Direct route software puts fleet owners on path to savings

Saving money is a major priority for fleet owners, and route optimization software offers firms the kind of tools and conveniences necessary to meet long-term cost-reduction goals. Managers of ground transportation businesses must constantly find a balance between a variety of issues, such as regulatory compliance, fuel conservation and rapid industry growth. Each of these concerns has an influence on overhead operational costs. For instance, mandates from the federal government to increase the mileage efficiency of engines may lead some organizations to purchase new vehicles. A booming manufacturing industry can also place a strain on fleet owners if they are not fully prepared to handle the difficulties that come with taking on more assignments on a daily basis.

Continuing to run a swift, reliable transportation business requires a focused strategy. In many cases, advanced technology such as direct route software makes it possible for managers to reduce some of the most costly aspects of their regular deliveries. Planning directions ahead of time and taking a calculated approach to assignment scheduling increases the flexibility and efficiency of fleets by eliminating the need to wait in traffic jams or travel unnecessarily long distances.

Research shows GPS tools lead to cost savings
A recent study from the marketing research firm C.J. Driscoll & Associates found navigation technology does indeed have a major role in reducing long-term costs for transportation companies. The organization's report, titled "2013-14 Survey of Fleet Operator Interest in MRM Systems and Services," compiled responses from 508 fleet operations across the U.S. about their experiences using some form of GPS or mobile resource management tool when carrying goods on highways and local roads. Specifically, 67 percent of respondents claimed they have experienced real savings since incorporating these resources into their routines. Clem Driscoll, president of C.J. Driscoll & Associates, told Fleet Owner that the overall satisfaction rate of this technology is at a 4.1 on a scale of 5. He mentioned he was also surprised by the fact that so many of the respondents were aware of their cost-savings just on initial observation.

"The interesting thing is that such numbers were being given right off the top of their heads as this was a real-time telephone survey; they didn't have time to consult reports," Driscoll said. "It costs money to install such technology but they know at the end of the day they are saving more money through it."

Logistics software helps fleet owners plan for the future
Fleets of any size can benefit from route optimization software. According to an article in the online publication Gas2, President Barack Obama recently outlined plans to improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks during his State of the Union address last month. The federal government has already successfully implemented new mileage standards for lighter vehicles such as pickup trucks; however, those are gradual regulatory changes with the ultimate goal of having new vehicles reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. With the right technology, business owners that depend on ground transportation can make immediate preparations to prepare for an increase in fuel economy levels. Firms that simply can't wait to experience cost savings in 2025 will also uncover opportunities to reduce spending this year.

The New York Times reported that sales of light trucks have remained strong despite slight declines in other vehicle categories due to the harsh winter weather. For example, Chrysler's Ram charted a 22 percent boost in sales during January while the same company sold 21 percent less passenger cars. Not every small and midsize company can afford to participate in the auto sales market right now. Fleet owners with new or outdated automobiles have an equal chance of boosting the efficiency of their businesses by investing in delivery routing software. With so many issues to juggle on a regular basis, cutting down waste and finding ways to make better use of driver hours is in the best interest of any commercial carrier or transportation business. A leaner operation will make it possible to achieve steady growth in the long run. At the same time, fleet owners will be more prepared to adapt to changes in the regulatory landscape that set clear limits on fuel efficiency and pollution.