To make the most out of each and every delivery trip, you need some form of strategy for load planning, as it can make or break your operational efficiency. Usually, delivery vehicles run below their true capacity, which makes them inefficient for businesses that operate them.
While it is indeed tempting to simply load your vehicle up to its capacity and roll with it, such methods of operation are hardly practical. However, this is not usually advisable simply due to the various disadvantages of overloading your vehicle.
To understand the solutions and complexities associated with load planning, we must understand what it even is. Let this blog serve as your guide to load planning that tells you all that you need to know about the subject, including the various solutions to fix load planning issues.
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What is Load Planning?
Load planning is the process of evaluating how any load must be placed in vehicles to achieve peak efficiency. Improper load planning can cause everything from underused fleets to delivery delays caused by the inability to deliver all the packages in a given vehicle.
Too much or too little load can conjure persistent issues that affect the efficiency of your operation, which could raise operational costs over time. It is all about finding the loading sequence that gives your fleet the best chance to perform well.
Objectives and Importance of a Load Planner
To understand why companies must start thinking of implementing load planning software into their regular operations, it is best to look at the importance that it holds. Knowing the objectives of a load planning system is an easy way to see how it could be of benefit to you.
1. Increases speed of operations
If your load planning protocol is great, you should be able to handle a lot of orders with only a few trucks. Regardless of the size of your fleet, you will see the speed of your operations go up, given the greater number of orders carried by trucks.
Because a load planner is fully automated, it can generate the best load distribution plans within minutes of giving it a prompt. Such blazing-fast speed will enable the workers to get to work rapidly, increasing the speed of your operations.
There is also no time wasted planning the loading sequence as load planners take care of it for you. Collectively, you could save over a dozen hours of work when you use a load planning solution to achieve peak productivity without confusion.
2. Lower costs
When you use a load planner, you are able to accommodate as many packages as possible inside your vehicle. Seeing how delivery vehicles are usually underloaded to prevent the effects of overloading, companies lose out on the maximum potential of their fleet.
Since you are able to fit greater loads inside your vehicle, you are able to cut down on driver costs combined with the cost of additional vehicles. These lower transportation costs may seem negligible at first, but they can easily save you thousands of dollars every single month.
Some businesses have also been able to reduce the overall size of their fleet when they use solutions that optimize space utilization. However, there is no fixed way to predict how much it will benefit you, as it does depend on other factors such as shipment size and standards.
The use of a load planner guarantees consistently good use of your fleet vehicles and drivers for any given task. However, the biggest benefit of using a load planner is the flexibility granted by such planners that allow you to perform load optimization at any time.
You can count on an automated load planner to plan the load sequence for you at the most unusual hours, and it will still get the job done. Meanwhile, traditional processes are only conductible during working hours which already limits their usability.
One of the biggest problems with traditional load planning is that it is a very time-consuming process that does not allow for a lot of changes to be made at the last minute. This kind of disruptive process can easily hamper the productivity of any warehouse.
4. Adherence to safety standards
One of the biggest safety hazards in the logistics industry is caused by overloading the delivery vehicle during the loading process. Typical business management systems let such overloading beyond the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) slide despite the dangers that they pose.
Going over the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating can pose serious safety hazards because you put tremendous stress on the suspension systems. A failure caused in an overloaded vehicle can be anything from a tire blowout or an outright strut collapse if there is any corrosion.
To ensure compliance with vehicle capacity standards, load planners are used to identify if the vehicle is eligible to carry the given load. This ensures that you do not find yourself in a situation where you are caught going beyond your vehicle’s specifications.
5. Simplification of operations
Old load planning systems usually did not have any means of communication for the transfer of crucial delivery data. This leaves room for the misinterpretation of orders that can lead to logistical issues that may severely bottleneck your business’s performance.
Examples of such miscommunications are regarding delivery deadlines and parcel information that may lead to delivery delays or misplaced goods. Seeing this, it becomes pretty obvious why clear instructions are needed in the logistics industry.
Because load planners are able to provide very clear and concise information to staff, it has little to no chance of allowing for any miscommunication. Some load planners might also allow you to give custom orders to your employees, enhancing your capabilities.
How Do Route Planners Help Businesses Improve Load Optimization?
For most businesses, going with a dedicated load planner software might not make the most sense as its functions can be replicated and augmented to best fit your needs. Much like load planners, route planners such as Upper are fundamental for load planning as well as capacity planning. Here is why.
