Truck and Track Spring 2024

Truck and Track Spring 2024 24 INTERMODAL TRANSPORT SOFTWARE The quality of the transport planning largely determines the profit of the transport company. Every reason to provide planners with the best tools. Nevertheless, we still see many transport companies planning manually and relying completely on the knowledge and experience in the minds of the planners. Is that still responsible in 2024 with excellent software for automatic scheduling? In some offices it still hangs on the wall: the map on which the planners mapped out the journeys along the loading and unloading addresses with a handful of sticks. The quality of the planning was mainly dependent on the knowledge and experience of the planners. They knew the addresses and bottlenecks along the way, if only because they had been behind the wheel for years. Nevertheless, it was often not an option to calculate all journeys accurately to the mile or minute. They simply lacked the tools and the time. Auto scheduling 2.0 The first transport software provided relief. Planners suddenly got their hands on a digital planning board. This allowed them to link transport orders to trucks and drivers easily. They could add up the loading metres per trip to check whether a truck still had room for an extra shipment. With a route planner, they could calculate the distances and driving times for each trip. This led to shorter planning time and better planning. Call it transport planning 2.0. However, when using the digital planning board in a transport management or other administrative system, the quality of the planning still depends on the knowledge and experience of the planner. It is still the planner who has to distribute the orders over the journeys. Because planners can’t keep puzzling endlessly, they have to rely on their gut feeling and rules of thumb. While at the same time, taking into account all requirements and preferences such as time windows, vehicle specifications, driver diplomas, window times, environmental zones, etc. Only dependent on the transport planner The question is whether this is still possible today: purely relying on the knowledge and experience of the planners. After all, the quality of the planning determines the load factor of the transport company. The higher the load factor, the greater the profit margin. This requires planning based on hard facts instead of the often deceptive gut feeling — certainly in the transport sector, where margins have been under pressure for years. In addition, planning is becoming increasingly complex. Customers are making more and more demands and wishes, which translates into an increasing number of restrictions that planners have to take into account. As if that were not enough, the government is also making more and more demands. Think of time windows and environmental zones and mandatory access routes in city centres. It has become almost impossible for a planner to take all the restrictions into account. And if they succeed in doing so, the risk for transport companies has become too great. The continuity of the company is endangered if the business operations depend on the knowledge and experience of a single planner. Manual versus automatic scheduling: high time for 3.0