Now that the primary heating season is over for most of the United States, it may be time to think not about how to make oil and propane deliveries, but how to do them more efficiently the time around.

Much of the delivery of home heating fuel is dynamic; that is, orders are placed when fuel is needed and the supplier has to then plan a route and schedule the delivery.

There are several ways to determine that a delivery is needed. In some cases, the customer checks a tank gauge and calls the supplier when a refill is needed. In other cases for automatic delivery, the supplier can keep track of degree days and get an estimate of the fuel recently used and then schedule the delivery. The best case is where automatic delivery is driven by tank telemetry where the tank itself reports when it needs to be refilled.

In all of these cases, the mix of orders will be different every day and, given that each customer will need a different amount of fuel to be delivered, the actual travel route will vary every day, as well.

The final twist to delivery plans is for propane delivery. What should be done when the truck still has gas after the last scheduled stop?

I have seen two competitors answer this question very differently. One believed that the gas should stay on the truck and be used in the next day’s delivery. The other believed that the gas should be delivered to a large consumer of gas (usually a fast food restaurant) as the final stop and the truck should always return empty.

During those cold days of the peak heating season, the drivers may be expected to make many deliveries, working overtime as required.

Dynamic route planning and scheduling software is one way to improve the efficencies in a fuel delivery company. There are two factors to consider: how long does it take to plan routes for multiple trucks, and how can the routes be planned to minimize driving time and distance.

With over 30 years experience in the development of route planning, scheduling and dispatching software, the Walzik team has seen that the transportation costs can be reduced by 10% over 90% of the time.

When the heating season is wrapped up and planning for next winter starts, consider a better way to plan those fuel deliveries.

Do you want cost effective routes built in a short amount of time, and want to benefit from the savings? Visit us at Strategic Movements and see what we can do for you.

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