Truck routing is a tricky business and, done badly, can be extremely expensive. A wrong turn can result in a huge amount of extra fuel consumption, while a poorly planned route can result in an enormous truck making its way through a town where the roads are too small to accommodate it. Finding a way to avoid such mistakes can be invaluable to transport service companies, making a difference to both drivers and customers expecting deliveries.
Now, the optimisation software and analytics solutions company ORTEC is working with HERE to launch a driver mobile app for use by Aquila, the Romania-based transport services company. Its fleet will benefit from ORTEC's optimised, real-time route planning and HERE's up-to-date, highly accurate navigation.
We spoke with Adrian Pantazi, Transport Development and Projects Implementation Manager at Aquila, who tells us more: "We needed an application that would work on the operational side of the business, so that if we sent a job to a driver, he could quickly confirm that he'd received it and then confirm the loading, arrival time, unloading time, departure from the customer and other operational functionalities: PoD scanning, empty pallets collection, fuelling registration, and more."
Aquila is now using the ORTEC Routing and Dispatch software solution and mobile application, embedded with the HERE SDK to optimise its daily routing operations, create cost savings, improve visibility over the planning process and also to increase its customer service level.
The ORTEC mobile app allows the driver to be in direct contact with the dispatcher, while also receiving real-time routing instructions, which results in more on-time deliveries and higher customer satisfaction. Map integration is vital, Adrian explains:
"When running a route in Romania, our drivers typically don't need navigation as they know the roads so well. However, optimised routing is incredibly important. Now, if a driver wants to take a certain road that adds kilometres onto a journey, we can direct them to another, more efficient route through the app, saving time and money."
Indeed, a significant issue that truck routing tackles is ensuring that deliveries are as efficient as possible, as any prolonged routes can cost the company dearly in fuel. Thanks to the joint venture, which connects ORTEC's software and the HERE SDK, optimised routing and navigation are now available. However, there are other hurdles to overcome for transport service companies.
For transport service companies, the importance of well-planned, accurate mapping and routing cannot be overstated - some roads may be too small for a truck to navigate, for example, while some routes may need registering of refuelling or other on-route activities (delays or accidents, for example) to help the driver and Aquila.
Offline routing was also a pressing need, Adrian explains:
"We turned to HERE because of the information that could be integrated - from routing, to weight restrictions and registering refuelling. However, we also wanted an application that's integrated with an offline map provider, because the data-usage can be significant when relying upon a mobile device to navigate, which then costs a lot of money."
The work, however, has only just begun. The application, which was launched in November, has continued to be refined as Aquila's needs, and the challenges of transportation in Romania, are met by ORTEC and HERE.
Reaching the customer
The app doesn't only benefit Aquila and its drivers - customers will now also gain greater insight into their deliveries, thanks to a customer portal that was created by ORTEC according to Aquila's requirements. This is integrated with ORTEC Routing and Dispatch and the mobile application. Adrian says:
"If the customer is interested in seeing the progress of their order, they can get updates on whether it's been loaded, when it departed, and can actually see the truck's positioning on the map and the estimated time of arrival. This is hugely beneficial as they can plan for its arrival, or see if there will be a delay."
Adrian adds that this helps cut down on unnecessary communication. With this information available at the touch of a button, both the customer and Aquila can see the progress of a vehicle without the need to contact each other, or the driver.
The application, which is planned to be rolled out to 100 devices by March this year, is also set to go international, with the Aquila team planning on implementing routing optimisation for countries outside of Romania in the near future. Adrian concludes:
"One of the main reasons for turning to this application is cost savings, but this functionality will also help us to better plan trips internationally. This year, we'll see where it takes us."