Commercial fleets have undergone a revolution with the introduction of technology – telematics, IoT, and fleet management software – in particular.
From better resource consumption to completely automated route plans, there is very little that tech cannot support for fleets.
Gone are the days when fleet managers had to rely on manual methods to plan and optimize routes. Today, with the help of fleet management software, businesses can plan, optimize, and manage routes, ensuring maximum efficiency and productivity. In this blog, we will discuss the difference between route planning and route optimization through fleet management software.
What is Route Planning?
Route planning involves determining the best possible routes for your fleet vehicles to take to reach their destination. Route planning involves taking into consideration several factors, such as the distance to be covered, the traffic conditions, the type of vehicle, and the time of day.
The goal of route planning is to ensure that your vehicles reach their destination in the shortest time possible.
Route planning, however, can be a slightly manual process. Managers see the way and define the route themselves and then upload it to the software. The benefit of the software is that:
- it provides the data that managers need to make those decisions
- they can share the prescribed routes throughout the hierarchy seamlessly
What is Route Optimisation?
Route optimization is the process of finding the most efficient routes for your vehicles to take. It involves analyzing all the data related to the journey, including the number of stops, the distance, the traffic, and the time of day, to come up with the most efficient route.
The objective of route optimization is to reduce the time and distance travelled while increasing productivity and reducing fuel consumption.
We know that the two sound more or less, similar. However, route optimisation is to route planning what automated telematics system is to manual fleet management. This is so because, through route optimisation solutions, the software offers automatically defined routes and also gives alternatives according to the priorities and deviations.
What Are The Key Differences Between Route Planning and Route Optimisation Systems?
Although both route planning and route optimization aim to improve efficiency, there are some fundamental differences between the two.
The main objective of route planning is to determine the most suitable route for a vehicle to reach its destination. In contrast, route optimization aims to find the most efficient route that will result in the least amount of fuel consumption, the shortest time taken, and the most productive journey.
Route planning considers basic factors such as distance, traffic, and type of vehicle, while route optimization involves more detailed data analysis.
Route optimization software takes into account multiple factors, such as the number of stops, the priority of these stops, road conditions, specific trip restrictions, and the vehicle’s fuel efficiency to come up with the most efficient route.
Route planning is a manual process where fleet managers use maps and other tools to determine the best route. Route optimization, on the other hand, is automated and uses software to analyze data and generate the most efficient route.
Not only is route planning manually done, but also when vehicles deviate from the defined route, getting them back on track is also done manually. However, since route optimisation can detect and suggest multiple stops and ways, it can automatically redirect the vehicle to the right route whenever it deviates.
Benefits of Route Management Solutions
Route planning and route optimization are essential for businesses that rely on vehicles for a major chunk of their operations. This is especially the case when the products or services delivered by the vehicles need to be transported under strict schedules. Here are some of the reasons why route planning and route optimization are essential:
- Cost Reduction: Route planning and route optimization can help businesses save money by reducing fuel consumption, time consumption, maintenance costs, insurance claims, and driver overtime.
- Improved Productivity: By using the most efficient route, businesses can reduce the time taken to complete a delivery, thus increasing productivity. Moreover, the routes are designed in a way that they can cover as many waypoints as possible to fulfil higher business requirements.
- Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Route planning and route optimization can help businesses provide better customer service by delivering products or services faster and more efficiently.
- Eco-friendly Operations: Fleet operations can be much more eco-friendly with the help of route management solutions that allow vehicles to carry the same functions while consuming less fuel, and hence, causing less harm to the environment.
How Does Fleet Management Software Support Route Management Solutions?
Fleet management software plays a crucial role in making route planning and route optimization possible for fleets, if not better. Here are some of the ways in which fleet management software can improve these processes:
- Real-time data analysis: Fleet management software provides real-time data analysis that allows fleet managers to make informed decisions. This data can include traffic updates, vehicle location, and weather conditions, all of which can impact the route.
- Automation: Fleet management software automates the process of route planning and route optimization, reducing the time and effort required to plan the most efficient routes, and making their operations and functions much more optimised.
- Optimization of Routes: Fleet management software uses algorithms to optimize routes, taking into consideration multiple factors such as traffic, distance, and fuel efficiency, resulting in a more efficient journey.
- Route deviation alerts: Fleet management software’s real-time tracking plays a huge role in realising that a vehicle has deviated from its route, and hence, needs to follow a different path.
Route planning and route optimization are essential for businesses that rely on a fleet of vehicles to deliver their products or services. Although both processes aim to improve efficiency, they have fundamental differences.
We hope that our discussion about their similarities and differences helps you understand the concepts better.
By implementing route planning and route optimization through fleet management software like TrackoBit, businesses can reduce costs, improve productivity, and enhance customer satisfaction.