The supply chain “final mile” or the delivery of products on the last leg of their transportation journey has been discussed and written about lately more frequently. The amount of goods delivered via e-commerce has accelerated recently due to the current environment, which has therefore increased the “final mile” demands. Route optimization software can be utilized to help businesses meet delivery objectives (cost/time) while considering all of the “rules” (constraints) of a given business’ supply chain. The software can assist in the determination of which stops/deliveries should go on which vehicles and in what sequence.
In addition to optimizing a company’s current delivery or pickup routes, there are other reasons a company may want to use route optimization software. A few are listed below:
Similar to network optimization, when utilizing route optimization software there are several different objectives to solve for and many constraints he software considers in order to solve the problem at hand. The objective of the analysis could be to minimize total cost, minimize transportation cost, maximize vehicle capacity utilization, minimize total miles, minimize vehicle fleet size, and minimize labor costs, minimize carbon footprint and many more. While many companies try to manually schedule routes based on experience, it can be extremely difficult to get an “optimal” solution due to the many types of constraints that are required. Some examples are below:
Using route optimization software allows transportation planners to meet the objective at hand subject to all constraints required. The typical benefits achieved are reduced transportation costs (mostly through reduction in miles driven), improved service, increased resource utilization, and reduction in administrative time planning routes.
—Brad Barry, St. Onge Company