The only predictable thing about business is the unpredictability. It’s an expression fondly held in many industry circles — and for good reason. As customer expectations change with the seasons, your business needs, and often times your entire business model, will change as well. The figurative goal is to have more business than you know what to do with, but relying on manual processes and limited capabilities can, not so figuratively, leave you in a conundrum with your customers.
The concept behind strategic planning, or territory planning as it is also known, has made headway in recent years as the process of defining your business’ direction and making strategic initiatives to make that direction an immaculately-planned reality. While strategic planning tools can vary greatly, the right solution for your business is one that can offer balance and work in unison with all the unpredictable moments that are part of the full transportation business, or any business, experience.
How daily route planning and strategic planning differ
Strategic planning is not daily route planning; at least it shouldn’t be. While daily route planning is, more than anything, focused on a driver’s day to day and near real-time circumstances, a robust strategic planning solution is far more focused on the big picture of your business.
Daily route planning is in no way inferior to strategic planning; it’s just highly fixated on one very important area — planning routes for the next day while focusing on near real-time issues, such as last-minute order additions and vehicle malfunctions. The right daily route planning solution coupled with a dedicated strategic planning solution can utilize historical patterns to inform future business planning and decisions, but that’s where the general comparison ends.
The big picture: Strategic planning as a business model
The goal of almost any business is to retain loyal customers, so investing in how deliveries and expectations are made for these customers should be top of mind. If you’re lucky enough to have regular customers, you — in less time than you may think — can have a plethora of historical data at your disposal. Leaving all of that historical route data unused, however, is an exorbitant waste of a resource that could otherwise greatly benefit your future deliveries. When you utilize this historical data, you can make service patterns months or even years in advance that help you deliver even more exceptional service to your loyal customers.
And what if you were able to take it a step further? With big-picture strategic planning, you can go beyond historical customer data to identify seasonal trends and best prepare drivers to exceed customer needs — even during the busiest of times. Housing all of that data in one, centralized location, and applying it to your future business decisions and planning models is exactly what makes strategic planning such a game-changer for your business.
Laying out the internal benefits
A full-bodied strategic planning tool isn’t just good for customers — it’s good for employees. Here’s how:
- For the driver: From roadside occurrences to ever-present delivery surprises, drivers deal with enough unpredictability in their day-to-day. Drivers can reap the benefits of a cloud-native, strategic planning tool — benefits which include far more predictable stops and the much-reduced risk of leaving a familiar geographic location and going off route.
- For the back-office employee: A dedicated solution can keep all of your pertinent customer preference data in one system, which can allow your back-office teams to analyze the impact on routes as new customers are added.
- For the executive: Your chief financial officer could really win here. The right solution can give them enhanced knowledge of overall delivery costs and even break down the cost per stop, which can then inform overall business expenses.
Check out this short demo, and see how Omnitracs Strategic Planner can help you make more on-time deliveries and exceed the expectations of your customers.