On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy
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If you manage delivery operations or oversee a mobile workforce of service or maintenance professionals, chances are you’re already using some sort of route planning and scheduling. But understanding the unique advantages of each of these tools could make you more effective, increase your business’s delivery or service capacity, and generate a lot more revenue.
Executing scheduling and route planning without first understanding their respective purposes is kind of like trying to eat a bowl of soup with chopsticks. In this article, we’ll show you precisely what each tool is designed for, the advantages they offer, and why you need to do both well.
How Is Route Planning Different From Scheduling?
Growing demand for delivery may have you thinking it’s time to outsource your last-mile delivery process. But what if your team could deliver faster and more efficiently and handle greater capacity without giving up control over your customers’ experience? A route-optimization software can help small businesses across the globe do all of these things and more.
The Delivery Challenges Small Businesses Face
When it comes to the local delivery challenges facing small businesses, we’ve learned a lot from working with more than 800 businesses all over the world. There is immense pressure on companies of all sizes to be able to compete with Amazon’s standard for two-day delivery and consumers’ rising expectations for convenience.
Shoppers expect retailers to offer delivery, and if those customers aren’t able to get their orders fast enough (or at a price that they find reasonable), many customers will go somewhere else.
According to a study conducted by the National Retail Foundation, 90% of consumers say convenience impacts their decision when selecting retailers, and 97% of consumers reported that they had abandoned a purchase because they felt it was inconvenient. Read more of this post
What Is Delivery Planning?
Delivery planning is the practice of planning out routes and logistics to deliver products. Companies that deliver products such as pizzas, flowers, and water all use delivery planning to get their products into the hands of customers.
The four factors of successful delivery planning
There are four factors you should consider when assessing your delivery operations. A well-executed delivery plan will excel in each of the following areas: Read more of this post
What is Outbound Logistics?
Outbound logistics is a term for the processes of storing, moving and distributing goods. It includes all systems that help prepare an order and get it to the end customer.
The different stages are warehousing and storage, distribution, transportation, and last-mile delivery.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the individual areas of outbound logistics:
1. Warehousing and storage
To meet demand as you make continued sales, you need to keep a surplus of products in storage. In January 2020, US companies had, on average, a ratio of 1.39 inventory to monthly sales.
The goal of warehousing is to keep products safe and readily available while awaiting purchase. You can store products in your own warehouse or one that is owned by a third-party logistics provider.
2. Inventory management
Inventory management involves picking, packing, and storing your goods in the right place. Many warehouses have inventory management systems to help with this. Read more of this post
Missed deadlines mean lost customers.
This is true whether you’re shipping products, performing installations, or delivering food. Imagine you run a cable company. You have a customer that rearranged their day and stayed home from work to let your installation specialist in during a 4 hour service window. If your worker shows up late, you’re probably going to lose that customer (and likely get a bad review). Fortunately, there are two proven strategies that can help you stay on top of deadlines, increase customer satisfaction, and earn repeat sales: backward scheduling and forward scheduling.
What Is Forward and Backward Scheduling?
Forward scheduling and backward scheduling are planning strategies. Both methods are useful for strategic planning at all levels of complexity. Whether you’re mapping delivery routes for multiple drivers or scheduling maintenance appointments for service teams, you can benefit from using one or both of these strategies. Read more of this post
With route optimization software you’ll spend much less time planning – and the routes produced will be far superior to manually created routes.
For a mobile workforce, route optimization is the process of determining the most efficient routes, in terms of cost, resources and time. All other relevant factors such as order and driver restrictions, as well as the various workflows of a particular business are also factored in.
The aim is to maximize efficiency and fulfil more orders: getting to more addresses with fewer resources. This allows businesses to save time, costs and ultimately increase their revenue.
With route optimization software, your business will:
- increase earnings by 10-30% simply by allowing you to complete more orders,
- improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction,
- cut operating costs and overtime by 30%.
Using a map, or any other manual means, to create optimized routes is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. As the number of drivers and orders increases, the complexity of the task of dividing up the work accurately and efficiently grows exponentially. Read more of this post