manual planning

3 common challenges facing ‘Manual’ route delivery planning

Introduction

For Logistic Managers and Delivery Schedule Planners, organising and ensuring the delivery of goods from your warehouse to your customers, within agreed service levels, requires a well configured delivery schedule. This was the case with LPG gas distributor Genesis, planning a multi-vehicle delivery operation with constraints and variables became a mammoth task, through ‘manual’ methods and clunky paper-based systems. 

Read on to see the common challenges that Genesis faced with their last-mile delivery planning, and how they were able to transform their planning through Scopta’s Run and Route.

‘Manual’ Methods

By ‘manual’ methods, we mean planning delivery route schedules through traditional methods such as white boards, Excel spreadsheets, bundled sets of consignment notes and Google Maps. 

1. Manual route planning is prone to human error and requires time

‘Manual’ planning methods through spreadsheets and mapping tools require a lot of time and effort to do correctly, to ensure all your deliveries are accounted for. But when you have deadlines on when delivery schedules are ready for your fleet, how can you ensure the accuracy and efficiency of your plans? 

For the team at Genesis the complexity of a last mile delivery task increased significantly with only a few constraints such as cargo / vehicle compatibility or constrained delivery windows. Even their very experienced planner struggled to manually calculate a highly optimised schedule that satisfied all customer requirements.

Having to go back and forth between Google Maps and delivery lists, while creating a spreadsheet increases the chances of making mistakes that could prove costly. Manual planning or ‘planning by hand’ is complex and prone to human error. This can result in inefficient routes, increased delivery time and cost and worse – losing customers because of late or missed deliveries. 

Even with a great manual planner on your staff, there is significant key personnel risk when all of the required knowledge is invested in one to two people, rather than systematised in a scheduling application.

2. Manual route planning is inefficient and expensive

We’ve seen how ‘manual’ delivery route planning is a notoriously difficult task and puts at risk your ability to meet customer SLAs.  The second issue is the cost and inefficiency that manual planning can drive into your distribution function.  

As a direct result ‘manual’ planning can impact your bottom line through poor route planning and mismanagement of resources such as:

  • Increased capital investment due to operating a larger transport fleet than required;
  • Increased labour costs due to drivers travelling longer distances and working longer hours, and 
  • Increased fleet operating costs

Why settle for a competent delivery schedule, when you can have an optimised delivery schedule, that meets your requirements and can see your team save time and reduce operational costs?

3. Managing growth and have the ability to scale is difficult with ‘manual’ route planning

One major challenge with ‘manually’ route planning is dealing with change and scale as was the case with Genesis and their growing demand for LPG gas bottles. The ability to manage growth through adding more deliveries and locations ‘manually’ placed added pressure on their already lengthy and difficult process. The only real solution by way of their current ‘manual’ process, was simply putting in extra effort and time to correctly cater to new customers and businesses. 


Another challenge was being able to manually plan for last minute changes and added deliveries. This took the form of specific road closures and re-planning delivery routes, delivery windows and changing availability from customers, and additional deliveries to name a few. The ability to deal with adverse change is restricted and difficult through ‘manual’ planning.

By not having an agile system lead to poor delivery schedules with inefficient delivery routes. Not to mention the stress placed on Logistic Managers to add additional delivery locations and the additional pressure placed on Delivery Drivers to meet their deadlines.

Digitally Transforming Genesis – From ‘Manual’ planning to Scopta’s Run and Route

Scopta Run and Route is an automated solution that helped Genesis deal with the complexities of operating last-mile delivery. As described earlier, manually planning delivery route schedules raises many challenges around the significant amount of time and effort required to create a delivery schedule, the inefficiencies of manual planning and the difficulty of dealing with change and ability to grow and scale. 

“Moving to digital made sense as it would improve the processes, and drive cost savings. The bonus from the proof of concept was we were able to use our data to categorically prove that optimisation would realise operational savings, which in turn made the business case an easy sell.”

General Manager of Genesis , LPG operations, Cameron Jardine

AWS Partner Network

Scopta Run and Route leverages the AWS services toolkit. As part of the solution we use AWS EC2 to run the optimisation workloads, AWS S3 to store application information, AWS PostgreSQL RDS to manage the workload data tables, AWS EKS to ensure a highly available and scalable workload, and AWS Elasticache to queue and manage tasks.

Since partnering with AWS and joining the AWS Partner Network (APN), Biarri has been able to identify new opportunities to scale. Through leveraging AWS services, we have greater confidence in developing tools that align with our mathematical and analytical Biarri approach. AWS provides a platform that is not only quick but secure, giving our clients around the world assurance. Biarri will continue to acquire additional AWS data and analytics competencies, as we continue to increase our reach.

For more information around Scopta Run and Route or to start a free trial, get in touch with one of our team members today. 

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