Blog > Last mile delivery
Blog > Last mile delivery
Published on 23 February 2022 • Reading time: 6 min read
The manufacturers and suppliers of building materials are under great pressure. As raw material prices soar and supply shortages increase, they must optimise their transport to remain competitive.
But the search for more efficient routes can quickly become a headache. Increasing the number of construction sites or warehouses supplied each day while taking into account access difficulties, the type of load and the customer’s availability to receive items is not an easy task!
Discover 6 concrete ways to reduce the cost of material deliveries and make the management easier, while offering a quality service to buyers.
Table of contents
The optimisation of building materials deliveries is a response to today’s challenges. For building and civil engineering professionals, it’s an effective way of reducing delivery costs. It’s also a guarantee of quality service for customers.
The first challenge for construction and public works professionals is the loading of vehicles, which must take into account multiple constraints:
The issue is that with so many variables, logistics managers can spend hours manually scheduling building material deliveries, without really being able to optimise them.
But with solutions like AntsRoute, it only takes a few clicks to define your constraints and set the capacity of each vehicle. The artificial intelligence then provides multiple route scenarios, including some that you would never have considered. The software then compares all these scenarios to keep only the best, based on very powerful algorithms.
The accurate scheduling of the routes also makes it easier to load the vehicles. The route plan issued by AntsRoute clearly indicates the type and quantity of goods to be delivered to each address (plasterboard, pallets of roof tiles or clinkers, bags of cement or aggregates, etc.). Depending on the order of the deliveries, the driver can therefore load his truck smartly beforehand.
Filling vehicles to the maximum capacity is good. However, each route must be assigned to the driver who is available and skilled to drive the truck in question.
The route optimisation system helps you to determine realistic routes which take into account specific business constraints:
These different solutions offer simplified and automated assignment of deliveries to your field workers, ensuring that they complete the routes in accordance with the regulations.
Another powerful lever to optimise the delivery of goods while reducing the stress level of the drivers is the creation of balanced schedules. An efficient route management software should integrate:
In this way, the drivers avoid lengthy routes. They are more likely to respect the ETA and minimise the number of late deliveries, which are stressful for them and for the customers.
Improving the working conditions of drivers is now a strategic issue. Not only is a more satisfied team a more productive one, but transport operators are all facing serious difficulties in recruiting qualified drivers. In such a context of shortage, it is therefore necessary to take care of the delivery workers already employed in order to retain them and reduce turnover.
However, it is not always enough to determine balanced and realistic roadmaps. The driver must also be able to find the right delivery location quickly once he has arrived near the site or warehouse. For this purpose, our software offers 2 solutions:
On site, the driver must also be able to load or unload the construction materials efficiently and safely. Depending on the nature of the goods, the client will need to provide appropriate human or material resources: handlers, stackers, forklifts, cranes, protective equipment, etc.
The customer must also provide an area of the site that is accessible and where the products are protected from the weather.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises upon arrival, the AntsRoute route optimisation software includes a powerful system of automated notifications. Messages sent by e-mail or text message keep clients informed about the date and time of the delivery. This type of communication is very efficient to anticipate problems of organisation and limit absences during the first visit.
We highly recommend that you download the AntsRoute mobile application on the smartphones of your field workers. This application includes a real-time geolocation system, very useful for optimising the material deliveries.
A customer requests a last-minute delivery or pick-up? Thanks to geolocation, the tool immediately identifies the vehicles nearest to the site in question. It also identifies the best opportunities for you to minimise travel and transport costs. If necessary, you can assign the extra stops to the pre-selected driver, and his roadmap is automatically recalculated.
A customer is worried about a late delivery? Thanks to the overview of the drivers’ progress in the field, you can immediately tell them the remaining steps and the estimated time of arrival.
The geolocation system also enables a more effective response to unforeseen traffic events. In the case of an accident or traffic jam, the system re-optimises the route, taking into account these unexpected constraints.
Last but not least, to reduce the cost of delivering materials, the scanning of roadmaps and transport documents. Using the AntsRoute mobile application saves a lot of time, and therefore money, on the administrative management of routes.
No more need to print out paper route sheets. These are dispatched and sent directly to your staff’s smartphones. There’s also no need to chase after signed delivery notes, as drivers now send delivery confirmations in digital format. These delivery notes automatically include:
By optimising the different elements of material delivery, you can significantly reduce the number of kilometres travelled and the associated operational costs: fuel costs, vehicle maintenance, workload, etc.
Has this article inspired you to find out more about AntsRoute, our complete delivery optimisation solution? Test the software and the mobile application for free during 7 days, by clicking here !