Driver Assignments: the Achilles’ Heel of Route Management Software

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Paragon Routing & Scheduling Software, Logistics and 3PL, Advanced Route Planning, Routing & Scheduling Optimization

 

It’ll remain impossible to make deliveries without drivers until there’s widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles.

It’s still amazing how often route planning efforts break down because transportation planners are using route management software that fails to consider driver availability when assigning routes. Plans are only achievable if assigned drivers are available during that slot, have sufficient hours left in their Hours-of-Service (HoS) restrictions and have the requisite skills or certifications to perform specialized deliveries.

Unfortunately, most route management software simply doesn’t take into account actual driver availability or suitability from the start. That leaves a weak spot, because the task then falls to dispatchers to assign drivers to routes, often on the fly. They may have more hands-on understanding of which drivers are available or qualified to complete which routes, but that knowledge wasn’t included in the route plans.

The result is a frequent need to quickly rework carefully created route plans to accommodate real-world driver availability. the efficiency-driving benefits of route optimization software are lost or substantially diminished.

Businesses that fall prey to this Achilles’ heel phenomenon risk losing money, time and customer loyalty through missed or late deliveries. There’s also potential fines for breaking HoS limits strictly monitored via mandatory electronic logging devices (ELDs) inside delivery vehicles.

These organizations are likely see a drop in driver retention, too, since badly managed drivers tend to look for work elsewhere — something that can really bite during the current driver shortage.

Enter resource management functionality

The best way to avoid this is using a tool called resource management functionality (RMF). Your drivers are one of your most important resources and need to be managed as conscientiously as any other resource, if not more.

RMF is an important function within Aptean’s Paragon route management software. It ensures the availability of each driver is incorporated into routes right from the planning stage based on all the factors that affect a driver’s availability and suitability for a route. 

Add in route execution, which allows you to track drivers’ actual routes and HoS, and you can combine detailed driver availability, rosters and estimated hours with real driver-hour data to continuously optimize driver utilization.

Resource management functionality from Aptean’s Paragon advanced route management software allows fleet managers to:

  • Manage vacation entitlement and approval to avoid too many drivers taking vacation at the same time
  • Automatically generate advanced shift schedules to provide forward visibility and control
  • Comply with HoS limits at an individual driver level
  • Track individual driver hours accumulated to avoid overtime

Individual driver allocation

Transport planners responsible for creating plans for service engineers can create their own list of driver skills, such as qualified appliance installer. The route management software will then ensure that calls are allocated exclusively to drivers with the right skills, maximizing usage of those drivers. This makes the best use of drivers and maximizes their earning time, leading to happier drivers.

The software gives the option of automatically assigning specific drivers to any route or set of routes for any other reason, such as individual driver preferences including shift times, break times and avoiding overnight assignments so the driver can get home at night. It does all this while ensuring maximum efficiency across the transportation fleet management operation.

Don’t let driver assignments be the Achilles’ heel of your route management solution

Even the most efficient delivery route plans fall apart if they are built without accurate assignment of drivers based on availability and skill set. That’s why it’s critical to select route management software with resource management functionality. 

This functionality allows you to get the most from your route management software because the route planning process produces plans that are realistically achievable by the drivers available. You can rest easy that you are using ALL your assets with maximum efficiency, including drivers.

Curious to know how RMF can work for you? Contact one of our routing experts at Aptean to learn more about making better routing and resource management a key component of your own digital transformation.