Most businesses want to reduce overall transportation expenses as much as possible while maintaining their equipment well and providing the level of service that their customers expect.

For many businesses, a large part of the savings can be found using a software solution that makes intelligent decisions on assigning work to vehicles in the most cost-effective way. When the overall driving distance is reduced, so are fuel and other mileage-based maintenance costs. When the right assignments are made and the work is properly balanced, overtime costs are also reduced.

GPS tracking diagram

But the best and most cost-effective plans will not produce a reduction in transportation costs unless the driver for each of these well-planned routes executes the route as planned.

The most obvious next step is to implement a GPS solution where the location of each vehicle is tracked. When the actual path of the vehicle is known, it can be compared to what was planned and the dispatcher (or other supervisor) can identify where the driver has gone off-route.

Compliance reports, also known as “planned vs actual” reports, allow the dispatcher to review each route each day to spot the exceptions to the plan.

Many of the exceptions are easily explained. A school bus, a train at a grade crossing, or an accident can add more than a few minutes to the drive time between stops, which, in turn, will cause late arrivals throughout the day.

Some of the exceptions, however, might be explained but are not related to the planned operations. On a few occasions, I have seen GPS data identify the misuse of vehicles, including daily out of route trips for lunch or other activities. The reports, then, can be used for counseling or discipline, depending on the severity of the infraction.

So, what should you expect from compliance reporting?

First, comprehensive reports that give a detailed listing of each stop with the planned and actual distance driven, drive time, arrival time, work time and departure time. Variances in any these values that exceed some threshold should easily be identified. If there is nothing reported for a driver, then the dispatcher can quickly go on to the next one. If there is anything highlighted, it is a good starting point for a discussion with the driver.

The trick is to report only true exceptions. Being five minutes late on an hour long trip should probably not even be flagged, but if this happens many times in a single trip, the arrival time at later stops will be impacted and this does need to be reported.

Distance variations over some threshold should also be identified. While a shortcut that save miles is almost always more efficient, some drivers have driven between the same two stops the same way for a long time and may not be aware that there is a more efficient route possible. Here the dispatcher can point out the better route for future use.

Second, a graphical user interface with a map can be used to show the planned and actual travel paths. In Strategic Movements, a dispatcher can replay the actual GPS travel path on the map and compare it to the route as planned. The numbers on a report may show that there might be a problem, but the path on the map can be the actual proof.

What is needed to track driver compliance?

Business process automation is a good starting place. Compliance reporting is much easier if it happens automatically.

The first step is moving the delivery data from the system of record to an application for route planning. Then, after the routes have been planned, they should be sent to the GPS tracking application, which will send the tracking data back to the route planning application for compliance analysis.

An email to the dispatcher should identify if there are issues to be investigated. Then the dispatcher can review the work from the previous day to determine whether there was a problem or not. With an automated solution, monitoring compliance is greatly simplified.

And, the ongoing monitoring should lead to conversations with the drivers on the need for efficient operations that benefit everyone.

So whether you are doing route planning, trip planning or load planning, and whether you are scheduling service technicians or product deliveries, and whether you plan using a manual process, static routes from a master schedule, or with fully dynamic routes with an artificial intelligence assignment process, Strategic Movements may the solution you need.

Strategic Movements can be integrated with an ERP or other business application and can also be integrated with your GPS providers solution as well, providing an end-to-end process for reducing last mile transportation expenses.

Please visit our website at www.strategicmovements.com to see how we can improve the efficiency of your last mile delivery work assignment.

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