Avoid shipping damage with route optimization software

Delivery routing software isn't just a time-saving tool for small and medium-sized businesses. Fleet owners can use this automated technology to protect their valuable, fragile goods from becoming damaged during the shipping process.

Cyclical patterns create road obstacles
One of the many side effects of the severe winter weather in many parts of the U.S. this year has been the impact on road infrastructure. Not only have drivers had to deal with ice and several inches of snowfall on city streets and interstate highway systems, but these harsh conditions often increase the number of potholes and other dangerous obstacles once they melt away. According to The Boston Globe, the city's public works department has already filled more than six times as many potholes in the first two months of this year than they did during the same time period in 2013. The newspaper reported that extended periods of freezing weather followed by brief thawing cycles allows water to enter small cracks in the pavement. When this water expands, the asphalt is more prone to break underneath weight of passing cars, trucks and other automobiles. This year in the Boston area, the temperature went from a chilly 1 degree Fahrenheit to 56 degrees within a 48-hour period before plunging back to single digits again.

In some cases, the excessive snowfall has even inhibited public efforts to fill potholes before they get worse.

"We have been in what seems like constant snow and ice operations, and pothole patching requires fairly good weather," Sara Lavoie, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), told the newspaper.

Delivery routing software helps businesses protect fragile products
Fleet managers have a vested interest in preserving the quality and safety of road infrastructure. A recent article from WXYZ, a Detroit-based ABC affiliate, revealed that an abundance of potholes this season has become an expensive problem for businesses that deliver fragile products, such as glass, on a daily basis. Kim Daguanno of Alco Glass in Nearby Berkeley, Mich., told the station that the business has experienced a handful of damaged glass products as a direct result of unsafe and bumpy road conditions. In fact, she said it has become necessary for drivers to seek out the smoothest streets when making deliveries.

A service such as route optimization software can make this process much easier and cost-effective for fleet managers. Automated technology speeds up the otherwise time-consuming task of manually identifying directions that include the smallest number of potholes. This convenience lets companies transport their products on time and in good condition, which will eventually have a positive influence on customer satisfaction.

Small and midsize businesses can benefit from investing in safeguards against harsh winter weather. While it's not possible to control every variable affecting a fleet operation, direct route software at least provides these firms with a real opportunity to protect both their products and their reputation for making fast, reliable shipments to customers' doorsteps.