Simplify Challenging Delivery Routes with Last Mile Optimization

Route Optimization makes efficient final mile deliveries

Efficiency is crucial for every supply chain process. Logistics and transportation for challenging delivery routes are no exception.

Booming e-commerce and home delivery industries increased consumer expectations for speed and visibility. Large online retailers assertively managed to establish expectations for delivery in hours, not days. These expectations subsequently landed on small retailers and transportation providers, and they highlight the need for improved optimization in the world’s most challenging delivery routes – LTL and last mile delivery.

Route optimization creates an opportunity for shipping companies to increase customer satisfaction and minimize logistics and transportation costs. Still, it requires a deep understanding of the modern customer experience, an open mind to new technology, and a strong commitment to the optimization process.

To keep up with today’s customers, shippers and transportation providers must prioritize the optimization of supply chain processes, including less-than-truckload and last mile route design.

Understanding Route Optimization

Route optimization refers to the shipping and logistical process of optimizing delivery services and methods to meet customer expectations, improve efficiency metrics, and minimize transportation costs.

Nearly all shipping and transportation companies benefit from optimized routing, but last mile delivery and LTL providers need it to maintain a competitive advantage in today’s consumer-driven market. Delivery routes optimization provides specific benefits of improved delivery visibility, greater driver productivity, streamlined operations for routing and dispatch teams, and cost-savings through improved resource allocation.

Transportation management systems (TMS) have long provided solutions to eliminate manual labor processes within the supply chain and logistics teams through digitization and automation. As delivery routes design has become increasingly complex with growing consumer demand for speed and accuracy, TMS optimization engines aim to simplify routing processes and minimize the need for manual routing and dispatch functions. TMS engines are designed to quickly analyze historical data and current market trends to create efficient driver routes, with the flexibility to adjust to environmental changes and unexpected disruptions in real time.

Minimizing Manual Work for Delivery Routes Design

Moreover, TMS optimization allows shippers and transportation providers to design routes more quickly with minimal human effort or manual input. Optimization engines collate vast routing history data against scheduled deliveries and pick-ups and use advanced analytics to define optimized routes for each driver — minimizing unnecessary miles, fuel consumption, and labor hours required to complete daily routes.
Additionally, advanced optimization systems provide high levels of customization to increase efficiency and flexibility. Including:
  • Account for routing constraints and parameters to ensure the highest number of deliveries with the least number of drivers and miles.
  • Support dynamic, real-time routing that can auto-correct when delivery factors – like added stops, traffic, or weather events – threaten route efficiency.
  • Evaluate scenarios before a potential routing environment change (i.e., relocating distribution centers or running fewer drivers) to aid in strategic decision-making.
While route optimization offers many benefits, it can be met with opposition in companies that have established manual processes and are slow to adopt new technology solutions.
A clear and defined path for implementation can promote internal buy-in and deliver the full range of optimization benefits despite potential challenges to introducing a route optimization program.
To successfully roll out route optimization solutions, supply chain teams must set aside old beliefs, align behind the shared vision of an optimized network, and work collaboratively to provide good, clean data for a TMS engine.

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Route Design Made Easy with TMS Optimization

The days of manually routing LTL and last mile deliveries are undoubtedly ending. Technological advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence enable delivery route planning and optimization in a matter of minutes, far more effectively and efficiently than their human counterparts.

Today’s shippers and logistics providers should embrace this technology as an opportunity to streamline operations and improve delivery metrics to meet ever-growing consumer demand.
TMS optimization engines deliver innovative user dashboards, digital tools, and data-backed mobile apps for drivers, carriers, and customers to access live status updates and reports with the click of a button. These tools provide the ability to instantly accommodate new pick-ups, adjust delivery schedules, and adjust to changing environmental conditions. Push notifications keep everyone in the network on the same page.

Improvements in LTL and last mile routing results in improved customer satisfaction, increased cost savings, and overall supply chain efficiencies for shippers and transportation providers. Learn more with our eBook, MercuryGate TMS: Route Design Made Easy.

See how Route Optimization helps Overcome the Most Challenging Delivery Routes

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