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:
- Computer programming
- Visual design
- System administration
- Database management
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?
Learn more about GIS mapping and spatial analysis for supply chain management now.
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.
Have you ever lost an important file in a sea of email chains between your colleagues? Email is a great way to communicate with your team, but it’s very easy to miss the latest version of an attached spreadsheet that has the most up to date data and information.
At Mapline, we’ve worked to eliminate the need for confusing, back-and-forth email chains with our web-based mapping tool. How, do you ask? We’ll tell you!
Start by pasting your spreadsheet data into Mapline to visualize the information. Once the map is created, you can then enter the email addresses of each individual you’d like to share the map with. Your team members and colleagues will be able to view the map and check out any updates or changes whenever they need to.
Much easier than emailing out three, four, even five versions of the same spreadsheet, right? Here’s some real case scenarios where this comes in handy:
Identify New Retail Site Locations
Your retail business is growing quickly and you’re ready to expand to a new location. Now it’s up to you to decide what location will give your business the most bang for its buck. With Mapline, you can map out where your competitors are located and what geographic locations your specific business would flourish in based on your consumer data. You and your team can then work together off the web-based map to determine the best expansion location.
Determine Distributor Routes
When dealing with large quantities of data, it’s extremely beneficial to be able to view that information in an easily digestible format. And when communicating with manufacturers and distributors across the supply chain, it’s even better when that information can be shared and updated effortlessly. After uploading your list of distribution centers and drivers to Mapline to create, you can determine the most optimal distribution routes and share the map with your peers across the supply chain.
Customize Real Estate Maps
Mapline is great for mapping out available homes and real estate. Once you have real estate data like square footage and listing price ready to go, create a map for agents and clients who would be interested in the properties. You can also customize your real estate mapping with photos or color-coded pins, or create a personalized map for a client with their top home choices.
Learn more about our web-based mapping tool’s sharing feature that lets you share maps in real time with your colleagues and clients.
Not every mapping software is made equal. In fact, the right software for you all depends on your goals and the end-result you’re looking for. For example, if you need a solution with mapping software features focused on helping your sales team track new leads and close more deals, Badger Mapping offers those capabilities.
But what if you want something that not only helps your sales team, but also tracks overall business performance and growth opportunities? This is where Mapline comes in!
Here we take a deeper dive into Badger Mapping and Mapline to learn more about these solutions’ mapping software features.
- Badger Mapping: This is Badger Mapping’s bread and butter, really. Their application allows you to visualize, colorize, and filter your customers on a map to look for the best opportunities. The search function also lets you search for new lead opportunities in your sales territories. To help make the sales process more efficient, Badger Mapping offers features like route optimization, CRM integration, and a built-in mileage counter to help track gas and miles while in the field.
- Mapline: Mapline provides similar sales support and then some. You can create clearly defined sales territories that allow you and your team to identify trends and analyze geographic performance quickly and easily. You can do this in two ways:
- If you don’t have too many territories to analyze, you can use Mapline’s drawing tab to draw out the territories yourself on the map.
- But if you’re dealing with more complicated territories that include groupings of zip code, county, or state boundaries, you can leverage our territory overlays
Business Growth Opportunities
- Badger Mapping: As a field sales tool, Badger Mapping’s lead generation feature locates new leads and helps you more efficiently schedule meetings with customers and prospects.
- Mapline: Mapline gives you the full, 360 view when you’re looking for the right place to grow your business. You simply paste your spreadsheet of competitor data into Mapline and voila! You have a clear map view of where your competitors are located, and you can identify potential locations far enough away from your competitors with the best opportunity for success.
Mapline’s capabilities extend even further to easily assist you in improving your operations and marketing initiatives:
- If you need to find backup supply options to streamline your operations, just paste in your locations and suppliers and run a distance calculation within the map. The result is a downloadable distance grid spreadsheet that tells you what your closest supply options are.
- To visualize company performance, leverage our territory heat map to visualize the business performance of your customers or locations within your sales territories.
- Customer segmentation gives you greater insight into your customers to enhance your marketing efforts. Just map your Excel data and use our Sublayer tool to visualize your information for greater insights into your customer behaviors and needs.
While Badger Mapping helps sales map out leads to close more deals, Mapline provides sales support and makes it extremely easy to track performance and efficiently drive greater strategic business decisions with
Learn more about our mapping software features.