Not too long ago, trucking logistics basically consisted of tracking where different trucks were at any given time. It was impressive to management that they could always see where loads were headed, giving them a better idea of what was going on out in the field.
Times have changed, but too many in the trucking industry still think of logistics as only tracking the movement of shipments. The reality is we’re come much further than that.
Logistics technology helps plan the best route for reaching a destination. The world moves quickly these days, and clients need goods delivered to specific locations on time. Different software solutions help simplify the process of figuring out the optimal route for getting from one point to another. To do this, the tech must take into account several factors.
Of course, the most obvious part of route planning is the ability to read a map. Modern logistics software can do that quite well, so you don’t end up in the completely wrong area. Admittedly, that’s not the hardest part of planning a shipment, but it’s most definitely essential.
When choosing which roads to take, a variety of factors are taken into consideration by the technology. One is the speed limit for different areas, which understandably has a huge impact on how long it takes to reach a certain place.
Weather can play havoc with trucking, something you no doubt know all too well. Modern logistics software monitors forecasts for areas along the planned route, making recommendations to avoid problems. This can even happen in mid-route, with the software telling drivers to drive a little further and skirt a serious weather event.
Traffic and construction are two other factors that can turn a short run into a more substantial journey. While this may be annoying to most motorists, for truckers it’s a tremendous waste of resources like time and money.
Fuel costs are always a concern for every trucking organization, no matter how big or small. With logistics, it’s possible to improve efficiency. Sitting in heavy traffic, dealing with severe weather and navigating through substantial construction can increase consumption. Planning routes that involve the fewest trouble-free miles of travel means using less fuel.
Thanks to modern logistics software, it’s easier than even to provide an accurate ETA. The technology can calculate how long under current conditions it will take to get from one point to another, taking all of the factors mentioned above into consideration. Customers can receive an automated message when there’s a delay, supplying them with the new ETA. Some logistics software will also use historical data to create possible scenarios which would delay deliveries, making contingent plans so drivers are prepared if the worst were to happen.
Breakdowns occur, and they’re never convenient. Yet again, logistics technology can speed things up by getting a service vehicle to a truck in need faster, and ensuring the right parts and supplies are loaded on board. Ultimately, this streamlined process reduces downtime, making everyone happy.
Driver performance can also be monitored using logistics software. This goes beyond catching a driver who spends too much time at a certain rest stop. Some solutions actually give each driver a score based on numerous factors, which affect not only on-time deliveries but also safety on the road. Most solutions allow managers to select which factors to track, such as speeding, driving harsh or frequency of breaks, producing a customized report which reflects the values of the organization. Management can track improvements in these scores over time. This isn’t necessarily to reprimand drivers, but if used properly can help them improve and become even better at their job. The data might even expose areas where drivers need additional training, enriching their careers and strengthening the company.
Dispatchers benefit greatly off the improved logistics technology. Many aspects of their job are made easier, like being able to quickly see the reason for a late delivery in real time.
Other efficiencies can be leveraged with modern truck logistics technology. A big area where improvement is often necessary is multi-period planning. The software can create optimal schedules for customers that require multiple deliveries in a certain period of time. It also helps bundle together the right materials to be delivered, so customers stay satisfied with their level of service. Over time, the software can analyze trends, making recommendations in advance to avoid problems that have cropped up at certain seasons.
The next time the subject of trucking logistics software comes up, you’ll be more aware of the many benefits it can pose.
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