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Using Big Data to Optimize Routing for Trucking-Based Shipping and Logistics

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The trucking industry is facing all kinds of problems, from exploring new routes and driver shortages through to highly inconveniencing breakdowns and accidents. Of course, the benefits of owning a well-managed trucking company trump the downsides any day, but you cannot make headway by overlooking or just embracing whatever lurks on the flipside. You have to find a way around it, or at least reduce the impact it has on your business, regardless of what the competition is doing.

Big data and analytics are some of the most effective marketing tools of the 21st century. We are going to show you how you can use them to circumvent the age-old route planning problem and go one better than your rivals.

How Big Data Applies to Logistics

Logistics is different from other businesses in that most of the point-of-sale (POS) transactions are done outside the business premises. Small route planning and management mistakes can add up to breed massive problems that can hurt your bottom line in a big way.

However, by incorporating big data and analytics into your fleet management software, you can make better, data-driven routing decisions and potentially boost your fleet’s ROI.

Where to Get the Data

Potential sources of logistics data include:

  • Financial business forecasts
  • Marketing funnels
  • Weather and traffic data from monitors, sensors, and forecast systems
  • Location information
  • Driving patterns
  • Vehicle diagnostics
  • Social media

What the Data Does

With this amount of data placed in a unified system, you can get a better view of all the routes, the average amount of time trucks take on some routes, the high and low seasons, and the return on investment from specific routes, given the current pricing.

Big data can be used to give an accurate and comprehensive measure of travel behavior and help show where the company needs to invest more and where to lower investment. You can use it to get a general view of road infrastructure and traffic conditions and even create user personas.

Route Optimization Using Big Data

The most important thing for any business, besides customer satisfaction, is the bottom line. In logistics, companies have conventionally used routing systems to determine when it’s time to go. Big data and analytics tools facilitate this using weather data, holidays, traffic situations, shipment data, delivery sequences, etc.

Data-based route optimization may also help determine which vehicles in the fleet are suited for specific routes, depending on factors such as distance and road infrastructure. With the right fleet management tools, you can view all your data on the same interface and even automate the analytics processes. Some of the most established logistics companies use a single-click process to optimize hundreds of thousands of master route stops.

What Route Optimization Does

Proper route optimization has been shown to help cut back on:

  • Wage bill as you will need fewer drivers
  • Truck mileage
  • Number of trucks on the road
  • The planning and administration hassle
  • CO₂ emissions

Endnote

Fleet management can be quite a task if you don’t have the right tools and personnel. Make sure to include big data in your route optimization strategy for a better ROI and improved bottom line.