What happens when the yesterday’s deliveries did not go as planned? How does this impact the deliveries that need to be made today? How do you deal with these unplanned extra stops?

Much can be learned from the driver executing a delivery plan. When yesterday’s problems impact today’s work, sometimes a supervisor can makes changes to produce a more efficient route, sometimes the driver can swap stops with another driver, but sometimes the driver just has to do more work in less time.

To learn more about the business of delivering fry oil to fast food restaurants, I scheduled a ride with a driver to see how he made his deliveries.

The day did not start out as planned. There were some missed deliveries at the end of the previous day, and the recovery procedure was for the driver to finish the previous day’s stops before starting the new day’s route.

This obviously means that all deliveries scheduled for the current day will be late, but at least everyone, in theory, will get a delivery.

When we started driving, I noticed that we were going in the opposite direction, away all the stops scheduled for that day. This is where I learned the rule about finishing the previous day’s stops first. After driving 45 minutes, we made it to the town where there were two stops left over from the previous day. We serviced them without problem.

Then we headed to the stops we should have started over an hour earlier.

We made the first delivery well over two hours late without any issues. The next delivery also went well, just a bit late.

I then read off the third stop on the list and the driver told me that we had to skip it and come back later in the day. Why? The oil port, where old fry oil is picked up and new fry oil is delivered was next to the drive-up lane. And the store manager did not want his customers driving over the oil hose during his busy lunch period.

So, after a few more deliveries, we headed back to the missed stop, made a final delivery, and went back to the office.

The planning for this trip obviously left much to be desired.

The long drive in the wrong direction was expensive. There may have been other drivers that could have been assigned those missed stops, but that would have required quite a bit of route planning work to make sure that all the work was done in a reasonably efficient way.

Less expensive, but not without cost, was skipping the stop during the busy time of the day and then returning to service it later.

After talking to the route planner, I learned that his company’s business application did not capture time window requirements and that other special requirements were not well maintained either. So, even with an automated process to reassign stops that were missed, there was still no way to handle special cases like the manager’s reluctance to allow customers to drive over the oil hose.

Business process review by the vendor is one of the keys to a successful route optimization installation.

And business process review is not just about talking to someone far removed from actual operations. Besides what is known in the corporate office, a good understanding of how the deliveries are made is also essential.

Once a customer has decided that we might offer a solution to their business problem, we start with a free consultation to ensure that our solution will work. We also have to ask the hard questions that lead to the issues described above.

Do you want to see how route optimization reduces your planning costs and can help you start each day with efficient routes even if the previous day did not go as planned?

Check us out at www.strategicmovements.com to see what we do. Have questions? Contact us at info@walzik.com

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