Today you will learn how to optimize truck route planning.
This guide covers questions such as:
Our blog post will give useful directions to help your trucking business grow.
A trucking route is completely different from a consumer route.
They share one common goal - getting the driver to their destination.
But how you prioritize and plan trucking routes and consumer routes differs a lot from one another.
Truck route planning depends on vehicle type, distance, delivery times, regulatory breaks for long-haul trucking, and driver schedules.
There are many types of delivery trucks. And one thing is sure - they are larger than the average Toyota Corolla you see on the road.
Trucks, especially long-haul trucks, aren’t always made for regular in-city routes. Those routes carry a risk of rush hour traffic jams.
You also don’t want to find yourself stuck in front of a low bridge or an overpass just because you didn’t plan the route accordingly.
Trucks are made for trucker routes.
A delivery truck routing software highlights the right route for you. A regular consumer route planning software may not.
Delivery trucks often go on long-haul trucking distances.
Truck drivers can go cross-country (or even cross-continent!) during one trip.
That is quite different from the distances consumer vehicles make in a single trip.
Long-haul truckers have to make multiple stops during their deliveries.
Mapping apps like Google Maps and Waze can’t add many stops. While Google Maps has a planning capacity of 9 stops, Waze lets you add even less - one stop.
That is too low if you are planning routes with multiple overnight stays and mandatory driving breaks.
Time tracking carries a significant weight in truck route planning. It has more economic importance. Losing time means losing money.
For cost-effective truck fleet routing, you need to pay attention to time tracking due to things such as:
Consumer route planning doesn’t focus on this. Neither it has a strict driving schedule as truck route planning:
Delivery trucks have strict yet dynamic schedules.
Planning a trucking route through truck routing software means you map out a destination and set ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrival) you then have to meet.
But what makes the whole process easier is the additional data you can put into the software - breaks, schedule exceptions, driver specifications, etc.
Sure, Google Maps offers route planning for free, but can you use it for your business?
Let’s do a quick rundown of the app and how its features fit your needs:
Google Maps is a great tool for consumer route planning. It allows you to add 9 stops. If you’re a professional driver and have more than 9 stops, you can work around this by deleting completed stops.
But that’s a waste of time. If your business completes 100 or 10,000 orders each day, you need a more efficient routing tool.
Google Maps uses a basic algorithm for creating routes.
And it usually generates the shortest route. But that’s not always the case.
That’s because Google Maps changed its routing settings in 2022 to prioritize the most fuel-efficient routes. And that sometimes means prioritizing the slowest route.
It’s also unclear how this change affects routes with multiple stops.
Google Maps doesn’t have the option of automatically optimizing routes.
You have to optimize them manually, but you need to be familiar with the driving area.
That is the only way you can ensure Google Maps gives you the most suitable route for your commercial truckers.
Manual optimization on Google Maps is a time-consuming drag-and-drop process. You drag and drop the route to adjust it.
And after you add the stops to the route, you reorder them yourself.
One of the pros of Google Maps is the efficient way it lets do the following:
But you can’t do the following:
What’s our verdict on Google Maps?
It can be a good route planner if you’re a small business that doesn’t fulfill larger order volumes.
Otherwise, it can’t compete with route optimization software.
Planning an optimized truck route is complex.
It has a lot of different steps - from choosing the right software and synchronizing your fleet at pick-ups to adding fuel stops to truck routes.
We’ve concluded above that Google Maps or Waze isn’t the way to go.
Neither is a built-in mapping app on your smartphone or iPad.
Plan the best routes with commercial-grade truck route planning software.
That allows you to build a strong delivery through automation.
Cloud technology like eLogii gives you more control, visibility, and flexibility over long-haul trucking routes.
It makes your business more cost-efficient, and your operations processes quicker and more accurate.
You can raise efficiency by 91.5% with route optimization software, and you save 42% of operational expenditure each month you use it.
Based on our ROI calculator, you save $1,126.67 per vehicle each month.
Planning efficient routes doesn’t rest just on the road and traffic conditions.
