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How to improve route planning for trucks?

clock7 minutes reading

July 5, 2024 / Author: fireTMS team

Optimising transit times and costs are some of the biggest challenges for the TSL industry. Fortunately, modern tools such as fireTMS enable efficient route planning and control. Discover the tools that improve truck route planning. Take advantage of Here Maps and Actual Routes in fireTMS.

Here Maps in fireTMS: route planning for trucks

Route planning has a key impact on company costs and order settlement. The main challenge for forwarders when ordering transport is to determine its value, which is largely dependent on the length of the route. For transport companies, in turn, it is important to optimise the route to reduce transport costs

What can be optimised with Here Maps in fireTMS?

  • Fuel costs, by finding a shorter route.
  • Transport fees, by avoiding ferry crossings, toll road sections or countries with high toll rates.
  • Driver working time, by choosing a faster route with fewer stops specified by local law.
  • Load delivery time, by avoiding driving through countries with heavy transport bans on specific days and times.

Using the map: trucks and vans

Here Maps is a solution in fireTMS that enables route mapping and advanced route optimisation in terms of time and cost. What are the main advantages of Here Maps? First of all, the solution has many functions helpful in planning a route and a very user-friendly interface. A great convenience is that you do not have to manually enter the addresses of intermediate points on the route, you just need to find them on the map and select them using the right-click of the mouse. Want to correct or change any of the points? Simply choose the appropriate flag and, using the so-called drag and drop option, move it to the right place. Easy and friendly!

The Here Maps solution also allows you to select the type of vehicle – truck or van – and set its dimensions, axle load and emission class, in the case of routes through Germany, which affect the final cost.

You can also select one of three map backgrounds to make your work more convenient. Those are:

  • classic map – a map of the road network in Europe with marked roads or road sections with entry bans for larger vehicles,
  • traffic map -a map of the road network with dynamic information on traffic density at a given time,
  • satellite map – a map of the road network presented on satellite images.

Based on the entered data, Here Maps will suggest the best routes, as follows:

  • fastest – the route with the shortest travel time,
  • shortest – the route with the least number of kilometres to travel,
  • cheapest – the route with the least additional costs, e.g. tolls.

Additionally, if there are more travel options on the selected route, you will be able to see the suggestions on Here Maps. Finally, the system will calculate the kilometres and travel costs for each route variant and help you decide on the best one.

Samochody ciężarowe stoją przy magazynie i czekają na załadunek

Route planning: additional options

Route mapping based on Here Maps brings even more opportunities for cost optimisation. In the transport business, information about the need to pay tolls on specific road sections or roads in a specific country is of great importance. This is significant, especially for international routes. The main feature of Here Maps with regard to route planning is the ability to exclude toll sections, but that’s not all.

Simply go to the route settings to include additional parameters such as:

  • departure time, so that the system takes time bans into account when mapping the route, 
  • exclusion or inclusion of ferry transport, which is important for international routes,
  • exclusion of specific countries, e.g. for safety reasons or very high tolls.

Once all the parameters are set, Here Maps will calculate the cost of the journey broken down by each country through which the route passes. You will see a summary of the length, time and cost of the proposed routes, so you can quickly and easily choose the best solution for you.

Actual Routes: how to check whether route planning is effective?

Preparing the transport and planning the best route is already completed. However, it must be remembered that even the best plan may not work due to human error or incompetence. To avoid such problems, it is important to keep an eye on whether your drivers are following the planned routes. That is why fireTMS has the Actual Routes function. What is this solution about?

Actual Routes is a control tool, thanks to which you can set the permitted corridor in which a driver can travel. For example, if you set a corridor 10 kilometres wide, the vehicle can only move away from the planned road that far. This allows you to closely monitor whether the driver has left the route for essential purposes, e.g. to refuel, for a meal or to the store, or whether he has strayed too far from the route and generated additional transport costs.

Using Actual Routes, in addition to the corridor width, it is possible to set: 

  • saving routes in the system, 
  • detection of abandonment of the corridor by the vehicle (also when approaching the first loading point),
  • sending notifications when a corridor is abandoned. 

This makes it possible to react quickly and reduce potential abuse and thus excessive transport costs.

When you want to optimise transport costs, the simultaneous use of Here Maps and Actual Routes allows you not only to plan the most favourable transport routes but also to ensure that this plan is implemented. The absolute benefit for you is effective planning of operational expenses and increased profitability of orders.

Kierowca siedzi za kółkiem i sprawdza informacje o ładunku na tablecie

Transport planning in fireTMS

Transport planning, even for shorter and less complex routes, is always a challenge. From the receipt of the order to its execution, care must be taken to ensure that each stage of the process is properly prepared and the results are monitored as this translates directly into profit. Hence the need to implement a modern TMS system that can effectively assess the profitability of an order from the moment it is received, organise the transport and check that everything has gone according to plan. 

The tools available in fireTMS make it possible to effectively plan a route for trucks or vans and check its completion by the driver. Here Maps and Actual Routes help you to reduce transport costs, regardless of the length and complexity of the route.

Want to test fireTMS? Register and start using the 14-day trial version.

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fireTMS team

fireTMS team

The article was written by the fireTMS team, based on their knowledge, experience and awareness of the TSL industry.

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