Route optimization can increase visibility, reduce mileage, and save time.

Route optimization can increase visibility, reduce mileage, and save time. 

Photo: Work Truck

Rising fuel prices are an ongoing concern for fleet managers, and it’s not going away. Although fuel prices typically ebb and flow, high fuel costs for all types of fleet vehicles, including both work trucks and cargo vans, are a reality that fleet managers need to address.

Fuel prices can impact all parts of a business — increasing product prices, limiting supply, and more. Route optimization, the process of using technology to find the best route, is one solution to help mitigate high fuel prices.

What Is Route Optimization?

Route optimization may sound simple, but there are many factors that contribute to the route optimization of multiple work trucks.

Fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance, vehicle equipment, and inventory are just a few. Route tracking and optimization is a key way for fleets to optimize productivity.

As you can see from the chart below, fuel prices are continuing to rise. Route optimization is beneficial to work truck fleets in almost every vocation, from construction to catering — and everything in between.

Average Rising Fuel Prices














How Route Optimization Can Help Fleets of All Sizes

There are numerous benefits to route optimization, from faster delivery times to better customer service. Here are just a few results route optimization can deliver:

Increase Visibility

Fleet managers and staff can see where each driver is at any given time.

Reduce Mileage and Fuel Costs

By strategically setting routes, especially with multiple stops, drivers will be able to take the shortest route, saving both fuel and mileage.

Save Time 

Route optimization saves fleet managers the headache of mapping out routes. Without needing to take the time to schedule routes, fleet managers can focus on the day-to-day of the business and on growing the bottom line.

For example, a work truck fleet would be able to visit several job sites or locations in an efficient loop.

Decrease Inefficiencies

Especially for fleets that are spread out over a wide geographic area, it can be hard to map out long trucking routes.

Some streets and highways have size or weight restrictions, which may be overlooked in a manually planned route. A route optimization software can track and optimize routes in real-time, including safely and efficiently detouring around any localized truck limitations.

Increase Daily Productivity 

Routes can change last minute and can be difficult to adjust or dispatch manually. With route optimization software, adjustments can be made automatically, and operations don’t have to be put on pause.

Route Optimization and Electric Vehicles 

Alternatively fueled vehicles, such as electric vehicles (EVs), are becoming increasingly popular.

According to S&P Global, electric truck global sales increased 41% in 2020. And electric truck benefits compared to a diesel-fueled truck include lower emissions, noise, and required maintenance.

They also added benefits of charging during traffic with regenerative braking.

The push to go green is happening worldwide, and EVs will soon be commonplace. The good news is that top truck manufacturers such Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC already have a variety of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty electric trucks on the market.

How to Implement Route Optimization Into Your Fleet Strategy

A fleet management company will be able to recommend and implement the best route optimization strategy for your work truck fleet.

This may include situations like route optimization software or telematics. Fleet telematics uses data collected from GPS or connected vehicles to give fleet managers visibility and enable them to make effective, analytics-driven decisions.

Both telematics and route optimization software help dispatchers mitigate the headache of manual route planning. Route optimization is a tool for fleet managers to organize routes, reduce last-minute changes, and make informed decisions.

About the Author: Marcus Luce serves as the vice president at Merchants Auto. He also leads the commercial sales team selling commercial vehicles nationwide at Merchants Fleet Management located in Hooksett, N.H. This article was authored and edited according to WT editorial standards and style. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of WT.