How AI Can Help Driver Satisfaction

Ron Dombrowski October 19, 2019

I always find it interesting to see what others are saying about the benefits of Artificial Intelligence in providing last mile delivery solutions.

The two that are always mentioned are that it takes a lot less time to build the routes and that the routes that are produced are much more efficient.

But one thing I have not seen mentioned is that AI can be used to increase driver satisfaction as well.

Happy Driver

Most of my readers, like me, work inside at a desk. We come into the office, put in our time for the day, and then leave. We have a very good idea of how long our "working day" is. It is just the time spent at the office.

For many drivers, there is a different perception. There is the time that they pull out of the yard or garage, and then there is the driving time to the first stop. And on the way back, there is the time from when they leave the last stop driving back to the yard or garage.

These drivers see the drive out to the first stop and the drive back not as really working, but just as uninterrupted travel time. Maybe time for cup of coffee or listening to the radio. Work time is judged as the time making stops during the day. For these drivers, a stop a short distance from the starting point, which makes perfect economic routing sense, just means they are just starting the real "working" part of the day earlier.

Over the years, many dispatchers told me that "the drivers don’t like the routes" when being given routes that did not consider this.

During one installation the CFO told me that they wanted absolutely the lowest cost routes. The implementation team did so, and during a pilot I was told that the drivers were unhappy with their new routes. A change to a tuning parameter and the problem was solved.

Now you might say that there was an additional transportation cost in creating routes with a longer drive to the first stop. But consider that no matter how well an AI solution builds routes, there is always variance from what is optimal. The figure I have heard most often is that it is around three percent. Then consider that no one really can predict down to the second how long it will really take to get from one place to another. A grade crossing, a school bus, an accident, or just bad luck on red lights all add something to the estimated time.

So, all routing solutions that have a similar costs probably should be considered equally good. And the very small cost of giving a driver a "better" route is rarely going to be significant. And I have been told many times that happy drivers are much more productive than unhappy drivers.

Do you want cost effective routes built in a short amount of time, and also have a way to keep your drivers happy, visit us at Strategic Movements and see what we can do for you.

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