Route optimization software: 5 things not to forget when selecting the right solution and partner
Posted by Dieter Roman on 07/07/2016
Budget planning … it’s almost that time of the year again. Does investing in route optimization software also top your wish list? But how do you start such a project or what considerations should be given? This is a vital business decision, and of course you want to be sure you’re making the right one.
Get inspired and learn how you can keep your drivers happy and your planners motivated!
- The power of the algorithm is key
All routing and scheduling systems have a central engine; a mathematic algorithm which is at the heart of the solution. As with a car, the bigger the engine, the faster (or better) the car will perform. International benchmarks of these algorithms are available, so ask your software supplier how their ‘engine’ performs against other competitors on the market.
The outcome should be focused on maximizing the performance of your transport organization and your people: reliable routings and schedules, taking into account every single detail (delivery slots, road tax, shifts, product and truck limitations, …) that can affect your operational business.
- The proof is in the PoC
Your transport operation is the core of your business. It’s your living. So by choosing the right solution you should be able to realize significant savings, month after month, year after year.
By realizing a Proof of Concept (PoC) you:
- Will be able to see the possible gains of the software
- Can define the project KPI’s
- Have the results to benchmark with when your route planning system is live
Do it step by step and you will see the real value of your route optimization software!
- References make the difference
Are the logos of your competition on the software provider’s website? Yes? That’s already a good start. Ask for reference customers, plan to visit them or just give them a call and check if the vendor delivered on the promised benefits, if their timescales and routes were realistic, and most importantly : how do their users experience the solution ? Does the software deliver on what was defined in the initial business case?
- An innovative partner takes your business to the next level
What’s your company’s vision and mission in the medium and long term? Choose your transport optimization software partner wisely because your business needs could be totally different within 5 years (due to growth, legal regulations, geographical shifts, …).
And as your business becomes more efficient (which should be at least one of your project goals), you will need extra functionality (e.g. for complex distribution scenarios) to create even more savings. In short: a solution that initially seemed a good fit for your organization may not provide the long term business benefits you're expecting.
And last but not least: check if the software provider has a ‘user board’ to be sure that the product and its roadmap are aligned with the shifting needs of the user base and trends in the market.
- The change management pitfall
Projects sometimes fail within an organization. First one who will get the finger pointed at is the project manager and his ‘lack’ of project manager skills. But in every project a significant people aspect is at play. A failed project is often the result of not focusing sufficiently on the user aspect of the project. Is your company ready for it? Is everyone affected by the new route optimization software informed what the consequences or impact will be on his/her daily routine? People do not like to be taken out of their comfort zones, even if the savings for the company are significant. We see that ‘change management’ is underestimated in these kind of projects. Avoid this ‘change management’ pitfall and remember: your employees are your biggest asset.
Selecting and implementing route optimization software should be a smooth process that ends in business success without frustration.