*By Fernando Alex de Carvalho

Currently, the e-commerce and retail markets are extremely hot. According to ABComm (Brazilian Electronic Commerce Association), the amount spent on internet purchases in Brazil grew by 10% in 2023, representing a total value of R$ 185.7 billion. The growth of these two segments has a significant impact on the logistics sector, which plays a fundamental role in the Brazilian economy. In this sense, many of the challenges that arise in logistics are a direct reflection of this significant increase in demand.

Furthermore, in June 2023, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) established new changes to law No. 13,103/2015, known as the Driver's Law, which aims to regulate the journey of these road transport professionals. With the changes focused on rest and splitting breaks for drivers, the legislation imposes additional challenges for companies in terms of meeting delivery deadlines agreed with customers.

Therefore, it becomes even more necessary to adjust routes and travel times so that it is possible to meet each delivery in the shortest possible time, regardless of travel. These aspects can be more easily achieved through a technological innovation: intelligent routing, a significant trend that should be consolidated in the logistics sector in the coming years.

The use of intelligent routing in the segment appears as a crucial element for carrier leaders seeking to efficiently synchronize deliveries with high demand and changes made by legislation.

How routing works in logistics and the use of intelligent solutions 

Simple routing, a technique that aims to optimize transport companies' costs and operations, already existed, but was quite modest, focusing only on the use of geolocation parameters to define the shortest distance, kilometer driven parameters and average vehicle cost. Furthermore, it used more tangible and fixed parameters, without taking into account variable data related to traffic and weather.

Intelligent routing brings new technology resources, using real-time data, with which it is possible to consider traffic conditions, weather and other intelligent information to optimize the routing of a delivery. Likewise, this technique searches historical data to provide a better prediction of something that may happen along the way.

To this end, this procedure forms new routes so that the driver can optimize his path, using technological innovations such as machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), learning and retracing the path more assertively. By applying intelligent routing, a carrier can achieve a considerable reduction in transportation-related costs, making it possible to optimize end-to-end delivery.

Smart routing solutions also make the logistics sector more sustainable. With the data generated, it is possible for the company to choose the vehicle with the lowest environmental impact, contributing not only to the environment in general, but also to the sustainability of the company itself. In addition to the carbon footprint, this innovation provides real data on the amount of emissions that can be later neutralized.

Therefore, there are currently several intelligent routing solutions available on the market. Some tools will be good for long distances and others for short distances, among other important aspects. In any case, to logistics operators, it is important to take into account the type of transport, the volume of goods transported and the running time for that type of vehicle, which are important points in a logistics operation.

Challenges in the logistics sector 

In this context, many Brazilian cities are not planned, which can make routing difficult, from the type of street the vehicle needs to pass through, to which vehicle will be used. Furthermore, the region may be in a neighborhood that has characteristics that do not allow trucks to enter, in addition to other issues such as working hours, peak traffic hours and complexities that increase delivery time.

However, the maturity level of smaller carriers is still very low when it comes to intelligent routing and they invest little in technology in logistics. Furthermore, many companies still do not use KPIs to have a strategic view of the operation. On the other hand, large companies already have a high level of maturity, seeking to increasingly solve and simplify processes.

In general, new demands arise every day, caused not only by changes in the law, but also by the need to meet new market characteristics. Using intelligent routing in logistics assertively will be the biggest differentiator for transport companies that will take advantage of the opportunities generated by the challenges of an extremely heated market in the Brazilian economy.

*Fernando Alex de Carvalho is Market and Product Manager at Benner Group, a company that offers business management software and technology services to revolutionize and simplify business.

Notice: The opinion presented in this article is the responsibility of its author and not of ABES - Brazilian Association of Software Companies

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