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ArcLogistics Route Delivers for Continental Courier

Routes as built by ArcLogistics RouteContinental Courier, a courier and messenger company based in Broadview, Illinois, is using ArcLogistics Route to turn guesswork into fact-based decision making. Continental Courier provides two types of services: scheduled work, which is routine deliveries made for an existing customer, and on-demand work, whereby the company receives a request for a one-time delivery. Scheduled work comprises about 90 percent of the firm's Business, with on-demand services making up the other 10 percent.

Routes are driven by about 65 to 70 drivers. The company specializes in interoffice deliveries for companies that have multiple locations in Illinois and surrounding states. They operate a mixture of vehicles, from station wagons to straight trucks, and carry small to midsized packages.

Before selecting ArcLogistics Route, Continental Courier used manual techniques to route its vehicles. Steven Johnson, systems manager, jokes, "We did routing the scientific way of having a big map on the wall and using pins."

Another technique used for the Chicago land area was to break up the region into one-mile grids and then assign every customer a point code. Continental Courier could compute mileage based on the one-mile grid system, but it wasn't drivable mileage. "On certain routes we'd get pretty accurate mileage, but on others it could really throw us off," says Johnson. "Anyone who uses mileage when calculating rates, revenues, and driver compensation will benefit from accurate measures. So we started looking for something that would give us the actual mileage, as well as provide decent directions."

Continental Courier was looking at several fleet management software products when they came across ArcLogistics Route at a trade show. Johnson said they compared the features and cost and concluded that they could get 90 percent of the functionality they wanted in ArcLogistics Route at one-fifth the price of other packages.

Continental Courier was a beta site for ArcLogistics Route and is now using the software for all of the bids and estimates it prepares for prospective customers. When approached by a potential customer, Continental Courier prepares a variety of bids representing the available options. As a general rule, the more that Continental Courier can fit a new customer's deliveries into its existing routes, the lower the cost will be to the customer.

Another factor that lowers the cost is flexibility in time windows. ArcLogistics Route allows Continental Courier to quickly present several options, allowing the customer to select the optimum combination of service and cost. "We've had some very large bids, and it helps us prepare them in half the time," says Johnson. "The software provides us with data that is based on fact and not hunches."

Not only does ArcLogistics Route make the process faster, but it also allows Continental Courier to prepare bids based on actual costs. For example, a customer may ask that a delivery be made at exactly 9:00 a.m. Johnson says he can use the software to find out what their costs would be to meet the customer's needs. "We know what our routes are, and we know what time the vehicles will make each stop," says Johnson. "We can ask the software to tell us what it would take to go 15 minutes west when we normally wouldn't, and we can see it on the map."

"It's really the graphical step in the whole process that is whizbang," continues Johnson. "That gives us a ton of information. We're used to looking at a big map with 500 pins in it. ArcLogistics Route is nice because you can work with as much or as little of your service territory as you want and then optimize from there. We can work with manageable chunks, and that's where I think Esri really shines."

ArcLogistics Route also helps Continental Courier construct better routes, and save money in the process. "We're able to lower our costs simply because we know the accurate mileage and we route more efficiently," says Johnson. "For example, the software lets us look at three routes to see in a very quick and efficient manner how adding one stop can affect all three routes."

For more information, contact Steven Johnson, Continental Courier (tel.: 708-649-3316).

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