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Partner Focus: Route4Me – Using Vehicle and Asset Data for Smarter Routing and Greater Efficiency

Parker Woodward, who manages strategic partnerships for Route4Me, spoke at IntelliShift’s inaugural ConnectedOps virtual event. Discussing Route4Me’s integration with the IntelliShift platform, Parker shares how leveraging vehicle and asset data leads to smarter routing and greater efficiency.

Below is the transcript of this session. You can also watch the session and view all sessions from ConnectedOps 2020.

ConnectedOps 2020 Route4me partner session


Parker Woodward: Hello everyone and welcome, thank you for joining and taking the time out of your day to spend a little bit with me. My name is Parker Woodward. I just want to really say thank you for that little action of showing up, it shows a hunger for getting better, and I’m really excited to help support you in that endeavor today. I believe in iterative improvement, so if you can be just one percent better every day, over the long-term, that makes a huge difference, so thank you again for joining, taking the time to be a little bit better.

Let’s go ahead and jump in. I want to set the agenda with everyone today. I’m going to do a quick introduction, we’re going to do a Route4Me overview, how we integrate with IntelliShift and how you can get started.

So, real quick introduction. Who am I? Who’s talking here? Who’s this voice? My name is Parker Woodward, I’ve actually been with Route4Me for the past six, almost seven years now. I’ve helped hundreds of clients to bring on Route4Me, I’ve worked with IntelliShift, really helping people to kind of see the unseen, to make the complex simple. I love what I do here because it really enables me to make a huge impact. Personally, I love to go hiking, I’m a big outdoorsman, so if I can reduce carbon footprints in the world, I’m very excited about that. I’m also excited if I can put money back in everyone’s pocket, that’s very exciting to me. So, a little bit about who I am.

Let’s jump into it, let’s talk about Route4Me and IntelliShift. I’m very excited today, so thank you again for coming along for the ride. So, you’re probably wondering, who is Route4Me? Who do we actually serve? Who are some of our customers? Who are some of our users? We’ve got quite a few, from AutoZone, Canada Post, Sentis, FedEx. It’s not just large companies we serve, we also serve many thousands of smaller companies. They need help, too, and sometimes, small businesses are more complex to manage that optimization, that routing.

By the nature of the work we do, we have clients that are very small, but very complex, and then we have large organizations with very simple routing. So, there’s kind of a wide spectrum when it comes to not just the clients we serve, but also the type of work we help them with. Personally, I’m really proud, around the holiday season, Christmas time, the Canada Post, the USPS, kind of helping manage those routes to be more efficient to get Christmas presents to all the boys and girls across. I don’t dress up and sit here as Santa, but I’m maybe one of the elves, and I’m proud of it, so it’s very exciting what we do in terms of helping others, really across the globe.

So, let’s talk a little bit about what we do. Now, the problem we often find is just instructing and kind of guiding different people who work for you, who work with you, on just how to get to different places, how to get to customers, how to get to a certain location – that’s difficult. It comes down to communication, and even though we all learn from a very young age to start walking and to start talking, the process and act of communicating well is something that is challenging, and it is complicated, and sometimes it’s expensive if we don’t communicate well.

So, how do we solve certain problems, like how do we deliver tens of thousands of local turkeys in time for Thanksgiving? That problem is something I’m really proud of as well, in terms of helping organizations, sometimes just feeding the needy. How do we distribute hundreds of thousands of Mother’s Day bouquets? Of Valentine’s Day bouquets? How do those flowers make it from phone call to actually the front porch? And, how do they make sure that they’re there in time with a consumable good? And then, there’s all kinds of other issues and problems that can happen in a business, and so what sequence, how do we actually get people in the right sequence, doing the right thing?

I like to kind of say, “Hey, let’s get people on the bus, in the right seats, and get the right people in the right seats, and let’s get going.” We do that with over two million app downloads that we’ve had. We’re consistently in the top routing application across many marketplaces, Apple, Android. We process a lot of data – a lot of data, it’s mind boggling to me, over 200 million addresses plus visited and growing. Again, we serve small to large, public to private companies. So, from the perspective of the work that we do, when it comes to routing, we see it as our job to make the complex simple. I’ve probably said that, I’ll say it again: we want to make the complex simple. And, some routing requirements are simple. In a way, it’s sort of like asking yourself, “What grade level of routing do I need?” Some businesses, they just need first grade routing. And, there’s nothing wrong with that; one plus one equals two.

