How much are unplanned detours really costing your business?

Posted: 13 June, 2023 | By Trimble MAPS

The truth is the cost of unplanned stops and out-of-route events could be costing your business more than you think.

Out-of-Route events refer to instances where a driver deviates from the planned route or makes unplanned stops during a trip. On the surface, unplanned detours may seem like a minor inconvenience, adding just a few extra miles to the journey. But don't be fooled - these seemingly insignificant deviations can quickly escalate into a significant increase in mileage, leading to soaring fuel consumption. 

According to the Road Haulage Association, fuel is already the largest expense of a truck’s operating costs, making up approximately a third of the total costs. Therefore, it becomes evident that even small detours can have a big impact on the bottom line. Particularly in a world where fuel prices are substantially higher, the financial implications of these delays are further amplified.

Another factor is that out-of-route deviations can have an impact on delivery schedules. As you can imagine, the longer it takes for a driver to deliver a package, the higher the chances of missing the designated time window. This ultimately leads to a domino effect of additional adverse effects such as increased labour costs and penalties which can impact business reputation.

For example, drivers would need to spend more time on the road, possibly requiring overtime work to fulfil delivery responsibilities, thereby potentially increasing labour costs; or when it comes to time-sensitive shipments, where even a small delay may result in customer dissatisfaction. Ultimately, this may damage your business’s reputation, result in a loss of future business, and could incur financial penalties if contractual obligations are breached.

Truck Driver - man using mobilecom device

The Way Forward 

So, how can you minimize unplanned stops and effectively monitor out-of-route events? This is where efficient route planning and tracking play a crucial role in managing a successful fleet.

One effective approach is to leverage accurate route planning technologies. These advanced tools generate optimized routes by considering crucial factors like distance, traffic conditions, vehicle specifications, and delivery requirements. 

By incorporating real-time and historical road condition data, drivers are given precise routes from the start. This significantly reduces the probability of drivers deviating from the planned path, ensuring optimal route compliance and minimizing the chances of unnecessary detours or deviations.


However, as much as you plan and schedule, unexpected things can happen on the roads. 

To further mitigate this, investing in systems that offer fleet managers real-time visibility into the location and status of each vehicle in the fleet is extremely useful. This visibility can provide valuable insights into the movements of the fleet, allowing fleet managers to proactively address any potential deviations or unplanned stops.

One of the key benefits of real-time tracking and monitoring systems is the ability to generate alerts based on predefined thresholds set by the business. These alerts can be sent in various forms, such as visual and auditory alerts for the driver or notifications delivered to the fleet manager's back-office system. These timely notifications ensure that both drivers and fleet managers are aware of any out-of-route events and can take immediate action to rectify the situation. By leveraging the power of accurate route planning and real-time tracking, fleet managers can promptly react and make informed decisions.

For example, in case of a deviation from the planned route, fleet managers can guide drivers back onto the scheduled path, minimizing unnecessary resource utilization and improving overall operational efficiency.

Moreover, the information can also be shared with the end recipients, allowing them to manage their expectations regarding the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of their packages. This proactive and transparent communication helps improve customer satisfaction by keeping them informed about any potential delays or changes in the delivery schedule.

Overall, the combination of accurate route planning and real-time tracking can minimize the potential for unexpected costs to your business. 


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Tags: routing fleet management route optimisation

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