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What is Route Optimization

Route Optimization: The Ultimate Guide [2021] – Anstel Global

Route optimization is a term that has become synonymous with fleet management. With customer expectations rising every day (especially with the onset Covid-19 pandemic), and drivers getting more jobs to complete within tight deadlines, route optimization has never been more important. Businesses can save up to 20% in mileage, and boost order capacity by a whopping 100%, without increasing fleet capacity, if they have the correct route optimization tools.

In this article, we learn about the following aspects of route optimization:

What is Route Optimization?

Simply put, route optimization is a process that determines the most cost-efficient route(s) between two destinations. The following factors have to be considered:

  • Location and number of all important stops on the route.
  • Turns and intersections along the route.
  • Nearest and most capable driver to be assigned to the route.
  • Traffic reports for particular times during the day.
  • The time frame for deliveries.
  • A convenient approach to a certain stop on the route.

What are the benefits of Route Optimization?

With competition increasing in every sector, the supply chain industry requires advanced technology to automate logistics from end to end to save time and effort, boost efficiencies, and reduce human dependency. A robust route optimization software helps to streamline delivery and on-ground operations such as shipment, transportation, last-mile delivery, and reverse logistics. It uses complex algorithms and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to map out the shortest and most efficient route to all stops and destinations. 

Here’s how Route Optimization Software can benefit your business:

#1 Reduce expenditures

As mentioned, the process of route optimization identifies the most cost-effective routes. Did you know optimized routes can save fuel costs by up to 30%? Route optimization effectively reduces time spent by vehicles on the road, which also brings maintenance costs down. This means your vehicles wear out slowly, so premiums and replacement expenses are lower too.

#2 Save time

Since the software takes care of every aspect, fleet managers don’t have to spend several man-hours buried in files searching for crucial data and then analyzing it to make critical decisions.

#3 Boost customer experience

Customers are no longer patient about delays or failed deliveries. You can lose their business to your competition if they feel dissatisfied with your service. To ensure that deliveries aren’t delayed, the optimization software has to scan traffic conditions all the time, in order to suggest the best route. If a vehicle suddenly breaks down, GPS tracking is used to identify the closest drivers. Then the task is allotted to the new driver, while routes are re-optimized to ensure there is no delay. When your on-time arrival rate increases, more customers become loyal to your brand. The software also ensures that additional jobs can be completed per day, without putting extra stress on drivers.

#4 Better safety

Route optimization comes with a feature to avoid left turns, right turns, and U-turns. When your driver chooses a destination, the software automatically plans a route without or with minimum turns. The lesser the number of tricky and complex turns, the lower are the chances of accidents and delays. Studies also show that 22% of accidents are weather-related. To combat this issue, the software inputs the weather forecast of the region for the particular route date, when planning a new route.

#5 Improvement in driver morale and productivity

When driving conditions are in their favor, drivers feel more confident on the road. When optimizing routes, the software also factors in breaks and lunches, so they have sufficient time to rest and recharge. Happy drivers are likely to put in their best at all times, which means more success for your business.

But there is a catch here as well. If drivers take longer breaks than required or are unable to manage their time properly, it can lead to revenue leakage. But route optimization can help managers monitor the actions of drivers. Real-time tracking and transmitting of information assists in taking timely and necessary decisions.

When driving conditions are in their favor, drivers feel more confident on the road. When optimizing routes, the software also factors in breaks and lunches, so they have sufficient time to rest and recharge. Happy drivers are likely to put in their best at all times, which means more success for your business.

Role of a driver in Route Optimization

Remember, if your drivers are unable to execute an efficient delivery route plan, your efforts go to waste. It is necessary to make an effective driver debrief a part of the overall route optimization process. It involves a rapid post-route discussion to understand if the routes went as planned and if not, to delve into the reasons for that.

It is imperative that live data from your in-cab telematics is integrated with the route optimization software. Debriefs that involve such data are based on actual performance. The driver won’t be able to hide that he took a different route, although you need to find out why. Without telematics data, you have to depend on the driver to record events manually such as when the route started and ended length of time for each drop, and any difficulties encountered along the way. It is extremely unreliable.

Why is Route Optimization critical for delivery businesses?

When a delivery business is small scale, it can work with the aid of Google Maps, while Excel can be used to maintain data. It doesn’t take much time to plan routes for drivers every day. They complete jobs on time, customers give good feedback, and everyone is happy! But what happens when businesses start doing well, your order volume increases, and route planning becomes more complex? More jobs and drivers to be handled, with customer expectations rising at the same time!

Tools like Google Maps won’t be able to manage routes. If you try to do everything yourself, it risks inflating your operational costs, often in the form of too many vehicles in your fleet, and/or wasted fuel and wages due to longer than necessary routes. Route optimization software helps to reduce wages, time spent on the road, fuel consumption, etc. by figuring out the most efficient route for the whole fleet in just a few minutes.

How does Route Optimization solve the last-mile delivery problem and reduce its cost?

Last-mile delivery is the end-point in the supply chain. Though the concept seems straightforward as it just involves successful delivery of the package to the customer, it includes a whole lot of variables and complexities. It is the point where the customer and your business (brand) interact in person.  Customer experience is a top priority for businesses in the supply chain, and route optimization helps to improve this last mile experience. 

There are several ways that route optimization software can help slash last-mile delivery costs:

  • Clubbing orders by taking into account preferred delivery time slots, priority orders, location preference, and order specifications.
  • By giving best-fitting fleet-mix recommendations after factoring in business and ground restrictions like traffic, weather, etc. 
  • Obtaining Electronic Proof of Delivery for reducing problems with customers and better digitization of last-mile delivery processes.
  • Geocoding and accurate address detection for automated sorting processes.
  • Generating predictable and achievable time windows of delivery for customers, thus improving first attempt rates and customer experience.
  • Smart and easy-to-use mobile application for logistics managers to keep tabs on operations, send predictive alerts on delays, vehicle breakdowns, idle time, live tracking, etc.
  • Decreased turnaround time for the customer by optimizing “first-mile” operations, sharing locations of warehouses and distribution centers in real-time, and so on.

What is a Route Optimization Software?

Route optimization software is used to improve the driver’s efficiency and customer service. It creates efficient routes for the whole fleet based on the business’s requirements, constraints, and goals, assisting managers by automating the task of manually planning the sequence of stops. It also helps manage daily operations and offers innovative strategies to run a fleet.

How does Route Optimization Software work?

A route optimization software is crucial for lowering operational costs and increasing revenue, not to mention saving loads of time and effort. It works based on the following parameters:

  • Visualization

It is vital to see exactly where every stop is, which driver is going to serve it, and how any updates will impact the overall route. The software should understand routes quickly and be able to make changes on the fly.

  • Using algorithms

Optimized routes are created by sophisticated algorithms that consider constraints such as time windows, driving speed, vehicle load capacities, precise ETAs, and so on. A proper algorithm can be tweaked as per your business requirements to create customized routes, which saves 20% to 40% on fuel and drive time.

  • Tracking via apps

Optimized routes are dispatched to an app that directs drivers where to go, collects proof of delivery, and mentions special instructions for a stop. No more printing route manifests or giving stacks of paper to the driver!

  • Tracking in real-time

Monitoring drivers every step of the way is important. If one of them gets delayed, you can immediately find out how this affects the ETA of their upcoming stops. You can allocate the job to another driver, re-adjust the route, and update customers as well. It helps with customer service and improves the accountability of drivers.

  • Reports and analytics

The software lets you track delivery operations over time and let you identify key areas of improvement, so you can reduce expenses and grow the bottom line.

How does Route Optimization Software improve efficiency (and save money)?

  • Visualize routes clearly

Investing efforts in deciphering a route is a clear no-no when time is of the essence. Physical and paper maps or text-only directions are simply no good. Route optimization software translates delivery routes into a visual map. It allows dispatchers and drivers to see where stops are, who is going where, updates based on real-time traffic conditions, etc. at a glance.

  • Reduce delivery time

As mentioned, algorithms can be used to create optimized delivery routes. It helps to cut down on drive time as well, so drivers can get to stops faster and complete more deliveries in a day.

  • Real-time updates to customers

Customers want to know where their package is and how long the driver will take to arrive at their doorstep. Route optimization software lets you keep tabs on drivers at all times. In case one of your drivers gets delayed for whatever reason, it is visible in real-time to both the company and the recipient. The amount of delayed time will be added to the original estimated delivery time, keeping it accurate. You won’t have to deal with support calls from anxious and angry customers asking about status updates.

  • Improve overall performance

When it comes to delivery operations, they need to be tracked consistently, so you can make improvements and maintain optimum efficiency. By tracking KPIs (via built-in reporting capabilities) such as on-time rates, successful deliveries, service times, customer feedback rating, idle time, and drop-offs per pickup, you can check the areas to be improved to decrease costs and boost profits.

How do you know if you need Routing Software?

Are you still depending on basic tools and strategies to plan delivery routes? It is time to take a step back and re-evaluate your process as there are high chances they are less efficient than they should be. The following indications mean you need routing software ASAP:

  • Transportation costs are shooting up, while revenue isn’t increasing at the same rate.
  • You have to deal with unhappy customers regularly, for failing to meet delivery promises.
  • It is tough to extract information regarding the efficiency and performance of your delivery operations.
  • Drivers are dissatisfied with your company – you are getting regular complaints and many are leaving.
  • You are forced to offer later order cut-off times due to customers and sales prospects.
  • The dispatch team isn’t following the plan and changing driver assignments on their own.

What are the core Routing Optimization Strategies?

Route optimization is much more than just identifying the “best routes”. It needs to consider real-time traffic, historical data, road construction, and recent accidents. There are three kinds of routing strategies used for optimization:

  • Static

This method works well for fleets that deliver to the same locations on a recurring timeline. The planning is based on geographic areas on an annual or semi-annual basis. Drivers follow the same routes each day with the same volume and number of stops. Though the technique lacked flexibility in the past, GPS tracking has made it possible to adapt to different routes as required.

  • Dynamic

Even though these routes are established daily, they can implement forecasted and historical traffic patterns too. Dynamic routing lets you make changes all the way up to truck loading and along the route as well. Since you aren’t locked onto a pre-determined route, you can discover a better route that takes less time on the day of the delivery.

  • Real-Time Dynamic

This method also allows adapting to sudden changes. But companies that implement this strategy usually focuses on consecutive daily orders. As new orders arrive, they are added to the route in a logistical order that decreases run-around time and speeds up delivery.

How to choose Routing Techniques?

Since every fleet has its own requirements, the optimization techniques implemented by them will differ as well. However, a few common factors to keep in mind include operation size, service areas, delivery dispatch, scheduling (changing or consistent), and type of company. Once you take these aspects into account, you can choose which routing strategy best fits your business.

Route optimization constraints and factors to consider while choosing software RO for logistics businesses

  • Traffic considerations

Real-time traffic not only saves logistics costs but also guarantees timely delivery and better adherence to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for improving customer satisfaction. Look for software that computes ETA and routes based on dynamic, real-time data.

  • Geocoding

Figuring out ambiguous addresses and comprehending local contexts is what geocoding is all about.

