When it comes to discerning between various software platforms that all seem to do the same thing, it can be tempting to base your purchasing decision on an easy differentiator like cost alone.
But for route optimization software in particular, the time and effort it takes to get properly set up with a certain platform means it’s important to get the right one.
If you’re struggling with your search for the right platform, here are a few of the must-have features to look out for:
- Easy setup and integration: You’re in the logistics business, not the software business, so keep an eye out for a software platform with a set up process your business can handle; if you don’t have software developers on hand to help, a complex setup involving code won’t do you much good. Adiona offers the choice of an end-to-end platform or connecting via API, catering for both ends of the spectrum.
- Data capabilities: We may be living in the age of Big Data, but it’s useless unless you’re able to make sense of it. The right platform will be able to not only manage your data through integration with your existing systems, but also augment it with its own sources, giving you a richer data set to work with. The ideal software will also be able to manage difficult and incorrect data; tools like Adiona's Diagnostics APIs, for example, help to improve the traditional Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) process by automatically detecting and sorting data from complex systems like ERPs and TMS.
- Real-time tracking and communication: Customers expect real-time tracking, and so should you. A few capabilities to look out for here include driver location monitoring and communication, estimated arrival times, and customer notifications. These features can help you spot and solve bottlenecks as they happen, so you can get things back on track as soon as possible.
- Reporting: The only way to improve is to learn from what’s already been done, so any software platform you choose needs to have analytics and reporting features, surfacing key insights to help you improve processes and make informed decisions quickly. On the other hand, if you’re a data nerd and love to sort through everything yourself, check whether the software allows for easy exporting of data.
- Simulation and forecasting: The past can tell us a lot about the future, so look for a platform with strong forecasting and simulating abilities. Adiona’s Fleet Simulator, for example, can run hundreds of scenarios with your organization’s real data to help you evaluate purchasing decisions or fleet changes before you roll them out.
- Visibility across the entire supply chain: Whether your business handles everything from production to delivery in house or you have dozens of suppliers making contributions, it’s important that you have visibility over every step in the process, so you can spot potential bottlenecks and delays before they occur. Look for software that allows you to integrate a variety of sources, like your inventory and warehouse management systems, so you can keep an eye on your operation from end to end.