Other businesses might need tenth grade routing, high school routing; it’s a bit more complex than the one plus one equals two, right? It’s maybe a little calculus, Pythagorean theorem, if anyone can remember what that is, bonus points at the end. Many other businesses have found that they’re even more advanced than that, maybe they need some PhD, college, Master’s level, really complex stuff. So, it’s our job to make the complex simple, so we’ve broken down routing to a really simple science. You either need level one, level two, or level three routing. Level one is pretty straightforward, you can kind of handle this on your own potentially, maybe you’ve just got a few stops, you can kind of sequence them yourself, you can drag and drop within our solution, maybe you’re using something like Google Maps or you’re doing it all today on pen and paper.

Level one Route4Me is like taking Google Maps and putting it on steroids; it’s going to make everything easier, everything better. Level two routing, again, a little bit more than one plus one equals two, for example, you might have 30 stops that you know go with a specific route, but putting those 30 stops in the right sequence is really time consuming, and it can be painful, especially if you’re using just free mapping software, or just old fashioned pen and paper, actual maps, you’re printing out routes, with level two Route4Me, you can create that route in less than 30 seconds and we’ll automatically put the stops in the right order. Now, level three is for those who have a little more complex requirements. For example, you might have time windows, you have to be at a certain customer at a certain time. You can’t go to them any other time. Maybe you have fleet constraints, maybe have vehicle constraints, weight constraints, pieces, cube constraints. With level three, you can simply upload your data, set your settings, and again, in less than 30 seconds, your route is optimized, it’s ready to go, and best of all, it respects your specific needs that are specific to your business. So, in addition, level three gives you the ability to take an unlimited number of stops.

For example, let’s take a thousand stops, and we need to figure out which routes go with which stops, how many routes we need, which drivers are involved. Well, the system can take a thousand stops and tell you the fewest number of vehicles needed to go and support that work. So, if normally you run with 50 vehicles to go visit those thousand stops, the system can come back and say, “Hey, you can actually do this with 45 trucks,” and now you can take those five trucks and service more customers. We’ll talk about some of the benefits.

Again, talking about sometimes small businesses have more complex needs, and large businesses have simple needs; it could go the other way. I want to tell you about a customer that we worked with that had 180 vehicles. They were in the food distribution business. If you’ve ever been to a little hotel motel, they actually provide a lot of little foods to hotels and motels, that free breakfast buffet. So, they had 180 vehicles that they were running with, and their sales team was getting really frustrated. Now, the reason they were getting frustrated is that they would bring on a new customer, and the customer would call the salesperson and say, “Hey, you know, what happened? You’re a new vendor and we didn’t get our delivery, something happened. What’s going on?” and the salesperson is now doing customer support when they want to be doing sales and they want to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. So, they found out, and they went straight up, all the way to the CFO of the company, and said, “Hey, you know what, we need more trucks, we need more vehicles, we need to be able to service our customers.”

Well, when you ask any financial person, they’re going to look at income, they’re going to say, “Okay, well, this is really expensive.” For example, to put one truck on the road, that truck can cost $250,000, it costs $60,000 to $100,000 total compensation to put someone in the truck, so there are significant costs to adding just one vehicle to the road. So, they said, “What can we do about this? Can we actually be more efficient?” and they came to us with 180 vehicles. By the time we were finished in helping them with their process as well as implementing and executing and partnering with them, they said, “Hey, to service our existing clientele, we actually only need 130 vehicles.” That’s a 50 vehicle difference – that is wild inefficiency. Now, they can take those 50 vehicles and grow the business.

They’re not taking them off the road, they’re saying, “Hey, this actually enables us to drive growth for the business.” Everyone is going to be happier, even the drivers themselves, because they’re actually going to get the tools they need to succeed, and we’re all going to have transparency across the business. So, I just love that story, and it’s about outcomes for our customers, it’s about adding that value. How do we increase the velocity? How do we plan fast? Dispatch fast? Execute fast? And, today, customers just expect more. Today, customers are less loyal than ever. I hate to say that, but if a competitor offers a little better price, customers will leave you.

So, what if you could win customer loyalty and just turn them into raving fans just by building a better experience for them? They say to build moats around your business. One of the ways you can build a moat around your business is by just providing your customers a better experience. In so doing that, you can drive less, and that’s going to equal less accidents. Again, most cost savings. Talking about reducing overtime, taking back all that lost time and reinvesting it into expanding sales, expanding operations, all without increasing the headcount. So, how do you do this? It’s about seeing what’s happening in live, real-time, and also seeing historically what did happen. Increasing that visibility and transparency across the organization for everyone in the organization, and what does that mean? It means there’s no more excuses. There’s no more customers calling up, “Hey, I didn’t get my order,” or “The driver didn’t show up.” There’s no excuses from drivers, and it’s all about getting better in that vain.

