Monthly deliveries committing perjury

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on April 25, 2009

Many of our clients use a monthly delivery schedule. Surprisingly, that doesn’t necessarily mean the customer gets only one delivery or service call each month. It depends on the specific delivery system being used. Accounts might get serviced twice in a particular month. Those extra deliveries are confusing and means their monthly invoice could suddenly double. Which often means an angry call to customer service.

Here’s a way around all that.

Chris Sciora, MobileIQ’s Fleet Intelligence Expert

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on March 12, 2009

Chris Sciora is the founder and CEO of MobileIQ, a leading provider of fleet management and customer service solutions for fleet-centric companies. Over the past 15 years Chris has worked as a professional in the mapping/GIS industry, conceived and built several highly successful fleet management software solutions, and served as a fleet and routing [...]

Set the “Go Live” date

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on March 8, 2009

This is when the new routes will start running. Everything else in the game plan schedule works backwards from this date, so it’s critical to write it down and share it with everyone. Some people prefer Monday, some prefer Friday. It really makes no difference what day of the week is selected as long as [...]

Develop a game plan

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on March 8, 2009

Before getting started, establish clear goals for the project. You might be interested in reducing overtime, balancing out workload between route days, eliminating trucks or just simply cleaning up route overlap. Problems are guaranteed to arise when one or more goals conflict with each other.
Making decisions up front – and writing them down – gets [...]


Comments Off by Chris Sciora on March 3, 2009

These 14 Secrets of Smarter (Not Harder) Route Balancing came from the toughest and best kind of teacher: real world experience. If you have been a part of even one route balancing project, you probably already know a lot of these critical steps. But unless you’ve done hundreds of these types of projects, [...]

Route Balancing Workshop

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 12, 2009

Route Balancing workshop with Chris Sciora and Greg James (audio only)

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 8, 2009

Lastly, give yourself a break. It’s natural for people to focus on the unusual situations – those twelve customers that refuse to change days, one high volume delivery each week, lack of parking on one route every Friday. With thousands of deliveries each month, it’s rare for any of those to be significant enough to [...]

Mail new route calendars

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 8, 2009

Tell customers in advance about potential route day changes and the phone will ring less after Go Live. Promise. And if you also send out route calendars with the new delivery schedules, it will hardly ring at all. Promise.
Another good idea is to use a 3rd party service instead of doing it yourself. It’s a [...]

Sequence every delivery

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 8, 2009

Most companies only assign route and day. The drivers are expected to sequence the stops throughout the day and maintain the system. It just doesn’t happen. When going through a comprehensive route balancing, take a little extra time and sequence each customer.
The fleet mileage and hours will be much lower as a result.

Allow four weeks for product load up

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 8, 2009

One critical aspect of changing route days is making sure the customer doesn’t run out of product. If their delivery day is being moved later in the cycle, it’s important to leave extra water or salt before the change takes place. A simple rule of thumb is to double the average delivery, but that almost [...]

Switch to a bump schedule

Comments Off by MobileIQ on January 8, 2009

Delivering on a fixed schedule (“every Monday”) has two major benefits: it’s easy to remember and generates more revenue annually since holidays aren’t skipped. However, since businesses are closed on the actual holiday, most dealers “double up” on routes during holiday weeks. This requires extra labor, trucks, overtime and frustration.
For the vast majority of customers, [...]

Assign will call accounts to a delivery schedule

Comments Off by MobileIQ on January 8, 2009

There’s a big difference between making special deliveries on an emergency basis and having it built into the delivery system. A customer who runs out of water or has a missed delivery probably deserves special consideration. But offering “will call status” – meaning a customer can call for service at any time – is an [...]

Take advantage of online maps

Comments Off by MobileIQ on January 8, 2009

There are many inexpensive (and even free!) mapping services that can help find customers in a flash. Some of the more popular services are Google Maps, MapQuest, Microsoft Live Maps and Yahoo Maps. These are all much better than traditional desktop software such as Microsoft Streets & Trips for locating customers.
Online mapping offers:
• satellite overlays showing [...]

Clean up customer data

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 8, 2009

Before getting into the nuts and bolts of routing, take a few minutes to make sure the right data is being used. Are all the active accounts present? Should suspended accounts or will calls be included? Are the product quantities and revenue reasonable AND accurate?
If there are any major discrepancies, take a little time to [...]

Divide and Conquer

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 8, 2009

The easiest way to hit the “Go Live” date is to use every resource possible. Select a point person to run the project, but allow them to “hire” people from other departments to help. For example, the service manager might collect route logs each week and make sure they’re properly filled out. Customer service could [...]

Talk with the drivers

Comments Off by MobileIQ on January 8, 2009

Skipping this step means missing out on valuable “insider” knowledge that isn’t written down anyplace. It’s important to know when customers are closed or expect deliveries on a particular day. You might not choose to honor every request, but at least it won’t be a surprise down the road.
Tip: Let the drivers know that not [...]

Contact the billing system vendor

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 8, 2009

It’s much easier to work with digital route data than with printed reports. Contact your vendor and ask them how to export data into Excel (CSV) format or to send you a file. Most vendors can do this easily and are happy to help out. This file will make life much easier all around.
And while [...]

Track overall fleet mileage and hours

Comments Off by Chris Sciora on January 8, 2009

Use daily route logs to track vehicle mileage and route hours for at least two weeks and review the results. This information tells you exactly what’s happening on the street today without requiring an investment in GPS equipment. For example, the route logs might show an average route day of nine hours long with ninety [...]