Reduce Route Planning from Hours to Minutes
The challenge facing all carriers who make multi-stop deliveries is deciding which shipments to load together, and in which order. Most LTL terminals have between a few hundred and 1,000+ delivery stops to plan in a very short time window. Conflicting constraints of vehicle capacities, shipment sizes, customer time windows, driver availability and geography create vast complexity. Delivering even a relatively simple-looking set of stops can be done thousands of different ways. Which is the best?
One regional LTL carrier faced significant challenges planning routes using only “tribal knowledge.” Supervisors spent up to five hours at the dock stand, moving paper delivery receipts from linehaul or trap manifests into delivery manifests – still planning routes even while the dock moved freight.
There was no visibility to the overall picture, and no way to know how a decision about an individual bill or route would affect the cost of the P&D operation, much less whether a driver could hit all his appointment windows.
Success was defined as just getting the job done, but what this LTL carrier really needed was effective routing that maximized stops per hour, with reductions in miles and cost. With no calculation of mileage or other KPIs in the process, they were flying blind.
The RouteMax team collaborated with the carrier’s IT and operations team to implement the product and ensure it met their unique business needs. Within two weeks, the two-way data integration between carrier’s IT system and RouteMax was established by leveraging standard RouteMax rest APIs.
Application Configuration to tailor RouteMax to the carrier’s needs:
- Route specifications, such as maximum stops per route and driver availability.
- Equipment specifications, such as vehicle capacities, liftgate or other special needs, quantities of each vehicle type, vehicle types needed for different customers, and shipment cube calculations.
- Time specifications, such as travel times along truck-legal roads, availability or linehaul arrival time at the terminal, service times for each customer, driver start times, delivery windows, and times.
- Historical pickup density, to ensure the delivery routes are tuned to end at strategic locations at ideal empty times so that drivers can begin doing pickups.
- Lightning-fast optimization, routing several hundred bills in under two minutes.
Comprehensive Training to instill confidence and ensure success:
- Dedicated fail-safe testing environment training on data mirrored from production so users could get a feel for working with real RouteMax data without worrying about corrupting actual routes.
- Comprehensive training curriculum including daytime and nighttime remote and on-site instruction, resulting in users becoming adept in just two days.
In concrete terms, the carrier reports that RouteMax has resulted in:
- A decrease in Miles per Stop by 6%
- An increase in Stops per Hour by 8%
- A 50% decrease in route planning time
- $$ saved in P&D Cost
- Operating Ratio went from 0.96 à 0.90
The carrier’s results with RouteMax were impressive. An inbound planner reported that, “RouteMax seems to be designed to take guesswork out of plotting routes. It chooses the best routes for that day taking into consideration stops for the day, locations, units available, appointment times and the type of units required for specific deliveries. RouteMax has produced excellent results. I would not want to go back to the old way.”