Using Your Vehicle Routing Software To Get The Big Bucks
published on December 15, 2012 by Sonia Mastros
Running any sort of contracted school bus service is a difficult job, with razor-thin profit margins. Far too many schools are seeing their budgets cut every year, putting more pressure on you to squeeze as much as you possibly can out of your fleets and systems.
Anywhere you can optimize and reduce expenditures is money going straight into your pocket.
That's why this may be the perfect time to look into upgrading your vehicle routing software. The effectiveness of routing software has increased drastically over the last few years. A top-tier software suite is an investment that will quickly pay off.
The Cost Benefits of Modern Vehicle Routing Software
The pure technical problems of creating routing software have been solved long ago. Now, the refinements are aimed at helping you get the absolute most out of your fleet.
• Instantly create your routes based on numerous defined criteria, including length of walks to bus stops and avoidance of "danger zones" where children shouldn't gather.
• Cut unnecessary bus routes entirely to save on overhead.
• Save on fuel and maintenance by finding more efficient routes.
• Quickly and easily print a variety of reports, including historical route data, simplifying your record-keeping compliance.
• Maintain profiles on your drivers and their performance to aid in finding the best assignments.
• Run different routes on different days to optimize for staggered schedules.
• Quickly respond to proposed redistricting with updated hypothetical maps that can be generated in minutes.
GPS Positioning Brings Added Benefits
Now, you may be in a situation where your clients are paying you per bus route, so you don't have too much need to cut the number of vehicles you run. Even then, the possibilities to find greater efficiency in your routes should be compelling. However, there's another option: GPS tracking.
Your vehicle routing software can be integrated with inexpensive GPS tracking units in each bus, which can report its movements precisely from moment to moment throughout its route. You can control everything from simple Windows software which gives you a complete overview of your active busses in real time.
• Track individual drivers' safe driving habits, speed limit adherence, etc.
• Immediately know where any bus is if you lose contact.
• Speed emergency response in the event of a breakdown or other accident.
• Immediately reassure any worried parents as to a bus' status.
• Get detailed data on fuel usage and wear-and-tear to further improve your route efficiency.
No Recurring Map Data Fees
The other innovation in vehicle routing software lately is more subtle, but one budget-conscious administrators will appreciate: you don't have to be locked into a recurring contract or have to pay huge per-processor licensing fees.
For far too long, maps-based software locked you into getting updates from the vendor, but maps are now so commonplace that with the right routing software, you can update your maps yourself from any number of public sources. You can even update it directly yourself, should house numbers change.
Of course, if you'd rather leave software and hardware support to others, Software-as-a-Service options are also available.
Save Big Bucks With Better Software
In terms of potential returns on investment, there are few better ways you can improve the efficiency of your bus contracting service than with improved vehicle routing software. One change to your software can make your entire fleet run more efficiently, as well as speeding a lot of the common tasks you face in managing your routes.
As margins get slimmer while operating costs keep rising, you need every edge you can get.
How long has it been since you've upgraded your vehicle routing software?