Daily news platform YourNews brings local news online to audiences across the United States. By partnering with network affiliates and advertisers, the company serves a nationwide audience by Zip Code. The website—an aggregate of city, county, state, regional and international news stories—aims to provide accessible local news to as many readers as possible amid declining print newspaper readership.
To achieve his goal, Sam Anthony, CEO and president of YourNews, needed to find affiliates to help serve news, as well as advertisers to promote it. When a colleague recommended he try a geographic network map, Anthony questioned the idea. Did he need to plot points on a map? How would creating a network map pay off for his business in the end?
Planning routes by hand has never been an easy task. Whether your priority is managing a successful sales team or scheduling a large fleet, manual planning can lead to route inaccuracies. And inaccuracies mean unhappy customers, decreased lead generation, and costly delivery blunders.
The solution? Powerful automated route planning not only creates efficient routes in just minutes but also helps identify your best opportunities for growth. Check out three ways route planning software leads to business success.
Route Planning Leads to Increased Sales
Your sales reps’ wish list likely includes faster routes and shorter drive times. With route planning, simply draw a custom shape around a sales territory. Then, the mapping application creates a personalized route with pins, based on start and end points. Route planning software allows sales reps to visualize their daily schedule on a map, decrease drive time, and ultimately add more appointments to their calendar. And when your reps have more time to spend in their territory, they sell faster and smarter.
In today’s global society, one product may travel by rail, ship, plane and truck to reach its destination. While globalization creates a more connected world, it also introduces complexities to supply chains. Supply chain managers must orchestrate multiple facilities, and they are responsible for countless interactions and dependencies. As a result, many rely on third party logistics companies for warehousing, monitoring, tracking, and tracing.
Most 3PL providers use GPS and GIS systems for a real-time look into monitoring and managing supply chain deliveries. So, how does this impact operations for decision-makers? Here are a few ways 3PL companies leverage geographic insights through GIS logistics.
GIS: A Modern Tool for Modern Problems
For most supply chains and 3PL providers, geographic data is a tool that underlies all strategic decisions. At its core, a GIS tool is designed to store geographic data for further analysis, reporting, graphing and insight. It supplies a convenient way to manage spatial information visually—and uncover patterns or trends within data. Third party logistics companies use advanced GIS systems to achieve several goals for their supply chain clients, including:
Assisting with fleet management
Improving transportation communication
Tracking vehicle locations
Monitoring vehicle performance (e.g. condition of tires, fuel level)
Checking routes for driver safety
Monitoring inventory levels and shipping times
Optimizing on-hand supply levels
Companies that choose to ignore location-based data, or don’t use a 3PL who employs real-time GIS logistics, are risking big consequences. Inventory may go to waste, arrive late or not at all. Weather may cause delays, and without essential monitoring and tracking in place, supervisors can’t swiftly advise drivers on alternate routes. Without GIS logistics driving location-based analyses and decisions, 3PLs struggle to plan schedules and forecast costs.
Skillsets for Successful GIS Execution
It’s true—the right GIS technology helps 3PL professionals analyze the impact of location, weather and natural disasters near distribution hubs, departure and arrival times, and much more. However, efficient use of a geospatial data system requires in-depth knowledge in a variety of areas. To ensure your 3PL business is making the most of your current system or is well-equipped to adopt a new GIS mapping software, it’s important to assess employee readiness.
Third party logistics employees can be trained in key fields to make the best use of a GIS system, such as:
By using a GIS system to its full potential, decision-makers can manage large datasets and achieve a holistic view that can improve activity and production across nearly every point in the supply chain. Are you interested in GIS mapping for your business?
Businesses worldwide recognize the usefulness of geography. Geography has applications in many professions, such as business, marketing, criminal justice, public administration and social work. Increasingly, companies want employees with experience in GIS technology. Job candidates can stand out by learning GIS concepts and obtaining valuable geographic skills in college alongside core classes like math and English.
However, sometimes students and faculty members in business school, for example, feel too removed from geography and may misunderstand the value science can have when applied to business concepts. Professors who welcome spatial science into their curricula acknowledge the powerful way geography supports decision-making in the business world—and they impart critical, experiential opportunities on their students.
What Is GIS Used for in College?
With GIS, students learn to be strategic and connect spatial strategies to business principles. Creating maps that show audience demographics, practicing research and analysis, and delving into business information and spatial logistics—these are all essential GIS elements that, when applied in the higher education classroom and carried into a career, help students become strong decision-makers, analyzers, entrepreneurs and leaders.
What is a heat map and how can it help you dive deeper into your business analytics? A heat map is a color-coded representation of your data. Different color gradients represent various values and ultimately give you a clear snapshot of otherwise complex information.
With Mapline, learning how to create a heat map from Excel spreadsheet data is easy. You can find out where customers, sales and marketing opportunities, or distribution centers are concentrated on a map. Follow these 8 simple steps to learn how to create a radial map:
Select whether you would like the heat map to be based on location density or the sum or average of your data.
Click on the “Styling” tab to set the opacity and blur. You can also remove the legend and fade the edges of the heat map.
Tips for Choosing a Geographic Heat Map Type
Not sure what type of heat map is best for you? Find out how to create a heat map that’s easy to read and represents your data clearly. Here are two ways you can determine your heat map selection.
1. Areas Around the Pins
Do you need to visualize pockets with high densities of customers? For example, a national textbook retail store may want to analyze neighborhoods within a 20-mile radius from local community colleges and universities. The “areas around pins” option is not only an efficient way to represent this data visually but also provides a big-picture view with a detailed look into large customer accounts or areas where many customers are located.
2. Overlapping Radius Areas
Are you a business that performs disaster recovery? Or, maybe you’re a planner scoping out your next office location or distribution center site. With the “overlapping radius areas” feature in Mapline, you can use heat mapping to visualize high-risk areas, report on performance by geographic areas, and choose optimal sites for anything from seminars and conferences to retail stores and more.
Start Building Radial Heat Maps With Mapline
Make data analysis simple by using a color gradient to contrast densely populated areas with less populated areas. Whether your dataset is customers, retail sites, location opportunities, competitors, or something else—you can create a clear picture. Ready to get started? Explore our plans and pricing. Or, contact us to learn more about how to create a geographic heat map and move your business insights forward.