Peterson: The major reason was high gas prices; diesel is really going high and we were getting more customers, and more deliveries. Instead of buying more trucks, we decided to look into efficiency routes and see if we could make better use of what we had. We also wanted to better track the expenses on the truck to see how much a route would cost us.
FL: How has the Appian DirectRoute Software improved business?
Peterson: It definitely has improved our ability to plan the route, delivery time and the delivery cost. We can also get a better handle on customer satisfaction and the number of trucks in our fleet. We were able to consolidate deliveries onto trucks to get more out of what we have. The optimization in the direct route program has helped and it has really optimized the fleet and made it more efficient as far as it’s seeing things that even our guys didn’t think would possibly work.
FL: Do you have any tips for other companies looking to implement a similar system?
Peterson: Be prepared for a bit of upfront work. That work that you put on the front end is going to pay off for you in the long term. When you’re setting the system up, have people working on it who know the route [such as] dispatcher—it’s basically going to be a kind of brain-dump as far as what they know of, which can include customer preferences, customer delivery locations and also the unload rates of deliveries. Also, realize that things change with your customer master file when you’re making these deliveries.
Once you have the system, have a couple of people from the company go to one of the user conferences. That was really valuable when myself and another dispatcher went to one of the user conferences about TMW. It was really helpful to see other peoples’ trials and tribulations.