With fuel costs spiralling, the delivery sector is experiencing steep expense hikes. Climbing production costs likewise mean minimising delivery costs is vital. And at the same time, customers increasingly want to see carbon-conscious delivery services.
For logistics managers and retailers, finding ways to stay on top of all this is a key priority. Sustainability managers are, of course, also invested in this conversation. Yet for the same reason as always: it’s vital to reduce the delivery sector’s carbon footprint.
Reducing costs and lowering emissions are inextricably linked. Both come down to keeping routes as efficient as possible. With fewer vehicles out on the road driving shorter distances, fuel usage and emissions fall in parallel. And with smart route optimisation, this dual efficiency is within reach. Below, we’ll explore this in more depth.
Optimising routes for fuel reduction
To explore how route optimisation helps cut fuel costs, we first need to define it. Often, route optimisation is confused with route planning. Yet route optimisation is a far more sophisticated process.
Route planning vs route optimisation
Route planning is about getting your vehicles from A to B. Simple. With only a few vehicles in your fleet, you might even be able to plan routes manually in maps or Excel. However, there’s a lack of smart logic behind this process. It won’t take into account the myriad factors affecting your drivers on the road. Weather conditions and traffic density, for example. Or how long it takes a driver to drop a parcel at each address (known as service time). Nor does simple route planning learn from historical data to continually evolve.
By contrast, a smart route optimisation tool enables all of this. It computes all relevant factors to determine your most efficient routes. From vehicle availability to package dimensions and from driver schedules to avoiding rush hour. With all this information, it devises the most efficient routes to make all your stops. So even with smaller delivery volumes, both fuel and emissions can be significantly reduced. An intelligent route optimisation platform will also learn from past experiences, for more efficient future planning.
Efficient routes, efficient fuel usage
Essentially, route optimisation software primes your fleet to use as little fuel as possible. Perhaps it will show that you can make the same number of stops with fewer vehicles, on fewer routes. Or it’ll reorganise packages with various dimensions to use your vehicle capacity to the maximum. Whatever the nature of the software’s output, it evolves your operations towards the same result. Optimised routes, using less fuel and — the key result — cutting fuel costs.
Streamlining fleets for additional cost-cutting
With fewer vehicles out on the road, you’ll be racking up fewer fuel expenses. Yet there’s an additional cost-saving layer to consider here. Streamlining your fleet to only contain the vehicles you need is key to long-term viability.
Firstly, supply chain disruption has hugely increased order time for vehicles. Why wait a year for a new vehicle, when smart route optimisation software might reveal you don’t need the extra wheels? That’s one less vehicle to purchase, maintain and fuel going forward. Cutting your vehicle costs end to end.
Reduced costs, happy customers
Reducing fuel costs is, logically, a vital element of keeping your fleet’s operational costs low. Yet it’s not just reducing fuel expenses that will benefit your business. The knock-on impact is enabling you to keep overall logistics costs at a minimum. This impacts the delivery chain through to your end customer. And we know low or zero delivery cost is a key purchase motivator, supporting healthy margins.
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Route optimisation and reducing emissions
While fuel costs are a major concern in the delivery sector, sustainability is top of mind too. Vehicle access regulations are tightening — so deliveries need to adapt. Handily, intelligent route optimisation can help. Taking into account any e-vehicles in your fleet, leading software can optimise routing based on top speeds, charging needs, and more. Introducing e-vehicles into your fleet is a solid first step towards reducing emissions, yes. But it will only have maximum positive impact combined with optimised routing!
Night-time delivery cuts emissions
Smart route optimisation centres around considering all available options. With leading software, this includes night-time deliveries. This alternative thinking creates a real advantage for lowering emissions. With far less traffic on the roads, vehicles spend less time in high-pollution idling mode. Of course, there’s another parallel with fuel reduction here. Spending less time stuck in traffic, drivers can complete routes as efficiently as possible. As a result, they’ll use less fuel overall.
Route optimisation and eco-driving
Besides ensuring routes are as efficient as possible, how you drive them impacts emissions. Eco-driving techniques reduce emissions by lowering a vehicle’s fuel consumption. It’s a soft, defensive driving style that avoids excess braking. Attuned to how your vehicles run, it can cut fuel usage by 10-20%. With smart route optimisation software, you can optimise routes based on eco-driving. Reducing emissions, reducing fuel usage, reducing costs.
Food for thought: Flexibility is the way ahead
Have you considered using smart route optimisation in a partnership delivery model? In the current climate, we’ve seen, streamlining fleets is vital for viability. Delays in vehicle availability, fuel expense and emissions reduction all mean it’s crucial.
Usefully, working flexibly with delivery partners can alleviate these pressures. With a leading route optimisation tool in place, you can bring in multiple delivery partners for occasional support. No need to expand your fleet permanently, with all the fixed and running costs involved. Simply utilise a partner’s vehicles at peak times instead! Flexible partnership deliveries also enable delivering goods from a range of providers on the same routes. Once again, lowering driving time, cutting fuel costs and reducing emissions in one.
Looking to reduce fuel costs and CO2? We’re here to help!
At Gordon Delivery, we’re driven to help forward-thinking businesses evolve. That means streamlining fuel usage, costs and emissions simultaneously. Our delivery and tech offerings enable this, powering you forward.
With our intelligent route optimisation, we’ve reduced clients’ driving costs and emissions by 13%. And we’re always striving to improve. With enhanced traffic prediction, Machine Learning and options to route with e-vehicles, we’re continually heading for better.