This set of recommendations covers three key stages: planning (1–3), implementation (4–7), and program optimization (7 – 10).
Each phase enlists the participation of many teams and is focused on achieving specific objectives.
1. Ensure that all the important stakeholders are on the same page
As you plan for route optimization, consider their needs and anticipated commercial obstacles. Consider their main business issues, how they define success in a route optimization program, and what they consider a failure.
2. Make a list of changes that you anticipate
Examine any unrelated changes to business operations that may be on the horizon as part of those stakeholder talks throughout the planning process, noting any significant changes in expected business volumes and any planned geographic growth. Consider any new fulfilment channels, as well as any anticipated changes in customer service standards.
3. Find the best route optimization partner for your needs
While this may seem self-evident, the most important component, aside from identifying the difficulties you’re seeking to tackle, is choosing the ideal solutions partner to work with. Is your partner an expert in your field? Is their “culture” compatible with yours? Is their expected level of involvement in the project comparable to yours?
4. Begin with a small test project
Start by optimizing a tiny portion of your routes, or maybe just one. Choose a route that requires assistance but is self-contained and one that you are familiar enough with to run your optimization and comprehend the impact without having to ask the driver.
5. Start with the very finest
During the implementation phase, always use your best driver as a guinea pig. Find a driver that is eager to collaborate with you and recognizes the importance of the optimization project. This driver will act as your representative to the rest of the crew. As a valued team members, make sure they are participating in the current implementation process.
6. Gain a quick victory
Once you’ve got one or two routes up and operating, brag about it and make sure your key stakeholders are aware of your work. To demonstrate the success of your project, use real-world metrics like reduced carbon footprint, miles saved, and, eventually, monies saved.
7. Customer relationships should be your best friend
As you implement route optimization, keep in mind your consumers’ preferences and historical demands. Concentrate on these pilot routes to ensure that you understand how your optimization project will affect the pick-up, drop-off, and service levels of these customers. You don’t want a consumer complaint as a result of your route optimization.
8. Optimize during the implementation process, not after the launch
Before you start your pilot project, work with your partner to outline your continuing optimization process. As though you were already live, use the pilot project to fine-tune your optimization process.
9. With what-if scenarios, you can stay ahead of the game
Consider scenarios such as: What if I lose my driver? What if I increased my sales volume by 20%? What if I started a new depot? Your distribution requirements will almost certainly alter, so be sure you’ve thought about how you’ll respond.
10. Analyse your past data
This is necessary in order to comprehend performance and service level metrics. Continuous optimization is a method of balancing cost, service, and precision. These critical metrics should be available in your optimization program. You should be fine if you keep a tight eye on them.