Route optimisation reduces vehicle on-road costs for fleets as small as one vehicle, with a new SaaS service. Route²GO calculates the best order of visits for company vehicles, saving time and running costs for businesses of all sizes. Companies no longer have to rely on local knowledge and can calculate how much work they can commit to each day. This translates to better customer service, being able to give clients an estimate of when to expect them. Users will not have to compete in price wars with larger competitors who can afford expensive software and engineers to run it. Software As A Service (SaaS) means that SME companies can enjoy the benefits with fees on a transactional basis instead of having to purchase expensive software.
There is always downward pressure for companies to charge less for their goods and services, while at the same time vehicle operational costs such as petrol go up. “Often large companies are able to invest in expensive software solutions that will save vehicle operating expenses, allowing them to charge less for their services than SME companies.” Says GeoSmart Sales & Marketing Manager, Luigi Cappel. “They can afford expensive route optimisation software and the engineers to run it. There are plenty of stories of smaller companies that ended up going out of business or selling out to larger companies that were able to take business from them. We have seen this in many areas including freight and distribution, and field service.”
Route Optimisation is a set of algorithms which looks at all the stops a vehicle has to make on a journey and calculates the most efficient order to do them in. This can benefit all sorts of businesses such as field service, couriers, meter readers or even a single furniture delivery truck. “At face value this sounds simple, but in reality our solution takes into consideration factors such as road class, turn restrictions, one way streets, dual carriageways and more; things you can’t necessarily see on a map,” says Cappel. “It takes the brain work out of it, leaving drivers to focus on their own skills. Sometimes there is also a difference in motivation between employees and those who contract or own their business.”
Software As A Service is a concept that allows GeoSmart to give companies access to this solution without their having to buy an expensive software package. Payment is transaction based, which means it is suitable for a business as small as a furniture store which delivers to its customers. A small amount of systems integration is required, which can be done by companies already providing applications such as accounting software to the business.
As well as coming up with the best order to do work in, it can become a valuable planning tool. Route²GO estimates travel time and distance between each stop. This information could be imported into a tool as common as a spreadsheet. An example is a furniture delivery truck. If the shop knows how long each stop should take, for example a lounge suite delivery, then it becomes possible to estimate and agree with the customer at which time they can expect their new furniture to arrive. Now it becomes easy to calculate how many visits a person can reasonably make in a day, including lunch breaks. The driver would also know in reverse order, how to load their truck.
Route²GO has been developed by GeoSmart, a mapping company, and wholly owned subsidiary of the NZ Automobile Association. Another of its new services is AA Traffic. AA Traffic warns motorists about accidents and incidents that could stop people from getting to their next destination on time. This is another costly problem that affects most companies, especially in Auckland, but also nationally as has been experienced in recent months with bad weather causing road closures. Next year it intends to include real time traffic information into the route optimisation, so that companies can leverage this information in their planning. In many cases road and motorway ramp closures for maintenance are also known in advance.