  • Historical data

Riders, customers, and time of day should be considered while examining historical data. For riders, it tells you about their skills, expertise, preferred time of deliveries, and preferred region to work. When it comes to customers, it indicates preferred time slots, availability, and any special instructions. On the other hand, time of day gives you insights about prevailing traffic conditions of a region and working/closing hours of a particular building.

  • Order-vehicle issues

At times, two different types of products, such as electronics and perishables can’t be shipped together.  Even pharmaceuticals have to be supplied in special vehicles. The software should consider these order-vehicle constraints.

  • Dynamic route planning

The software should be able to optimally handle on-demand orders along with scheduled orders. Rerouting on the go, due to orders or preferences of customers changing while the rider is out to deliver, is another feature that businesses prefer these days.

  • Seamless transition

The software needs to incorporate preferences from the on-ground team to phase out the traditional system rather than trying to change the entire procedure in a single go.

  • Reports and analytics

The operations should be manageable across a single dashboard in real-time. It should allow you to track the actual routes vs. the planned routes and help compare the performances of your various business hubs.

With Anstel’s advanced route optimization software, you can identify the fastest, efficient, and most cost-effective for drivers, while keeping tabs on their location and progress. Your can manage operations seamlessly as the software drastically reduces route planning and scheduling efforts.

ROI of Route Optimization Software

It is tough to pinpoint an exact “ROI” as such, but it is typically realized within the year. The ROI calculation differs depending on whether it is installed as software with an upfront cost or a software as a service (SaaS) solution with an ongoing monthly payment. ROI on a route planning software mainly comes from these areas:

  • Better use of drivers by planning routes that make more efficient use of each shift.
  • Usage of fewer vehicles, which means cutting down on maintenance costs.
  • Reducing the number of miles driven, thus decreasing fuel expenses.

What metrics can you use to measure Route Optimization Success?

There is no particular formula that directly measures the success of route optimization programs. But you can choose metrics to understand if your route optimization techniques have been successful or not. The first step should be to select metrics that are most important to your business and establish an accurate baseline. Concentrate on fleet operating metrics that are crucial to your business and ensure you measure them correctly.  Some examples are:

  • Total fleet miles
  • Drops per shift
  • Planned vs. actual stops
  • Total fleet operating costs
  • Fuel expenses
  • Costs per mile
  • Hours invested for planning routes
  • Third-party costs (if any)
  • On-time arrival time
  • Inbound call volumes
  • Fleet capacity utilization.

How to select the best Route Optimization Software?

You can’t just select any random route optimization software. It should fit your business model while helping to reduce delivery costs and minimize delays. Remember these pointers:

Mapping updates

Failed and delayed deliveries can mean huge losses for your business in terms of both revenue and credibility. One of the major reasons for such problems is following wrong directions to reach a specific delivery location. The route optimization software should provide real-time and updated mapping data to minimize the effort of updating delivery info, and help complete jobs within deadlines.

Geofencing

Just like wrong directions, incorrect addresses lead to delays too. It not only hampers productivity and profitability but also leads to poor customer experience. Geofencing helps to convert address data into precise geographic coordinates that can be calculated, mapped, and analyzed. If there is a change in road networks or human error, the location data can help to overcome them.

Multi-route planning

As a rule, businesses need to be prepared to manage multiple vehicles in a fleet with various deliveries, pick-ups, and service calls. That is why fleet managers have to plan the most feasible and shortest possible routes for timely deliveries. The software should provide several optimized routes for the driver to choose the one that takes the least amount of time. It must also be convenient to reroute previously planned routes and reallocate more stops to a different vehicle.

With on-demand delivery orders coming in, last-minute changes are inevitable. These changes should be quickly incorporated so delivery routes are modified automatically. This is where dynamic route planning plays an integral role – it returns optimal routes based on real-time constraints. It facilitates intelligent planning of on-demand orders and scheduled orders while working out new routes for drivers if customer preferences change. This technique helps both drivers and fleet managers to adapt to changing delivery schedules without compromising on efficiency.

Import and export of data

With humongous amounts of customer data being generated daily, it needs to be recorded for future use. A route optimization software is an ideal tool to import and export specific addresses.

Performance analytics and reporting

Analyzing delivery operations is as important as managing them in real-time. The software should provide a centralized dashboard that displays detailed analytics of actual and optimized routes. It helps fleet managers stay updated with customer preferences and make smart, timely decisions.

How to analyze Route Optimization results?

You know that you have done something right when your business is impacted in the following ways:

  • More sales and service revenue.
  • Improvement in operational efficiency.
  • Better productivity in sales & service executive and delivery partners.
  • Reduction in sorting and dispatch planning time.
  • Lowering of operational costs.
  • End-to-end omnichannel fulfillment.
  • Increase in On-time in-full (OTIF) deliveries.

What is the impact of Route Optimization in the e-commerce sector?

Route planning software offers a plethora of benefits for the e-commerce sector such as:

  • Optimized delivery routes and automatic allocation to drivers after considering historical data and implementing dynamic planning.
  • Geocoding and locality detection to automate shipment sorting processes inside delivery centers.
  • Balancing the number of deliveries per driver to accommodate breaks in the schedule.
  • Improved vehicle utilization capacity.
  • End-to-end visibility of all vehicles, riders, and other on-ground resources across a centralized dashboard.
  • Setting achievable delivery windows that result in a lesser number of failed deliveries, better SLA adherence, and enhanced customer delight.

What is the impact of Route Optimization in different business sectors?

Apart from e-commerce, route optimization software is of extreme importance in other industries as well. Take a look:

Food Delivery

Optimal routing is essential for a food delivery business as it cuts down operational costs and creates a more satisfied customer base.  The software helps in these ways:

  • Order tracking and alerts in real-time.
  • Distribution of last-minute orders or sick drivers’ shifts evenly across the fleet via dynamic routing.
  • Setting individual capacities and truck capabilities at the truck/driver level.
  • Optimizing routes for large order volumes quickly.

Installation, Inspection, and Maintenance

Any on-site service business depends heavily upon driving. The software aids in:

  • Setting time windows at the order level.
  • Adjusting to cancellations and last-minute requests via dynamic re-planning.
  • Reducing the number of technicians on call thanks to automatic workload balancing.
  • Adjusting for required breaks, locations, and client time windows via advanced weekly planning.

Logistics

When shipping cargo over long distances, selecting the right route can make all the difference! Take a look at how:

  • Offering better control of basic fleet management with features like GPS tracking and creating routes consider vehicle type by importing orders.
  • Automatically distributing workloads across the fleet.
  • Providing efficient weekly and long-haul planning, including overnight stops and scheduled breaks, (as per compliance to regulations).

Retail

When you supply a product to your business partners, the timely delivery of the product is a huge part of the customer experience. Here it addresses:

  • Real-time order tracking and alerts to keep customers updated about delivery status.
  • Efficiently deliver to multiple distribution centers with order-based route planning.

Healthcare

When it comes to healthcare scheduling, arriving on time is of the utmost importance. The software helps to:

  • Maintain accurate arrival times.
  • Send ETA notifications automatically by SMS or email.
  • Match appointments with the right medical professional by setting certifications and experience. 
  • Map out the shortest possible routes from one patient location to another.

Route Optimization FAQ

Can Google Maps optimize my route?

To put it in a nutshell – NO! Navigation apps like Google Maps can be used for planning a simple route and getting turn-by-turn directions from one point to another. But if there are several points involved, with multiple stops, Google Maps can’t “optimize” the best and most cost-efficient route. It is a route planner for multiple stops, but not a route optimizer.

How to optimize your routes on your own?

There are a couple of ways to optimize routes on your own – take a look:

Manual Optimization

You enter all addresses on a map and plan the route by putting different stops in order that makes sense to you. Needless to say, this is a very time-consuming and tedious method, which loses effectiveness if you have to do it daily. Moreover, there are too many variables like traffic, weather, etc. that you can’t keep track of.

GPS Apps

Apps like Google Maps or Waze can be used to create routes. But as mentioned above, these aren’t effective for “optimizing” routes. They can find a route from point A to B, but you can’t add more than a certain number of stops, nor will the route be cost-effective.

What is Route Scheduling?

Route scheduling is the practice of scheduling a driver’s servicing, delivery, and arrival times for their routes. Route scheduling not only maximizes service appointments in a given workday but also ensures that customers get serviced in an accurate and timely manner.

What is Route Management?

Route management includes route optimization software as part of the overall solution – it is the practice of achieving the best efficiencies from fleet operations. It involves the theory of optimizing route efficiencies and combines that with real-time fleet tracking and turn-by-turn driver directions. It ensures that fleet vehicles are actually using those routes to cut down on distance traveled, fuel usage, or amount of time required to complete jobs. Route management also includes monitoring of driver behavior and vehicle activity to ensure safe and eco-friendly driving practices.

What is the difference between Route Planning and Route Optimization?

Route planning

It is also referred to as route mapping or route sequencing. It is the process of importing a list of orders and putting the relevant destinations into an order that seems to make sense. Route planning software takes the point of origin and works out a path that touches each of the multiple stops in whatever order is the shortest.

Route optimization

Route optimization doesn’t plan delivery routes based on just distance. It puts you in better control of your operations by factoring in vehicle weight limits, drive time, shift patterns, road conditions, delivery preferences, and more. The process lets you change routes on the fly.  With route planning, a last-minute request from a customer or vehicle breakdown means you have to start from scratch. But route optimization reassigns the job to the closest and most capable driver and changes their routes immediately to accommodate this last-minute change.

How to map multiple stops using routing and scheduling software?

Route planning and optimization software solutions that include multiple stops involve more than just directing shipments from one stop to another. It allows fleet managers to add multiple stops on the route and cover several delivery locations in the vicinity (as many as possible in one go). The data of all locations the driver has to cover in a day is entered into the software, which generates an efficient dispatch and delivery plan with multiple stops between points A and B for faster and more planned deliveries, making the task easier for drivers.

Parting Thoughts

Route optimization software helps fleet managers figure out the most cost-efficient routes for drivers, in a jiffy! It also equips them with tools to respond to any alterations and update previously planned routes in real-time as situations throughout the day. When routes are optimized, it means drivers spend less time on the road, so fuel costs go down, while the number of stops can be increased, which improves revenue.

Driver Monitoring System

Driver Monitoring System Solution for Fleet Management

Accidents occur every day due to distracted driving. According to The CDC (Centre for Disease Control & Prevention), distracted driving causes approximately 9 death cases and more than 1,000 injured cases every day in the United States alone! While the idea of self-driving cars is amazing, but removing drivers completely from the picture is still far ahead. 

Driver Monitoring System (DMS) is the need of the hour!

This is a real-time system that is specifically designed for fleets. Be it drowsiness, distractions, fatigue, or other visual attributes that can lead to fatalities, the server detects these patterns and sends alerts in real time to fleet managers, as well as drivers. It also detects driver ID and camera status to prevent unauthorized usage and tampering. Apart from these features, specialized algorithms provide benefits such as workforce management enhancement, DMS-based driver supervision, and driving scoring information. Powered by advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, and using computer vision algorithms, it provides stellar in-cabin sensing solutions for fleets.

How does the DMS work?

Once the device is switched on:

  • The camera and sensors monitor and pick up on movements.
  • Cutting-edge AI technology analyzes video for instances of drowsiness, fatigue, distractions, etc.
  • Results are sent to the server once the event is classified.
  • Real time alerts are sent to fleet managers (can be configured). Audio and visual driver alerts can be set accordingly.

Features of the DMS:

Superb Connectivity

Real time data and information is transmitted to fleet management systems via cloud connectivity. RS232, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi can be used to seamlessly connect to the in-vehicle telematics box.

Easy Installation

An adjustable mount can be used to prop up the device on the windshield or dashboard. Both iOS and Android apps are available for convenient installation procedures.

Monitoring Driver Movements

Detection of driver state is extremely important, because a timely alert sent to drivers can save their lives! Using embedded computer vision and AI, head pose, blink rate, direction of gaze, and other visual characteristics can be used to determine if their attention is on the road or not. The device expertly detects driver fatigue and drowsiness to prevent incidents.

Authentication

Are drivers letting other people operate your vehicle for a little extra on the side? Are driver’s family members using the vehicle for personal errands? The AI identifies and authenticates drivers via facial recognition technology to prevent this from happening.

Keep Tabs on Position

Is the driver not wearing his seat belt? Is he not sitting in the right position while driving? An alert is sent immediately for seat belt reminder and air bag deployment.

Tamper-Proofing

The device is integrated with self-monitoring capabilities. Due to quick camera status notifications, fleet managers are alerted of any tampering or loss of calibration. It allows them to respond to critical situations quickly.

Checking Driver Activity

When drivers are on the road, their focus should only be on the job. Poor habits like smoking, eating, drinking, or texting while driving can lead to fatal accidents. The AI uses advanced algorithms to check if drivers are indulging in unsafe behavior. For instance, if they are feeling sleepy, nodding off, or displaying erratic eye movements, the device identifies such signs, and sends an alert to fleet managers, as well as the drivers. Thus, drivers can immediately correct such behavior, while fleet managers might intervene if necessary. The DMS also detect if they are wearing face masks.

vehicle tracking system

Vehicle Tracking System: The Complete Guide – Anstel Global

As customers expect stellar services that include tracking of shipments, faster delivery times, contactless deliveries, and so on, it has become tough for fleets of all sizes, to cope up with the pressure. But technologies like vehicle tracking systems help to exert proper control over the fleet and opens up access to an extensive cache of data that can be used to improve operational efficiency and meet customer requirements at the same time.

What is Vehicle Tracking?

To put it in a nutshell, vehicle tracking allows monitoring and controlling of vehicles using gadgets like computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices, on a 24x7 basis with the help of GPS satellites. Vehicle tracking systems (VTS) allow instantaneous tracking of vehicle speeds, monitoring routes they followed, checking stopping points and idling times, recording vehicle histories, and maintaining detailed reports

How do Vehicle Tracking Systems work?

Vehicle tracking systems operate within a loop of GPS, GSM/GPRS, digital maps, and special software. When mobile data devices are mounted on vehicles, they transmit two kinds of information received from satellites – real-time data when the satellite info was transmitted and position of the satellite at that time, along with telemetric information such as temperature to control and communication centres via the GSM/GPRS network. Using advanced software, information is compiled and recorded in a database on servers. Thus vehicles can be tracked via their history and instantaneous positions – it is possible to view all sorts of information gathered from vehicle data.

Who uses Vehicle Tracking?

Vehicle tracking has evolved beyond dots on a map, and one of the most important applications of this technology is fleet management. Every organization that depends on vehicles has a lot to gain from using the Vehicle Tracking System to track its assets. Be it small, medium, or large-sized fleets, when implemented by businesses with fleet operations such as in industries like transportation, construction, specialty services, delivery, and government, Vehicle Tracking System means reduced operational costs, better productivity, and increased efficiency.

How does Vehicle Tracking Software work?

When it comes to vehicle tracking software, there are 4 components involved – GPS satellites, vehicles with GPS tracing devices, wireless networks, and GPS servers. The vehicle tracking device is installed into a vehicle to gather information such as engine management, vehicle diagnostics, date and time, harsh usage, driving hours, excessive idling, speeding, etc. The information that is collected from the vehicle is then stored on the device inside. This data is transmitted via a wireless or cellular network, to a server, which acts as the “cloud platform” to help you access the information on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

What are the different types of Vehicle Tracking Systems?

Regardless of whether you manage a fleet of vehicles or are simply watching over your teenage kid to ensure they follow the rules of the road, VTS can help to keep tabs on the real-time location of the vehicle at all times. There are two types of vehicle tracking:

Passive Tracking Systems

These tracking systems gather information about the vehicle’s position but don’t transmit that data anywhere. Instead, this data is stored on a hard drive or memory card, which can be accessed as and when required

Active Tracking Systems

These tracking systems are also known as real-time tracking devices, which constantly transmit data to a computer or phone, so you are able to monitor the vehicle round-the-click. This is a great choice if you wish to track a new teen driver or keep an eye on vehicles and their whereabouts on a regular basis. You can see the vehicle’s location and speed whenever you want.

Fleet vehicles generally use a combination of Vehicle Tracking System, to record where the vehicle has been, how fast the driver has gone, pinpointing real-time locations, monitoring idling time, and other important information.

What features should you look for in a GPS Fleet Vehicle Tracking System?

Location tracking in real-time

The very basics of fleet management revolve around location tracking. Pinpointing the precise location of drivers and assets at any given moment lets you respond to emergencies without wasting time (even a minute’s delay can cost someone their life!). It also lets you ensure you send the right vehicles, personnel, and resources to the correct places.  Location tracking in real-time also prevents thefts or drivers from using the vehicle for personal reasons.  Please remember that not all Vehicle Tracking Systems are actually real-time solutions – the updates sent might be at time intervals of a couple of minutes or even longer. Talk to your provider to find out how often updates are sent, to ensure they are in real-time.

Scheduling maintenance for vehicles

If your vehicles are in poor condition, it means jeopardizing driver safety, delays in completing jobs, loss in revenue, and so on. It is imperative to ensure your vehicles are performing as they should. Vehicle Tracking System lets you take appropriate measures by ensuring that preventive maintenance is scheduled and completed on time. If there are any issues, the system spots them, so prescriptive actions can be implemented. Don’t neglect small issues, because they can swiftly turn into major problems. Vehicle downtime negatively affects business if one or more assets are out of commission for long periods.

Sending customized alerts

Fleet management relies heavily on customizable alerts via Vehicle Tracking System. Getting real-time notifications regarding driver behavior and vehicle diagnostics can help to reduce risk and improve overall efficiency – both factors affect the bottom line. For instance, if you get real-time tracking alerts regarding wasted fuel due to high idle times or bad driving, it helps to determine areas for improvement.  Fuel makes up a third of a fleet’s operational costs, and using VTS can decrease it by an average of 13%.

You can set up several alerts such as notifications when assets move during a specified time range, create geofences to ensure vehicles don’t go out of a designated zone, trigger warnings of long idle times and speed, and know when vehicle maintenance is due and so on.

Optimizing and scheduling routes

No one schedules routes using pen and paper anymore! Common issues faced by companies include overlapping routes, drivers taking a long way, not sending the closest vehicle to the next job, or time wasted in communicating with drivers about updates or changes in routes. Vehicle tracking maps out the route at the beginning of every day and schedules them using details such as customer requests, delivery requirements, etc. This feature improves communication, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Optimization is done on the basis of traffic patterns, accidents, road work, bridge heights, and other factors that impact routes. This way you boost response time, reduce mileage and fuel consumption, and get more jobs done in a day. The Aberdeen Group has stated that VTS can decrease vehicle downtime by 15%! Thanks to real-time data about present conditions, you can make smart, informed decisions.

Monitoring utilization of vehicles

You must know which vehicles and how often they are used – it is crucial to understand if you have the right kind and the correct number of vehicles. Using VTS is the only way to compute this metric. Don’t try to do it on a spreadsheet, because that method is outdated and can increase budget outlays for vehicles not in use. VTS provides comprehensive utilization reports so you can process the data and decide about vehicles and assets accordingly.

Keeping tabs on driver behaviour

Predictive analytics help to prevent accidents and promote safe driving behaviour. You must keep an eye on driver behaviour so your business can operate at maximum efficiency and productivity. Please bear in mind it is not a tool to spy on drivers – it helps to improve their performance and keep them safe while ensuring continued growth for your business. VTS provides visibility into a host of driving behaviours such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and harsh braking. Reports can be used to check the start and stop times, in order to validate timecards or even point out padded hours that often result in high labour costs. Use reports and personalized alerts to ensure drivers are held accountable.

What are the common commercial uses of VTS?

When VTS was invented, it was majorly used for military purposes, but nowadays, it is used for a wide range of commercial applications such as:

Managing Fleets

  • Keep tabs on the physical location and movements of valuable assets, across wide geographical locations.
  • Tracking field service personnel for repair and maintenance jobs, while dispatching the closest field engineer to deal with a client’s problem in a quick and timely manner.
  • Mobile field salesmen can easily reach their customers and target clients in unknown areas by getting proper directions. This means they don’t waste time searching for locations.
  • Logistics and shipping companies use VTS to monitor goods in transit.
  • When it comes to transportation and distribution of refrigerated and perishable goods, optimum temperatures are a must. VTS immediately sends an alert if the temperature range falls below or goes above the pre-determined level

Promoting Safe Driver Behaviour

If instances of distracted, reckless, or aggressive driving are hampering your business, you can easily monitor it via VTS. Be its rapid acceleration, speeding, harsh braking, sharp turns, or not adhering to traffic rules, you get to know which drivers are behaving irresponsibly, and can take action accordingly. You also receive alerts if there are road accidents, mishaps, or emergencies. This leads to improved asset utilization, customer satisfaction, vehicle and driver safety, and a better work environment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has stated that Electronic Logging Devices will save more than 25 lives each year.

Providing Timely Medical Services

Through a GPS vehicle tracking system, ambulances and EMS Fleets can be monitored and sent quickly to critical patients, thus providing timely medical facilities and saving lives.

Better Security

Both consumer and commercial vehicles can be equipped with a VTS, so the police can recover stolen vehicles by tracking their movements. Some systems also enable automatic locking of vehicles or engines in case of an emergency. They may also trigger an automated email or message to a phone if the alarm is set off or the vehicle is moved without authorization.

What are the various types of Fleet Vehicle Tracking Devices available?

Fleet vehicle tracking devices are used for boats, trailers, cars, or semi-trucks. They can be broadly classified into three categories:

  • Plug-and-Play – As is evident from the name, these trackers are plugged into the OBD-II port in the vehicle. The information is then transmitted to a phone or computer.
  • Hardwired – If there is no OBD-II port in the vehicle, the device can be wired directly into it. This option is feasible for older cars and diesel trucks that have a different OBD standard that may not be compatible. They can be concealed if wired anywhere beneath the dashboard, which is beneficial for business owners who want to subtly track and monitor their fleet.
  • Battery Operated – If you are looking for VTS that doesn’t draw power from the vehicle itself, then battery-operated devices are what you need.

