What You Really Need To Make Your Multi-Stops More Efficient
Multi-stop route planning is, without a doubt, one of the most stressful processes for transportation managers. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and it can be rather costly. There are hundreds of thousands of variables that go into every route, so creating the most efficient and optimized multi-stop itinerary can feel nearly impossible a lot of the time. However, there are two things that you can start implementing in order to make your multi-stops more efficient.
Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are the two master keys to making multi-stops significantly more efficient and much less painstaking.
In fact, freight tech is becoming the primary tool to gain a competitive advantage in the entirety of the transport process. A prime example of these concepts being put to use in the logistics industry is our TMS platform RedwoodConnect 2.0. To see how this platform and the freight tech sector are changing the game and helping industry professionals connect to win, watch our full demo here, or contact our Innovate team directly to schedule a preview.
Why is it so Hard to Make Your Multi-Stops More Efficient?
The variables that affect route optimization aren’t just distance, fuel cost, and traffic. It includes things like urgency, priority, size of shipment, loading/unloading time, refrigerated goods, and so much more. Every company has different priorities, which means that multi-stop routing almost never looks the same between organizations, retailers, and even 3PLs.
Let’s look at a road trip as an example. There was a man who figured out an algorithm that made the “best road trip” across the continental U.S. It prioritized entertainment time and visiting important destinations while working to minimize driving time. His road trip came out to 224 hours, but it arguably has the most “fun stuff” to do. Another man calculated a different continental U.S. road trip that was only 124 hours, but it offered much fewer sites and activities.
Their end goal was the same: do a road trip across America in the most efficient way. But their priorities, timing, route, and other variables were significantly different. It’s the same with companies creating their multi-stop logistics routes. There’s no “right” answer, and strategists can spend hours upon hours looking at the right routes to take.
There is never going to be a right answer, and you could spend hours upon hours (upon hours) trying to find the most optimized route based on all of the variables alongside your company’s specific objectives… and you’ll likely still come up with the not-so-perfect answer.
That doesn’t mean it’s not important, though. In fact, neglecting to optimize multi-stops will surely decrease your revenue, your time, your resources, and your customer service metrics.
Benefits of Optimizing Your Multi-Stop Routes
- Lessens travel time by prioritizing the lowest possible “windshield time” (time spent on the road)
- Saves fuel (and money) by finding faster, more economical routes
- Reduces carbon emissions by using less fuel and less time on the road (green supply chains are the future)
- Less wear and tear on vehicles, which means fewer replacements and long-term savings
- Safer unloading/loading processes, as drivers aren’t in a hurry to meet lengthy and rushed route itineraries
- Not contributing to traffic and clogged roads
- Moves more goods over longer distances, because less time on the road means drivers can go further in the same amount of time
- Assists in truck shortage by most effectively using truck space
- Happier drivers (not time-pressured; not wasting their time; higher salary if paid per route; greater productivity; prioritized safety)
- Happier customers (fast delivery; increased productivity; improved response times; focus on service and satisfaction)
Leveraging AI for Multi-Stop Efficiency
If a logistics manager sits down to find the most optimized route for a multi-stop, they’ll be sitting there forever. The variables are constantly changing, from prioritizing urgent shipments to unforeseen traffic incidents and beyond. We need multi-stop route optimization down to the minute, and it’s nearly impossible for humans to do that all by themselves.
That’s where artificial intelligence is stepping in to drastically promote efficiency and productivity. Machine learning software can take all of the variables into account to create the most predictive and prescriptive analysis for routes. Oftentimes, the AI can actually update the driver’s route in real-time to make sure they’re always heading in the fastest and most efficient direction.
Some ways that machine learning creates more efficient multi-stops:
- Clustering destinations based on geographic location
- Calculating required time at distribution centers for loading/unloading safely
- Providing opportunities for upselling or customer satisfaction
- Optimizing for fuel efficiency
- Organizing stops based on priority and urgency
- Collecting data and customer insights to continuously address failures and improve routes
- Planning in advance and with real-time updates
AI can track and calculate data at an impeccable rate, and it can offer instantaneous solutions and route itineraries. This saves time for logistics managers to instead focus on strategizing for their business while knowing that their drivers are taking the best possible route.
This is especially making drivers happier and more satisfied with their jobs. With a driver shortage, making sure that drivers feel safe, cared for, and motivated to work is absolutely critical. When a driver knows their route is constantly being updated to be the fastest—so they can get home to see their families—they’re more likely to be engaged, productive, and safe on the road.
Using this sort of updated technology also adds a durable layer of professionalism and transparency to customer service. Your clients want to know their goods are coming quickly, safely, and efficiently (and with the lowest possible carbon footprint). Oftentimes, customers can log in to the AI tracking system to see where their shipment is, so they know down to the minute when to prepare for their goods in the warehouse (or direct consumers can know exactly when their package will be dropped off at their home). This enables customer service and loyalty that can radically improve long-term relationships with clients.
Redwood Logistics has a team of innovators who are there to deploy and implement the best technologies in the operations industry. Our goal is to create the most efficient routes from point A to B (or points A to Z with all the multi-stops in between).
If you’re looking to create a highly efficient transportation process, then you need the world’s most integrated and advanced technology. We’ll help come up with a custom solution that works best for your business’s need for productivity, customer service, and growth. Reach out to us now for a FREE consultation and custom-designed solution.