St. Onge Company Links Supply Chain Blog
Strengthening your supply chain one link at a time.

Route Planning and Optimization

The supply chain “final mile” or the delivery of products on the last leg of their transportation journey has been discussed and written about lately more frequently.  The amount of goods delivered via e-commerce has accelerated recently due to the current environment, which has therefore increased the “final mile” demands.  Route optimization software can be utilized to help businesses meet delivery objectives (cost/time) while considering all of the “rules” (constraints) of a given business’ supply chain.  The software can assist in the determination of which stops/deliveries should go on which vehicles and in what sequence.

In addition to optimizing a company’s current delivery or pickup routes, there are other reasons a company may want to use route optimization software.  A few are listed below:

  • Private fleet vs. common carrier decision analysis
  • Bid creation for 3PL or transport companies for new customer accounts
  • Impact of mergers/acquisitions of new customers impact on fleet size and routes
  • Fleet size analysis
  • Vehicle sales territory
  • Setting up master routes and delivery schedules
  • Daily dynamic routing due to fluctuation in customer orders and patterns

Similar to network optimization, when utilizing route optimization software there are several different objectives to solve for and many constraints he software considers in order to solve the problem at hand.  The objective of the analysis could be to minimize total cost, minimize transportation cost, maximize vehicle capacity utilization, minimize total miles, minimize vehicle fleet size, and minimize labor costs, minimize carbon footprint and many more.    While many companies try to manually schedule routes based on experience, it can be extremely difficult to get an “optimal” solution due to the many types of constraints that are required.  Some examples are below:

  • Time constraints (delivery pickup/drop off windows)
  • Resource (driver/truck) available time
  • Earliest start time from origin DC
  • Latest return time to DC
  • Maximum work time, break/lunch requirements (i.e. DOT hours of service requirements)
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Road restrictions (tolls, size of trucks, etc.)
  • Truck capacity
  • Truck capability (i.e. lift gate required, temperature required, and many more)
  • Maximum stops per truck
  • Customer requirements (must be delivered first or last on a route)
  • Day trip vs. overnight trip
  • Product constraints (hazardous materials, special handling requirements)
  • And many more

Using route optimization software allows transportation planners to meet the objective at hand subject to all constraints required.   The typical benefits achieved are reduced transportation costs (mostly through reduction in miles driven), improved service, increased resource utilization, and reduction in administrative time planning routes.
—Brad Barry, St. Onge Company

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St. Onge Company is Proud to Have Been Ranked Among the Highest-Scoring Businesses on Inc. Magazine’s Annual List of Best Workplaces for 2023

We have been named to Inc. Magazine’s annual Best Workplaces list! Featured in the May/June 2023 issue, the list is the result of a comprehensive measurement of American companies that have excelled in creating exceptional workplaces and company culture, whether operating in a physical or a virtual facility.

From thousands of entries, we are one of only 591 companies honored.

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