Which problems does a vehicle fleet tracking system solve?

Businesses that haven’t installed vehicle fleet tracking systems to streamline operations are missing out on a plethora of benefits. Take a look at some of the biggest issues that can be resolved using this technology:

The driver hasn’t arrived yet

Pacifying angry customers about why the driver hasn’t arrived is something that no one wants to deal with! Use vehicle tracking to know precisely where the vehicle is – you can give customers an ETA and take the guesswork out of the equation. You can see where all of your fleet vehicles are at one time, so you can determine who is closest to a particular location. No more missed business opportunities as you were trying to figure out who can get there in time!

Tracking your assets

Fleet tracking technology can work for all mobile assets, not just vehicles. Equipment like trailers and generators can be monitored as well. Create geo-fences around worksites, which boost security for assets. It sends alerts when an asset leaves or enters the property. You get notified immediately about anything untoward after-hours.

Finding out an issue hours later

You get to know that your truck broke down just as you are about to leave office. Even if it happened hours ago, you need to figure out what to do with the shipment, get the vehicle repaired, and work out the scheduling, while likely having to incur overtime costs. With VTS, you can receive notifications about vehicle issues right away, so you can take action without delay. It helps to keep overtime costs down and plan schedules properly. Maintenance personnel can look into the diagnostic trouble codes even before the vehicle is in the shop, so any parts that should be replaced can be ordered right away.

Spending loads on fuel and parts

Noticed that you are spending too much on fuel and replacement parts every month?  Drivers tend to drive more cautiously when they know their driving habits are being watched closely. Following the speed limit and reducing harsh braking, decreases wear and tear on vehicles and saves fuel consumption and overall vehicle maintenance costs. Did you know that you can lose up to 2% of your fuel economy for each mile per hour you drive above 55 mph? You know which drivers are making detours or unauthorized stops, as these problematic patterns can be identified right away with vehicle activity alerts.

Knowing about the best and worst drivers in your fleet

Rewarding top-performing drivers will give them an incentive to stay with your company. Similarly, you should also invest in providing training to those who could use improvement.  Use the data collected by the vehicle’s sensors to find out who your best and worst drivers are. Parameters like harsh braking, speeding, and idling can be tracked, which lowers maintenance costs, reduces fleet liability, and helps to reward those drivers who practice safe driving behaviour. You can devise customized training programs to coach drivers with troubling patterns on where they need to improve.

Cutting down on emissions

Fleet managers know which vehicles to dispatch to a site for service – they aren’t left clueless about whom to assign jobs to or whether those are being completed on time. Sending the closest vehicle saves time, reduces fuel consumption, and cuts down on emissions. NAVTEQ research shows that vehicle tracking devices can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 21%.

Which types of companies are most suited to use vehicle tracking? Where is vehicle tracking used?

Vehicle tracking systems are used by several industries these days for a variety of purposes. Here are some of them:

Courier or Delivery Services

Customers want to know the location of their package at all times, so VTS comes in handy as the information can be transmitted right from the time of processing at the central sorting office till it is delivered. This information is updated whenever there is a change in the position of the package in the delivery cycle occurs, and customers can keep track of it on their website. They don’t want to call a number or depend on rough estimates – they wish to know when their package is expected to arrive. This particular industry is an important link between the seller and buyer and both parties rely on it for efficiency.

Logistics & Shipping

This type of business involves large fleets, so every vehicle and driver should be tracked at all times. They supply hundreds, if not thousands of recipients every week, and any delay or drop-in service can have a massive impact on the entire operation, lead to losses, and damage credibility. For instance, if they are supplying pharmaceutical goods, but the driver misses a delivery, countless people have to go without the medication they need at a particular time. Likewise, drivers carrying food or clothes for a business can cause real issues if they are late, leaving said companies unable to cater to their customers. VTS allows fleet managers to monitor driving speeds, routes, fuel consumptions, and chalk out journeys to avoid heavy traffic.

Construction Firms

Construction firms equip their vehicles with VTS, in case of intruders attempt to remove them from a job site. These systems can also ensure that drivers carrying loads from one site to another don’t waste time or take out-of-the-way/unsafe routes. Knowing that such technology is in place can provide drivers with the proper motivation to minimize wasted time and obey safety regulations. Tracking this data also helps to invoice customers accurately, as it shows the number of hours a vehicle has been used over time.

Public Transport

Trains, buses, and taxis have to adhere to tight schedules. Customers plan their days and activities around public transport, and if there are disruptions or delays, their route can get affected big time. VTS helps businesses stay connected with drivers and apprises customers of potential delays well in advance. Companies like Uber use this technology extensively to provide customers with the precise location of vehicles, driver details, ETA, and so on.

How should you choose a vehicle tracking provider?

Before you go ahead and choose a vehicle tracking provider, make sure you consider the following criteria:

Passive and Active Tracking

  • Passive

As mentioned above, the receiver unit simply stores the information in passive tracking systems, which are then downloaded onto a server only after the vehicle returns. This system gathers information every 30 seconds and requires lots of memory to store data. Storage capacity is variable – some solutions store data for a week, while others can do so for 60 days. There is a chance of data loss if the vehicle stays out of the coverage for a long period and the data exceeds the memory capacity. In such cases, new data overwrites the old one – the latter is lost forever.

  • Active

Based on a predetermined frequency, it continuously updates data into the server. Depending upon the provider, the frequency of data updates can vary from 15 seconds to once a day. Due to the consistent updating of data, there is no risk of loss.

Fleet operations usually require both types of trackers as real-time locations and vehicle history are equally important.

Dispatching

Respond to emergencies or re-route vehicles if there is a roadblock up ahead, thanks to effective dispatching. Since you can monitor the status of each vehicle and the location of drivers round-the-clock, it allows you to take action quickly and manage day-to-day operations in a more streamlined manner.

Notifications

No longer do fleet managers have to remain glued to their desks to ensure vehicles are following the correct route or there is no emergency. They can set up the VTS to send alerts and notifications to their smart devices. Alerts can be initiated for excessive speeding and idling events, entering or exiting specific geographic areas, and so on.

Accurate Mapping

The mapping features of a vehicle tracking device let you zoom to street levels. You can access views like street maps, satellite, and bird’s eye. Up-to-date mapping helps to plan routes and track vehicle locations far more efficiently.

Preventing Thefts

What if an intruder enters your facility while the guard is catching a few zzzs and quietly makes off with a vehicle? Installing a VTS ensures that even if a theft does occur, it is very easy to pinpoint the location of the vehicle and recover it quickly.

Are vehicle tracking systems legal?

VTS ensures you can monitor assets with minimal effort. Be it concerned parents worried about their teenager’s driving habits or fleet managers wanting to monitor driving behaviour, implement route mapping, and keep tabs on asset utilization and meet targets, vehicle tracking systems are great options. It is legal to use vehicle tracking technology on assets that you own, but before you utilize it on vehicles not owned by you, make sure you conduct research on current federal, state, and local laws.

Conclusion:

Anstel’s Vehicle Tracking Systems like Connected Fleet and OBD-II devices can not only pinpoint the location of assets in real-time, but also ensure better visibility across the fleet to monitor metrics like speed, engine performance, idling time, fuel usage, etc., use predictive analytics to keep risky driving behaviour in check and prevent accidents, provide flexibility while route planning, streamlining operations, help to make smart and data-driven decisions, prevent theft and unauthorized usage of assets, and lastly, encourage green driving practices.

What is Reckless Driving?

What is Reckless Driving? – A Brief Guide – Anstel Global

Reckless driving kills almost 100 people every day in the United States alone! So can you imagine the global death toll due to reckless driving? It is time to address this very serious issue that claims thousands of lives each year. When it comes to transportation fleets, a reckless driving charge not only leads to a loss in revenue but can damage your credibility permanently, which has massive implications on your business.

Connected Fleet can help curb reckless driving to a large extent – this article gives a detailed insight into it. Here goes:

What is reckless driving?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Measurement System defines reckless driving as “driving a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”. When someone consciously or intentionally ignores safety rules of the road and operation of the vehicle, with the knowledge that it can cause damage, it means they are driving recklessly. Did you know that 33% of car accidents in the United States result in a fatality?

What are some examples of reckless driving?

To prevent reckless driving, it is imperative to ensure that your drivers understand what it means, so they can take steps to avoid it. Here are some instances:

  • Ignoring traffic signs and signals, while disregarding oncoming traffic, right-of-way for vehicles and pedestrians, and instructions by traffic personnel on the road.
  • Not stopping at red lights and passing by stop signs.
  • Going over specified speed limits, passing on blind curves, and swerving in and out of lanes.
  • Weaving in and out through traffic and tailgating frequently.
  • Racing vehicles on the road or overtaking dangerously/from the wrong side.
  • Driving into areas where vehicles aren’t allowed such as sidewalks or pavements.
  • Crossing a two-lane highway or double yellow lines on the highway.
  • Passing school buses when they clearly have their stop signs down.
  • Driving under influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Talking on the phone or texting while driving.
  • Going around railroad barriers.
  • Fleeing from law enforcement.

Some reckless driving stats for your knowledge!

In some places, reckless driving is often labelled as a misdemeanour crime, and the charge stays on your driving record permanently. Here are some stats to give you a clearer picture of where things stand:

  • An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety poll in the US found that 87% of drivers engage in reckless driving.
  • If you fall asleep at the wheel and cause someone’s death, it is classified as reckless driving in Louisiana.
  • Want to evade police in Florida? Be prepared to have a “reckless driving” charge slapped on you.
  • Reckless riding of an animal in Hawaii qualifies as reckless driving.
  • If you intentionally make a vehicle airborne in Illinois, you will be in trouble.
  • Steer clear from racing or even betting on races if you are in Nevada and New Hampshire, as these activities fall under the realm of reckless driving. You can land in jail or end up paying a heavy fine.
  • Minnesota reckless driving laws prohibit racing even if you maintain or go below the speed limit.
  • Go above 80 mph in Virginia and your driving is termed as reckless.

These stats give you a better idea about the seriousness of the issue – reckless driving is not to be taken lightly under any circumstances.

What is the difference between reckless driving and aggressive driving?

The two offenses are similar in nature, so the terms are often used interchangeably. But there are some variations between them. For instance, if you go over the speed limit, pass on a grade or on a curve, overtake two vehicles abreast, pass a stopped school bus, drive with obstructed views, don’t use proper signals, fail to yield right-of-way, drag race, etc. it qualifies as reckless driving.

Aggressive driving on the other hand is when someone intentionally wishes to harass, harm, or injure someone. It can include speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road or outside designated lanes, incorrect passing/overtaking, not yielding right-of-way, disobeying traffic signals, and stopping on a highway.

Reckless driving only requires that you engage in unsafe driving behaviour, which might not be to intimidate or harm others. The difference here is intent, but both are typically considered misdemeanors, which mean a criminal charge.

