Transport plan optimisation

What is transport plan optimisation?

Optimised transport plans use the best strategy, and the most efficient human and material resources to transport freight from a point A to a point B.

Logisticians are constantly required to optimise their transport plan, to make it more efficient whilst minimising expenses. This is the only solution for ensuring the company’s durability, help it win over market shares and enhance customer loyalty. To do so, it must analyse all its resources and apply them wisely to its . Resources include human and material means - such as available vehicles. External hazards such as bad weather, strikes, legislations and delivery destinations all imply certain lead times which need to be managed.

Logisticians manage all direct and indirect expenses pertaining to their transport plan. Many different costs are incurred, but most can be foreseen. They pertain to the modus operandi, and include:

  • Vehicle rental costs if any subcontracting is done;
  • Production costs per mile for its own trucks and human resources;
  • The time spent in transit and for bulk breakage;
  • The cost of operations;
  • Tolls, etc.


Specificities of transport plan optimisation

To optimise transport plans properly, logisticians must take the following criteria into consideration:

  • Reducing the number of miles driven whilst optimising vehicle loading;
  • Environmental factors, to reduce CO2 emissions;
  • Making sure the sales department optimises cost proposals in association with suitable lead times, to increase market shares;
  • Quality criteria means the right products are delivered, in the right quantities, at the right time and in accordance with all standards in force - whilst minimising the number of bulk breakages which are always very costly.


Examples and practical applications

Plans must be constantly optimised

Transport plans evolve over time, taking new regulations and customer requirements into account. They must adapt to the market whilst remaining flexible and agile. To help decision-makers analyse their transport plans’ strengths and weaknesses, tools known as TMSs (Transport Management System) exist.

A TMS is an IT tool that helps plan dispatch. It determines the most efficient transport strategy by simulating the criteria related to the platforms, and the bulk breakages they imply. Analysis includes precise mass send-off schemes, and deducts any foreseeable costs. The goal is to find solutions to reduce expenses whilst ensuring the best possible service in terms of quality and lead times.

TMSs are the most efficient solution for guaranteeing traceability and sending alerts. They are a back-office tool: they issue invoices, vehicle booking, and manage disputes.

The advantages of a TMS in terms of :

  • They provide a perfect view of collection round and delivery planning;
  • They increase loading rate;
  • They allow for real-time freight traceability;
  • They allow to manage pre-invoicing for transport;
  • Lastly, TMSs manage performance indicators pertaining to delivery, vehicle loading rate, vehicle usage frequency, CO2 emissions, etc.


Transport plan optimisation in figures

  • Currently, 25% of SMEs have a transport management system, as opposed to 15% in 2019;
  • About 50% of major transporters use a transport management optimisation system;
  • TMSs (Transport Management Systems) help save about 10% in expenses. [1]

[1] Source of the figures: