When managing a commercial or private fleet, the productivity, performance and safety of your operations is mission critical. There is a broad range of technology solutions and software tools available on the market to automate manual processes that make your fleet and mobile resources more efficient, improve your service offering, manage driver performance and enable you to comply with government regulations. So how do you determine what is best for your organization?
Key capabilities to look for include the fleet management system's ability to:
- Create pick-up/delivery appointments and plans that best serve customers while minimizing costs;
- Produce routing results that reduce fuel, labor and vehicle costs;
- Track on-road performance of drivers and vehicles to ensure that plans are being well executed in the field and that changes can be managed in real time;
- Capture and distribute customer data from the field to help eliminate paper-based processes;
When choosing a routing and scheduling software platform look for the following features:
- Powerful route optimization engine. The optimization logic needs to be able to consider the parameters that drive your business. The more powerful the optimization engine of the planning tool, the more likely the engine it will handle a broader spectrum of business parameters that meet a wide variety of routing scenarios while at the same time producing better/more feasible results.
- Intuitive and ergonomic user interface. With an intuitive and ergonomic user interface, regardless of your knowledge of information technologies, it is likely that each user will adapt more easily to the system and produce the results needed in a short period of time.
- High resolution and intelligent maps. The high resolution of a planning solution’s underlying maps data and system rendering ability are a critical feature of all best in class routing solutions. Maps should include the most up-to-date information across various data layers including commercial vehicle restrictions, road speeds, congestion, and so on because routes can only be planned against addresses that can be successfully geocoded against a map and realistic routes can only be calculated if based on correct information.
- End-to-end Platform for Dispatch Management and GPS Tracking. Great route plans only go so far. Effective fleet operations require the flexibility to adjust and respond to the day-to-day realities once vehicles leave the depot and execute on the road. Route performance vs. plan should be measured continuously to achieve maximum productivity, meet customer expectations, and support continuous improvement.
- Open and robust architecture. Integration with your existing IT set-up, and interoperability with all transportation management systems (TMS), warehouse management systems (WMS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, on-board computers (GPS) and track & tracing systems.