What Is Route Optimisation And How Can It Work For Your Business?

Curious about route optimisation and how it can help you with your business? Find out more on our blog. Read more: What Is Route Optimisation And How Can It Work For Your Business?

What Is Route Optimisation And How Can It Work For Your Business?

‘Route optimisation’ is the use of software to determine which way is the most cost-effective and efficient to get from one visit to the next. While it might seem easiest to simply drive from job to job in the order you received them; there’s almost always a better way.

With route optimisation, you can cut down on mileage, raise your level of efficiency, and make room for more work (and more profit) each day. Whether you have one vehicle or multiple crews, route optimisation can make a big difference for your business.

While you can do route planning by hand, and some companies do so through a map and other physical tools, it’s inefficient. This is especially true if you’ve got more than one vehicle or if you’ve got new customers in an area with which you’re less familiar.

In fact, with each additional vehicle, things don’t just get a little bit more complicated. They get exponentially more complicated. That’s why, instead of spending hours on a logic puzzle, you’re better off using a software solution that can do the route optimisation calculations for you.

With the right software solution, you can get a more cost-efficient route in a matter of moments. It’s also worth remembering that you can usually get route optimisation as part of a suite of offerings.

For example, if you’re a plumber, you should be able to find plumbing software that can help you manage other aspects of your business along with doing route optimisation calculations for you.

What makes route optimisation challenging?

As mentioned above, the math involved in this task is complicated, and it gets more complicated with each additional vehicle. In fact, the so-called ‘travelling salesman problem’ (TSP), with which it shares a lot of features, might be unsolvable. That hasn’t stopped computer scientists from trying. (1)

The TSP asks how to find the most efficient route through a series of cities for a travelling salesman. It has implications for everything from DNA sequencing to how ridesharing works and, of course, route optimisation. People have spent literal decades working on the problem, and it’s something that computer scientists turn to test how well new approaches work. (1)

If all this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. What route optimisation software promises are nothing less than bringing this cutting-edge tech to small businesses—organisations that certainly can’t afford to keep computer scientists toiling away in a basement somewhere.

What are the benefits?

The benefits are clear: you get more out of each trip, which saves your business money and allows you to make more in turn. A good piece of route optimisation software will do more than just plan routes, however.

For example, what if something changes during the day after the route has been planned? Maybe a stop needs to be added, or one needs to be taken off. Maybe a driver needs to call in sick for the afternoon, or maybe traffic develops, and the previous route ends up being terribly inefficient. If you’re managing sales or the fleet operations of your business, the right software will let you make adjustments as needed on the fly.

To use the plumbing example from earlier—in 2019, there were more than 37,000 plumbing firms in the UK. That speaks to a lot of emergency calls and a lot of emergencies means plenty of changes need to be made to routes as a plumber’s day progresses. (2)

Another benefit is happier customers, even if they don’t know they have route optimisation to thank. If the drive to get from client to client is more efficient, you won’t be keeping clients waiting as long as you would be otherwise. It’s good business to fit more calls into a day, but it also keeps your customers happier since they’ll spend less time waiting for a much-needed service (especially if it’s an emergency repair of some kind).

Final thoughts

Route optimisation is a very complicated thing to calculate but an easy call for most businesses: if being more efficient would help you, it’s likely you could get some positive results from trying route optimisation. Plus, it can help smaller companies compete with bigger firms that have had access to this sort of technology for longer.

You don’t need a department of researchers toiling away for forty years or even an IT department running your servers. Find yourself the right software solution, and give it a try. Whether you’re repairing HVAC systems, plumbing, or you’re an actual traveling salesperson; your business can become more efficient with route optimisation.

References:

  1. ‘Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record’, Source: https://www.quantamagazine.org/computer-scientists-break-traveling-salesperson-record-20201008/
  2. ‘Number of companies active in plumbing and heat and air conditioning installation (HVAC) in England, Scotland and Wales from 1998 to 2019’, Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1228145/plumbing-and-hvac-company-number-in-great-britain/

 

 

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What Is Route Optimisation And How Can It Work For Your Business?

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HMRC to go easy on small business strangled with Covid debt

Originally written by Timothy Adler on Small Business HMRC will not press small businesses struggling with Covid debt for immediate payment of overdue taxes, Kwasi Kwarteng tells industry associations HMRC to go easy on small business strangled with Covid debt

HMRC to go easy on small business strangled with Covid debt

Originally written by Timothy Adler on Small Business

Small businesses struggling with Covid debt will not be forced to pay overdue tax to HMRC immediately, says business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

HMRC had manoeuvred itself to be first in line to be payed-out should a small business go bust post-Covid. Being pressured into payment by tax collectors can be an extremely unpleasant experience for owner-directors of small businesses.

But Mr Kwarteng has told the Institute of Directors and business group R3, which represents insolvency and restructuring practitioners, that HMRC will go easy on small businesses unable to pay tax because of Covid-19 debt.

>See also:

The government wants to avoid a tsunami of insolvencies this summer.

The news will come as a relief to small business owners, who already have enough to worry about with a stop-start reopening post-lockdown just as Covid-19 financial support such as Bounce Back Loans start having to be repaid.

Insolvency practitioners have warned that many small businesses will struggle to stay afloat from July when emergency Covid-19 financial support measures begin to be wound down.

In a letter, obtained by the Financial Times, Mr Kwarteng wrote that HMRC would be updating its approach to enforcement soon, to bring outstanding debts companies were struggling to pay into managed arrangements.

>See also:

The business secretary added he recognised the “path back to full trading will be difficult for many companies, particularly those with accrued debt and low cash reserves”, adding that using insolvency to enforce payment “will remain a last resort”, according to the FT.

Roger Barker, director of policy at the IoD, told the newspaper that if the approach was implemented in the way suggested, “it would represent a significant shift in the way that HMRC deals with insolvency — a much less punitive approach than companies have experienced in the past”.

Mr Kwarteng did, however, say a return to the normal insolvency processes “with the right controls, coupled with a cross-government approach to its continued support and enforcement, will be vital to a return to a healthy and functioning economy”.

This week marked the deadline to join a VAT deferral payment scheme, which allows businesses to pay the tax in up to eight monthly instalments.

HMRC told the Daily Telegraph: “HMRC only pursues insolvency action as a last resort after considering all alternative routes to recovery of a debt, and of all insolvency proceedings that go ahead, only around 10pc of them are petitioned by HMRC.

“Protecting livelihoods remains our priority, as it has been throughout the pandemic. We will always work constructively with customers to avoid the need for insolvency and will only take action if a customer does not respond or engage with us.”

Further reading

 

HMRC to go easy on small business strangled with Covid debt

Source : UK Small Businesses More   

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