16 November 2018

Can route planning tools help meet customer service demands?

When it comes to bulk logistics, customers want their shipments delivered accurately, with less lead time than ever before, and to kept aware of its progress in real-time. The immediacy of digital commerce means customers are becoming more demanding all the time, and less forgiving when things go wrong.  When exceeding your customers’ demands means providing the highest possible standards of operational performance and then some, there’s really no room for error.

It stands to reason that route planning tools are a great help in managing your fleet, but how much of an impact can they make in terms of maintaining customer satisfaction? Here’s why route planning optimisation is key to your bulk shipping firm’s customer service provision.

Driver-level planning boosts delivery precision

Whether your fleet consists of five or 500 vehicles, both extremes come with several drivers, each of whom bring their own variable working parameters to their shifts. Manually creating a route plan for each driver that takes daily-changing requirements into account, such as annual leave, staff sickness and statutory working hours, is no mean feat. After all, your customers expect their shipment on time, regardless of any personnel challenges happening behind the scenes.

With its ability to automate route optimisation, only route planning software is capable of creating driver manifests at the granular level your bulk shipping business needs. Not only will these route plans be achievable for your drivers and efficient in terms of mileage and fuel consumption, you can give your customers the most accurate delivery ETAs possible.

Responsive route planning beats real-time delays 

Customers understand that unexpected factors will always have the power to impede their shipments, but they also expect to be kept informed when they do. While some issues really are out of your control – such as adverse weather conditions – your customers won’t appreciate being kept out of the loop if and when their shipment is delayed. Route planning tools should work as part of a wider logistics optimisation system, complete with vehicle and driver tracking and in-cab hardware, enabling you to maintain continuous real-time communication with your drivers while they’re behind the wheel. This way, you can monitor their progress in the field, spot transportation problems on the road ahead and send live route updates through to them without missing a beat. But, for times when avoiding problems simply isn’t possible, your ability to see where your vehicles are allows you to pass any new info on to your customers as it unfolds, keeping them informed and in good spirits.

Reviewed route plans enable continual refinement

No matter how efficient your route planning resources, pressure points and recurring issues are inevitable from time to time. But, without the capacity to review your processes to identify where these issues lie, you don’t stand much chance of fixing them and avoiding the knock-on effect to your customers. With the route planning tools, data storage and reports included with a logistics optimisation solution, you can compare planned routes against actual performance for individual drivers and vehicles, bringing any discrepancy trends between the two to light.

When the cause of a problem is known, you can adjust your route planning accordingly to amend it - for example, changing the time of day a drop is made to allow for more help unloading. It’s an operational win for your business, and one less issue that could compromise customer satisfaction. Route planning tools, and indeed, software solutions that encompass total logistical digitisation, give you the agility and insight to respond to setbacks that could otherwise damage your service to your customers. Our route planning module is just one system feature that works to improve the way your bulk logistics firm delivers, contact us to find out about the rest. 

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