Just a few years ago, deliveries were carried out using a map and a list of addresses. This was a time when mobile technology was not readily available for every other task. With the advent of technology and smartphones, we now have every little piece of information at our fingertips.
In commercial truck routing software, all the information is in one place, right from the customer’s location to the most optimized way of reaching the destination. It has been a boon for last-mile delivery operations.
A commercial vehicle route planner is used for truck routing. It is used to create efficient and time-effective delivery truck routes that help in maintaining viable profit margins. It saves cost and plans loads based on specific vehicle capabilities, decreases mileage, and improves customers’ overall service.
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Basics of Commercial Vehicle Route Planner & Truck Routing
Compared to other forms of routing and optimization, commercial vehicle and truck routing needs more substantial optimization due to traffic restrictions, road conditions & constraints, and state regulations. Using regular vehicle optimization for commercial vehicles can offer inaccurate travel times and reckless driving directions.
The distances and travel times for commercial routes are different than those of regular routes. So when you need a route created for your heavy-duty straight truck, you need to define exact truck parking spots, weigh stations, traffic updates, rest areas for efficient and accurate trucking routes.
How Do Truck Drivers Plan Commercial Vehicle Routes?
Truck drivers plan their routes using different methods. Let us take a look at some of these methods.
- Pen and Paper: Planning routes using pen and paper is one of the most common and inexpensive planning routes. But for businesses, this method can prove to be time-consuming and eventually pose a large financial risk.
- Excel: This method is slightly more advanced than a pen-and-paper method. But it poses the same risks and inefficiencies while increasing the chances of loss of data.
- Google Maps: Google Maps can only allow you to plan routes for up to 10 stops. For businesses, this puts a limit on the number of stops you can cover.
- Route Planner App: Truck Route Planner tools can create optimal GPS routes and offer built-in navigation and an option of saving optimized GPS routes. It can be useful for small and medium-sized companies to get accurate truck routes, ETA, the distance between locations, etc. Route planner apps work on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
- Enterprise-Grade Software: Enterprise-grade software is quite expensive, but it has all the right features like truck navigation, unlimited stops, driver tracking, etc., for effective deliveries. Most companies with a large fleet manage to make use of enterprise-grade software.
Truckers and logistics businesses have been using some popular tools like TruckMap, TruckRouter, SmartTruckRoute, and Trucker Path. These apps provide turn-by-turn GPS directions and offer information regarding weigh stations, truck washes, DOT inspection sites, and toll roads to create truck friendly routes.
These tools also provide additional information on truck services like oil changes, tire service, truck dealers, truck mechanics, low clearance, fuel prices, truck stops, low bridges, traffic jams, gas prices, and more information for roadside assistance.
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Set Realistic Goals
With the help of a good plan, truck drivers can cover multiple addresses easily. But while planning, it is important that the goals you set for your deliveries are realistic. The delivery goals are realistic when you consider constraints to take the fastest route that are truck friendly.
The optimization algorithm can help:
- avoid toll roads
- avoid low bridges
- traffic, time windows
- oil changes
- trucker stops
- weigh stations
- CAT scales
- overnight parking
But when you set realistic goals and plan ahead, you know what to expect from a certain delivery task.
Assign Deliveries According to Vehicle Capabilities
Different vehicles have different capabilities depending on the purpose they are built for. Some trucks are built for carrying cars, while some are built for delivering vegetables and fruits.
When you assign deliveries depending on a vehicle’s capabilities like truck height, truck weight, and mileage, you automatically enhance your truck route’s efficiency. Knowing the right truck dimensions is important to create truck-friendly routes. This will help you in saving diesel fuel, money, and effort.
Combine Pickup & Delivery
Using reverse logistics and a hybrid route planning approach by combining pickup and delivery can help you plan your journey better without preparing separately for pickup and delivery. There is route planning software like Optimoroute, using which you can manage pickups into an existing delivery route.
Live Tracking & Truck GPS
With real-time tracking, dispatchers and managers can receive all the information regarding delivery tasks. By looking at the GPS data, managers and dispatchers can create forecasts and plan better, efficient routes. This way, they know what to expect from the delivery.
Mobile App for Drivers
When routing software provides a mobile app for your drivers, things become much easier for them. Your truck driver can receive and send real-time information regarding deliveries; they can keep track of the schedule, remain in touch with the dispatch team, etc. With access to iOS and Android smartphone apps, drivers can automate a few of their tasks and focus on the road.
Use Multiple Sources for Planning
When you have multiple sources for planning a route, you can always cross-check and see which option works better for you or which option looks more realistic.
For example, you can choose software with one of the best optimization algorithms and allow you to use Google Maps to navigate while you are on the road.
By doing this, you are not relying on just one source of information. It can lead to significant performance improvements and convenience while cutting down diesel fuel costs.
Plan Breaks, Identify Obstacles and Check Forecast
When you plan for something, you have to keep space for uncertainty. Whether your breaks are certain, like lunch breaks or uncertain like a flat tire, you need to plan considering several possibilities of how the delivery will pan out. By checking the forecast or planning breaks or avoiding obstacles, you make your journey more efficient and time-effective and also save money.
Google Maps is said to be one of the most popular navigation apps. But when it comes to commercial vehicles there are certain factors to be considered like low bridges, truck washes, truck dimensions, RV dump stations, truck weight, truck mechanics, tire service, DOT inspection sites, and roadside assistance. It is not possible that truckers will get all the necessary information for commercial vehicles through Google Maps.
Garmin and Rand McNally are two of the best GPS navigation systems for commercial truck drivers. They have advanced features like lane guidance, customized warning, live traffic, and weather, making a delivery task easier. Sygic & CoPilot are other popular GPS navigation apps for truck drivers.
The GPS truck navigation app used by a trucker is different from a regular car GPS used for the daily commute. The GPS used by truckers uses a larger data set and needs more details and accuracy.
Create Accurate Routes with a Commercial Vehicle Route Planner
Commercial vehicle route planning or creating truck routes is unlike creating routes for your regular vehicles. This article covers the basic difference between the two, how truck drivers plan a truck route, and some essential tips to help you create an orderly truck route that can improve efficiency and increase safety. For more information and articles relating to route planning and optimization, visit our blog.