Can you afford routing software for your truck? Can you afford not to?

Real-time decisions made in the cloud could energise the future of your truck business

Whether long haul or local deliveries, fleet managers want the same thing: to get deliveries made as fast as possible, while maintaining safety and decreasing costs. It used to be that drivers would start work in the morning, furnished with a route that had been put together to the best of a fleet’s team’s ability.

Today, software and hardware available have not only streamlined this job but made it more effective to meet route optimisation goals. And with mobile communications and cloud-based applications, routes can be dynamically re-engineered to account for weather, road conditions, accidents, tyre damage, etc. and maintain the fleet manager’s targets.

Routing vs. Navigation

It is the key difference between routing and navigation. Navigation doesn’t account for all the factors that can affect time on the road. It simply plans a route, usually based on distance, load, speed, and any restrictions such as low bridges. While great navigation can reduce mileage and fuel use, it doesn’t do what routing can do – dynamically adjust navigation to optimise performance and delivery.

Does routing work?

Already companies have started testing technology’s ability to deliver. Pilots by Daimler and Uber in the United States have shown how autonomous trucks can increase productive hours of a truck on the road. A two-man truck will remain idle for around six hours of a day. During these down hours, fuel is used to control cabin temperature.

Platooning, driverless truck strategies are expected to massively reduce fuel use. Vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems will allow truck convoys to travel further, more efficiently, and more safely. Costs could be slashed, as fleets will save on both fuel and driver costs (which together make up around 65% of a fleet’s costs).

Routing achieves the three most basic goals of fleet management:

  • Reduces costs by reducing miles
  • Increases customer satisfaction by uplifting in-time performance
  • Enables fleets to better manage compliance with driving hours

Combined with autonomous driverless trucks, automated real-time routing should enable the fleet manager to achieve all three of these goals with minimal effort.

Different routing software is needed by different fleets

Different fleets will have different routing needs, though these can be broken into two main types:

  • Long haul requires routing on highways and optimising using standard mileage and fuel usage.
  • Local deliveries may have multiple stops to make, and routes may change every day. These routes must consider factors such as traffic, narrow streets, and local loading and unloading restrictions.

However, as same-day delivery grows in popularity, fleet managers will find that route optimisation software is an imperative tool in their armoury. Being able to alter routes in real time should help reduce both pick-up and delivery times.

The software will not only need to account for on-road elements, but also for package requirements – extra parcels may need to be picked up along a route, for example. Loading this data into the software should enable fleet managers to take advantage of such opportunities, increasing revenues while simultaneously cutting costs and enhancing the customer experience.

In other words, the shortest route is no longer always the optimal route.

Can your fleet take advantage of route optimisation software?

Routing is becoming a strategy that fleets must perform. Retailers and warehousing will increasingly demand exceptional delivery capabilities, and the fleets with the best records are likely to win the most business.

In the United States, UPS has already realised that this will be the way of the future. It has fully deployed its ORION route optimisation software in the United States and is set to expand its use into international markets. But where does this leave smaller fleets? The cost is prohibitive, so does this mean that small fleets will be buried by the big boys who are able to invest in new technologies?

Get your lead in the cloud!

While the bigger outfits have the finances to fund development of their own routing software or to install standalone systems, there are many programs available in the cloud at a much more affordable cost. Deploying these should allow a smaller fleet or sole truck operator to compete on a level playing field.

The speed and cost advantages that routing programs enable should help smaller businesses survive and thrive in an increasingly challenging environment.

To find out about our comprehensive services for truck owners and fleets, contact Darra Tyres. Never be stranded on roads in and around Brisbane again – even when most of your trucks are driverless.

Keeping your business and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.