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Creating a Virtual Logistics Control Tower

Creating a Virtual Logistics Control Tower

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Creating a Virtual Logistics Control Tower

Apr 26, 2022

Jim Endres
Trucks outside large warehouse

Today’s transportation companies have it tough because the supply chain has transformed. Not only is it completely globalized, with products coming in from all over the world, but also today’s customer is demanding and tech savvy. They want to know, down to the minute, where their deliveries are. Added to that are the constant pressures to keep good drivers, increase profit margins, boost market share and reduce operating costs. If you own or run a transportation company, you know the importance of technology in keeping your trucks on the road and ensuring timely deliveries. Maybe you already use route optimization software. Even if you have a routing solution that you love, you can still benefit from the newest advances in routing technology to give you that competitive edge. While your current routing software may be performing admirably, your customers still demand constant updates on the whereabouts of their deliveries. For logistics companies, that means you need centralized control and visibility of your supply chain in real time. You need a control tower.

What Is Control Tower Logistics?

The old ways of route management just won’t do. You need a SaaS solution that will allow you to complete dynamic routing as exceptions arise. That is the “control tower” for your logistics company. This type of solution offers full visibility of your team across all business locations, down to the user level. Real-time data can be the make-or-break factor for your transportation business. If you can maintain concurrent visibility of carrier performance, routing exceptions, shipping errors, customer service and driver downtime, you also have superior control over every aspect of your company's operations. How does this affect you? With real-time data, you get visibility over your deliveries and have the ability to change outcomes. With a SaaS route optimization system, you can run your business from the office, from the local coffee shop or from your home. Everyone has full access to the same information from any device, and you know it’s secure because all data is encrypted in the cloud. There are no more silos between dispatch, management, service, sales and drivers. And with live trip management, your service team can instantly communicate changes to dispatchers and drivers. A centralized control tower offers full visibility of your supply chain. It gives your dispatchers the capacity to pivot because they will have real-time analytics and alerts. Control tower visibility means that you can analyze which of your drivers are under-performing and see where your drivers are at any time. With enhanced reporting and accountability, a live fleet management system (like Aptean Routing & Scheduling Paragon Edition with Live Management) improves efficiency both for your drivers and your office staff. More importantly, it raises your customer service levels. How does a control tower fleet management program help you achieve outstanding efficiency and customer service? Because it helps you adhere to three tenets that transform your operations into a center of excellence: agility, resilience and reliability.

1. Agility

Agility in the transportation game means that you can change processes with minimal impact. In this case, having real-time data throughout the day allows you to make changes instantly when cancellations, late requests and changes come in. These can be taken into account and added to existing routes. With a dynamic tripping module, even multi-depot routing is a breeze, because your vehicles are no longer restricted to the same depot for every order. Instead, they can move freely between them for the fastest and most efficient routes. For any transportation company, delays are inevitable, but they are also a major issue. Delays lead to missed deliveries and underutilized resources, as you may have trailers sitting in the yard while your late drivers struggle to finish their routes. Aptean Route Execution with Live Management provides a more agile approach because your dispatch office can respond to changing conditions by re-allocating loads as the day progresses. You maximize your resources, which ensures timely deliveries and efficient backloads. With SaaS routing software, you get end-to-end integration, and your teams can work from anywhere. Add in live route execution and dynamic tripping, and you can manage both planned and dispatched orders. If a last-minute order or cancellation comes through, you can revise the route and communicate with your driver. The dispatcher can reshuffle the route based on the latest data, creating an agile, customer focused operation.

2. Resilience

The transportation sector is still feeling the aftershocks of the pandemic. There are massive driver shortages, supply chain woes with product deficiencies and rising costs of fuel. It’s crucial that your logistics enterprise stay flexible and resilient in these times. How can you do it? By preparing yourself for changes to come and making decisions swiftly as they do. Advanced routing optimization software empowers you to do just that with functionality to explore the outcomes of some critical business questions. You can examine any number of what-if scenarios and measure the impact of proposed changes without having to execute them. This means that you can change and improve your delivery operations with minimal risk, which saves you both time and money. There are thousands of variables involved in delivery operations. Let’s say you want to explore changing your hours of operation. With this software, you can explore changes in the number of drops per driver, or the impact of switching delivery times. You know that running a successful transportation company is about more than just the deliveries, although that’s important. You also need to always be searching for ways to improve your service, because your customer’s service requirements are getting higher every day. Using your routing software for strategic review helps you become more resilient, and that is what you need to survive—and thrive—in a post-pandemic landscape.

3. Reliability

This is your ability to meet your commitments—both existing and new. This also includes your team’s speed in responding when delays or issues do occur. Reliability means that your customers can count on you to get them their orders on time, in full, and if there are issues, to communicate with them quickly and accurately as they arise. Cloud route optimization software and live route management are a one-two punch that helps you beef up reliability. You will have all the information you need at your fingertips, so you can track every driver and make sure that they are following their routes, and if exceptions occur, you will get an alert. Reliability is about visibility, and a robust routing and scheduling program gives you a 360-degree view. Your customers don’t care who is behind the wheel—they care about getting their orders on time. Routing and scheduling software, coupled with in-cab telematics, route execution and dynamic tripping, lets you re-assign routes to meet time window commitments. You reduce planning time, increase the accuracy of predicted arrival times and improve customer communication. Your dispatch and planning teams benefit from real-time visibility of current fleet progress against the plan and receive alerts when there are any variances from the planned route or schedule. This means, you can proactively alert your customers and continuously revise routes based on actual demand to keep your trucks and drivers as efficient, productive and reliable as possible.

With the right technology, you can achieve control tower logistics where you enhance the customer experience and create efficiencies across the organization. It comes down to having a real-time view of what’s happening in the field. Things in the global marketplace are changing fast, so it’s critical that you find a cloud-based, live routing solution to help you adapt and compete.

Enter Aptean Routing & Scheduling. Our advanced system has spent decades at the forefront of the route optimization industry and delivers significant benefits to our customers across the world every day. With a host of sophisticated functionality to help you manage the day-to-day realities of your routing and scheduling, as well as master live execution and strategic planning, Aptean Routing & Scheduling is the gold standard and can help you master the logistics and supply chain challenges of both today and tomorrow.

Are you ready to make the move? We can help make your transition to cloud-based route planning software fast and smooth—get in touch to find out how.

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