So, how do we do this? How do we actually power real-time optimization? So, there’s three things here when we talk about actually behind-the-scenes powering the system. So, there’s a route optimization engine, there a routing engine, and there’s even algorithm engines; multiple things happening behind the scenes. So, the actual optimization just determines the most optimal sequence for all of your vehicles to travel in, and then the routing itself determines the driving directions: how do we understand driving time with or without traffic? The driving distance? All of the metrics that are really important to understand, what is the plan? And then, the algorithm engine that kind of happens in real-time, rapidly executing if any updates or changes, either to the pre-process or post-process optimizations. So, what that means is, if you make a change, you’re very quickly going to get near real-time data back to say, “Well, that one change impacted the time of that route by X amount of hours.” So, it’s very, very fast and very easy to use.

Now, I think what’s really critical to our customer success is the process in which Route4Me, with IntelliShift, partners with you. We’re not just another vendor; we’re not just saying, “Hey, go ahead, good luck, implement it on your own.” We want to get one percent better every day with you. How do we do that? It’s as simple as process, implementation, and execution. So, we want to take a very consultative approach to partner with you, to help develop, to help refine that process, to get one percent better and better. And then, how do we implement it? How do we make sure we onboard, train, and ensure adoption? If something goes wrong, do we have a plan to make it better? Are we on track? And then the actual execution, how do we get the reporting and the transparency across the organization to achieve our success metrics? And, it something that we’ve done with thousands of clients, and we love doing it: that’s the beauty.

Now, I want to talk a little bit about that and how we do it, and what it is that we do. I kind of view Route4Me as sort of like a toolbox filled with these really awesome kind of multi-tools for your business, and it just helps you get the job done faster and better, and instead of having to become a craftsman or to train someone in your organization to become a craftsman, to put in 10,000 hours to master one skill or just one tool, Route4Me is sort of the opposite: you only need seconds to master complex tasks like routing a thousand stops. Now, this may sound funny, and I’m kind of showing my nerdy side here. When I see people use Route4Me for the first time, I kind of see it like they are getting jacked into the Matrix for the first time. I don’t know if you remember that movie. Hopefully you’ve seen that movie, where the Matrix – essentially the whole world and everything we see was actually a computer program run by evil computer machines that were basically forcing human beings to live in slavery through a virtual reality computer program called “The Matrix.”

Hopefully I just scaled that movie down to one sentence, but people didn’t even know the situation they were in, but when you took someone out of the Matrix and showed them the truth, it’s really mind-blowing, and it’s also mind-blowing what the human brain is capable of achieving once free. So, in that movie, there’s the scene where Keanu Reeves plays Neo, and he hooks back into the Matrix for the first time and he downloads a program straight into his brain, and what does he say? He says, “I know Kung Fu,” and that’s how I see Route4Me: it’s the conduit that kind of gives your team the ability to download your desire straight into your brain, and once it’s there, it’s there, and anyone on the team can just say, “I know how to route. I know what to do,” and that is just a wonderful thing for anyone in any organization to say with clarity.

So, if I had a magic wand, and someone said to me, “Wave that magic wand and I’ll create a program that gives you and your team the instant ability to be faster, better, and more clear on what to do, and as a result, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing the job is done right the first time, and at the same time, you’ll gain a competitive advantage to crush your competition and be able to expand your operation with the current resources,” I’d said, “Yes, please. Thank you. I’ll take two.” I mean, this is what is so amazing about Route4Me plus IntelliShift to do all of this, to make it truly easy. The tools have to be easy to understand, easy to use, and fast to adopt. And again, we have to take complex situations and present them in a very easy, understandable way, and that goes for every user throughout an organization, from an admin position to a route planner to a dispatcher, and all the way to the drivers.

So, in doing that, we’re providing the tools and solutions really to help businesses and organizations to do more of what they do well, and just helping them simplify the logistics operations. Really, the greatest value that we can provide to an organization is time. That time can be put back into the business to increase revenue and gain a competitive advantage. Businesses can win back wasted time just by being more efficient in delivering their product or service to customers. I think most importantly though, this time allows a business to focus their energy and resources and budgets into making their product or service better and to serving and supporting more customers with less assets. Without time to really make your product or service better, it’s easy – very easy – for a business to lose focus, to really miss out on the opportunities that allow them to gain that competitive advantage, to increase revenue.
So, how do you do that? How do you take 30 seconds or less to plan and optimize your routes? Well, with Route4Me, it’s just a few clicks, and that brings you here. You can click one button on this particular screen to assign a driver and dispatch that route to the driver instantly.