What is the difference between careless driving and reckless driving?

Both terms refer to a driver who doesn’t follow the rules of the road, but here too, it is the intent that makes the difference. But keep in mind that both offenses can lead to serious accidents, license suspension, exorbitant fines, and demerit points on the driver’s license. Careless driving is a civil traffic violation that includes not paying attention to the road, speeding, disobeying traffic signs and lights, swerving into wrong lanes, harsh braking, improper overtaking, and also texting while driving. It is not a criminal offense as there is no criminal intent involved, but it can prove to be costly. If the driver works for your fleet management company, you could end up with hefty fines and penalties, not to mention your reputation can come under the scanner as well.

Reckless driving is a criminal offense, which can carry a jail sentence, in addition to huge fines, high insurance premiums, and demerit points on a driver’s license. The reason is that it involves conscious or deliberate disregard for the safety of people or property. Some instances of reckless driving include tailgating, going over speed limits, not following traffic rules and signs, randomly changing lanes, racing other vehicles, driving under influence, endangering the lives of other drivers and pedestrians, and evading law enforcement. If the driver belongs to a fleet management company, there could be a case of negligent entrustment as well.

What are the consequences involved in reckless driving cases?

Reckless driving can have devastating consequences, which can lead to injuries, or even worse – loss of life. Take a look:

Losing your license

Your drivers’ license can be suspended if they are found guilty of engaging in reckless driving behaviour on multiple occasions. In some cases, the license could be permanently revoked.

Collisions

When a driver departs their travel lane into oncoming traffic, there is a high chance of head-on collisions. Be it an aggressive attempt to pass on a two-lane road or impaired driving, it can lead to accidents that claim lives or leave victims severely injured. Another type of collision happens when reckless drivers zoom through intersections or ignore traffic signals – they could collide with the side of another vehicle, or vice versa. Needless to say, the injuries sustained by victims could be immense. Reckless drivers, who tend to tailgate, are often unable to stop their vehicles in time to avoid colliding with a car or truck in front. This time, the leading vehicle occupants who generally endure the worst of the collision – effects could be severe whiplash and brain injury.

Accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles

The problem is that a reckless driver can’t stop for someone on a crosswalk or give a cyclist enough space when they pass. The result is that both the pedestrian and cyclist are struck down, so they are gravely injured or are in danger of losing their lives.

Paying hefty fines and more insurance premiums

If drivers are caught by law enforcement while indulging in reckless behaviour that has resulted in an accident, they are likely to receive a ticket, while you have to bear the cost of fines. Moreover, if your drivers engage in reckless driving, the accident risk goes up, so insurance companies don’t want to bear the burden. It means you have to pay more insurance premiums – the increase is significant.

An ignition interlock device is installed

If your driver is operating the vehicle under influence, you might have to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle (as instructed by the law). It means reduced driving privileges, which includes a restricted driving license that lets the vehicle operate at specific times. This arrangement won’t benefit your fleet at all!

Spending time in jail

If your driver’s reckless behaviour has led to an accident that caused death or serious injuries, there are high chances of jail time.

Credibility issues

If a driver belonging to your fleet is caught engaging in reckless behaviour that leads to an arrest and consequent jail time, your company’s reputation will be affected negatively. Customers will lose the trust and faith they placed in your organization and you could end up losing some business to your competition.

What are the causes of common reckless driving accidents?

There is no single cause of a reckless driving accident as it involves one or more bad decisions by the driver. However, some of the common causes are tailgating, not stopping at red lights or stop signs, going over the speed limit, harsh braking, driving under influence, not using headlights during adverse weather conditions, not using turn signals while changing lanes or turning, and indulging in distracted driving.

Know about the legal aspect of driving recklessly

As mentioned above, reckless driving is a criminal offense, so you get more than a slap on the wrist – it means demerit points on your license and huge fines, along with jail time. Here are some of the legal consequences of driving recklessly:

  • The vehicle being impounded.
  • Getting arrested and spending time in jail.
  • Suspension of license and addition of demerit points.
  • Exorbitant fines.
  • License getting revoked permanently.

Is reckless driving a violent crime?

Regardless of whether the violation occurred intentionally or unknowingly, drivers can still be charged with reckless vehicle operation. If someone has been grievously injured or lost their life, the issue becomes all the more serious. Reckless driving is almost always a violent crime as it leads to consequences as mentioned above. If the person involved is convicted, it could mean penalties, fines, jail time, and the stigma of a criminal record.

How can a fleet tracking system prevent reckless driving?

As a fleet owner or manager, you have to ensure maximum utilization of assets that contribute to the growth of the company and add to its revenue. All vehicles should operate smoothly and complete jobs on time, but reckless driving can be a major hindrance when it comes to accomplishing these goals. With a fleet tracking system like Connected Fleet, you can curb reckless driving patterns and promote safe practices. It lets you access data in real-time to make smart, informed decisions that help to monitor and manage drivers more efficiently, reducing the possibility of road accidents.

Insight into driving behaviour

Speeding is one of the most common offenses among fleet drivers, so if you look into how fast your vehicles are traveling regularly; it lets you analyze speeding and other problematic driving patterns. All you have to do is check the data available from the dashboard. Set up automatic alerts or review reports from a specific date and time range to check which drivers are driving over speed limits frequently.

Similarly, you need to be cautious about acceleration and braking as well. If drivers go too fast, they not only put themselves in danger, but their rash driving can put other motorists and pedestrians at risk. Harsh braking can lead to collisions as well. You should be on the lookout for tailgating, haphazard driving, swerving in and out of lanes, and so on – Connected Fleet lets you identify these patterns and zero in on drivers who exhibit such troubling behaviour.

Plan routes with care

When looking at the dashboard, analyze drivers’ activity, review indicators of unsafe driving, and check their driving history to spot unsafe driving patterns. If you have scheduled longer trips for some drivers, break down the routes into detailed segments so you can evaluate their driving style. Plan routes in such a way so that quick delivery and resting time for drivers is taken into account – this way drivers won’t operate the vehicle under distress and fall prey to accidents. A properly mapped delivery schedule prevents them from driving recklessly in order to meet deadlines.

Provide the right training

Connected Fleet lets you prevent driving behaviour that might lead to serious accidents. With the help of actionable safety data, you can pinpoint trends and patterns of bad driving for individual drivers. Use this information to create customized training sessions for individuals and groups with specific driving habits. They should know what reckless driving means, how devastating its consequences can be, and ways to avoid such driving patterns. They should be aware of traffic rules and regulations and obey them. Specific behavioral training is also necessary so they don’t indulge in road rage or drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Evaluate the performance of drivers

It is imperative to maintain safety report cards and driver ratings – simply monitoring them on the road won’t suffice. Regular evaluations are a must to monitor their progress and identify areas where drivers are facing problems and taking appropriate action. You can determine who needs additional training, based on predictive analytics. You know which drivers are driving recklessly and which ones are following safety standards- it lets you reinforce correct driving habits and reward them, respectively.

How can predictive analytics prevent reckless driving?

Predictive analytics in fleet management is based on data available to managers, which helps them to take action before an incident occurs, thus staying a step ahead of the problems. There can be several sources of data such as telematics software installed in the vehicles, cameras in and around the vehicle, traffic cameras, sensors in the vehicle, etc. Telematics systems in vehicles such as Connected Fleet can alert fleet managers about each driver’s driving patterns and the whole fleet. When they get alerts about harsh braking, rapid accelerations, or any other telltale indicators of reckless driving, they can be logged into the system immediately. Thus, detailed records of drivers can be maintained – this information could be used to develop customized training modules to rectify driving behaviour and improve road safety. Data about accidents are also available to managers. When analyzing this data, you can identify certain patterns as to why these accidents occur and how they can be prevented.

Conclusion:

Invest in Anstel’s fleet tracking technology via Connected Fleet, so you have better control over the safety and security of your drivers. Not only that, but you can maximize fleet visibility and monitor driving behaviour to curb reckless driving before it ends up hampering your business and reputation.

What is Last Mile Delivery

Last Mile Delivery in 2021: The Complete Guide

Consumer behaviour has evolved swiftly, especially due to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. With more people opting to purchase online, logistics and e-commerce companies need to develop an efficient, fast, and reliable last mile delivery model.

This FAQ gives a clear insight into the concept of last mile delivery, how it works, challenges, opportunities, and future trends. Take a look:

What is last mile delivery?

To put it in a nutshell, the delivery process taking place from the distribution centre to the end-user is known as last mile delivery. The goal is to get the package to customers in the shortest time possible sans any delays, which makes the “last mile”, a crucial aspect of the logistics and supply chain industry. When implemented correctly, it results in a high level of customer satisfaction and saves time and money.

What are the steps involved in last mile delivery?

This is what happens when last mile delivery is initiated:

  • A centralized system maintains detailed records of orders and requests. Both sender and end-user are involved in this step.
  • A tracking number/link is generated so delivery status can be monitored in real-time.
  • Businesses dispatch orders to the transportation hub as fast as possible, so they can be delivered to recipients.
  • Orders are sorted, and then packages are delegated to delivery personnel based on routes and addresses of recipients.
  • Orders are loaded into vehicles. Each order is individually scanned and their status updated. It ensures they can be monitored in transit, so the chances of goods getting lost or misplaced drastically reduced.
  • The package is delivered to the final destination, while signatures, proof of delivery, barcode scanning, and other information is recorded. This step verifies the delivery and marks the order as “complete”.

What are the problems in last mile delivery?

Even though the last mile concept sounds simple, there are a host of issues involved when it comes to successful execution. Take a look:

  • Delivering small quantities to numerous businesses and households – you need more manpower to cover a wide area, and it doesn’t add much to revenue as orders are relatively small.
  • Navigating through congested areas and figuring out how to reach destinations that are miles apart, without delays – no one wishes to deal with angry customers complaining that their shipment is not on time.
  • Optimizing routes during bad weather such as rain, storm, and snow – they can cause unprecedented delays with roads being blocked.
  • Keeping overall costs (fuel, maintenance, refunds & returns, etc.) down. Fuel expenses shoot up due to idling and poor driver behaviour, while the company has to bear the cost of returning or exchanging defective/damaged items. The cost goes up if a refund has to be provided.
  • Meeting customer expectations with same-day deliveries.
  • Type of merchandise being shipped – perishable goods, groceries, and pharmaceuticals are often kept within particular temperature ranges, while bulky items like furniture and appliances require more manpower.
  • Keeping up with technology – a common problem with several global transportation and logistics companies is the use of obsolete and outdated technology for last mile, which results in delays and high shipping costs.

What are the various options that can be explored for last mile?

Create your own fleet “in-house”

This option is convenient but comes with several expenses, so not many can afford it. Building and operating an in-house fleet can be exhausting and time-consuming, which shifts focus from other core objectives. Companies mostly turn to third parties to fulfil delivery needs, but delivery experiences are a major aspect of customer’s interaction with your brand. Last mile providers have to align with the brand image as viewed by customers but few services on the market can make it happen. 

