Like the old staple, peanut butter and jelly, last-mile fleets and routing needs go hand-in-hand. - Photo: Canva/Work Truck

Like the old staple, peanut butter and jelly, last-mile fleets and routing needs go hand-in-hand.

Photo: Canva/Work Truck

Last-mile delivery fleets face similar challenges to other vocational industry truck fleets. But, more closely tied to service fleets where routes are often changing daily, they face their own set of unique challenges, too.  

“A last-mile carrier traditionally could deliver anything from parcels to bulky items. In the past few years, new kinds of carriers have come up with delivery specialization for each segment. This is because various modes of transportation have evolved to solve a specific delivery problem. As we progress, there will be more specialization in each of the segments, and there is a lot of scope for innovation,” said Krishna Vattipalli, CEO of Fleet Enable.

Often, you won’t see a discussion about last-mile fleet challenges and potential solutions without seeing some mention of routing. 

“Route optimization is one part of an overall solution being able to leverage location telematics data. It provides a clear proof of delivery or proof of arrival at locations, which can be very valuable in last-mile delivery. For example, we’ve seen companies grow more chaotic with supply chain issues, as well as customers, becoming chaotic with how they’re accepting packages — it’s that chaos that ripples through their locations and warehouses. Thus, being able to verify that assets were at a specific location at a specific time, and potentially correlate that to video evidence of a vehicle physically arriving at a location can be valuable in cases where delivery is questionable or not certain,” said Ryan Wilkinson, chief technology officer at IntelliShift. 

But, simply adopting a routing solution is just the start of the process. You must ensure you have the data to support the system

“To have reliable routing for last-mile delivery, you’ll need reliable data. The quality of traffic data that goes into a routing solution is critical for accurate ETAs. TomTom’s routing APIs leverage its extensive and insightful historical traffic data in addition to live traffic data, which allows us to provide highly accurate ETAs. Pulling in additional details for each route can further improve ETA accuracy,” said Elizabeth Ong, senior manager of product marketing at TomTom.

There are many benefits of using a last-mile navigation solution. 

“In my opinion, the top one is around driver safety. A commercial vehicle-specific navigation solution can help new or seasonal employees or franchisees feel more comfortable with their routes, providing accurate information that they need to know to do their job effectively and safely. In an industry where drivers are often working alone and taking on new routes in new areas they may be unfamiliar with, not having the full picture can drive a lot of uncertainty — and ultimately, risky driving behaviors or stress,” said Andrew Nowell, sales manager at Trimble MAPS.

Routing can also do more for fleets than simply help last-mile drivers get to their destination on time. 

“Being more efficient, safe and sustainable are important qualities for any fleet to embrace. But fleet owners with vehicles on the road are also targets for some law firms. Fleet management is really all about being in a strong position to protect one’s investment. Having constant and an easily accessible window into what your vehicles and drivers are doing and what’s really happening around them is vital for the growth of your business and for the protection of your drivers,” said Raj Bajaj, VP, Webfleet Solutions International at Bridgestone Mobility Solutions.

What are some of the other reasons why routing and last-mile fleets go together like peanut butter and jelly? Do you agree you really can't have one, without the other? Did I hit the nail on the head or miss something? 

Email me and let’s chat! 

Lauren Fletcher

Originally posted on Work Truck Online

About the author
Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the team's content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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