Now, the driver experience is really easy to use. The route is available instantly to the driver via mobile app, and our goal is for you to be able to hand a device to a brand new driver and say, “Go perform this route,” and they will be able to do that with that tiny little bit of instruction. Now, of course we know the ideal world doesn’t always match reality, so if you or your drivers need or want a bit of training, again, this comes back to our partnership with you: if you want to walk through it, we are happy to walk through it with you. That’s where Route4Me and IntelliShift partner with you to ensure your success. Most people only need a few minutes and the light bulb just kind of goes off, they know what to do. We’re happy to be part of your success, and part of that is actively engaging with you to make sure you and the team are successfully running the program.

And so, how do we do that? With IntelliShift, I love that it works out of the box. It’s a very easy way to quickly create, plan, and optimize routes, and it just works: in seconds, it’s integrated. So, you can manage and measure the goals that you want. You can get planned versus actual. You can actually manage those important metrics that are going to drive growth to reduce headaches and all of that wasted time.

Now, generally, people think they kind of know what they’re doing, and they’re right, because I think at the end of the day, no one wants to think that the work that they’ve done is wrong in any way. Ask my wife, she’ll be the first to tell you that I never want to be wrong, and unfortunately, much to my own chagrin, we’re all human, and it’s pretty easy to show that oftentimes, the work that we do isn’t always the best that it could be, and that principle extends from creating routes all the way to executing and managing and even analyzing the routes. So, when companies see what they’re doing doesn’t really match up to what they should be doing, it’s eye-opening and it brings incredible value. The transparency to say, “Here’s what the plan was, and here’s what actually happened,” and have that supported by automated metric gathering is super powerful. At the end of the day, it’s about getting better, and you can’t get better if you don’t know A, where you’re going, and B, if you don’t track your progress.

If you want to get in shape, or you want to get healthy, that’s a great goal, but it’s not very specific. If you aren’t specific, how will you know you reached your goal? You really need to be specific. It’s much better to say, “I want to gain seven-and-a-half percent of muscle and decrease my body fat by 5% in the next 90 days.” Now, that’s a goal you can craft a plan around. And, we’ve all heard this: if you fail to plan, plan to fail. When it comes to your business, when it comes to your job, when it comes to your career, get specific. If you want others to recognize you for your achievements, if you want a promotion, if you want to crush your competition, get specific. Start managing through measurement. IntelliShift plus Route4Me makes that part easy. You can now say, “I want to increase our productivity by 5% over the next 30 days.” Say that, and we can partner with you to help you track your progress. Plan to succeed, track your progress, stay on track, and hit your goals.

Now, do it with ETAs. What we’re seeing here is the unseen. We’re using automated Geofence and that data from IntelliShift to capture all of this automatically for you. When you plan a route, you really have three ETAs: you have a planned ETA, a dynamic ETC, and an actual ETA. So, what does that mean? Well, when we plan an ETA, for example, if we start a route at 9am, we’ll have a planned ETA at our first stop of 9:30am. Now, if we automatically capture some data that says, “Hey, that driver arrived early,” you kind of see this is the middle route here, turning green. That’s what we want to see. That dynamic ETA, let’s say they arrived a little bit early, at 9:25am, well, that’s our dynamic ETA; it’s going to impact all of the remaining ETAs along the route, so we’ll know if a driver is on progress for the rest of the day. Now we can make better decisions, do we need to shift something from one driver to another? Do we need to start having conversations with a particular driver? Do we need to understand what’s happening a little bit better? Can we dig in more? Because we can capture those actual ETAs automatically by leveraging the IntelliShift platform, all of this is done for you. So, it’s easy, and it’s really important so that you can track your progress and manage what is measured.

And, with IntelliShift, you get enhanced reporting, expanded reporting, that is very complimentary to the whole platform, and that’s what gives that transparency throughout the organization. Again, track your progress, know your goal, and strive towards that. If you’re sitting there today, and you’re still listening, one, I want to thank you for staying with me, and I really want to ask you to ask yourself, “What metric am I trying to achieve in the next 90 days?” If you can’t answer that question with absolute lightning speed and specificity, then we need to talk. We want to partner with you, to help you get laser-focused to get on that road to being better. At the end of the day, we all want to do work that counts. So, let’s get to it.

I want to thank you all. Here’s my contact information. Thank you so much, I very much appreciate going through all of this. I’m very excited, and you can actually purchase the Route4Me solution directly through IntelliShift, you can contact me if you have any questions. Please also contact your assigned IntelliShift customer success manager today if you’d like to learn a little bit, and let’s go ahead and end this, and I’ll just say a big thank you to everyone very much. Give us a call, contact your assigned IntelliShift customer success manager today, and let’s get on the road to measuring success. Thanks everyone.

Watch the video of this session, “Partner Focus: Route4Me – Using Vehicle and Asset Data for Smarter Routing and Greater Efficiency”

View all sessions from ConnectedOps 2020.