Talk to carriers and postal services

When you let another company control the delivery process, flexibility goes for a toss, as your delivery experience needs to fit into their system (rather than the other way round). Moreover, you have to be dependant on them during the busiest times of the year, when reliable and timely deliveries are vital for ensuring customer satisfaction. Their infrastructure is already stretched to capacity at this time, so ticking all the boxes of a successful delivery might not be possible.

Local couriers work for small scale operations

You have to take the size of the item into account, because these are small establishments with a restricted number of vehicles, and the vehicle size is limited as well. Not every company has the capacity to scale as per demand, so you might have to engage multiple delivery service providers, which is a logistical nightmare while costs go up.

Variable marketplaces that are “crowdsourced”

These services ensure quick and on-demand deliveries at variable costs. The trucks aren’t owned by these companies, so they can scale and adapt as and when required. These marketplaces customize the delivery experience for your brand, so you have more control over the process. They offer features such as web/cloud, real time tracking and on-the-go apps.

How can we address last mile delivery challenges and identify opportunities?

Did you know that 75% of companies in the U.S. have reported that the pandemic has disrupted their supply chain? The major reason is the shift in consumer buying behaviour, with a massive uptick in online sales.

Stores that have a physical presence turned into fulfilment centres

Brick and mortar retailers operate stores spread across an area or even a country, along with warehouses and distribution centres for keeping stores stocked. Online orders have changed the entire landscape as retailers have to fulfil single orders that come with online sales, which have a different packing and fulfilment process as compared to working with cases or pallets. Speed of delivery is a crucial factor here, so it is helpful if stores can hold inventory close to customers, whether they shop in person or online. This makes same-day local deliveries more feasible. Turning a part of your stores into fulfilment centres for online orders is also less expensive than getting more warehouse space. Accenture has stated by 2023, that more than half of e-commerce purchases will be delivered from local inventory.

Retailers specializing in e-commerce have to offer fast and low-cost deliveries

Warehouses and fulfilment centres for "e-commerce only" retailers are designed just for e-commerce orders. Since they use postal services or traditional carriers to fulfil orders, the customer experience isn’t stellar. Carriers are often unable to meet timelines for local deliveries, or handle larger and bulkier items. When deliveries aren’t as per expectations, customers blame the company they ordered from (not the delivery company). Deliveries not only have to be fast, efficient, and low cost, but real time tracking needs to be available too.

B2B and B2C manufacturers communicating directly with customers

Even though manufacturers engage customers via retailers and wholesalers, some of them transact directly with customers now.  Due to direct communication, they are able to build a stronger rapport and keep them in the loop about promotions, company information, and new products. They can maintain histories of purchases, to predict buying behaviour, and thus tailor communications for each customer. Deliveries have to cost-effective, fast, reliable, and scalable, so the delivery model is a key factor here. Building an in-house fleet is costly, shifts focus, and is tough to scale rapidly, while third party delivery models might not meet expectations.  

B2B suppliers creating in-house fleets

Business customers want the process of purchasing products for their operations to be streamlined and efficient. Suppliers often build their own fleets, but they face the same problems as businesses that build fleets dedicated to consumer orders, including steep initial investments and sizable ongoing expenses. Sufficient resources have to be allocated to the fleet, but even with a substantial investment, it isn’t possible to meet every delivery requirement, so the risk of disappointed customers remains.

How can technology aid in channel of evolution for last mile delivery?

As mentioned above, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a surge in online shopping, hence last mile deliveries have become all the more important. That is why, it is imperative to shift towards an omni-channel strategy. The last mile network design is moving from a conventional centralized model to a more decentralized version. Be it via crowdsourced platforms, electric vans, drones, or micro-fulfilment centres, the last mile channel is diversifying.

Using malls and storefronts for micro-fulfilment

As mentioned, malls and storefronts can be used as micro-fulfilment centres. Nowadays, retailers often use stores to fulfil orders with 1-2 hour delivery time frames, while using backrooms for same-day deliveries. This is a lucrative option as it involves leveraging existing assets. Since these properties are situated near their customer base, deliveries can be sped up.

Scalable platforms that are crowdsourced

Crowdsourced delivery platforms are scalable and can be adapted to meet changes as per demand. Firms of all sizes will find this model helpful since no upfront investment is involved.

Live tracking and optimizing the best routes

Smart tracking and route optimization solutions help companies improve efficiency when it comes to completing deliveries. Using technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, they optimize routes and reduce delays.

High-tech gadgets like drones

Drones can work wonders when it comes to speeding up deliveries, while also providing the contactless delivery option -(important in the post-Covid era). With the advent of more sophisticated technology, the number of last-mile warehouses and delivery speed of drones will increase, resulting in decentralized last-mile delivery networks. Drones are especially helpful in rural areas where distances between destinations lead to mounting expenses. 

Battery-operated electric powered vehicles

Electric vehicles minimize fuel and maintenance costs, improve driver safety, and are eco-friendly. Customers are looking to make sustainable choices these days, so this can be an excellent option for companies investing in green transportation practices.

Nascent technology like wheeled robots

Wheeled robots carry several packages at a time and operate mostly on sidewalks rather than roads. They are gradually entering the marketplace as “personal delivery devices”.

Deliveries being picked up by customers via click to collect

This is an option where consumers pick up their deliveries after the items have been deposited at parcel lockers. The failure rate of deliveries is nil, while total delivery time is also greatly reduced. 

Why should you hire a last mile carrier?

Companies need to meet customer expectations perfectly when it comes to delivery, or they lose the edge over competitors. Orders have to be delivered to satisfaction every single time, irrespective of location, type of goods, or time of year. If you don’t partner with a last mile carrier, you will face hurdles during same-day delivery or while adhering to timelines for faster delivery. Most customers don’t return after one bad delivery experience, so you can’t drop the ball on this. Partnering with a credible last mile delivery partner ensures your deliveries are on time, reliable, and build on brand loyalty.

How to select a suitable last mile delivery partner?

When choosing a last mile delivery partner, you need to keep the following points in mind:

  • Ability to scale as and when required – The delivery solution needs to align with company growth.
  • Cost-effectiveness – Minimize ongoing costs related to fuel, maintenance, idling, lost or misplaced goods, returns, refunds & exchanges, speeding & parking fines, etc.
  • Customer Satisfaction – The company needs to measure customer satisfaction levels, monitor and track customer reviews, and set benchmarks for accountability.
  • Trained Personnel – Drivers have to be thoroughly trained to represent your brand and interests.
  • Service Quality – They have to meet expectations when it comes to accuracy and speed of delivery. Moreover, they should prioritize all clients equally, and have an expert available to assist with all kinds of queries.
  • Use of Latest Technology – They should offer features such as real time tracking and notifications, predictable pricing, analytics, and so on. Delivery details such as real time status of the shipment and ETA of delivery need to be available to customers.
  • Driver Safety – They should promote safe driving behaviour so the delivery experience isn’t hampered due to unnecessary delays or accidents that could have been averted. Adherence to all Covid-19 safety protocols to curb the spread, need to be maintained as well.

How does last mile help in the era where technology is constantly evolving?

The introduction of technology in the retail sector has completely changed the game as it has led to fierce competition among e-commerce companies. About a couple of decades back, shipping and deliveries took around 6 to 8 weeks, but now one wants to wait that long today. In fact, people expect same-day delivery to be free of cost, or at a very nominal rate. Last mile delivery is the key to staying ahead of competition, so retailers have adapted their delivery model accordingly.

Why do you need advanced last mile software to complete last mile deliveries successfully?

Last mile delivery software can make the process faster and more efficient than ever, while bringing down costs at the same time. Take a look:

  • Route mapping – Discover the most efficient routes after factoring in traffic, location, capacity, and time under consideration, to minimize total delivery time.
  • Automatically dispatching orders – Tackle the on-demand orders and priority assignments with ease.
  • Real time tracking – Make the delivery process transparent by providing real time updates of the shipment to customers, so they know exactly when it would arrive and who will deliver it.
  • Maintain proof that a delivery is successful – Mark a delivery as “complete” via in-app signatures, photos that show delivery executives placing the packages on doorsteps, along with notes, and barcodes.
  • Improve real time visibility – Maximize fleet visibility by pinpointing exact location of vehicles to check how many are idling. Better visibility also reducing theft, spoilage, and pilferage.
  • Create reports – Maintain detailed data and records that help you take insight-driven business decisions.

What are the last mile delivery trends in 2021?

According to a report by Digital Commerce 360, consumers spent a whopping $861.02 billion in online shopping in the year 2020! The 44% growth is a massive increase as compared to last year.

Contactless delivery

The pandemic has made increased the need for contactless delivery due to safety concerns. Last mile carriers have adapted with digital solutions like Electronic Proof of Delivery software (e-POD) and digital payments to minimize contact, which has to continue.

Drones and delivery Bots

Drones, robots, self-driving vehicles, and autonomous delivery bots will play an integral role in completing last mile deliveries.

More urban warehouses

Companies have to build warehouses, hubs, and fulfilment centres closer to cities, as more customers start demanding same-delivery. It not only reduces transit time, but makes access to delivery agents and labourers much easier

Smart tracking

Retailers and logistic companies are exploring advanced technologies such as location intelligence (LI) that keeps customers informed about the exact location of an item in transit and offers more visibility. Features like real-time tracking, route optimization, and visibility, among others, are helping to complete deliveries successfully and improve fleet management.

Quicker fulfilment

Last mile carriers are working harder to scale their delivery model to offer services like one-day and same-delivery – shippers will focus on logistics and move merchandize faster. 

Carrier becomes salesman

Studying a customer’s buying behaviour reveals their likes and dislikes, which has triggered the concept of mobile warehousing. The driver or carrier will load products that weren’t ordered by the customer, but which they are likely to buy. This helps them to upsell while delivering. 

Why is last mile delivery costly?

Last mile delivery is quite pricey for several reasons such as:

  • More stops resulting in more idling and downtime. 
  • Lower average speeds that mean extra time on road and fewer miles per gallon.
  • Failed deliveries due to defective goods being delivered or items lost in transit.
  • Complex routes that lead to more out-of-route miles.
  • Returns, refunds, exchanges, and discounts. 

What are the benefits of last mile delivery?

  • Flexibility – Customers can tweak the time and location of delivery as per preference, which improves overall satisfaction.
  • Boosts productivity and scalability – Eliminates unnecessary idling and unplanned diversions, thus increasing productivity. It becomes possible to quickly on-board any third party executive if any of the in-house capacity gets exhausted.
  • Dynamic routine – To ensure faster deliveries, routes are optimized in real time based on traffic congestion, weather conditions, one-way windows, delivery urgency and so on.
  • More control – It means better end-to-end control of delivery operations by gaining total visibility right from the time a customer places the order.
  • Adds to revenue – Last mile delivery software improves fleet productivity, optimizes routes, scales your business, enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty, reduces fuel consumption, minimizes fleet management expenses, and increases customer retention.

What is last mile carrier tracking?

