Expecting the unexpected – Effective fleet decisions
Fleet owners, managers and drivers all work in a dynamic, ever-changing environment. With so many variables it can prove extremely challenging to make effective decisions, particularly when something crops up unexpectedly.
Imagine you have all your routes planned for the day. Then one of your drivers rings in sick. A customer cancels their job, but another customer wants to reschedule their job for today. On top of that, you discover one of the jobs will require your biggest truck, the one with the 55′ boom, but access to the site is difficult due to road restrictions and low bridges affecting larger vehicles.
What was going to be a straightforward day has quickly turned into a logistical nightmare.
Of course, you’ll get it done one way or another, but have you thought that maybe there was a better way? How can you tell if the decisions you make are the most cost-efficient and the most profitable, while at the same time delivering great service to your clients?
The wide range of scheduling options available may leave you and your fleet looking extremely busy but, sadly, not very productive. Just because you’re splashing around in the water, it doesn’t mean you’re swimming!
So what makes for a good fleet management decision?
- It’s made quickly
- It’s made decisively
- It puts the customer first
- It’s made with the fleet’s profitability in mind
- It’s flexible and responsive to new developments
- It takes into account all relevant factors
It’s not hard to see why relying solely on intuition doesn’t always make for the best, or most profitable, decision. Using a route planning solution like Telogis® Route™, however, can simplify and automate the decision-making process. This means you can make optimized decisions about your fleet, even when you’re not around!
So how does Telogis Route work?
Telogis Route takes into account all the different factors affecting your fleet. This includes storing comprehensive details about all of your drivers, vehicles and customers. It also leverages information about such factors as a driver’s hourly rate, their skill-set, a vehicle’s equipment and fuel economy, and a customer’s special requirements, i.e., specific delivery times.
When it is time to plan your jobs for the day, week or month ahead, you can enter or import your planned jobs, then let Telogis Route automatically optimize each route based on everything it knows about your fleet. The optimization process will allow you to complete the most jobs, traveling the fewest miles and at the lowest cost, taking into account driver and truck attributes, while also meeting customer requirements. You can even balance driver workloads to distribute jobs fairly.
Cost is a major factor in how a fleet manager makes decision. Often you’ll have a limited budget to work with and ever-increasing demands to meet. It’s critical that you keep costs as low as possible without hurting your customers or taking unsafe shortcuts. Telogis Route actually compares different scenarios to help you see instantly the financial impact of choosing a different route or using a different driver. You can use this type of information to not only make great tactical decisions, but also for long-term strategic decisions such as whether it’s profitable to accept a particular job.
Even the best decisions don’t always go to plan
Of course fleets don’t always operate like clockwork, and and you can’t always stick to the plans you make at the beginning of a shift. Things happen — sometimes things which are beyond you and your driver’s control. For example, vehicle breakdowns or complications on the job can add unforeseen time delays to planned routes.
How does Telogis Route help when things go wrong?
Part of the power of Telogis Route is its ability to report and communicate with Telogis Fleet, delivering “planned vs. actual” intelligence. You can use this information in real-time so you can respond proactively by notifying customers of potential delays, or by reassigning fleet resources. It can also be used as a way to review past performance for determining driver incentives or training needs related to on-time deliveries, start times and other performance indicators.
Delivering the decision
Now that Telogis Route has optimized your routes, you’re ready to deliver them to your drivers. Telogis Route offers several different options, including sending them directly to the driver’s personal GPS device* or printing them out as route cards. Route information includes turn-by-turn directions and any relevant notes about each job, making it easier for relief drivers to fill-in when needed.
Telogis Route gives you the confidence that you are making the best possible decisions under the circumstances, and helps you identify hidden costs and uncover savings opportunities.
*Using Telogis Mobile