One of the key reasons for using a route optimization application is the ability to use a GPS application for tracking, and then to compare the actual route driven with the route that was planned.

Route optimization can save anywhere from 10 to 30 percent in overall transportation expenses every day, but these savings can only be achieved when the driver follows the route given.

In many cases, the driver knows a shortcut that can avoid traffic signals, grade crossings or schools. But sometimes the deviation from the planned route is only for the benefit for the driver, not the employer.

Over the years, I have seen GPS results that identified a driver stopping for lunch at the same place every day, and a different driver stopping at same out-of-route house every afternoon. In both cases, the excess distance and the wasted drive time completely negated the savings from planning a low-cost route.

So, what should you look for when trying to improve compliance?

Tight curve with warning signsIf a driver can drive fewer miles in less time between two stops by knowing and using a better route, this is usually a good thing. You may need to review the shortcut and see if the driver has chosen roads suitable for the vehicle. You may want a delivery truck, for example, to stay off residential streets except for the last part of a delivery. Or there may be roads that have bad sight lines, tight curves or narrow pavement that you consider a safety hazard.

On the other hand, if the drive distance is higher than expected, the driver may need to explain the reason for the route. Sometimes a different route is chosen for safety reasons, but sometimes it is chosen for the convenience of a quick coffee stop.

A planned vs actual report does not solve the problems of driver compliance but does highlight them so that they can be discussed.

Beside route compliance, driver performance needs to be considered. Excess work time at one stop can mean a late arrival at the next stop, which can lead to customer satisfaction issues.

If a job is to be performed within some estimated time range and a driver consistently takes longer than expected, this can also be found in a planned vs actual report.

Some people can perform a task in less time than someone else, but work times consistently longer than expected need to be investigated.

But, remember that reporting only highlights issues that need to be investigated and discussed. There is still the actual work of changing driver behavior that needs to be done.

Unhappy, bored delivery driver

While most workers want to do an efficient job every day, there are those who believe that they know more about getting from one place to another and doing their job than their employer does.

I have seen cases where actual abuse by a driver was ignored because the driver would be hard to replace. To the employer, the cost of employee turnover was greater than the savings from route optimization.

The lesson learned here is that there are ways to save consistently in transportation costs, but everyone from top management to the drivers must be in agreement that a new way of assigning and tracking work is in the best interest of everyone involved.

Route optimization and dynamic routing may put drivers on unfamiliar roads. As drivers travel into areas new to them, do not set unrealistic expectation on drive times. Always, safety first. Driving on Unfamiliar Roads is an older post, but highlights the need for safety awareness.

Strategic Movements can transfer daily route plans to external GPS and handheld terminal applications. As tracking and work completion data appears in those applications, it can be sent back to Strategic Movement and displayed on the Dispatch Board.

After the day’s work is completed, reports showing how well the daily plan was executed can be printed, or the data exported for analysis by another application.

Longer term reports can also be printed showing compliance and performance over a longer time period.

If you are currently using GPS for tracking but are not effectively planning routes and comparing the actual driver activity to a plan, you are still not getting the most efficient use of your resources.

Strategic Movements offers both route optimization and compliance reporting.

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We can do a demo using your data or can offer a free trial so you can see for yourself how much you can save with route optimization from Strategic Movements.

Whether you are just curious, thinking about a solution, or are ready to implement a process that will reduce transportation costs every day, you can sign up  for our blog and see what Strategic Movements can do you do.