Size of the Route Planning Function
The larger the fleet, the more important route planning becomes. If the fleet consists of one or two vehicles, it may be sufficient to have drivers with good route selection skills. When a larger fleet is being used, a central planning function is generally advantageous.
Central route planning is often aided by a computer program that will calculate the most efficient route, taking into account various factors such as road maintenance schedules, time of day (and time of week) and drop-off points. More sophisticated systems may take into account weather conditions, individual driver preferences and reverse logistics. Satellite navigation can augment planned routes and allow drivers to make on board route planning decisions. Shipping and aircraft routinely use this method.
For the sake of good fuel efficiency practice, a sophisticated central planning function would allocate the most fuel-efficient vehicles to the longest journeys (and vice-versa). They may even discriminate between vehicles and drivers that demonstrate greater relative fuel efficiency in congested traffic and those that are better suited to cruising conditions. Such sophistication in planning technology can result in significant financial savings and be less harmful to the environment.