Covenant’s commitment to providing total transportation and logistics for clients goes beyond supplying trucks and other assets and managing warehouses. For Covenant, it also means intelligently engineering client’s supply chains with dynamic routing solutions that contribute towards reduced operational costs, saved time, increased safety and improved overall compliance.
To understand dynamic (or adaptive) routing, it’s important to know the difference between it and static routing. Static routing uses planned, fixed routes to send trucks to and from their destinations, with little deviation. Dynamic routing, on the other hand, uses algorithms to determine the best path(s) based on available data and ever-changing variables.
Covenant’s engineering team regularly develops dynamic routes for customers using data sets compiled of the types of cargoes being shipped, the weights and sizes, the points of origins and destinations, and more. Factoring in customer requirements, roadway congestion and weather, the company’s transportation engineers then formulate cost-effective, efficient trucking routes for any given shipper. Highly agile,these routes intelligently re-calculate to account for sudden changes, such as surplus loads, or incidents, such as a flat tire, on the fly. Built into Covenant’s models is also the ability to flex up or down driver and asset availability during surges and seasonal fluctuations.
“I began my career on the operational side of transportation, so I understand first-hand how change is the only constant in trucking. Every plan that we develop must work once implemented,” said Covenant’s Rob Nesbitt, director, transportation engineering. “It would be extremely difficult to manually develop dynamic routing plans like ours. The programming that goes into customizing dynamic routing is highly sophisticated and one that continually proves valuable.”
The dynamic routes that Nesbitt’s team produces offer dashboards that clearly show a client’s full transportation plan, with the ability to drill into trade lane, cargo type, driver and important KPIs. It’s easy to see which trucks are delivering cargo on any given day, down to the minute, across locations. This improves customer service by ensuring that deliveries are made on time and by providing customers with more accurate delivery estimates. From the dashboards, clients can also view snapshots of the plan's operational savings, on-time delivery stats and fuel usage.
“We always build our dynamic routes conservatively,” Nesbitt explained. “We never route to fail. Oftentimes, clients end up performing better than we initially project because we programmed the algorithm to include a buffer for unexpected variables. If we force a planusing aggressive criteria, then operations may fail. That’s not good for us or the customer. It’s important for us to be conservative and realistic, while still showing what is possible.”
In addition to facilitating improved efficiency and reduced transportation costs, dynamic routing can also contribute towards improved safety and compliance. Covenant’s propriety algorithm prioritizes routes where trucks are less likely to be involved in accidents and ensures that trucks only travel in areas where they are permitted to do so by weight and size. These factors further reduce transportation costs by potentially lowering the number of incidents on the roads, as well as the fines and penalties a driver may incur.
“No two dynamic routing plans look the same for any of our customers,” said Nesbitt. “Once put into action, we continuously monitor performance and make adjustments to improve the KPIs as we go. The job is never done, but it’s rewarding to see our engineered solutions make a difference for Covenant’s customers.”
For highly customized transportation and logistics services within the U.S., look no further than Covenant. Contact us today.