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Route Planning: Optimize Your Distribution, Service, and Sales Operations

Route Planning: Optimize Your Distribution, Service, and Sales Operations

Companies are constantly striving for efficient operations while simultaneously reducing costs in order to achieve maximum profitability. Weakening economic factors and higher fuel costs have led many companies to reevaluate their territories, routes, stops, and facility locations, revealing significant backtracking and out-of-the-way stops. Route-planning solutions play a key role in cutting costs and improving productivity in the distribution and service industry. 

Routing solutions are designed to automate the strategic planning process in order to reduce miles, lower operational costs, and properly utilize vehicle and driver resources. Read on to learn more about how Omnitracs Routing can help improve your customer service, refine your distribution operations, and increase your company’s bottom line.

Elements of Routing: Customers, Territories, and Mergers

Successfully setting new customers up in an existing route territory is a top priority. Every company wants to best serve its new customers while maintaining satisfactory operations with its existing customers. That’s where effectively redefining routes plays a critical role. 

When a company relies on manual rerouting processes, redefining existing routes can quickly become burdensome. Automating your rerouting process can save your operations an ample amount of time and money. 

As mergers and acquisitions become increasingly common, distributors and service organizations are finding themselves with more overlapping territories and branches than ever before. The right solution can help determine the most cost-efficient territories and routes, which in turn also factors in new and existing customers. 

In most companies, each stop is a cost center, which is why it is highly important to determine which routes and stops generate the most and least revenue for your company. Many companies have delivered to the same accounts via the same routes for years and haven’t prioritized reevaluating those routes in order to ensure they remain the most cost-effective and efficient. 

Evaluating the effectiveness of existing routes, while accounting for newly acquired customers, territories, and branches can help determine which accounts should be placed on which route and which days of the week they should be serviced.

Route Solutions for Varying Customer Needs 

Part of properly planning routes involves deciding on what day to service a customer — which can be difficult and frustrating if done manually and without the right data. A manager must initially consider a customer’s wants and needs as well as what is best from an efficiency and cost standpoint. However, the day the customer wants a delivery may not always logistically be the most efficient and cost-effective day to deliver. Managing these exceptions is usually where distribution companies break even or lose money. 

Furthermore, not all customer accounts are created equal. Planning for smaller accounts that are geographically out of place can be frustrating and time-consuming. The right solution can quickly determine which days and with what frequency an account should be serviced, placing the servicing decision in the hands of management and not in the hands of the customers. The more structured the routing, the higher the profit increase. 

Service policies can also be set according to sales volume — like a once-a-week service for a smaller company in a rural area versus five days per week for your most vital customers. One more step remains critical in ensuring a smooth rerouting process — balancing employee satisfaction with exceptional customer service.

Route Planning Software Priorities

Many companies are all too familiar with balancing driver and back office experience with customer satisfaction. 

With driver turnover so rampant, prioritizing driver satisfaction is key to keeping your operations moving smoothly. At the same time, customer satisfaction is highly critical. Keeping your customers happy is what keeps your business prosperously moving forward. And then there’s your back-office staff. Tedious, manual, and outdated tasks can be quite burdensome. 

Manual rerouting can easily eat up hours in a day for months at a time — and errors still happen all too frequently. 

With your operations moving this way, your drivers are driving longer hours for less money, your back-office is constantly having to prioritize manual rerouting above other critical tasks, and your customers are inevitably not receiving their deliveries at a pace comparable with the quality customers are used to these days. 

That’s why a user-friendly solution is a must. These solutions show your customers, drivers, and back-office staff that you value their time and want to eliminate any tedious and manual rerouting processes. 

Omnitracs Strategic Planner: A First-Of-Its-Kind Solution

Getting started with Omnitracs Strategic Planner is fast and simple. By entering your company’s historical data and business priorities, Omnitracs Strategic Planner can analyze this information to generate an optimal territory solution for existing fixed routes or pre-sale territories. It also allows you to configure each route and its stop sequence within a territory in order to accommodate your customer-specific needs and time window requirements. 

In just seconds, you’ll receive a strategic roadmap of balanced routes. For immediate analysis, Omnitracs Strategic Planner generates a report that compares before and after routing statistics to show potential savings in time, cost, and equipment — plus a numeric score to benchmark your progress. 

With Omnitracs Strategic Planner, you can: 

  • Optimize territory mapping to prevent overlap and balance daily workloads
  • Create predictable service schedules to ensure on-time deliveries and improved customer service
  • Perform business exploration to compare multiple business scenarios, and easily forecast the implications of business changes
  • Automate your rerouting process and eliminate manual processes for seasonal and yearly resource planning
  • Set customizable business rules to create plans for customers who have multiple service types and business goals

The Routing Solution You’ve Been Looking For

With constant customer changes, backtracking, and off-route stops, companies can’t rely on traditional route planning. Seasonal volume spikes, rising fuel costs, sudden long-term traffic issues, and numerous resource emergencies can easily tamper with traditional routing. 

Fixing these errors takes more than guesswork and manual planning, as it’s nearly impossible to find the time and resources to manually and constantly reroute trucks. With Omnitracs Strategic Planner, you can compare historical data and streamline your business routing operations. Talk with a specialist and get started with Omnitracs Strategic Planner today.