The process of transporting a package from a hub to a specified destination in the fastest and most cost-effective manner is known as last mile delivery. Last mile carriers are the shipping companies transporting parcels or packages to customers. They are also called delivery service providers to include local or regional courier companies too. Their job is to complete the delivery, while boosting efficiencies and reducing last mile. Business platforms should display the necessary information, while providing an exceptional delivery experience. Last mile carrier tracking software should be available for driver tracking, ETA, feedback about experience, etc.

What is the cost of last mile delivery?

Capgemini Research reveals that companies unable to reduce last mile delivery costs have experienced a decline in profit by 26% in 3 years! Last mile delivery is the most expensive part of the fulfilment chain because it involves numerous costs such as:

  • Fuel – Delivering orders to sparsely populated locations, engine idling, poor driving behaviour, fulfilling same-day deliveries in crowded urban areas, etc. contribute to fuel costs.
  • Refund & Replacement – When orders are delayed or they fail, customers expect at least a partial refund, at least (if not full). Companies have to bear the expenses of free shipping, failed deliveries and late deliveries with refund costs. Sometimes items get damaged in transit, so the companies have to provide a suitable replacement and arrange a pickup so the defective product can be returned. This involves reverse logistics costs.
  • Shortage of Labour – There is dire shortage of qualified drivers, so logistics companies have to bear more in terms of wages.
  • Going Green – Congestion and emissions as a result of e-commerce delivery is creating enormous pressure on city traffic patterns. At the World Economic Forum, 2020, it has been predicted that urban last mile delivery emissions will shoot up by a whopping 30% in 100 cities worldwide by 2030!
  • Maintenance Issues – If your truck breaks down on a busy day, you have to send in the vehicle for maintenance ASAP, which in turn affects deliveries and leads to mounting expenses.

What is e-commerce last mile?

With the Covid-19 pandemic swarming every country, the e-commerce industry has been caught unawares. One of the major challenges brought on by this boom in online purchases, is the last mile delivery process. Last mile delivery in e-commerce is the last leg of a shipment’s movement before reaching the final destination. The movement is the crucial factor here, and the last phase of delivery is referred to as the “lock-in” period for your customer. 

Since consumer expectations for quicker delivery and more user-friendly options have gone up, new expectations for fulfilment speed, cost and convenience are emerging, which means competition has become extremely fierce. For example, Amazon launched same-day deliveries for customers subscribing to Amazon Prime, in early 2019. However, the increase in shipping costs affected the profits – that much was clear by October of that year. Unfortunately, this is a catch-22 situation that e-commerce companies must deal with. When competition intensifies, retailers and marketplaces not only have to offer better delivery costs, but convenient and quick last mile delivery and fulfilment options as well. 

What is the future of last mile in the post-Covid era?

Due to the sudden increase in online shopping because of the Covid-19 wreaking havoc, has caused problems in the logistics industry has been hit with problems such as lack of resources, prioritization of orders and dispatching them accordingly, and last mile delivery costs going up. In the post-Covid era, there will be a lot of changes when it comes to last mile delivery services, such as:

  • Volumes of orders are going to rise, while more customers demand same-day deliveries.
  • For continued safety of the consumer and delivery personnel, “contactless delivery” will become the new normal.
  • Operational scalability has to go up in order to meet demands.
  • Focus will shift to fine-tuning the efficiency of last mile model, and enhancing customer experience. 

Conclusion:

As is evident, last mile delivery plays an integral role in the logistics and e-commerce landscape, so companies have to adopt last mile best practices and works towards solutions that help to provide relevant delivery options and services to their customers. They have innovative technologies at their disposal to boost the delivery process as per requirements.


How Connected Fleet Tracking can Improve Supply Chain Management?

How Connected Fleet Tracking can Improve Supply Chain Management?

  • Connected Fleet tracking reduces fuel consumption by identifying troubling driving patterns and implementing practices to ensure fuel-efficient driving.
  • Locating items that are yet to reach their destination or have gone missing in transit.
  • Creating faster delivery routes, while giving managers better visibility across the entire fleet.
  • Making strategic decisions in a timely manner, promptly responding to any minor issues that arise, and identify potential problems in the supply chain.
  • Boosting customer service by getting jobs completed on time, sans delays.
  • Ensuring maximum utilization of assets across the fleet. 

Fleet tracking technology serves as more than just a tool for navigating drivers or pinpointing the precise location of a vehicle. It has transformed the logistics industry completely and made supply chain management all the more efficient. With Connected Fleet, it is possible to know the whereabouts of vehicles at any given time, monitor vehicle speed, routes, and engine idling, keeps tab on driver behaviour, and complete jobs on time.

How does Connected Fleet tracking help in supply chain management? Take a look:

Reducing Fuel Consumption

Rising fuel costs is one of the major concerns in supply chain management. Implementing fleet tracking technology via Connected Fleet gives access to a considerable amount of data that shows the activity of individual drivers and of the overall fleet as well. This helps fleet managers to identify the drivers who are using higher than optimal level of fuel. After collating this information, specific training modules can be developed to improve driving patterns, which minimizes fuel consumption. Using Connected fleet solutions, fleet managers can also get automatic alerts whenever there is speeding, harsh acceleration and engine idling, which contributes to high fuel consumption. If drivers are notified of such issues, they can self-correct their behaviour and drive in a more fuel-efficient manner.

Locating Missing Items

When items are lost or misplaced, it can create huge problems for a supply chain. One way of dealing with this issue is to track merchandise using QR codes, barcode or RFID codes. When combined with an advanced fleet tracking system, managers get a detailed picture about the movements and routes of their goods. If items don’t arrive at their intended destination, they can check the data to find out which vehicle was carrying the shipment, what route it took, and why it failed to reach. Using Connected Fleet, missing products can be located and the shipment re-routed to its correct destination, which often saves thousands in revenue.

Optimizing Routes and Ensuring More Transparency

Smooth functioning of supply chains mean that drivers should take the shortest and most fuel-efficient route between locations. For large companies, it wouldn’t cause an immediate problem if a product was delayed, but for smaller operations, it can lead to significant issues further down the chain. As mentioned, fleet managers can pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle, which lets them know right away if a particular shipment has been delayed.

Furthermore, fleet managers can design more time-efficient routes to avoid well-known congested areas. This feature is not only beneficial for the supply chain as vehicles arrive at destinations faster, but it also speeds up the final stage where products are delivered to customers. Deliveries can happen quicker and the number of deliveries in a day can be sped up well.

Making Smart Decisions

Using Connected Fleet, supply chain managers can connect vehicles, equipment, and devices to get real time status updates on jobs. It gives them a clear insight across the supply chain, starting from the warehouse and transportation, right to the stakeholders and customers. For instance, rather than viewing any job status as “with courier” or “in transit”, managers can zero in on the exact location of the vehicles. Using analytics data from fleet tracking ensures you are familiar with every aspect of the supply chain, such as knowing where your drivers are, what they are doing, location of shipments, and outcome ofs every process and system. 

With real time tracking options, fleet managers can make intelligent and timely decisions that keep goods moving efficiently. For instance, if drivers are experiencing technical difficulties while making deliveries, managers can communicate and devise instant solutions to those problems, so a task is completed with minimal delays.  This information allows fleet managers to make timely decisions regarding maintenance, scheduled delivery, and pickups. This data can be accessed later on to asses the performance of each vehicle, why it reached its destination late, and what can be done to improve service delivery.

Improving Customer Service

The efficiency of a supply chain is determined on the basis of its connectivity. Managers can access information on their systems while in office or on mobile apps, to track where an item is in real time, so that forecasting delivery time becomes a more exact science. Potential problems can be identified sooner, which allows them to contact customers to manage their expectations or make other arrangements to meet Service Level Agreements. Connected Fleet allows automation of status updates for customers, so they stay informed about their shipments, which in turn reduces inbound enquiries to the customer service team.

Maximizing Asset Utilization

Improved connectivity allows supply chain managers to optimize fleets, which means smarter route planning and identification of assets that are delayed in traffic or held up at a previous job. Connected Fleet lets you track utilization rates to monitor efficiency of assets, thus enabling managers to schedule optimal number of jobs for each asset. With a deeper understanding of how assets are utilized, along with their performance, business operations can be fine-tuned accordingly. It helps to improve productivity by planning more deliveries and dispatches per day. When multiplied across a fleet and the entire supply chain, this could bring a huge boost to the bottom line.

Connected Fleet shows a lot of promise when it comes to supply chain management, but the implementation is only in its infancy. For companies operating a supply chain, it is crucial to install this technology. Anstel’s Connected Fleet provides a greater understanding of how your fleet is functioning as part of the supply chain, which allows fleet managers to improve operational efficiency and productivity by identifying bottlenecks and making timely, strategic decisions.

fuel-efficiency

How Can Connected Fleet Improve Fuel Efficiency?

  • Reasons for the rising oil prices in India.
  • Logistics companies have been significantly impacted due to fuel costs shooting up!
  • Connected Fleet solutions can reduce fuel expenditures by optimizing routes, minimizing idle times, implementing predictive and prescriptive analytics, curbing unsafe driving behaviour, etc.

Fuel prices are smashing records every day India as they keep on going up! Fuel prices in Delhi on the 8th of March are 91.17 INR and 81.47 INR for petrol and diesel respectively. And if reports are to be believed, the surge is only going to continue!

What is the reason for this substantial increase in fuel prices?

Prices of Brent crude cost as much as $55.48 a barrel in January. This rise comes after prices crashed in late March 2020, because the world entered into a lockdown to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus. At the time, prices fell from over $70 a barrel in January to around $14 a barrel in end-March. During May, prices surged to $20 again, and the upward trajectory has since persisted.

India imports more than 80% of its crude oil from other countries, so the increase in global prices has naturally had a direct impact on fuel prices in India. As the economy emerged from the lockdown, fuel consumption shot up, so higher imports were required as well. Oil imports in December were about 29% over the previous month, and about 11.6% higher than a year earlier. Part of the rise in fuel prices is due to the new duties and cess taxes levied by the Centre and state governments. It is partly due to the fact that fuel isn’t categorized under the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Since fuel is one of the few revenue sources directly controlled by the Centre and states post-GST, governments have used it to shore up weak budgets.

How are logistics companies affected by rising fuel costs?

When fuel prices rise sharply, it can have a delayed and devastating effect on companies managing or owning a fleet of vehicles, on the other hand customers are not willing to pay anything extra for delivery. Under these circumstances, carriers are forced to raise costs or bear losses. The higher cost of fuel affects logistics companies and shipping partners as well. If it costs more for the freight carrier to transport goods, the shipping partner has to be charged more to compensate. If shipping costs rise, the recipient has to be consequently asked to pay more to make up for those extra costs. Higher fuel costs lead to product inflation and impact every aspect of production transportation along the way.

Other issues that have to be considered are rapid change and price volatility. Logistics organizations generate fuel surcharges based on fuel prices of the previous week. If fuel prices go up swiftly, a lag is created between price of fuel and fuel surcharge rate. This “lag” is what impacts the trucking company’s earnings. With the continual volatility in the price for crude oil, logistics companies are forced to restructure or strategize operations to ensure their profit margins remain unaffected, while avoiding potential setbacks.

How can Connected Fleet solutions reduce fuel expenses?

