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Data, the indispensable fuel of route planning software

25-03-2021 3 min readtime
Data, the indispensable fuel of route planning software

Every planning software has at least one thing in common: they all need data. Without data it is impossible to feed the algorithms, so you get no results. With bad data, you get the wrong solutions but delivered faster. Garbage in is garbage out. Fortunately, the reverse is also true: if you feed the software the right data, you get amazing results.

The knowledge of planners and dispatchers must be digitized

There is no doubt that planning algorithms can calculate better solutions much faster than the human brain. But there is an important condition attached to it. Algorithms need all the information to provide a correct solution. And that's where the shoe pinches sometimes. 

In companies we often hear, during an initial analysis, that this data is not available. But that is not quite right. Often, parameters and data are indeed not yet digitized but they are in the heads of experienced planners and dispatchers. All the knowledge they use, consciously or unconsciously, must be set in the software. 

Specific rules of thumb for the planning must be set and data such as locations, preferences and time windows of customers, parameters of vehicles, drivers or technicians and all necessary information about a delivery or assignment must be correctly communicated to the software.

Incorrect data creates frustration at all levels

Data collection must therefore be thorough and correct. Not only the big picture but also every detail and all exceptions are important. Incorrect input can cause incorrect addresses, inefficient routes, incorrect arrival times or incorrect loading of vehicles and can have major consequences. 

Planners, drivers, technicians and customer support will encounter these errors and become skeptical about the software. They want to go back to outdated but trusted systems. Customers can also be poorly served by these errors. Businesses have to be more customer centric than ever and dissatisfied customers will will be very critical.

"Only with qualitative data you can enjoy the benefits of planning software. Every detail is important."

A quick Return on Investment as a reward for effort

We simply can’t say it often enough: take enough time to get the necessary data complete, correct, and structured in advance. This is a time investment that takes effort even before the startup, but prevents later problems and loss of time. 

This effort is always rewarded. Only with qualitative data you can enjoy the benefits of planning software and achieve a quick Return on Investment (ROI). Once the data is correct, the software can process large amounts of data in minutes and achieve results that can grow your business. Moreover, you run much less risk of losing vital planning knowledge when planners or dispatchers are unexpectedly absent.

A Proof of Concept offers numerous advantages

A Proof of Concept (PoC) is a good exercise to collect data. Ask potential software partners to simulate a realistic schedule for your business or to test their software. In consultation with this partner, it will soon become clear whether certain data is missing or incorrect. Use this test and the advice received to get the data correct and structured, before you even think about implementing the software.

"A Proof of Concept (PoC) is a good exercise to gain valuable insights: can you collect the right data and can the software meet the requirements of your planning process?"

And that's not the only benefit. With a PoC you discover whether the software meets your requirements, what the potential savings are for your business and you get valuable insights into your own schedules. The software vendor also gets a better idea of your planning process and can offer a transparent follow-up, tailored to the specific needs of your company.

Movetex offers a Proof of Concept, free of charge and without any further obligation. You can find more information about our services on this page.