Many years ago, deliveries were carried out using a map and a list of addresses. This system was followed when there was no particular route planning software in place. With the advent of technology and smartphones, we now have every little detail related to delivery – right from customer’s location to the most optimized way of reaching the destination, everything in one place – a commercial vehicle route planner.
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.
Table of Contents
Basics of Commercial Vehicle & Truck Routing
Compared to other forms of routing and optimization, commercial vehicle and truck routing needs more substantial optimization due to factors like traffic restrictions, road 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, rest areas for efficient and accurate trucking routes.
How Do Truck Drivers Plan Their Routes?
Different methods are using which truck drivers plan their routes. 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 ways of 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: Route Planner apps can create optimal routes and offer built-in navigation and an option of saving routes. It can be useful for small and medium-sized companies.
- Enterprise-Grade Software: Enterprise-grade software is quite expensive, but it has all the right features like navigation, unlimited stops, driver tracking, etc., for effective deliveries. Most companies with a large fleet manage to make use of enterprise-grade software.
You may like to read this:
Route Planning – Everything You Need to Know in 2021
How to Optimize Your Routes in 2021? – 7 Tips for Efficient Truck Route Planning
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 like traffic, time windows, speed, tolls, and other hindrances that a driver might find on his way to his destination. But when you set realistic goals, 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, you automatically enhance your truck route’s efficiency. This will help you in saving time, money, and effort.
Combine Pickup & Delivery
Using reverse logistics in the daily routes by combining pickup and delivery can help you plan your routes 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 drivers 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. This improves efficiency and convenience while cutting down 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 are making your routes more efficient and time-effective.
Google Maps is said to be one of the most popular navigation apps for commercial vehicles. It’s accurate and free. You will find other navigation apps like Waze and MapQuest on App Store and Play Store. You can opt for paid apps as well, like Optimoroute, RouteStar, and Upper Route Planner.
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.
The GPS used by truck drivers is different from a regular GPS used for the daily commute. The GPS used by truck drivers uses a larger data set and needs more details and accuracy.
Commercial vehicle route planning or creating truck routes is unlike creating routes for your regular vehicles. This article covers the basics difference between the two, how truck drivers plan a truck route, and some essential tips that can help you create an orderly truck that can improve efficiency and increase safety.