A Guide to Route Optimization for Students Taking Dispatcher Courses
January 15, 2016
Mileage governs almost everything in the trucking industry. Transportation companies design their schedules, pay their drivers, and bill their customers all based on the amount of miles being covered. Therefore, it’s only natural that companies constantly look to improve the efficiency of their routing to make their businesses more cost-effective and increase productivity.
While companies used to spend hours manually planning their routes, dispatch training students entering the sector today will find that routing is mostly done using various computer software programs. Nonetheless, the programs don’t necessarily produce the perfect option every time, and industry professionals need to keep in mind various different factors when looking to get the most of their schedule.
Read on to learn about a few of the most important things dispatch training students should keep in mind when considering route optimization.
Pros with Dispatcher Training Use Route Optimization Technology
A comprehensive routing and scheduling software program will be able to perform a range of functions, including finding optimal routes for deliveries, scheduling appointments, coordinating drivers, and performing GPS tracking on shipments in transit.
Graduates of dispatcher courses, who are tasked with optimizing routes, should also consider how well the system can integrate with their existing inventory management and mobile communications systems. Systems which adapt routes to manage problems like weather and traffic conditions are also preferable. The aim should be to have a program that plans efficient, low-cost routes, responds dynamically to changes, and fits seamlessly alongside your other management software.
Why Dispatcher Courses Teach Students To Be Mindful of Human Factors
While technology has revolutionized route optimization, it does have its limits, and transportation companies should still discuss routes with employees in order to improve efficiency. Drivers may have local knowledge of routes which programs have missed, for example, areas or roads that are prone to heavy traffic. In addition, it’s always better to schedule drivers with customers and routes they are familiar with whenever possible.
In addition, it’s important to be mindful of a driver’s needs during a shift, such as their lunch and other breaks. A computer-generated route might leave the driver miles away from somewhere to eat when their break comes around, so companies need to take this into consideration and modify their plans accordingly.
Long Haul vs. Short Haul: Considerations For Grads of Dispatcher Courses
Another thing students pursuing dispatch training will learn to be mindful of is the difference between planning long haul deliveries and shorter routes which may involve several stops. A long haul plan is more straightforward, as there are less stops and less unloading time is involved, so dispatchers simply have to find the quickest route from one point to another.
However, there are far more variables involved with short haul deliveries. With drivers often needing to make several stops per day, dispatchers need to look at multiple combinations of different route plans, taking into account customer delivery times, load weights, and various other issues in order to ensure the most efficient schedule possible.
Are you considering different dispatcher schools?
Visit ATC to learn more about our training programs or to speak with an advisor.
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