The Benefits of Route Optimization
Rick Agajanian, Chief Product Officer, WorkWave
Q: What makes route optimization different from route planning? What are the benefits for users?
A: Route planning, like the name suggests, covers planning out routes resulting in a given set of stops. Route optimization, on the other hand, ensures that you’re able to get to all your stops as efficiently as possible. Building density in areas becomes more difficult when routes are not optimized.
Route optimization enables predictable routing that pest control businesses can count on and plan around. Strong, tight and efficient routes allow users to not only get more done, but to better satisfy customers by sticking to ETAs and providing updates when technicians are on their way.
The result is less time spent on the road, less money spent on fuel and customers more prepared for each visit. PestPac RouteOp users, for example, are able to service 20% more customers per technician and spend 30% less on fuel, all thanks to more efficient routing.
Q: What difficulties arise when trying to optimize routes, and what factors should users look for in a route optimization tool to overcome them?
A: It’s easy to think of route optimization as being wholly dependent on geography—simply schedule technicians to cover all of the jobs in a limited area for maximum coverage—but the reality is that there are a plethora of other factors to consider, and a quality route optimization tool needs to be able to accommodate them.
When a service visit calls for specific considerations, your route optimization software needs to be able to accommodate them. Think about factors like technician schedules, start and end locations, necessary certifications, whether or not a vehicle has particular materials or equipment on board and customer time constraints.
Similar to accommodating specific constraints, users should seek out a routing solution that enables them to pivot when the need arises. Whether that’s adjusting to unexpected circumstances—like a technician calling out, foul weather, a truck breaking down at the last minute or needing to work in emergency services for customers—unexpected changes shouldn’t derail your routing. Being able to reroute as needed—and quickly—keeps your business running without skipping a beat and shows your customers that you’ll always work to ensure their satisfaction.
If your software isn’t ensuring all of those needs are met, you can’t hope to keep your customers satisfied.
Q: What’s next for route optimization? What tools are poised to make route optimization even better?
A: As route optimization continues to improve and become even more predictable, so too can communication with end customers. Today’s customers have very high expectations for the companies they work with, owing in large part to the advent of technology in everyday life. They expect to know when a technician will be arriving, whether it’s for routine pest prevention or to address an ongoing pest emergency, and predictable routing is the crux of providing accurate arrival estimates in communication.
Telematics stands to move route optimization forward, with GPS tracking allowing users to gain a wealth of new information. Rather than relying on projections and post-service information, GPS tracking allows users to see where technicians are in real-time compared to where they’re expected to be. While this is obviously beneficial in the moment, that data can also be gathered and analyzed to ensure route optimization is being carried out with the most accurate considerations available.