1. Multi-vehicle support
One of the biggest benefits of integrating route planning software for load planning is a facility to support planning routes for multiple vehicles at once. Once you have submitted your list of stops, a route planner will automatically distribute them equally to different vehicles.
This distribution prioritizes efficiency making even enterprise resource planning a breeze. Some route planners, such as the Upper route planner, will also give you the option of selecting your vehicle type allowing everything from bike to truck routes to be optimized.
2. Improved customer satisfaction
Route planners are built to make delivery routes inherently faster. This means that your deliveries will be conducted at speed faster than ever before. Faster deliveries are very much appreciated by most customers regardless of your field.
Combine this with the highly accurate estimated times of arrival delivered by route planners, and you can rest assured that your deliveries will never disappoint your customers. Such reliable data about deliveries empowers your business to gain better customer satisfaction.
3. Time management
A feature or route planning software that is greatly appreciated by drivers is the added optimization granted by setting fixed work hours. Usually, accommodating all delivery stops within a worker’s schedule is very difficult and confusing.
But due to the automated working of a route planner, it can not only give you the best routes that take into consideration working hours but also lets you know if the number of stops can be accommodated within the schedule. This instantly eliminates any doubts regarding the feasibility of stops.
4. Greater load capacity
Because your routes are optimized in a way that saves you time, it is likely that you will be able to fit in more delivery stops within the same time frame. This expands your load capacity by quite a margin and boosts fleet utilization.
Given the greater load capacity, you may even be able to get away with using fewer vehicles for your deliveries which would indeed cut business costs considerably. It is one of the most prominent reasons why businesses are eager to apply route optimization solutions.
5. Fuel cost savings
There is no questioning the fact that fuel costs make up a massive chunk of business expenses. But when you use a route planner, you not only get the most optimal space utilization for your vehicles but also get highly efficient routes to follow.
The efficiency that is achieved when following such routes leads to a dramatic cut in overhead and fuel costs for businesses that conduct multi-stop deliveries. You could also plan routes in a manner that creates the least amount of load on delivery vehicles to save costs spent on fuel.
Can Upper Help You Reach Ultimate Load Efficiency?
A traditional business management system severely limits the growth potential of any modern business. This is why dedicated software solutions such as Upper enter the market to enrich existing systems to perform to the best of their abilities.
The state-of-the-art software solution from Upper, with its awesome route planning powers, will help you do anything, such as boosting cargo capacity and delivery speed at once. Such optimization empowers your business to garner better customer satisfaction and retention.
There is no need to spend unnecessary working hours over strenuous planning when you have an automated solution to do it for you within minutes. Upper is truly your one-stop shop for dealing with any and all delivery route planning concerns.
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The management of risks involved in the transportation of goods is crucially dependent on load planners. With careful load planning, they must identify possible risks and take action to reduce them. To avoid damage or accidents during transport, this involves making sure that the cargo is securely fastened and distributed transport load in the vehicle.
By adhering to best practices like following the law, taking environmental considerations into account, maximizing capacity utilization, prioritizing cargo safety, utilizing technology, and effectively communicating, load planners can guarantee the secure and effective transport of cargo. These procedures can result in greater profitability, lower expenses, and higher customer satisfaction.
For aviation load planners, weight distribution is of critical importance as it can ruin the balance of an aircraft in flight, which may have disastrous consequences. This is why highly advanced load planning software is used extensively in this industry, as they provide instantaneous load plans that are best suited to the parameters set by businesses.
Technology has aided load planners in the form of load planning software that is good at streamlining their processes, increasing productivity, and ensuring regulatory compliance. Additionally, it has helped load planners manage transportation operations more profitably while reducing costs and enhancing customer satisfaction.
Load planning is a task that is relatively complex yet could very well be game-changing for your business. However, with time being of critical importance in the field of logistics, manual processes simply will not suffice for a fast-moving company.
Automated load planners are amazing in many ways for improving the efficiency of your business, though such solutions are usually not required by most. This is why it is best to use a route planner to act as a substitute that achieves multiple functions at once.
Speaking of route planners, Upper is the class leader when it comes to providing the ultimate routing solutions for the businesses that need them. Luckily trying out the powers that Upper grants to users are not very difficult, thanks to our 7-day free trial.