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THE PROBLEM WITH ROUTE PLANNING FREEWARE FOR TRUCKS, FIELD SERVICE ETC.
What free route planning offers and where the business-inhibiting limits of freeware lie.
16 August 2022 · Christoph Bertram
In many areas, route planning is one of the key success factors: from truck transport in logistics to routes and tours in field service, service and sales. Free route planners or route planning freeware abound. But they are only suitable to a limited extent in a professional context.
Free route planners are tempting. On the one hand, the price is unbeatable, on the other hand, they are unreliable. Almost everyone has used Google Maps and Waze at some point and has used it to reach their destination safely. Other free web services and apps such as the route planners from Falk, Michelin, or OpenStreetMap are also ideally suited for route planning.
FREE ROUTE PLANNING FOR TRUCKS, FIELD SERVICE, FIELD LOGISTICS?
However, this applies primarily to private use or individual route planning. In the logistics and field service business, the requirements are usually too complex for pure route planners:
- Routes with multiple destinations and stopovers need to be planned,
- special vehicle restrictions are to be observed and
- efficient planning must be balanced across multiple staff touchpoints.
You should be careful with free route planning tools in the following cases.
TRUCK ROUTES: WHY YOU CAN'T RELY ON FREEWARE
For routes by car, free solutions work fairly well in many cases. But not for truck route planning and the logistics business. Here you must look for an alternative, if only because Google Maps and Waze cannot account for the mode of transport.
Truck routes inevitably differ from those of other vehicles because dispatchers must take into account areas and obstacles such as environmental zones, bridges, underpasses, as well as toll costs. This is why you should rely on specialist solutions for the logistics sector that include all restrictions in the route calculation. Geeignete Logistiksoftware calculates transport costs in parallel and calculate many other factors, such as actual driving and delivery times.
FIELD SERVICE: CALCULATE SCHEDULING AND ROUTE PLANNING TOGETHER
For field service, it makes sense to link route planning and appointment (delivery/pick-up) planning. Both the appointments and their routes are linked into tours. Do you still plan your appointments in Outlook/Excel? Or with paper diaries/whiteboards? Modern route planners for field services offer an Integrated appointment coordination that is superior to everyday makeshift tools.
For example, the tour planner from portatour® takes optimisation much further than your driving distances. It also takes into account the frequency of visits for your A, B and C customers as well as your unique organisational preferences. It can also be integrated into the CRM system of your choice.
Where free route planners may only optimise the route, with a specialist field service app you not only get route optimisation, but a tool to cost-optimise your entire field service activity.
FIELD SERVICE: FREE ROUTE PLANNING APPS CANNOT COORDINATE TEAMS
Especially if you must plan not only your own day, but that of an entire team, specialist solutions are greatly more efficient than generic freeware for route planning. Consumer navigation apps are designed as individual applications, not as a solution for team/workforce management.
An example: In the technical customer field service (Field Service) of a mechanical engineering company, the daily task is to coordinate installations and maintenance and repair appointments - for several technicians or teams. The question for scheduling is: who does which jobs with which skills? And consequently: How do we plan the tours and routes as efficiently as possible?
A free route planner only takes route-relevant aspects into account during planning, but not the many other factors such as the type and duration of an order or the availability of the employees. And another example of where free route planners reach their limits:
Technician A can no longer make it to one of their customers. Technician B is just in the vicinity of the customer and could take over the job. But how are both of them coordinated and communicated with? A professional solution enables this communication and an optimised rescheduling.
CONCLUSION: TOUR PLANNING INSTEAD OF ROUTE PLANNING
If you must plan your journeys in a professional context - possibly every day and not just for yourself - there is more to it than determining the best routes. Whether in truck dispatching, logistics, field services or even deliveries: instead of a route planner, you need a tour planning solution.
Professional trip planning takes into account all relevant aspects of your business. Journey planning in the professional sector requires more than just identifying destinations and routes on a map. And the costs for a mature solution - be it truck route planning, a field service app for maintenance staff, or a Field Service Management System – quickly pay for themselves through the gains in efficiency and productivity.
HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR YOUR ORDERS?
It is easy (and human) to fall back on what is easily accessible. Free route planning with Google Maps and Waze is just a click away. It's critical to work more efficiently in the long term. It's worth investing time in researching a solution that supports you more comprehensively in your tasks.
The challenge is to find the appropriate solution that mirrors your needs as you grow. The range of business software is large and each have their own USPs. That is why we would like to encourage you to free consultation appointment with our experts. As a group of companies for resource optimisation in field service, field sales and logistics, we are familiar with the unique requirements of a wide range of industries and company sizes.
Let's find out together which solution will optimally support you in achieving your goals - from personal route planners for field staff to field service management for service teams, and a transport management system for truck dispatching.