Making Sure Your Transport Operation Sticks to Plan

A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into planning and optimising routes and making schedules that remove unnecessary mileage. There are a plethora of sophisticated tools available to help transport operators to reach planning Nirvana.

We integrate our telematics, journey management and proof of delivery products with many of them. This enables our transport service provider customers to export their perfected itineraries straight to the truck cab ready for drivers to follow them out on the roads.

Having these plans in place helps them to save money, reduce fuel consumption and drive efficiency; right? We’re sure it does, but how do you know all of this investment in the plan is actually being reflected in reality?

The truth is you don’t without a tool to analyse planned versus actual. It’s all well and good targeting perfection, but as the famous line goes; “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. In other words, no-matter how well a journey is planned, something might still go wrong with it. So what can you do?

Debrief Drivers When Necessary
There will often be a very good reason for a divergence from the planned route – but regardless it’s key to engage with drivers and find what was occurring. It’s not uncommon for customers to identify well over 10% of savings once they start using our Journey Management product, by simply debriefing drivers when they don’t take the optimal route. This activity on its own influences behaviour and improves route conformance. We recently dedicated an entire blog to this topic.

Plan, Execute, Measure
By using a cyclical plan; execute; measure approach, you can continuously improve to deliver better fleet and driver productivity, enhance customer service and reduce wasted time, miles and fuel. Continual positive feedback will lead to a fine-tuned operation getting better and better over time.

Take the Long-Term View
Using historical data you can take a step back and look at the trends. It’s possible to understand if any element of your operation rarely unfolds as it should do and take appropriate action. This might result in trialling alternative options when planning future operations. If your routes are commonly accepted by drivers as being backed by evidence then obtaining buy in from the team is much easier.

Monitor Schedules in Real Time
Of course sometimes plans have to change, if for example there is an unscheduled road closure or particularly heavy traffic is causing delays. Microlise Journey Management affords you the ability to monitor the performance of your plan against what is actually happening in real-time on an easy to interpret display. This means you can make decisions in the short-term, if an alteration to plan is required. Real-time navigation changes can be made whilst a journey is in progress and it automatically calculates both arrival and departure from a scheduled stop. This will ensure you stay as close to plan as is possible when there is disruption.

By taking these four steps you will improve conformance, continuously improve your planning based on real-world information and arm your team with the knowledge to know if reality matches planning Nirvana.