Route planning - Your directions to lower costs

We all know the feeling, you’re on a road, in the middle of nowhere, with some very poor directions. You’ve been trying to coordinate both your map and your notes, but things are not going well. While satellite navigation systems have eliminated a lot of the problems in this area, it is still relatively easy to get lost. Proper route planning has never been easier but in a strange twist of fate its seems that the skill itself is dying out. This week we look at some smart ways to save time, money and stress by looking deeper into the lost art of route planning.
 

Knowing the route type

It has to be noted that there are two different types of routes to be planned. There are the everyday routes, these can include the best route to get to a specific point (i.e. a commonly used motorway). Then there are the uncommon routes which come up on an irregular basis and can end up being very disorientating. The aim of route planning is to cut waste on frequently used routes and to avoid panics when you or your drivers are going to previously unvisited areas.

Everyone will still make use of GPS systems, however at times drivers can benefit from some on the ground information. Even something as small as information on building entrances can be a big help. While finding entrances can seem trivial it's likely that almost everyone reading this has had a “oh, no, I’m at the wrong door” moment.

The tools to use

  • GPS with vehicle tracking
  • Route print outs
  • Parking locations and pricing information
  • Up to date odometer readings with litres of fuel recorded (if your GPS system does not do this)
  • Traffic information websites
  • A log of travel times
  • Exact descriptions of where entrances are located
     

Creating itineraries

Itinerary are very common in firms where air and long haul travel are common, so why not in cases where the travelling is done by car? Passing on the fastest/cheapest routes, right spots to park, the smart shortcuts and traffic trouble areas can make real differences. With this in mind, building up a real collection, especially for common routes, could end up being highly rewarding.

Itinerary contents

1. One page map with a line showing the route
2. The recommended parking location
3. The expected travel time
4. Difficult intersections
5. Times when specific areas should be avoided due to traffic
 

Summary

Giving drivers a helping hand with up to date information is always appreciated and as long as drivers are involved in the compilation, it can feel like a team event. Managers involved do however need to be aware that the process can spiral into micro management if not dealt with correctly. The wisest thing to do is offer the information, show how it has been collected and make sure that drivers are aware it's available should they need it. In the end it is not advisable to constantly interrupt drivers or place too many conditions on their driving.
 

Have you ever had a navigation nightmare?
 

Do you think spending time on route planning is time well spent?
 

Have you thought of GPS with vehicle tracking?
 

Please comment below.

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