routes is one of the most complex and crucial pieces of any company’s business. Even calculating a simple 10-stop route will generate over 3 million potential combinations. With so many different options to choose from, selecting the most efficient route for both vehicle and driver is a big challenge for companies of all sizes – especially when there are so many constraints to consider, such as delivery windows and vehicle size. These daily decisions have an extensive impact on fleet profitability, driver satisfaction, and carbon emissions.
Where in a route tends to have the most “lost time” or opportunity for efficiency gains?
Allen: Inefficient routing is one of the main culprits for time losses, ranging from something as simple as a delivery plan unnecessarily crisscrossing a city to something as complex as a delivery sequence not taking into account historical traffic data for a particular road segment. Add in the day-to-day stress of being a commercial driver and getting the job done within the span of a day’s work can become impossible. While some technology focuses on how to improve the delivery or unloading process at the warehouse or service point, other technology can help make sure that a company’s personnel resources aren’t wasting time on the road. This can apply to a fleet of HVAC technicians all the way up to over-the-road truck drivers.
What data is most helpful/delivers the most insights for route optimization?
Allen: True route optimization takes into account all of the complex constraints that will affect each day’s work. Some loads are assigned a delivery window of just a few hours, while others have more vague requirements, like “before noon” or “after 3:00 p.m.” Certain docks require a side-load trailer, some have height restrictions. Particular shipments might require a crane to unload, or a vehicle equipped with a generator to perform the task at hand. Factoring in additional driver constraints like HOS for large trucks or overtime restrictions for hourly employees can further muddy the waters. By leveraging route optimization software equipped to easily handle these complex constraints, a fleet can take a time consuming, ever-changing puzzle and turn it into a route that moves seamlessly from planning to execution.
How does technology help with route optimization?
Allen: PTV Group’s award-winning software, Smartour, is used by some of the largest logistics, shipping, retail, and manufacturing companies in the world. Our ability to consume over 500 constraints per order or delivery combined with vehicle-specific routing including historic and real-time traffic information makes us a powerhouse for route optimization. By implementing this technology, Teletrac Navman customers simply take an optimized route and pass it directly to the in-cab PND connected to their tracking device. This allows for two-way communication between each system and completes the cycle of a route that has been optimized in advance with driver execution and performance tracking. This also allows for flexibility for last-minute route changes, enabling dispatchers to simply adjust the setting in Smartour to remove a broken-down truck or sick driver for a specific time period, then re-optimize the rest of the day.
To learn more about the integration between PTV Group and Teletrac Navman, visit http://www.teletracnavman.com/company/press/press-releases/teletrac-navman-announces-global-integration-with-ptv-group. .