Whether you manage a small, mid-size or large fleet, you will need an efficient and high-powered truck route planning software to help manage your fleet’s daily operations. It’s crucial to ensure this tool has all the features needed to simplify operations and meet customer demands. Without a reliable truck route optimization software, fleet businesses face numerous problems that inhibit their growth. Consumer GPS route systems aren’t designed for commercial drivers or sales teams; therefore, it won't have the necessary functions for the business to thrive. Additionally, installing multiple apps to access necessary data requires a lot of task switching, which absorbs more time. Implementing a truck route planning software allows you to optimize your route automatically, increase your chance of mitigating errors and save your business time and money.
What Is Truck Route Planning Software?
A truck route planning software is a mapping tool that helps businesses with fleet operations efficiently transport goods. Typically, it includes basic features such as driver calculations and route planning. Its primary function is to help truck drivers get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time using the least amount of fuel. Sustainable America reported in 2013 that American drivers spend on average 16 minutes per day idling their vehicle, which produces $7,980,000 of waste and burns 3.8 million gallons of gas. Fleet managers can easily optimize schedules and truck routes to get the most jobs completed. This valuable resource drastically reduces idle time, which burns fuel and money. Furthermore, the software may solve other problems that fleet businesses may be facing. It improves productivity due to increased accountability of truck driving activities and enhanced visibility.
Buying Guide for Truck Route Planning Software
There are six key features that we recommend you look for in any truck route planning software:
#1. High-Resolution and Intelligent Maps
Route planning software should show live data, meaning you get the most up-to-date information regarding traffic delays, road speeds, commercial vehicle restrictions and more. Fleet managers can compare actual route times versus planned routes to make better future decisions. Routes can only be arranged against addresses that are geocoded and need accurate information to do so.
#2. Robust and Open Architecture
A truck route planning software should be able to integrate seamlessly with other top navigation apps. This enables drivers to hear turn-by-turn directions and view data through the platform. Open architecture means the platform should integrate with your current IT set-up, warehouse management system, transportation management system, track and tracing systems, on-board computers and enterprise resource planning. Having separate systems will ultimately bring about chaos and slow down a fleet’s efficiency.
#3. Handles Multiple Routes and Over 10-20 Stops
Most route planning software typically supports up to 10 to 20 stops. For a busy business that handles pick-ups, deliveries and service calls in one workday, you need the ability to optimize all of your routes. This small increase in function will save your fleet managers or route planners hours per week on planning alone. Moreover, if you’re managing multiple vehicles, it should be a priority for a truck planning software to process multiple routes at once and display them on the same map. Fleet managers can monitor all routes at once rather than switching tabs to check on your fleet. This functionality will enable fleet managers to refine routes and make strategic decisions about which vehicles should handle which calls.
#4. Shares Routes With Others
Messaging ETA times to customers, other team members, support staff or fleet managers is an extremely efficient use of a driver’s time. It’s also best not to encourage drivers to use their mobile devices while driving. Instead, your planning software should possess the capability to share planned routes with others easily. For fleet managers and route planners, this provides workload visibility for them to make adjustments to routes in real-time. Salespeople or customer service reps can better serve the customer if they can offer real-time ETA tracking when it comes to deliveries and pickups.
#5. Assigns Drivers and Adjusts Routes on the go
One important feature when managing a fleet is the ability to assign drivers to a specific route. This helps drivers focus on the sole task of driving and follow safety protocols. Fleet managers can optimize their routes by assigning routes that are near a driver’s home and working within their designated region. The software should have a time window planning feature that builds the optimal route for your driver. It factors the earliest and latest times your driver can arrive for an order, while also meeting client expectations. If meetings or deliveries take longer than expected, your software should be able to adjust the route as needed. In the event a sales representative has a cancellation or is running ahead of schedule, they can look at nearby customers who aren’t on the route schedule and add them. This enables new touchpoints to be added so that drivers can utilize their time effectively.
#6. Uploads Customer Information
A map including multiple addresses without additional details can cause confusion. A business with many clients needs a way to upload their customer information onto the route optimization software. You should be able to import an excel file of all of your customer information, like their point of contact, company name, phone number, addresses, orders and more. This way drivers know who they need to contact when they arrive at their destination and can easily drop off the orders. Additionally, software should allow users to add notes and images to help drivers with their delivery or pick-up process. For example, if a driver is dropping off supplies at a hospital, there are usually multiple entrances. Notes should be added regarding how to enter, who to drop it off with and special care instructions on handling the items.
There are many wish list features for truck planning software. Identify your must-haves so you don’t compromise on what is essential for your business. No matter the cost, it is of utmost importance to possess reliable software that will save you time and money in the long term. Azuga can help you discover some of the best ways to plan your fleet route and organize your drivers.