Plan Your Fleet Movements Smarter With Logistics Automation
Imagine you produce avocados in California. The season usually runs between March and September and many across the US depend on this trendy fruit. However, this year, you experienced a drought, limiting the crop, and putting challenges on the supply. Rather than disappointing your contracted customers, you reach out to neighboring Mexico with their year-round crops. However, because of the seasonal peaks, there is a huge line of trucks that piles up on the border. If you are a logistics service provider, that needs to deliver these avocados, you are tied to strict deadlines by your Service Level Agreement (SLA). Your planning team has to decide to either try luck with the cross-border ground shipment that is less costly but more risky or to go with a more expensive air shipment to deliver avocados on time. The question is, can your organization prevent such logistics challenges?
Logistics providers are up against tight deadlines in today’s market. Providers must think resourcefully to secure their contracts with increased road traffic and reduced loyalty among contractors when service terms are breached. First, there’s the paperwork to show a vehicle’s performance status, the destinations and terrains, and then the rules and regulations for the districts it crosses. There is a lot of manual planning to design successful journey plans at the last minute, especially when you have multiple vehicles to manage.
Today, countries expect goods from all over the world. Even if you work at a local logistics service provider, you will likely partner with companies that cross international borders, so it matters what standards you follow. Don’t forget the human resources key performance indicators (KPIs) for workers’ safety, finance team’s budgets, and sales demands to meet. Resource allocation and driver management are effort-intensive, with multiple internal and external datasets, volatile customer demand, and large fleets on tight timeframes.
Let’s take a look at how artificial intelligence (AI) and smart scheduling can support your logistics team to minimize the strain on your fleet.
Build an Optimal Plan With AI
Today, AI-powered data analytics platforms can pull in data from a multitude of sources, departments, and countries. Once you’ve confirmed your business objective and gathered insights from all stakeholders involved, you are ready to build your plan.
Imagine your objective is to increase efficiency in linehaul through better routing, but you’ve identified unplanned maintenance stops as the leading cause of delays. You have a system that allocates drivers and truck size versus demand volumes, and you enter the journey in a map application to select the best route. While you might be able to identify services on the way, it would take additional time to research the costs and support available in each workshop. In addition, you may want to capture rules related to workers, lay-bys, and third-party logistics providers in the region to ensure your load arrives safely without tired drivers and performance checks skipped.
Implementing maintenance planning into your dynamic linehaul routing can minimize the number of journeys, increase vehicle utilization, and improve fleet reliability. AI-driven platforms can forecast the optimal solution based on journey length, traffic data, recommended maintenance stops, third-party costs, and support capacity. It suggests the most optimal linehaul capacity plan with the parameters you set. Then, its automated scheduling functionality makes sure to consider all user requirements and business constraints, so you no longer have to worry about missing a check or an overworked driver.
A Unified Fleet for a Competitive Advantage
To achieve a seamless experience, you must continue a two-way conversation with all stakeholders: National fleet managers, suppliers, warehouses, drivers, and internal—to name a few.
Industry platforms that provide dashboards and access dependent on users enable all relevant parties to see the information they need. With one place to store all the data, you minimize duplication and outdated figures in rotation. The idea is to reverse the general trend that 20% of suppliers cause 80% of the problems. With all stakeholders managed centrally, logistics managers can identify the bottlenecks and implement best practices across the network.
For example, you’ve mastered route planning, but delays remain at one of your primary warehouses in London. Truckers arrive on time but cannot offload until clearing the existing parcels from the site. With advance notice, the planning team can reroute truckers to a nearby alternative warehouse or notify a third-party trucking company to complete the remaining deliveries before the new arrivals. Automations that flag predicted arrival times, warehouse capacity, outward journeys, resource allocation, and performance status’ can help logistics managers plan holistically and ensure compliance with all SLAs.
However, all users must know how to use the platform you build or purchase. To begin, workshops, presentations, online surveys, and automated notifications will support comprehension among your team. Ensure they understand the benefits of the platform and the cost savings that follow.
To find out more about how Transmetrics can improve your company’s logistics planning, request a demo today.