The current freight recession has forced companies across the logistics industry to focus their attention on cutting out waste and safeguarding profits.  

In order to reduce costs and improve service, organizations must be able to spot — and solve for — inefficiencies. Because of this, companies are working hard to create end-to-end visibility in their supply chains. 

For fleet managers, gaining visibility into their supply chains means having real-time, transparent information about what is happening — and what should be happening — on their routes. Modern tour planning tools — like HERE Tour Planning API — make this level of visibility and optimization possible.

“We’re one of the most advanced location intelligence companies in the world, serving the automotive, government and supply chain industries,” said Nick Zabikow, senior director of logistics tech sales at HERE. “We have the fundamental location and mapping information that’s required to move people and things efficiently and safely across the complex global transportation network.”

HERE Tour Planning accounts for a wide array of underlying constraints when optimizing tours, including:

The vehicle. The API takes operating costs, physical characteristics like height and weight, cargo capacity and the range of the vehicle into account.

The driver. The solution considers shift times, preferences, driver certifications and other relevant characteristics of each driver. 

The road network. The HERE Tour Planning API not only considers roads and streets but also signage, bridge heights and bike lanes.

Additionally, the solution’s multi-vehicle, multi-stop algorithm enables customers to handle pickup and drop-off orders midstream during tours while effortlessly recalculating routes and ETAs accordingly for their downstream deliveries.

HERE real-time ETAs enable live replanning during execution for all kinds of reasons, not just multiple stops. Companies have access to real-time ETA recalculations no matter why a shipment may be delayed — from weather changes to customer requests. These new arrival times can immediately be shared with their own customers, creating better communication and ultimately promoting continued loyalty. 

“One benefit of this is that it enables more efficient workforce management for the end customer. This not only makes the delivery execution more efficient, but equally important, it makes customers happy and increases stickiness because the customers know they can rely on the delivery companies’ ETAs,” Zabikow said.

The HERE Tour Planning API’s wide variety of capabilities work together to promote a safer, more efficient environment. HERE customers can utilize those strengths to better support their underlying goals, whether that is increasing on-time delivery percentages, saving money or both.

“Fundamentally we have a lot of options regarding how and where and when to reduce costs — or not reduce costs, as your strategy dictates,” said Charlie Maynard, senior manager of industry solutions at HERE. “It’s all about providing customers with the required level of flexibility to enable them to configure their delivery algorithms to meet their precise needs.”

Cost savings are not the primary motivator for all HERE customers, as some companies prioritize narrow delivery windows above all else. For these customers, service improvements tend to be the biggest draw for utilizing a tour planning solution. This group of customers, however, can still save money with HERE by focusing on operational improvement tasks like optimizing vehicle capacity.

Other customers have more timeline flexibility afforded to them by their end customers. These companies are able to utilize a tour planning solution with the primary goal of driving up profitability. This group of users can work on maximizing the routing efficiency for each vehicle in the delivery fleet. 

Regardless of which group a customer falls into, virtually all companies place a strong emphasis on driver safety and productivity. 

“Driver safety is a primary area of concern for nearly all of our customers who own fleets, whether they have one vehicle or thousands,” Maynard said. “It is also important to those who don’t necessarily own vehicles but control the planning and dispatching of vehicle fleets.”

The HERE Tour Planning API can help ensure a fleet is operating safely by providing detailed information surrounding variables like speed limits, road hazards and restrictions. The solution can also provide real-time traffic updates and ensure drivers are adhering to safety-focused regulations like hours-of-service rules. 

From a productivity standpoint, HERE gives its customers the ability to assess whether drivers are adhering to recommended routes. The goal is not necessarily for drivers to always stick to the recommendations, but rather to identify the most efficient routes. Over time, the optimal routes can be finetuned, taking a variety of road conditions into account.This continuous effort ensures that planned ETAs are achieved every time.

“The static and dynamic content that feeds the Tour Planning API is part of our secret sauce in terms of improving productivity,” Maynard said. “For example, we have highly granular intelligence about delivery locations, down to which door on which floor of the building. This means drivers don’t waste time wandering around looking for where to drop the delivery.”

HERE believes its Tour Planning API is one part of a greater digital transformation that is driving more efficient and consistently accurate supply chains, enabling companies to plan their stock levels to meet customers demand costs effectively.

Bring Your Own Data (BYOD) solutions like those provided by HERE allows companies to build a proprietary layer of information on top of the standard map.

Once the proprietary customer data has been synchronized with the HERE platform, location services will also be available for this new proprietary layer. The user can geocode and search their own POIs or route to them. This instance of the map remains private and only accessible to this customer on the HERE platform. Furthermore, updates to the HERE standard maps and location content will be synchronized with the proprietary customer layer over time.

Being able to leverage both out-of-box HERE location offerings in combination with proprietary location data is the optimal cloud setup. It will help accelerate the way the industry achieves faster innovation and business improvements in a cost-effective manner.

HERE is heavily focused on — and engaging in co-development with its key partners around — BYOD spaces like private mapping and customized routing. If executed well, these cutting-edge solutions have the potential to revolutionize logistics. 

“We’re excited about leading these efforts and we see them continuing to accelerate in the market because it’s giving our customers more and more unique competitive advantages,” Zabikow said.

Click here to learn more about HERE Technologies.   

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