Thinking Outside the Box. R.T. Corporation, Inc., is a privately owned trucking company that services FedEx Ground routes in the Ahwatuckee, Arizona, area. An urban village annexed by the city of Phoenix, Ahwatuckee’s unique geography presents some challenges for route planning, as limited access points have earned the community the title of “world’s largest cul-de-sac.”
R.T. Corporation employs three truck drivers, who can make as many as 220 stops in one day during the peak season. In addition to the delivery routes, the company also trains military veterans as drivers, sometimes for their own routes and sometimes for other FedEx contractors. Finding an efficient way to train new drivers on the routes posed some issues for owner Elizabeth Pratt-McRae.
“It’s hard to determine the most efficient route in an area that does not follow a grid street pattern,” she explained. “Drivers would end up driving right passed a delivery location, then end up backtracking later in the day. It can take up to 4 months to have drivers get their area down without the routing planner. The route planner helps them meet their deliveries without failure.”
Elizabeth found MyRouteOnline.com and decided to try it because it worked well with her process. She uses it for driver training as well as one of her three daily routes. Every day, she imports an Excel file with addresses provided by FedEx at 3:30 a.m. in order to get the planned route to her driver by 7:00 a.m.
After creating a route through MyRouteOnline.com, Elizabeth delivers a hard copy to her driver, who uses it throughout the day. Even though she has imported the addresses from FedEx, sometimes last-minute changes pop up at the depot, which the driver needs to accommodate during the day.
“Because of time restraints we have to manually add any extra packages once we go through the truck,” Elizabeth explained. “And there still can be un-scanned packages that FedEx personnel forgot to scan to the truck/unit. For those packages we just use our phones or GPS systems and work them into the routing program manually on the route.”
Besides improving her driver training program, Elizabeth has seen significant savings in fuel costs and scheduling efficiency. “The routing program has improved my fuel economy as well as wear and tear on the drivers and trucks,” she said. “We were doing more than 150 miles on this route, and now it’s less than 100 miles.”
She also sees ways other FedEx contractors can benefit from our route planner. “It could really improve the way the people at the shipping depot load the trucks,” she said. “There’s a lot of potential for shipping companies to improve their services — being safer, saving time and money in the process.”
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