Descartes [NASDAQ:DSGX]: "Always On" for Peak Fleet Performance

Edward Ryan, CEO, DescartesEdward Ryan, CEO What if logistics companies could provide customers an ideal delivery option and at the same time plan the most optimized route for its delivery to reap maximum profit? One of the popular myths among logistics companies holds that offering customers unique delivery choices can be an expensive as well as a complex undertaking for businesses. Nonetheless, considering how “customer satisfaction” has become entrenched in today’s supply chain lexicon, upping the delivery game is considered one of the most crucial tasks for logistics and fleet-based companies. Consumers now expect tighter delivery windows, varied delivery options, quick installation services, end-to-end visibility of the delivery, and the ability to provide feedback in real time. These high expectations of an increasingly customer-centric world are often difficult to execute with traditional route management solutions.

Descartes shares with SAP the vision that connecting and collaborating in the supply chain enables more efficient and reliable transportation operations

This is where Descartes Systems Group [NASDAQ:DSGX] makes an impact with their pioneering real-time route optimization technology. Descartes’ routing modus operandi involves a continuous incremental optimization model as opposed to legacy batch models. With real-time routing, delivery services take a completely different approach: it engages customers right from the ordering process by providing multiple delivery time choices while also taking into consideration the products that are being shipped. By enabling continuous optimization, Descartes not only helps firms update the routes—as orders flow in—in real time, at the point of sale, but also ensures that the delivery slots are reliable and provide maximum efficiency.

The core objective of Descartes’ routing solution lies in unifying critical fleet management processes so that it can unleash greater potential for fleet operations. Descartes’ Routing, Mobile and Telematics suite supports the full, closed-loop process associated with route planning, route execution, and driver and vehicle performance. With the help of a single-integrated platform, Descartes delivers a true command of operations for optimized route planning, route execution, vehicle telematics, and performance analytics.

Under the strong leadership of Edward Ryan, CEO of Descartes Systems Group and a veteran in the routing and scheduling landscape, Descartes has shown a triumphal track record of helping logistics companies improve the productivity and performance of their businesses through Descartes cloud-based routing solutions.

Descartes’ Routing, Mobile and Telematics suite supports the full, closed-loop process associated with route planning, route execution, and driver and vehicle performance

The “Always On” Strategy

Today’s consumer market is real-time and “always-on”: customers log in to online shopping portals at 8:00 pm and look for next-day delivery or doorstep services online at any time. It can be online or traditional retailers as well as industrial and global B2B companies that incessantly receive requests to serve customers in very short timeframes. To manage and serve customers’ needs round-the-clock, Descartes’ routing and scheduling solutions adopt an “always-on” business model. By leveraging technology that enables continuous route optimization, Descartes’ routing solution enables companies to fulfill consumer requests like next-day, same-day, or scheduled delivery appointments, all while improving the overall service and maintaining efficiency in labor and fuel costs.

Advanced Route Optimization

Descartes Route Planner is geared toward integrating the routing solution with their client’s business workflow, thus allowing organizations a time-window to make any last minute modifications to routes. The route optimization software helps improve operational efficiency through better route scheduling. Whenever a new order is received, the vehicle’s route plan gets re-scheduled in real time to modify mobile fleet resources, optimize operating efficiencies, deliver priority services to the most profitable accounts and routes, and maintain overall customer service objectives. This approach helps companies reduce operating costs and also minimize total route distances along with average miles between stops.

Ryan says, “Great route plans can only go so far.” While data-driven route planning is quintessential for effective fleet operations, what drives greater value for a firm is the flexibility to adjust and respond to the day-to-day activities in real time once fleet hits the road.

Besides, route planning solutions should also have the ability to record all the data and generate insights on “planned vs. achieved” to help companies continuously work toward achieving optimum productivity, meet customer expectations, and support continuous improvement. Attending to these needs, Descartes route execution solution provides GPS-based, fleet-wide visibility with real-time status updates. By dynamically linking maps with schedules and asset views, fleet-based companies get uninterrupted information on key performance indicators such as capacity usage, time to service each stop, customer time window violations, available alternate resources, and route profitability.

A Trail of Success

One of the biggest drivers behind the success of Descartes’ routing solutions is its holistic problem-solving capacity. Descartes’ routing solutions proved valuable for US Foods—a leading foodservice distributor in the U.S. with a huge product lineup—that sought to grow its services across the country while ensuring customer satisfaction. With more than 5,000 drivers operating out of 60 distribution centers across the country and a rapidly expanding footprint, US Foods’ paper-based order management processes were becoming complex, costly, time-consuming, and error-prone, hindering growth and compromising customer service. In addition, overages, shortages, and damages were negatively impacting the bottom line and the quality of its delivery service. When the need for streamlining routing operations became clear, US Foods replaced its inefficient order management system with Descartes Route Planner. Using the Descartes solution, US Foods could limit overages, shortages, and damages with integrated barcode scanning to identify and track the location of products and assets at all times. At the same time, with electronic proof of delivery and real-time visibility of delivery status and chain of custody documentation, US Foods also minimized customer disputes and write-offs to deliver an enhanced level of customer service.

On the Trajectory of Growth

Descartes’ ability to provide lucrative routing solutions has helped them become a global leader in logistics technology. Following this trajectory of growth, the company also integrated their transportation freight messaging and customs declaration filing with SAP Transportation Management last December. The integration now helps customers using SAP to streamline their international shipment of goods, better collaborate with their transportation partners, and seamlessly comply with import and export filing requirements. “Descartes shares with SAP the vision that connecting and collaborating in the supply chain enables more efficient and reliable transportation operations,” mentions Ryan. With several other promising projects underway, Descartes is poised to take the logistics technology by storm.