To streamline deliveries, you need to synchronize loading at pick-up locations.
You can plan the loading order for each vehicle in the fleet. Then the drivers can set off on their routes in sequence without affecting the pick-up.
Truckload optimization reduces bottlenecks and delays while reducing logistics costs.
Focusing on syncing drivers at pick-up locations grows in importance if you have a large fleet.
You have to calculate driving breaks throughout your routes.
Many countries have limited working hours and mandatory breaks for commercial truckers. The USA is no exception.
According to the FMCSA (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), commercial drivers need to take mandatory breaks.
These are the rules you need to pay attention to when planning trucking routes:
Truck routes include different kinds of stops - pick-up locations, driving break stops, and drop-off stops.
But you need to add fuel stops, too. Truck drivers will stop for them anyway, so it’s better to plan them in advance.
That way your drivers can refuel at gas stations with lower prices. That boosts your savings and efficiency.
Regional gas prices vary from $2.900 to $4.299 per gallon throughout the States.
Meaning, you can save more than 38.8% on fuel expenses by having drivers stop at specific gas stations!
That is also a bonus way of ensuring your drivers don’t run out of fuel on the road.
You can’t plan the best truck routes without top-notch software.
eLogii is a cloud-based route optimization software that offers a wide variety of state-of-the-art features, which makes it one of the most customizable platforms in its field.
Platforms like eLogii have features that can:
Let’s dig into them more:
Using a routing software like eLogii lets you dynamically optimize all your routes.
Instead of manually planning routes, dispatchers use software to automate route optimization.
Routing optimization begins with route planning - finding routes based on time and distance.
Apart from that, trucking route optimization through eLogii takes into account:
Another way eLogii optimizes routes is by offering you a chance to add truck specifications and routing.
That means it lets you route trucks using truck maps which avoid low bridges and forbidden roads.
eLogii lets you plan routes that span multiple days.
If you deliver shipments through long-haul trucking, this feature will simplify your operations considerably.
eLogii has the power to take into account all the available resources to plan an efficient multi-day route.
It considers the available resources (drivers and vehicles), as well as required operational parameters and constraints (required breaks, overnight stays, traffic conditions, weather, etc.).
eLogii improves truck route planning by automatically dispatching drivers.
Manually dispatching truck drivers is an area where you are losing significant time, especially if you have a large fleet.
Instead of dispatching drivers one by one and creating paper schedules, your dispatchers can count on the driver app:
The app is connected to the main dashboard.
So any new data that the software generates or the dispatcher inputs to the dashboard will appear on the driver’s smartphone or tablet.
Drivers have access to relevant information on their schedules and routes.
Software like eLogii helps you enhance driver visibility and calculate ETAs.
Real-time driver-tracking allows for dynamic truck route planning in case dispatchers need to make adjustments to a task already in progress.
But it also leaves a trace, giving dispatchers historical data they can use for adjusting future trucking delivery schedules.
The data informs them how much time each delivery needs so they can allocate enough of it.
And due to real-time tracking, the delivery truck routing software always shows live ETAs.
That is important, as up-to-the-second updates lead to the ETAs changing constantly.
To check the ETA of a delivery, scroll over a driver’s pin on the virtual map.
If you see the driver running late, you can adjust the schedule to calculate the delay.
If dispatchers need to change a trucking route, they can make manual changes within a task using the drag-and-drop function.
Since each driver’s app is connected to eLogii’s dashboard, their app will update automatically.
Dispatchers and route planners can then easily adjust routes in real time.
That means they don’t need to call or text the drivers themselves. The automatization of updates then leaves more time for other route optimization tasks.
Modern truck route planning is an essential method to implement in 2023.
It lets trucking businesses rise above their competition since a lot of success today depends on the level of digital transformation.
It also helps meet customer demands and retain them.
As such software, eLogii gives businesses the tools they need to advance on today’s delivery landscape.
eLogii is an end-to-end cloud-based delivery management platform. Our powerful solution solves the biggest challenges of modern distribution and field service businesses, including route optimization, planning, and execution.
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