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Route planning and Telematics in a world with Driver shortages.

line graphic telematics

Optimising delivery efficiency through intelligent routing and telematics is already a well-established practice for fleet operators, but with a growing concern over the driver shortages and customer expectations rising, utilising technology to its maximum potential has never been more important. Andrew Tavener, Descartes UK, explains how its partnership with GeoTab is realising the benefits of integrating telematics technology with routing and scheduling software

A recent Logistics Skills Report shows that drivers are decreasing at a rate of 16,000 year-on-year, a great concern considering how rapid online and ecommerce businesses are growing, along with the added customer demand for flexible and fast delivery options. According to research, more than half of UK consumers are now shopping online and UK online spend is forecast to increase 29.6% between 2019 and 2024. This increased pressure from the online sales channel means that seamless and cost-effective delivery options for consumers are essential in order to meet the forecast demand. 

Integrating telematics and mobile data communications allows the fleet manager and end customers to see precisely where a vehicle and delivery is in real-time against the plan and schedule set by the routing and scheduling software. For transport operators this gives them the ability to add new jobs in or implement corrective action to re-route a vehicle to avoid traffic, keeping vehicles committed to a collection time, or automatically warning the end customer in advance should the driver be running early or late.

Telematics and advanced routing and scheduling software 

Combining telematics and advanced routing and scheduling software can transform supply chain performance. Not only by optimising delivery efficiency through intelligent routing, but also through reduced mileage and fuel consumption. Telematics data can be used to produce fuel efficiency reports by monitoring drivers’ habits including idling, revving, speeding and comparing vehicles and drivers fuel consumption. This data also helps to identify improvement areas when training drivers to drive in a more efficient manner. In turn, this can reduce the requirement of necessary vehicle maintenance and servicing – all contributing to lower costs and maximising profits. 

The combination of telematics with mobile data communications and advanced routing allows transport operators to use fewer vehicles to deliver more goods in fewer miles, collect more returns, and also deliver the returns back to warehouses for processing, placing stock back on the shelves for resale within the fastest time possible. This is all to the ultimate benefit of the operators’ clients in delivering a trusted, reliable and cost-effective service. Doing more without increasing the number of vehicles or drivers will go some way to redressing the driver shortage being experienced.

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