A lot of times route planning and route optimisation are used as if it were the same. This is not correct, because there is a big difference between the two applications.
What is a route planning system?
With a route planning system you can calculate the trip for one truck for two or more addresses. The route-planner takes into account all relevant data: truck and hazardous goods restrictions, individual vehicle profiles, time windows as well as transport costs and toll costs. Using the input of place names, postcodes, addresses or coordinates the result is presented in the form of a map and an Itinerary.
What is route optimisation system?
A route optimization system has far more possibilities than a route planner. Route optimisation implies the ability to automatically plan and optimize routes for an entire vehicle fleet. With one press on the button, the system gives you a proposal of the best trips. The optimisation takes into account order volumes, constraints such as weight/height, time windows, vehicle requirements, etc. Route optimisation systems provides effective vehicle scheduling management, allowing reduction of transport costs whilst maintaining client service. A schedule may constitute of orders for a day, but may also cover a period of three months.
The tremendous flexibility of the system makes it ideal for planning day-to-day multi-drop or trunking routes, producing detailed quotations or assessing alternative logistics strategy.
Does this mean that route optimisation software can replace the planner?
The answer to this is, absolutely not. Routing programs can calculate thousands of routes and possibilities in seconds. They consider factors that affect your customers, build around them faster than any human can, and save your business hours of time (and money). But that is not enough. Only the planner can decide what makes your customers and coworkers happy. Someone still needs to be there make sure things run smoothly with the employees running their routes and the customers they are visiting.
The hours a routebuilder saves you, the planner can use to improve the customer service and quality. Answer the phones or make more calls so you can gain new business. The planner can’t be replaced, but he can be assisted.