Route Planning Software
1. Being aware you want.
Most companies cite reducing costs or increasing efficiency and customer support levels as the reason behind wanting a routing system. However there might be other drivers like responding to business growth or modifications in legislation. Whatever the reason it is important that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to your drivers are set in the beginning so you can accurately measure if you have achieved your objectives.
2. Get everyone fully briefed.
Putting a routing system in place will require support off their departments. Start by getting senior management backing for that project. Having this set up from the outset is important 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 manufactured. It is critical that the IT department is involved since they will need to allocate time and resource to the project. You should also include your transport planners as they will be the main users and beneficiaries in the system.
3. Analyse your preferences.
Describe your business and transport requirements in detail, preferably in writing. Specify what you really are transporting, how goods are packaged for transport, what constitutes a purchase order, when does it need to occur, what resources (drivers and vehicles) you can get? A critical area of your operation refers to loading and unloading the vehicles, just how long does it take, how orders might be arranged on the vehicle, what are the packing rules that must be followed? Getting this right constitutes a real difference to your results.
4. Make sure your supplier can truly be practical.
Conduct a ‘beauty parade’ of vendors and test their capabilities by asking to take a representative sample of your respective transport data and show you how it would be routed. Light beer your chosen routing system to ‘model’ your operation will be the single most important factor that you must spend time on. Be mindful when comparing optimised results like a different setup can alter the results and beware the supplier who intentions to ‘sort that issue out during the implementation’ – their solution might not actually work for you!
5. Evaluate support and take up references.
Check support Service Level Agreements and be sure your chosen supplier may offer local support at a time when you need it. Don’t forget to take up references from companies with similar planning challenges – the top reference visits will always be ones that are carried out minus the vendor present as possible then ask the truly searching questions.
6. Plan the implementation.
Once you have selected a vendor the next phase is all about managing the changes which will be introduced into your business. This can be involve visiting customers at different times from what they have become utilized to. If drivers have become going into unfamiliar territory then this Sat Nav system, preferably of this particular routing software is ideal. The planner’s role can also change as a routing system eases their workload and time freed up might be spent on more productive activity.
Implementations will usually follow a fairly standard path applying agreeing a detailed specification, sorting out customer data, ensuring the routing product is interfaced with the sales or ERP system, cleaning data, installation, training, parallel running and go live. Your best vendor should have a precise methodology covering each one of the above aspects. Usually of thumb, the greater effort you put in to the implementation process, the faster you are able to go live as well as the greater the scale of advantages achieved.
7. Measure what you’ve done.
After going live there is usually a settling in process and tweaks are supposed to your operational build – this is a component of the process. However this is the time to start measuring your improved performance contrary to the KPIs identified in Step one. This will help to quantify the roi (ROI) on the project – something your senior management would want to see.