The decision to invest in route optimisation provider can be a big one.
It costs money, time, and resource. This means that you want the system to be generating a return on investment as soon as possible.
However, you may be getting the feeling that your route optimisation software just isn’t doing enough for your business.
Read on to learn some tell-tale signs that your route optimisation provider just isn’t pulling its weight. And it’s time to look for a new provider.
It doesn’t matter how impressive a brand’s marketing is, or how charming their sales team are, if their backend infrastructure isn’t up to scratch then you will be experiencing ongoing performance issues.
It is common for different technology providers to utilise different algorithms which will produce different results. And for those with a solid backend infrastructure, this means they can plan routes daily, weekly, monthly, or at a bespoke frequency to your business.
But even if your system is able to do this, can it also dynamically create routes which are both reliable and feasible? This means taking into account traffic conditions, roadworks, vehicle capacities, live order volumes, and delivery time windows.
A backend infrastructure which doesn’t allow this will instead produce unrealistic routes which will raise more problems than solve.
A solid system will also be able to respond to real-time events and order schedule changes. Offering peace of mind that routes are accurate and achievable for both drivers and end customers.
No investment in ongoing development
Ongoing development of infrastructure, features, and functionality is key to the upkeep of a route optimisation system.
If your provider is lacking in new updates and releases or drags their feet on dealing with bugs and glitches, then it’s time to reconsider your system.
Because a lack of ongoing development results in a system which isn’t robust and will become unreliable with new releases. Leaving you behind competitors.
A simple way of identifying your provider’s ongoing development plans is through their release documentation, which will outline how often they perform releases and what is included in them.
Lack of innovation
Technology is fast-moving, which means your business needs to be too.
Innovation is key for any route optimisation system so that businesses can keep their customers happy. Particularly with their ever-increasing and changing demands.
If your system feels stuck in the past, whether that be its interface or its functionality, then it’s time to look elsewhere.
Keep an eye out for cloud-based functionality to ensure that information is stored electronically, with less need to rely on documentation and paperwork. ePOD functionality is a great example of implementing a paperless operation; enabling signatures, deliveries completed, and confirmations to all be stored electronically. You can even take photos for added peace of mind and confirmation of delivery. ePOD can be used on iOS and Android devices, so is familiar and user friendly.
Customer communication is another innovative feature that is becoming increasingly essential. Customers expect to know when their orders are being delivered and to be kept in the loop regarding the estimated time of arrival and any issues that may arise. This can be done using advanced, automated email and SMS communications that any good route optimisation software will be able to offer.
Difficult to use
No matter how great the technology is, if the system and interface are difficult to use, you won’t be able to get the most out of the platform.
This is why you should always look for a provider that will offer a demonstration and free trial, so you can get a good feel and understanding of how to use the platform.
Also, consider if it is easy to view and change your routes, is there drag and drop functionality available, for example?
Bear in mind that learning to use any new system may take a little time, so make the most out of the provider’s sales team to walk you through the interface.
Few available integrations
For many businesses, integration capability is a key consideration when choosing a provider. After all, if the system doesn’t integrate with your existing business ecosystem, then you won’t be able to use it to its full potential.
If you are struggling to connect your route optimisation system with your wider business technology, then look out for a provider that, firstly, integrates with a wide range of systems, including CRM, ERP and telematics solutions. In addition to this, look for a platform with an open API. This means that it is even more straightforward for you to integrate with a wide range of systems and applications.
Lack of support
One of the biggest failures in a tech business is a lack of support. Whether that be an unhelpful support team, a hands-off approach, or restrictive support hours.
Having a first-class implementation and support experience should be a key priority for your route optimisation system. This will ensure that your system and routes are properly set up, your team is trained, and you face no ongoing issues.
Ask your provider how quickly they can get you successfully implemented. The best providers should be able to have you up and running in a matter of days, sometimes even hours.
With regards to support, ask what services and packages the provider offers. Are they happy to run online or on-site training sessions, and do you have an account manager who you can contact if a query does arise, and what hours are they available? The best providers will have extended support hours and an emergency hotline.
Lastly, what support documentation is available to you? If you are a business that would rather work out a query yourself before picking up the phone, you will require adequate documentation to do so. The best providers will offer you access to a support website or portal which includes release documentation, support guides and how-to videos.
Case study – Dynamic Medical
Read on to learn how our customer, Dynamic Medical, was struggling with their route optimisation provider.
They turned to MaxOptra for help, and immediately saw results!
Dynamic Medical was using another transport management system, however, this wasn’t working well for their business. The processes meant that despite using a system, route planning was still a 2 person job taking roughly 6 hours per day, and often running into the evening.
The solution also had no ePOD system, meaning that it was producing more paperwork which took additional time, up to an hour a day, to scan PODs. This meant that important delivery information wasn’t available until 12-24 hours later than required.
Additionally, there was no live tracking functionality, which left Dynamic Medical at a competitive disadvantage compared to others in the industry.
Dynamic Medical’s experience with MaxOptra was immediately positive. Their implementation and account manager was always available, fast to respond, and proactive in checking in regularly.
Dynamic Medical immediately appreciated the flexibility of MaxOptra – instead of it being a bespoke system for specific requirements, all functionality is available for all customers, so no bespoke changes or additions have to be requested.
The business is now at the point where all drivers are using smartphones and are fully tracked, which was a significant business objective for 2020 – for the first time Dynamic Medical can see where their drivers are in real-time.
Thanks to MaxOptra they are nearly at the point of completely dispensing with paperwork, which is simply being held back by an invoicing system they will soon be changing.
Most importantly, they are now down from 6 hours a night route planning to just 2 – a 66% reduction in planning time.
This means that Dynamic Medical are getting routes to their drivers earlier. And staff are far less overworked.