Although a lot of the art of logistics is the same, much of it has changed over the years.

The smiling guy, probably the boss, is really proud of his delivery truck.

He knows that it should provide reliable service moving whatever is under the canvas cover in back to his customers.

Of course, his pride and joy needs an oil change and lube every thousand miles, if not sooner. And his driver gets all the modern features of the day, but power brakes, power steering, an automatic transmission and air conditioning are still far in the future. It will probably be a more leisurely day, with no superhighways, really low speed limits, and a lot of unpaved roads.

If the boss has a few trucks, he has only some crude tools on hand to decide which shipment goes on which truck.

He probably has delivery tickets which are carbon copies of the sales orders. So he will start by grouping then by city or town name. If it is a big city, it helps if he knows the postal zones in those days before ZIP codes. Then, exactly where are these customer locations? Paper maps and other reference materials probably need to be pulled out of the drawer to get some idea of all the places that need to be visited that day.

At this point the boss will start to move those delivery tickets to stacks, one for each truck. One of the first questions is whether or not everything will fit on the truck. From the picture it looks like business is booming and the back of the truck looks pretty full. Maybe some of those delivery tickets need to be moved to a different stack so everything fits.

Putting the delivery tickets in order is another task. He wants to drive the fewest miles as possible, but one of the customers is a diner that is only open early in the day, and another is a restaurant that opens late for the dinner crowd. He has to get to each of them theri deliveries at just the right time.

When he is done, the boss gets to hand the tickets to a driver and assume that the work will get done correctly.

Today, it is a lot easier. We have electronic maps, cell phones, GPS tracking, better trucks, longer maintenance cycles and better roads.

But I am always amazed that in spite of the available technology, there are route planners who start out the day with delivery tickets that get sorted by hand.

In some cases, the software that runs the business does not have features for finding customer locations and scheduling deliveries. In other cases, the feature is there, but it really hard to use. And in other cases, the boss thinks that an effective routing solution is just out of reach: too expensive, too complicated, or too hard to integrate with the existing business application.

Maybe it’s time to put the paper delivery ticket in the past along with the thousand mile oil change.

There are easy to use, cost effective ways to use the power of artificial intelligence to turn data, not paper delivery tickets, into efficient and effective last mile logistics solutions.

Visit us at Strategic Movements and see how Strategic Movements can reduce the cost of last mile route planning and the overall transportation costs, as well.

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