Small and medium-sized businesses that deliver products to variable customer bases that span large geographical areas may want to consider the many benefits of implementing direct route software into ongoing operations. Whether it's a furniture manufacturer responsible for transporting orders straight from the warehouse to homes or a local food distribution company that supplies ingredients to restaurants and organizations, fleet owners are always looking for effective ways to avoid excessive fuel costs without sacrificing timeliness.
Transportation is a central aspect of any mobilized business model. For example, the online news publication New Jersey Todayreported that a group of consumers is suing a local furniture company for failing to deliver ordered goods in the way that was outlined in contracts at the initial point of purchase. Being able to safely move delicate products over long distances as fast as possible plays an important role in any firm's reputation in the eyes of the public. A consistent and dependable transportation management software system has the potential to ensure long-term customer satisfaction.
The challenges of delivering products to multiple locations
The day-to-day activities of a small and medium-sized fleet company often lead to large overhead costs. Managers at other businesses that have fixed client bases may have a relatively easier time controlling the amount of money spent on fuel. However, the need to deliver products directly to homes across an entire region on a daily basis can quickly lead to inefficiencies without the proper planning and use of technology.
According to the latest "Trends" report published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is released annually and measures the status of fuel efficiency on an industry-wide basis, both cars and light trucks have charted steady increases in mileage in the last several years. While recent federal regulations limiting the number of greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles have played a role in these developments, the study also highlighted the importance of technology in improving overall performance.
"New technologies are continually being introduced into the marketplace, replacing older and less effective technologies," the report explained. "Technological innovation is a major driving force behind the recent improvements in CO2 emissions and fuel economy, and the majority of the carbon and oil savings from current vehicles is due to new gasoline vehicle technologies."
An article published in The Washington Post indicated the average fuel economy for new cars and light trucks in the U.S. will reach 24 miles per gallon by the end of this year. In 2011, that number was only 22.4 miles per gallon. However, not every business can afford to completely update its fleet to include new vehicles - especially when the most fuel efficient ones in today's market are light trucks and passenger cars. Diesel-powered freight carriers continue to be relatively behind in terms of overall fuel efficiency, but that's not to say the EPA hasn't made efforts to improve standards. In fact, the agency recently enacted nonconformance penalties under the Clean Air Act, which essentially require manufacturers in various sectors of the U.S. economy to pay fines for failing to meet current emissions regulations.
Boosting the efficiency of existing vehicles with technology
Because it's often much harder to increase the fuel efficiency of larger vehicles needed to transport products, such as furniture and other equipment, managers may want to consider investing in supplemental tools such as route optimization software to access many of the savings opportunities currently overtaking the industry as a whole. This technology has the ability to not only maximize productivity, but it can also automatically identify the most efficient paths for delivery in a busy schedule. Managers can also more easily account for layover time for assignments that span more than one day.
Having greater control over daily operations will work as a strong advantage to any fleet owner. As the fuel economy standards increase at a rapid pace, businesses now have more incentives than ever to do everything they can to limit their overhead costs.