4 Qualities That Will Lead You to the Best Routing Solution
Keith LaBotz - February 10, 2022
Choosing the best software could be the worst mistake you make when looking for a transportation routing solution.
The “best software” is synonymous with superior functionality and performance. The buzz promotes the potential of software products and businesses seek it out by comparing features, benefits, and specifications. This often leads to purchasing the potential value of software and the assumption all is good.
Well, all is not so good. According to studies by McKinsey, 70% of digital transformation projects fail, and 17% of all IT projects are black swan events; they threaten a company’s existence. Poor technology selection doesn’t even get an honorable mention in these studies. If that’s not the problem, what is?
There are plenty of things that can go wrong after choosing a routing app, which is why endless articles are doling out project management advice. While outcomes would dramatically improve if companies followed this guidance, the fate of most software is already sealed during evaluation.
The key to avoiding this pitfall and finding the best transportation routing app, or any software for that matter, is in your approach. We get whatever we focus on; we can either focus on potential or value when evaluating a solution. Focus on value. I know it sounds too simple, and that's why it works well.
This post offers a few suggestions that shift the focus onto value when evaluating software. Doing this will lead you to the best routing solution, and it will serve you well for choosing other supply chain solutions. Best of all, you can put them into practice immediately.
Redefine Best Solution
If you want to know which capabilities to look for in the best routing apps, check out part 1 and part 2 of my previous post on the topic. Check out flexis profiTOUR to see a solution that fits the bill for a best-in-class vehicle routing app.
- Focus on value instead of potential. A skilled partner can with less capable software can deliver more value superior software that is poorly implemented. Implementation translates potential into value.
- Focus on the project instead of the product. Engage potential technology partners with a clear set of objectives and a rough implementation plan. Knowledge is power, right?
- A vendor and their software are inseparable; the solution is a single package of the technology partner’s soft skills, organization, and technology.
- The best solution is the one that maximizes value for your company. Have potential partners explain in detail how they will gather requirements, implement the software, train, and support the solution. If a vendor cannot present the story of your project’s success, then you’re being sold potential.
Find a Supply Chain Doctor
The goal is to create a healthier supply chain, and given our previous definition of “best solution”, approach finding a technology partner like finding a doctor.
What qualities do you value in a doctor? Reputation, knowledge, specialization, and experience are all musts. Other desirable qualities to look for include:
- Holistic thinking: considers systemic effects and dependencies.
- Familiarity with the critical details of your case.
- Thoroughly examines and accurately diagnoses the source of the problem. Focus on curing the problem, not the symptoms.
- Offers multiple solutions, explains the risks of each, and allows you to choose what’s best for your situation.
- Answers all questions and takes time to ensure you understand the answers.
- Asks a lot of questions, exhibits knowledge and good judgment, and is curious about the details.
- Knowledgeable of the latest technology.
- Quick to acknowledge errors and takes responsibility to fix them.
- Good follow-up to ensure the desired results are achieved.
- Continuous Improvement. A commitment to improving the health of your supply chain process.
- Ongoing check-ups to monitor and improve health. In a supply chain, this may involve KPIs and brainstorming process improvements.
Look for Real-World Experience
You wouldn’t go to a surgeon who has only watched surgery videos. A technology partner with real-world transportation experience brings insights that can quickly add value, and this is important for vehicle routing solutions.
Transportation is a fragmented industry, full of proprietary legacy processes and practices. The nuances are often missed by analysts and developers lacking requisite experience. This oversight has resulted in software solutions mirroring the fragmentation of the transportation industry. Your enterprise cannot optimize supply chain processes if it follows suit; it needs a single, universal, multi-modal routing app and shipping process.
Require Proof of Concept
Once you think you have the best solution, the final step is proof of concept. This is the evidence you need to prove whether or not you’ve chosen the best routing solution.
- Require examples of optimized delivery plans produced from your company’s actual order data.
- Agree to a turnaround, beginning when data is submitted until results are returned to gauge responsiveness.
- Pay attention to how smoothly the trial goes. How much, if any, of your company’s resources were needed?
- Compare the resulting route plans against your actual routes to measure the value in terms of cost and time savings, data quality, and a reduction of greenhouse gases.
The best solution is the one that maximizes value. Focusing on value instead of potential will change how you evaluate software and lead you to the best transportation routing solution.
For an example of what this looks like in a technology partner, check out the way flexis engages clients. Notice their "proof of value". Pretty much sums up this article.
Focus on the project instead of the product. Focus on value.
Click below to download our guide on Transportation Planning & Scheduling