Transport route planning

Tips to improve the optimisation of your transport routes

A transport route is the route taken by the carrier during the distribution and/or delivery of goods. Transport route optimisation is a task that involves a great deal of precision and seeks to meet the requirements of the supply chain, although sometimes it goes unnoticed.

E-commerce has increased the pressure on delivery times for any company involved in the transport of goods. Today, strategic optimisation of the route the vehicle will take is necessary to improve the delivery time of the goods, reduce the cost of the service and other benefits that will be mentioned later.

Technology and the advent of logistics 4.0 allow for improved route planning.

Types of transport routes

The types of transport routes can be organised into two categories according to the planning strategy or according to the destination.

According to the planning strategy, the types of transport routes can be:

  • Fixed transport routes: those that present a closed circuit and are not subject to change, where pick-up and delivery points can be continuous or discontinuous for a given time.
  • Dynamic transport routes: these can be modified according to the customer’s needs. They make better use of time, distances travelled and the product transport unit.

Secondly, depending on the destination, there are the following:

  • Long-distance transport route: these are those types of transport routes where large quantities of the product are transported by trucks or other means, nationally and internationally.
  • Capillary distribution transport route or last mile: in this type of route, the goods are transported to the final customer, generally within urban areas.

What is transport route optimisation?

Nowadays, the logistics and transport sector is a very competitive sector, which is why every part and process of the supply chain must be analysed and optimised as far as possible. In this case, the planning and optimisation of transport routes is a crucial part of this sector.

The correct design of a transport route is decisive for the effectiveness and efficiency of the company, thus avoiding any problems in the transport logistics.

Generally speaking, a transport route should work in such a way that the company can minimise transport costs and fleet utilisation as much as possible. In addition, it should allow for an optimal reduction of the distance and travel time of the point-to-point route.

However, despite its extreme importance and as mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is sometimes a task that is not given much attention. As a result, organisations often make mistakes in their approach that end up affecting the quality of service and, therefore, their reputation.

Currently, the road freight transport sector is more competitive than ever, so optimising the management of freight distribution routes efficiently is essential both to maintain and attract new customers, and to retain the drivers who work for your company.

Therefore, to optimise the transport of goods, it is important to analyse every aspect of the supply chain. The most efficient way to do this is to indicate to the transporters, in a concrete way, the most efficient routes to reach the destination, the points of greatest agglomeration or retention, where and when to make rest stops, suitable refuelling points… etc.

In conclusion, by planning and optimising each route, the company will improve the service offered and will be more competitive in the current scenario.

What will proper planning help us?

Transport route planning

Optimising our transport routes through their correct design and planning will provide us with numerous advantages, the most important of which are the following:

  1. Cost reduction: an optimised and efficient process implies savings in operational costs, since, by force, we will no longer have to resort to intermediate steps that may result in additional costs (fewer kilometres, less fuel, etc.).
  2. Savings in working time: good planning and optimisation of transport routes will allow us to save time throughout the entire process.
  3. Better service and fulfilment of services: thanks to a correct route planning you will improve our delivery ratio of orders on time, as well as attending to the special requests of each customer in the most appropriate way.
  4. Greater reach: having all routes well optimised will mean that we will be able to add more customers to our portfolio.

Basic tips for planning transport routes

It may seem like an arduous and complicated task, but as we have seen, the benefits, if done well, can be numerous. To take the step in an optimal and intelligent way, we advise you to follow the following tips:

  • Real-time planning: there are a multitude of tools that will allow you to know the state of traffic, unexpected road closures, etc. Thanks to these tools, you will be able to choose the fastest routes with the least traffic saturation and traffic jams.

Alternative route

  • Connection with vehicles at all times: route optimisation software will allow real-time monitoring through GPS sensors. This provides confidence about what is happening throughout the delivery process and is of great importance when improving a delivery route. In this way, it is possible to obtain, for example, a permanent control of the location of the fleet (own or third party), what is the ETA (estimated time of arrival) to the next destination, what is the general state of the routes, among other relevant aspects.
  • Optimisation of loads and deliveries: the secret lies in transporting as many products or goods as possible in as few trips as possible. Therefore, in order to optimise delivery routes, it is necessary, in addition to scheduling the load, to take into account other aspects such as:
    • Weight and volume that vehicles can carry.
    • Distance travelled per vehicle and per route.
    • Variability of the quantity of orders.
    • Maximum number of routes.
    • Etc.
  • Smart digital tachograph: The smart tachograph is a newer version of the digital tachograph that must be installed in all trucks from June 2019. It is a device that records the driver’s working and resting time, the number of kilometres driven and the speed of the vehicle. This information is read remotely so that the driver can be informed of possible traffic controls and detours to avoid delays. With this type of tachograph, location data is automatically stored via satellite systems and infringements can be detected more easily.

Intelligent tachograph

  • Use of home automation and internet connection: New technologies in the service of sectors such as transport have improved the quality of assistance provided to customers, and not only that, they have also led to cost savings. Increasingly, and with greater frequency, devices are being used that allow, for example, the driver to check the dashboard, check that the doors are locked, activate alerts (arrival at destination, stop, departure from the route, speeding, among others), or calculate the temperature without being present. In addition, transport companies that opt for fleets capable of connecting with each other will improve their communication and optimise their routes.

Planning international transport routes

If we focus on international transport, where more kilometres are covered and journey times are longer, route optimisation becomes even more important.

For international routes there is more scope to optimise the process, but these types of routes involve a different set of problems as there are numerous factors that can influence and alter delivery schedules.

Customers will demand that their goods arrive in perfect condition and on the agreed date, without considering how difficult the task may be. If the transport company operates international routes, it is particularly important that they are optimised and comply with the following tips:

  • Weather conditions must be taken into account.
  • They must take into account the peculiarities of each country and its legislation.
    • Speed limits
    • Legal restrictions
    • Existence of customs controls and taxes payable
    • Etc.
  • Always provide an adequate time margin.

This will allow you to measure more accurately the time needed to deliver the order and ensure its distribution in the event of any unforeseen event.

Conde Fernández Hermanos, your best ally in route optimisation

Now that you know the importance of the correct planning of national and international transport routes, what are the tricks to carry it out and how it can help you in your day to day, do not hesitate to contact us through our contact form or by calling us at 981 649 140. We will tell you how we work and look for the best solution to your needs!