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How much does optimizing delivery routes REALLY help?

Jim starts his day at 7am. After a cup of coffee and catching up with the fellas in the break room, he is handed a few sheets of paper printed from an excel spreadsheet. It’s how this company has always done things. For the next 6 hours, Jim will make stops all over the city emptying trash dumpsters into his 25 ton garbage truck. After his delivery route, he will spend another 2 hours fixing mistakes and visiting the new stops his dispatcher orders. Frequently he backtracks and drives the same road twice or more.  All of this needs to be completed before Jim’s manager can begin his job- entering all the relevant data and generating invoices. It’s rare they complete this process before 9pm. The next morning the process starts over again.

The above scenario describes thousands of businesses whose trucks log miles everyday to service their customers. This applies to plumbers, HVAC companies, appliance repair and other businesses that make money when the wheels are turning.

Working Smarter?

The question is, How can we work smarter by visiting more stops and spending less to do it? Typically when small businesses start, cash is king and any revenue earned is put back in the business. “Efficiency” is pushed aside for “just getting it done now.”

Eventually, the business will grow and look for ways to operate more efficiently. Among the first things to do is to let software guide your delivery routes.

“If a business maintains a fleet of two or more service vehicles, and not using a route optimization software, they are spending 12-15% more than they need to in labor, fuel and maintenance costs.”  These bold claims are made by Barry Grahek, CEO of DesertMicro, a mobile software solutions company based in Jacksonville, Florida. The firm started 20 years ago and has evolved from route optimization to fully integrated accounting systems that handle, billing, customer relationship management and other critical functions for service based businesses.

So how does it work?

Using the above scenario, the original excel spreadsheet route is uploaded to the route optimization software. With the press of a button, the software will reorganize the route and give turn by turn instructions. It will take into account minimizing left hand turns, and miles driven. It even accounts for congestion areas all in realtime. Managing these routes are much simpler, because it can tell you how much diesel fuel is used, truck idle time and max speeds achieved.

What if Jim’s manager wants to add or delete a stop after Jim has already left the yard? No problem. Just enter the new data and Jim’s route will account for this and adjust automatically.

What if Jim’s manager is responsible for a fleet of 15 trucks servicing accounts every day, throughout his city? No problem. The software analyzes the total work load and balances out each truck to service the accounts with minimal time and miles.

The added efficiency saves fuel, time and maintenance on the truck. Now Jim can finish his shift faster, or better yet, take on more stops before he punches out. Jims manager loves this because more stops per truck equals less trucks. And that adds up to a truckload of savings.

Immediate ROI

“Its been among our top sellers for years now. The reason it is so popular is because the return on investment (ROI) is so immediate and impactful. Companies can safe thousands from one day to the next. You can’t get that kind of ROI anywhere else.” Grahek comments.

Recent technology advances and a partnership with Google have allowed them to continually add features and stay ahead of the competition.

Usually, once companies experience what technology can do for them, they quickly want to see what other efficiencies might be gained through a customer relationship management (CRM) feature as well as dispatching and accounting. DesertMicro is one of just a few companies that capture information from the road to limit mistakes and miscommunication. Service professionals using their software can efficiently get to a stop, enter pertinent account details and even generate an invoice directly from their handheld device in the truck just like the local UPS driver. What was previously prohibitively expensive for the small business, is not only affordable, but a necessity to stay competitive.


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