Transportation management is complex. You’re dealing with complicated systems here – making one mistake could have catastrophic consequences down the line. This is why the demand for route planning software is on the rise.
Not all route planning programs are equal, though. Some are poorly designed and will make your operations even less productive.
In particular, we’re talking about software with a decentralized system. These programs are often confusing and expensive. Those aren’t exactly qualities you want out of your transportation management solution.
Instead, you need a tool that comes with a centralized transportation management system, such as fleet route planning software.
Fleet route planning software allows you to find waste and cut down on your expenses. According to Jason Cook, Managing Director at Accenture, such systems can save you up to 30% of transportation costs. Also, as per JDA’s Supply Chain Market study, 80% of supply chain management executives are in the process of centralizing their transportation management operations.
There’s good reason why four out of five supply chain managers believe in centralizing operations. Before we go into too much more detail on that, though, let’s go over the basics: what the heck is centralized transportation management?
What Is Centralized Transportation Management?
The idea behind centralized transportation management is to provide dispatchers with one dashboard that gives them a comprehensive look at all the transportation assets that are available to them at any given time.
This allows you to keep track of metrics such as driver performance and fuel usage, which in turn allows you to make more informed business decisions.
Major Benefits of Centralized Transportation Management
1. Ensures Better Communication
A centralized transportation strategy streamlines communication between carriers and vendors. It also ensures that information is distributed throughout the organization as needed so that everyone is on the same page, preventing instances of assignments being accidentally duplicated or forgotten about.
2. Minimizes Error Opportunities
Centralized transportation management allows your business to benefit from economies of scale, because it consolidates and leverages the purchasing power of all locations at once rather than multiple locations leveraging a smaller freight spend.
Also, it eliminates the need for a lot of people to fill out paperwork. Less paperwork means the likelihood of people making mistakes is drastically reduced.
3. Increases Efficiency
Fleet route planning software offers great visibility of shipment movements. This helps you plan and manage your deliveries more efficiently.
With centralized systems, you can quickly access shipment information across multiple locations at all times from one place. With decentralized systems, it might take hours to track historically localized information from several different departments and find out what you need to know.
4. Reduces Vendor Markup Costs
Many vendors rely on marked up freight to cover unexpected freight costs. Sometimes, they rely on the freight as their profit center. A centralized transport management system helps you control inbound carrier decisions and cut out vendor markups.
How Route4Me’s Fleet Route Planning Software Can Help
Fleet route planning software comes with several features and benefits that will help you manage your entire transportation process seamlessly from one place.
These features and benefits include:
1. Total Visibility Over Drivers and Vehicles
Our route scheduling software offers a GPS tracking feature that tracks every vehicle’s movements on the road. You can see what your drivers are doing in real-time.
Are they following the routes you gave them properly? If so, you’ll see it. If not, you’ll see that, too.
Are they spending more time than needed at a location? If so, you’ll see it. If not, you’ll see that, too.
This software also comes with advanced mapping technology that give you a wide-angle view of your entire fleet. You’ll have the ability to zoom in on a specific vehicle or driver, no matter where they are.
2. It Improves Driver Safety
The GPS tracking feature is also a useful tool for improving driver safety.
With GPS tracking, you can see when a driver goes over the speed limit. Speeding increases the risk of your driver being involved in a fatal accident, especially if they’re near a crowded area like a school or a market. Route optimization software allows you to see speeding as it happens, so you can call up your driver immediately and tell them to make like molasses and slow down.
This feature also allows you to see when a truck breaks down in the middle of the road in some remote area. You can send roadside assistance to the driver quickly, as you’ll be able to pinpoint the vehicle’s exact location.
3. It Helps You Compare Performance
With fleet route planning software, you can see how your business is doing from the top level down.
For example, you might see that you are doing great in New York, but underperforming in New Jersey. That’s not all – with our reports feature, you’ll be able to analyze all the relevant factors and determine why you’re underperforming in New Jersey. This information is invaluable when it comes to expanding your business.
4. It Provides Two-Way Real-Time Team Communication
Another advantage of fleet routing software is that managers, dispatchers, and route planners can use it to communicate with drivers in real-time. You can do so by using our software’s two-way real-time chat feature.
The feature is available through the in-route activity feed. Any message you send will be displayed in the activity feed, and it can be accessed through the website and on mobile devices. You can add message on the website and on mobile devices as well.
5. It Makes It Easy To Plan Accurate Routes
When you only use free mapping software like Google Maps, it can take hours to figure out the most efficient way for your drivers to get to your customers. Google just sorts your destinations in the exact same order you plugged them in – it won’t automatically find the best route for you.
Our routing software does automatically put your destinations in the most efficient order, and it provides you with 100% optimized routes in 30 seconds or less.
Route4Me gives you five options for planning routes:
- Use the software’s interactive map editor
- Copy and paste customer addresses
- Upload a file containing customer addresses
- Import data from another app
- Upload scanned addresses
Once your destinations are uploaded, you can:
- Add constraints, such as weather conditions or load capacities
- Set the directions, route durations, and avoidance zones
- Assign routes to specific users
6. It Synchronizes Routes
The key to successful route planning lies is being able to share instructions with drivers without anything getting lost along the way. This is especially true when you need to make sudden changes or add a note to a route. It wouldn’t make any make sense for changes made at 1 PM to not be relayed to your driver until 5PM, right?
With Route4Me, you can easily communicate route adjustments to your drivers after they’ve left the depot, as changes made on your local computer will be reflected on your drivers’ smartphones instantly.
7. Creates Specific Zones
When drivers are scattered across a large area, they can be difficult to manage. Route optimization software simplifies this situation, because it allows you to confine drivers to certain zones. Drivers can reach customers in a given region much faster when they don’t have to take the time to drive all the way across the entire area you serve and back.
8. Reporting and Analytics
Fleet route planning software also comes with a reporting and analytics feature, which will show you what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.
Our tracking capabilities also make it easy to identify employee fraud. Read the following article to learn more:
Can you think of any benefits to centralized transportation management software that we forgot to include here? If so, please let us know in the comments section below.