Route optimization is a complex task that goes beyond determining the shortest distance between two points. In commercial fleets, it must include a wide range of variables, including the stops that need to be made, time delivery windows, driver schedules, vehicle capacity, the number of left-hand turns and potential traffic congestion.
The variables can run into the millions – even the hundreds of millions for longer routes with multiple stops. That’s why an increasing number of fleet managers work with route optimization software designed to quickly consider all the variables and offer data-driven recommendations.
“Route optimization software is critical to a successful operation in modern fleet management,” said Dan Shive, Director of Client Engagement for EnVue Telematics. “Software allows for quick assessment of multiple route alternatives in the context of costs and the availability of resources, among other factors. The systems offered through EnVue Telematics can improve productivity and make operations more effective and efficient.”
Shive offers a free consultation on route optimization software for those who contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Variables of Route Optimization
Depending on the variables involved with a delivery, including distance and the number of stops, fleet managers face millions of factors to determine the best route. Questions can include the number of stops, the number of left-hand turns across traffic, the availability of drivers near the route and traffic congestion at different times of day.
Route optimization software uses algorithms to consider these and other variables for each potential route, looking for the optimal choice that will best fulfill customer expectations and result in on-time deliveries.
Fleet managers consider route optimization software as essential because it’s impossible for humans to calculate all the different variables that quickly. Software also helps fleet managers find solutions to the following long-standing computer science problems.
The Traveling Salesman Problem
The Traveling Salesman Problem considers what the shortest route is for a salesman who must make many stops to visit clients. It’s extraordinarily difficult to solve. If a salesman has 57 stops, there are a quattuorvigintillion possible combinations – that’s a one followed by 75 zeros. A software program can make those calculations far faster than a human being.
The Vehicle Routing Problem
This computer science conundrum is essentially the daily job of a fleet manager. The Vehicle Routing Problem takes the Traveling Salesman Problem and multiplies it by more salesmen, splitting all the stops with many more people. Finding the best routes for all involved is a massive, complex undertaking.
Route Optimization Is Key To Fleet Success
As those two problems illustrate, it takes computer software to find the optimal solution for complex route optimization challenges. Not only can software determine the best route beforehand, it also can handle making changes in real-time.
Additionally, these systems allow fleet managers to send route information directly to a driver’s smartphone or tablet. The systems also can track driver’s progress in real-time.
The benefits include not only finding the most efficient route for multiple stops, but also for meeting client expectations for delivery times. Route optimization also can reduce fuel cost and increase the number of stops that drivers can make during the day. Technology offered by EnVue Telematics helps fleet managers make the most of cutting-edge software and helps them pick the most effective, efficient route possible for their drivers. It also can improve overall fleet performance and lead to a data-driven, optimized fleet operation.