date07 December 2020

Route planning to mitigate bad weather

As a nation that loves to discuss the weather, it’s a good thing we get plenty worth talking about. In the past few years alone, the UK has faced severe winter flooding – particularly in Yorkshire and the Midlands, extreme heatwaves and the infamous ‘Beast from the East’; the snowstorm that froze much of the country in February 2018.

For logistics businesses who rely on using the nation’s roads, such weather can be particularly impactful. Flash flooding, black ice and snow, and even melting motorways can all cause significant road delays and leave fleet managers with a delivery backlog and list of unhappy customers. While it’s not possible to predict every weather abnormality or even to avoid them when they are forecast, bad weather doesn’t have to throw a logistics operation into disarray.

Here’s how route planning software can help fleet managers mitigate bad weather, as part of a feature-rich Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) system.

Watch your fleet in action and reroute on the fly

Route planning applications work best when integrated with vehicle tracking functionality, enabling not only the most efficient routes for a set of drops, but live locations for each vehicle in the field for the team back at base too.

Within PODStar, Touchstar’s EPOD solution, the route planning and vehicle tracking capabilities work in tandem, which allows you to monitor real-time driver progress against their planned routes as it happens. This means that if unexpected weather conditions are due to occur, or are already affecting traffic further along on your driver’s planned routes, you can turn to dynamic route optimisation.

With enough warning, you can act as your drivers’ eyes and ears, contacting them via their PODStar connected mobile device and sending a new route that bypasses the hold up. Route plan for a rainy day Every logistics operation will have motorways and roads it uses more than any others; the ones that will result in the biggest delays if adverse weather slows them down.

It’s a good idea to have contingency plans in place in the event that these routes are ever temporarily unusable, this way the consequences of any sudden weather challenges shouldn’t be as severe. For example, you can use route planning software to model likely scenarios if certain roads were to close or depots were to be cut off, or even just if average road speeds were forced to slow in various areas. How would these situations affect your fleet, its resources and delivery schedule? Running through the probable knock-on effects can give you the tools you need to keep operations going without interruption.

Empower your customers with live delivery information

Customers waiting on a delivery should understand if extreme weather impacts your ability to reach them, but they won’t tolerate being left in the dark. While contacting your customers to inform them of any delay is an essential measure, enabling them to be able to check for themselves is an extra win-win for them and your business.

With PODStar, your clients each have access to a dedicated customer portal of their own, where they can view delivery progress and dynamic ETAs via the system’s vehicle tracking system, as well as place new orders and review old ones. This ability gives them autonomy without having to pick up the phone, while your customer services team regain the time otherwise spent making delivery updates.    

Bad weather delays are always a possibility, but they needn’t spell disaster for your logistics operation. EPOD technology allows fleet managers to adapt quickly to unexpected complications, keeping lost time and extra operational costs to a minimum. Find out more about PODStar’s route planning capabilities by getting in touch with us today.