Route management is a complex activity requiring meticulous planning and the right tools

Route management and how to streamline it

28 Nov 2023

Route management is a critical part of logistics and goods transport. It can make the difference between success and failure in order delivery.

Efficient route management means ensuring timely deliveries, reducing operational costs and optimising available resources. Technology plays a pivotal role in this process: software solutions and real-time tracking systems have transformed companies’ ability to organise their transport routes.

Route management: definition and operations involved

Route management refers to the process of planning, arranging and controlling the routes businesses use to transport goods or people. This process applies to a wide range of fields, from logistics and the movement of goods to public transport and fleet management.

The main goal of route management is to organise the planning and execution of travel itineraries to guarantee productivity, lower costs and on-time deliveries. The main activities involved in transport route management include:

  • Route planning. This phase determines the optimal route a vehicle (or set of vehicles) should take to arrive at its destination. It considers factors such as distance, size and weight restrictions, traffic regulations and customer preferences.
  • Resource allocation. Once the route is planned, the necessary resources — e.g., vehicles and drivers — are assigned to carry out the trip efficiently.
  • Real-time tracking. Real-time tracking systems, such as GPS technology, are used to monitor the location and progress of vehicles en route.
  • Load optimisation. When transporting goods, vehicles are loaded logically to maximise capacity and minimise deadheading (partial or empty trips).
  • Information management. Route management involves the collection and use of data — both historical and real-time — to make informed decisions that enhance route efficiency.
  • Communication and strategic planning. Seamless communication between transport agencies and logistics teams is key to making sure that everyone is aware of possible changes in routes or traffic conditions. It’s also standard practice to integrate route management into a company’s strategic planning so that operations are productive and cost-effective.

To sum up, transport route management is a comprehensive process that seeks to increase efficiency in moving goods or people.

Route management helps ensure that orders are delivered on time and in good condition
Route management helps ensure that orders are delivered on time and in good condition

10 tips for optimal route management

In freight transport, fine-tuning route management is vital for improving productivity, reducing costs and meeting delivery deadlines. Here are 10 essential steps to achieve this:

  1. Use advanced route management software. These programs employ algorithms and real-time data to plan ideal routes, taking into account factors such as distance, traffic, weight or size restrictions and delivery schedules
  2. Collect and analyse data. Gathering historical information on routes, delivery times and traffic conditions helps identify patterns and areas for improvement. And compiling and analysing a larger volume of data helps streamline future routes planned.
  3. Prioritise efficiency and sustainability. Planning routes that shorten travel distance and time on the road reduces fuel costs and carbon emissions. It’s also advisable to think about using greener vehicles or electric lorries.
  4. Organise vehicle allocation. It’s crucial to assign the right vehicles for every task and avoid deadheading whenever possible. To do this, consider the payload capacity, type of merchandise and destination.
  5. Plan with a margin of flexibility. Take into account contingencies and time allowances for unforeseen events. Factors such as traffic, weather conditions and last-minute changes can delay deliveries.
  6. Prioritise safety. Routes must be safe for drivers and comply with all traffic and road safety regulations. Avoid dangerous routes and risky manoeuvering.
  7. Implement real-time tracking systems. GPS and similar technologies help monitor vehicle location and progress. With the information obtained, you can make real-time adjustments to respond quickly to unexpected changes.
  8. Guarantee seamless communication with carriers. It’s critical to provide transport agencies with updated information on routes, changes in orders and delivery expectations. Smooth communication is a must for avoiding coordination failures.
  9. Automate repetitive tasks. Automation boosts route planning and resource allocation. Artificial intelligence-based systems can perform repetitive tasks quickly and accurately, 24 hours a day.
  10. Measure and improve continuously. To assess the management and effectiveness of transport routes, you have to establish key performance indicators (KPIs). Periodic analysis lets you adjust your strategies based on the results.

Optimising route management is a continuous process that requires investment in technology, data analysis and the collaboration of your entire logistics team.

Advantages of successful route management

Managing transport routes effectively will result in fewer errors and the following benefits:

  • Compliance with delivery times. Correct route management ensures that goods reach their destination at the agreed time. Plus, you’ll keep your customers happy while fulfilling contracts and service-level agreements.
  • Cost cutting. Efficient route planning keeps operational costs down, resulting in significant savings in fuel and vehicle maintenance. Route optimisation can also avoid toll costs and traffic fines by bypassing problematic routes.
  • Emissions reduction. Successful route management not only benefits companies in terms of costs — it also has a positive effect on the environment. Shortening travel distances and time on the road brings down greenhouse gas emissions, fostering sustainability.
Optimal transportation route management reduces fuel consumption and travel times
Optimal transport route management reduces fuel consumption and travel times

More agile, economical and sustainable transport

In a world focused more and more on efficiency and environmental impact, route management has become a strategic priority for boosting supply chains and goods transport service. But it isn’t just a matter of finding the shortest route. To enhance route management, you need to consider several factors to ensure timely deliveries, cut costs and minimise your environmental impact.

Investing in technology and efficient processes can generate significant savings and improve customer satisfaction. For example, Multi Carrier Shipping Software is ideal for businesses whose facilities process and distribute many daily orders and work with one or more carriers. With this software, companies can automate shipment management to offer faster deliveries and ensure customer satisfaction.

While orders are being packed, the software communicates the shipping information to the designated transport agency. The system automatically generates and prints a label for each parcel. This label includes the tracking number so that customers can locate their orders in real time. Multi Carrier Shipping Software automates the management of shipments through the main delivery agencies in each country, including UPS, DHL, TNT and DB Schenker.

If you’re looking to streamline shipping and ensure on-time deliveries to satisfy your customers, be sure to get in touch. One of our expert consultants will be happy to advise you on the best option for your company.

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