The Algorithm People

Optimise first, then electrify

While switching to EVs remains the ultimate goal, are fleets missing a simple step in the decarbonisation of their vehicle operations?

2020 was a challenging year but also an incredibly positive one for our sector. More fleets than ever before are committing to reduce emissions, there is a wider choice of electric vans and cars than ever before, and more innovative technologies to help accelerate the road to zero.

As fleets look to meet emissions targets, the obvious strategy is to swap dirty diesels for electric vehicles (EVs). However, technology can also help cut costs and carbon emissions from vehicle operations. This idea is nothing new to fleet managers - after all, most vehicle operators already benefit from telematics. However, many organisations are still unaware that route optimisation can deliver additional savings over and above vehicle tracking systems.

Only a small number of fleets currently use route optimisation, meaning many more could be missing out. Our research indicates that only about five per cent of fleets are using optimisation. This means that a lot of organisations are operating at a commercial disadvantage, because they are not realising its efficiency and cost-saving benefits.

There are very clear parallels with the development of the vehicle tracking market. Initially telematics was only viable for the biggest fleets, as it was quite expensive to install and complex to use. As the costs came down and the technology became more user-friendly, it opened up the market to the small and medium-sized vehicle operators.

Route optimisation is so well embedded in the big players that, today, they couldn’t envisage operating without it. We are making it cost-effective and user-friendly enough for the rest of the market, so that it becomes an essential tool for them in their fight to cut emissions and costs.

Key benefits
Route optimisation is powered by intelligent algorithms which calculate the most efficient way for an organisation to complete all daily tasks involving vehicles. The algorithms make these calculations in a fraction of the time it would take a team of people – and deliver better results.

The achievable benefits can be surprising. The platform is so efficient that it can reduce total fleet mileage by up to 20 per cent, with the clear reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which that brings. It can also cut total transport costs by up to 30 per cent. These are huge savings and far outweigh the price of using route optimisation, meaning it delivers a rapid return on investment.

Who uses it?
Route optimisation is most effective for planning vehicles which visit multiple sites per shift. This could be multi-drop operations such as last-mile logistics, couriers, or home delivery – but equally it could be scheduling site visits for service engineers or community transport such as a minibus for the elderly and vulnerable.

One of the barriers for adoption in the past was that route optimisation might only be applicable to some parts of a fleet and not others. That made it too expensive as the ROI simply wasn’t there. However, new ways of consuming route optimisation, such as pay-as-you-go platforms like My Transport Planner, creates new possibilities. A fleet manager can finally deploy route optimisation for the parts of their business where it is effective, without having to pay for it for the parts where it might not be needed.

For those struggling to adopt electric vehicles, route optimisation offers another way to reduce emissions while also cutting costs.

For further information on how route optimisation can help you, download this free GreenFleet guide.