Using Connected Fleet solution and telematics data, fuel costs can be reduced by almost 20% to 25%. Take a look:

Use Optimization to Plan Efficient Routes

Longer routes mean more fuel consumption. It is vital to structure the route so fuel efficiency isn’t compromised. If drivers take routes out of their way or through known high-traffic areas, this adversely impacts fuel consumption. Using route optimization software, fleet managers can analyse routes and predict the best route drivers can take to reach their destinations. This software also takes unexpected delays and additional stops into account. For instance, congestive traffic, accidents, and road closures can change otherwise viable routes for vehicles. But the software can quickly reroute by providing alternative solutions and dispatch vehicles efficiently.Companies using fleet management solutions can reduce total miles driven by up to almost 10%. You can monitor weather patterns, area topography, building footprints and vehicle clusters too. Using this information, you can improve fleet efficiencies like sending the closet vehicle via the most direct route to provide customers with quick service, while keeping fuel usage to a minimum.

Minimize Idling Times

Idling leads to wastage of fuel, so you need to monitor which of your fleet vehicles are idle for longer than necessary. Remember that a truck uses a litre of fuel for every 15 minutes of idling on an average. So an hour of idling in a week means 1460 litres of fuel being wasted every year! Using fleet management software, you can monitor events and situations that lead to excessive fuel consumption and take necessary action to prevent it. For instance, you can check idle time per vehicle, idle time averages across the fleet, the time of day when idle time is maximum and so on. Educating drivers about the necessity of reducing idle times is a must.

Reduce Speeding

Poor driving habits like excessive speed can cause fuel bills to spike. For every 10 km over 100 km/hr, your fuel economy reduces by an average of 10%. Did you know aggressive driving behaviour like speeding reduces gas mileage by over 30% at highway speeds and 5% at city speeds? Drivers have to be held accountable so this doesn’t happen! The fleet management software lets you set benchmarks for speed limits that can be used to identify when and how much your drivers speed. You can create programs for changing driving behaviour by educating them on the importance of reducing fuel expenses.

Predictive Analytics

Create automated maintenance alerts to ensure your vehicles are in peak condition. You can monitor how much fuel each vehicle is using, and predict if maintenance is required immediately. For instance, if you notice that fuel usage has gone up for a couple of vehicles, while other fleet trucks are reporting the usual amount, something is definitely wrong. Prescriptive actions to drive down fuel usage can be implemented, such as engine tune-ups or scheduling serving on a regular basis. You can also use this report to help reduce instances of fraud by reconciling fuel card expenditures with fuel consumption.

Prevent Unauthorized Use

Are you aware if drivers are using vehicles for personal work, while the company has to bear additional expenses? It is imperative to prevent unauthorized and off-hours use, because they contribute to more fuel consumption. Create work time periods and geofences – based on these parameters and the exact location of vehicles in real time, via GPS, you can ensure drivers aren’t wasting fuel by using the vehicle for errands or personal requirements.

Anstel’s Connected Fleet Solution can be used to schedule maintenance, reduce idling time for vehicles, monitor fuel consumption across the fleet, curb erratic driving behaviour, and much more. It helps reduce fuel related costs, while maintaining profit margins, especially when petrol and diesel prices remain at an all-time high and by the looks of trends, are bound to rise yet again!

Delivery-Courier

How Autonautics helped companies manage fleet and delivery on time during the pandemic?

How Autonautics helped companies manage fleet and delivery on time during the pandemic?

A leading ice cream manufacturing company was faced with the problem of ensuring seamless operation of their supply chain and end-to-end customer satisfaction during the Coronavirus pandemic. Since they deal in FMCG products like ice cream, snacks, waffles, etc. it is all the more important to ensure there is no compromise when it comes to quality and service. By integrating Anstel’s Connected Logistics solution, they addressed a number of challenges successfully.

1. Constantly monitoring warehouses and mobile assets to ensure there is no deterioration of product quality

They monitor temperatures round-the-clock in both warehouses and trucks. Smart sensors immediately send alerts of irregularities. They identify the issue and resolve it right away, so bigger problems are effectively prevented. Smart warehousing has prevented spoiling of products and subsequent wastage. 

Remote monitoring is a blessing in disguise, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when physical distancing is the need of the hour. Supply chain responsiveness has got a significant boost as they can easily track inventory items with status and position in real time. It has minimized revenue leakage due to safe storage, transportation, and on-time delivery.

2. Ensure safety of drivers while they are out making deliveries

Supply chain management falls apart without timely delivery, which in turn depends upon the efficiency of drivers and well-optimized routes. With the aid of real-time information using synchronized alerts, they are able to monitor driving patterns, and find out about unsafe driving behaviour as well. Using preventive analysis and predictive maintenance, they can devise prescriptive actions accordingly.

3. Maintaining Covid-19 safety protocols while ensuring smooth operation

Following hygiene and physical distancing protocols is fine, but the threat of getting infected still remains for drivers who take that risk each day. Using Connected Logistics, they are able to chalk out a safe route for drivers travelling interstate. They have access to maps detailing containment zones and hence can mark Covid-19 affected warehouses – the data is sent to drivers so they know which places to avoid.

4. Maintaining customer satisfaction and on-time delivery

As mentioned, supply chain management won’t exist without timely delivery, which affects customer satisfaction. By monitoring performance of vehicles in their fleet, they have been able to detect problem areas such as common causes of truck breakdown. It has allowed them to predict patterns and make informed decisions regarding maintenance, so customer satisfaction and timely delivery is always guaranteed.

5. Maximize asset usage

It is imperative to understand how vehicles are being used and identify areas of imbalance, which can keep your business moving and manage costs effectively. It is about using the fleet to its fullest potential, so vehicles can be adapted to changing business needs. Drive time, mileage, days driven, etc. are some of the parameters that can be used to determine asset utilization. You can check out the vehicle statistics via the telematics system – they can be used for rotating vehicles for service requirements to manage downtime, understand how conditions impact trip distance, and identify vehicles that can be repurposed for other revenue streams.

“Thanks to Anstel's highly integrated secure data analytics, robust Euro made devices, and 24 x7 customer support, we are functioning like a well-oiled machine”

Road Safety

How can Connected Fleet using GPS Tracking Improve Road Safety

  • The number of people who have lost their lives to road accident are increasing at an alarming rate with each passing year.
  • GPS tracking is no longer an optional feature – it is a must-have in vehicles, which makes the transition to Connected Fleet all the more convenient.
  • Road safety can be improved by tracking driver behavior, customizing their training, and staying on top of the vehicle’s maintenance schedule.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.35 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes! But with the advent of vehicle telematics – a combination of GPS tacking and Internet – roads can be made much safer. As Connected Fleet managers you can greatly enhance the functionality, productivity and security of both vehicles and drivers using GPS tracking.

What is GPS Tracking?

A vehicle tracking system is basically an electronic device installed in a vehicle to enable the owner or a third party to track the vehicle's location. Most modern vehicle tracking systems use Global Positioning System (GPS) modules to pinpoint the accurate location of the vehicle. Vehicle information can be viewed on electronic maps via the Internet or specialized software. 

It is important for Connected Fleet managers to understand how vehicle tracking technology is best introduced as it has a massive impact on its acceptance by the workforce.  It should be explained that cases of vehicle theft, unauthorized use and speeding will be detected, but that any penalties will be defined in disciplinary procedures before the system starts. Employees need to clearly understand how the system has been integrated to improve emergency response in case of accidents and protect vulnerable lone workers at the same time.

How Connected Fleet Using GPS Tracking Improves Road Safety

The fact is safety and security should always be your main focus. GPS tracking devices in Connected Fleet will drastically reduce the possibility of road accidents. Apart from deaths, almost 20 to 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries in crashes, which often result in long-term disabilities. The effect is like ripples in a pond! With vehicle tracking, you get insight into events that phone calls and texts can’t deliver, such as real-time vehicle locations and routing, insight into driving behavior and compliance, and more.

Tracking driver behavior

Having a clear insight into how your drivers perform on the road is essential to keeping costs low, drivers’ safe, and customers happy. Vehicle tracking systems give you access to safety analytics and actionable data you can use to track poor driving habits.

Distracted driving can occur due to several reasons – the driver might have something else on his mind, there might be a hurry to deliver several shipments, etc. GPS trackers in Connected Fleet can be used to effectively communicate and give them turn -by- turn directions, advice about upcoming traffic, weather conditions or obstacles to avoid accidents.

Yet another cause of road accidents is speeding. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people aged 5 to 29. Young adults aged 15 to 44 accounts for more than half of all road deaths! Unfortunately, speeding happens to the best of us when we are in a rush. It can be overwhelming for drivers on a strict schedule. Connected Fleet GPS trackers can be set to send speeding alerts, while data about driver performances can be quickly accessed using fleet tracking reports. You need to track drivers’ sudden speeding, acceleration, braking pattern, sharp turns, and so on. When you are trying to determine if unsafe driving practices are being used, the fleet tracking reports prove to be extremely informative. 

GPS tracking systems in Connected Fleet helps to pinpoint areas of concern and coach drivers when required. By curbing bad driving behavior, you not only improve road safety but also increase longevity of your fleet through less wear and tear, fewer accidents, and lower fuel costs.

Customizing driver training

As mentioned, vehicle tracking solutions in Connected Fleet help to break down driving behavior that could lead to serious accidents. Through actionable safety data, you can virtually spot trends and patterns of bad driving for individual drivers. Nowadays, many fleet managers are installing dashboard cams to record hours of driving, so they can check necessary information when required. These safety tools give you insight into your fleet’s driving habits no matter its size. You can use the information to customize training sessions for individuals and groups with specific driving habits and reward the good drivers who keep your business safe.

Reducing accidents

The weather plays a crucial role when it comes to road safety. Rainy weather, snow, storms, etc, can create unfavorable conditions, which lead to accidents. In the event that drivers consider it wise to pull over or want to steer clear of going into a bad storm, GPS trackers in Connected Fleet can help.

GPS tracking software in Connected Fleet isn’t just about monitoring vehicles – it lets you guide drivers in unforeseen events and weather conditions you wouldn’t be able to track otherwise. When out on a job or delivery, drivers navigate unfamiliar territory and often in unexpected climate, exposing them to potential risks and accidents. Predictive technology lets fleet managers track patterns and plan around bad weather using map-based risk data. Thus drivers can plan the best and most efficient routes to take by using their in-vehicle devices.

Improving vehicle maintenance

Low and middle income countries have approximately 60% of the world's vehicles, yet they make up 93% of the world’s road fatalities. You can improve road safety by ensuring your fleet is in good shape.  Vehicle tracking systems gives you an insight into the Connected Fleet’s health by creating reports about vehicle maintenance. You can set thresholds and custom alerts for pre-trip inspections and maintenance based on odometer readings from the vehicle. You get to monitor and support the fleet’s longevity, while steering clear of costly repairs or unnecessary services that often stem from poorly maintained assets.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and GPS tracking can make a huge difference in that aspect. Anstel has come up with innovative GPS tracking solutions in Connected Fleet to ensure safety of drivers on the road, and prevent accidents.

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