route planning


What is route planning?

How can route planning be defined? It is the general process of defining and organizing a transport order with a starting point, stopping points, and a destination. The process of preparing the vehicle for the road can be done manually or with the help of a specialized computer program. Vehicle routes in logistics are distributed and determined to not only minimize fixed costs but also to significantly increase the efficiency of the vehicle fleet. Various configurations are popular in the form of:

  • full truckload transport,
  • groupage transport,
  • return transport.

They can occur simultaneously with each other. Everything depends on the demand, as well as the will of the dispatcher himself. There are complex logistics programs available on the market, which establish a specific route. They take into account not only the owned fleet but also use rich weather, road, and geographical databases. The use of this type of software is currently recommended in the logistics industry.  

Route planning - what is the process?

Route planning - how does the process work? It seems to be very simple, but it requires a lot of attention and analysis of many factors on the way. It is not only a matter of the destination point and the stops along the way. The dispatcher must also consider geography, road conditions, and fleet availability. It is also common practice to combine several means of transport in one shipment, e.g. in groupage transport and return transport. Route planning is based on continuous process optimization and cost reduction, which significantly increases the profitability of a single journey. For example, a semi-trailer tractor with goods on its way to the port of Hamburg should leave its semi-trailer there for another vehicle and take another type of vehicle with the goods.

What elements are involved in route planning? Basically, you can name three elements that affect the planning process and are an indispensable part of any transport. These are:

  • transport network - this is a system of interconnections and interdependent transport nodes. These can be ordinary roads, road corridors, tunnels, highways - everything that makes up the road network of a country and on which the vehicle is to move;
  • node - the place and point where loading, transshipment, or unloading takes place. It can be not only a port or a railroad terminal, but also a warehouse or the headquarters of a transport company;
  • connections - these are all the activities responsible for linking nodes and transport networks together.

Route planning - is it worth investing in a program?

Is route planning with a program convenient?
Certainly yes. Not only does it save a lot of time, but it also uses modern databases based on the road, weather, geographical data, and internal company reports. Dispatcher while appointing points on the route has an overview of the situation, and will know whether it is worth appointing intermediate stops, combining transports and sending a much larger vehicle on the route. The software allows you to create simple and complex structures, and also allows you to track the actions of drivers in real-time. This is practically a standard in every transport company, and most of them use various systems - even the more expensive and very advanced ones.

Planning routes - is the program expensive?
It all depends on the size of the company, as well as on which software developer you decide to use. There are many proposals on the market. We can order simple programs that have basic options and determine only the route or invest in real telematic systems. A good telematics system is a real harvester that uses computers in the company and the vehicles, uses GSM or WiFi communication, and collects and reports data every time. This creates additional internal databases, which can also be used for real-time routing of the entire fleet.