by Jason Fry
Picture this: You’re a newspaper carrier with five deliveries to make on your route today. How many different routing sequences exist?
The next day you have 10 deliveries. You now have – wait for it – 3.6 million different routes to deliver your product. Now, imagine 200 or 500 deliveries!
But, out of the 3.6 million options in the second scenario, only one route stands most efficient and effective. How do you find that routing sequence? This is where we harmonize with CarrierTrack® Technologies to provide the best routing solutions for newspaper companies.
Engineered and refined over decades of working with newspaper clients, RouteSmart Online lays the foundation for a better route plan by using advanced algorithms to sequence hundreds to thousands of subscribers. In a matter of minutes each night, routes get updated and optimized with the latest starts, stops, new customers and other changes.
Then, when the time comes to deliver, the CarrierTrack application uses that sequence to provide in-vehicle, voice-guided navigation to direct the carriers on the most efficient routes.
Headquartered in Rochester, Michigan, CarrierTrack® mobile is the only newspaper distribution software that incorporates audible and visual delivery information. American Newspaper Solutions (ANS) created the company 15 years ago for its own purposes to deliver products for multiple companies across the United States, but has since expanded out of industry needs, CarrierTrack President Jeff Fasseel said.
A little history: In mid-2019, several newspapers approached us and asked about an in-the-field navigation device. Serendipitously, we were already having several discussions with ANS about the idea of an address-specific enhancement/upgrade to the existing, total market coverage centered CarrierTrack 2.0. The push from the industry sparked collaboration that ultimately resulted in CarrierTrack 3.0 (and even birthed a new company, CarrierTrack Technologies).
Most navigational aids can handle two or three addresses without a problem. Functionality issues arise when you have more than five locations to sequence.
“The beauty of RouteSmart is they take those addresses and put them in the best order for whatever the client is looking for – whether it’s managing miles and cost or looking at safety issues – then they use their algorithms to create that sequence list.”
“When you’re looking at 200 to 500 addresses, who can do that?” Fasseel asked. “The beauty of RouteSmart is they take those addresses and put them in the best order for whatever the client is looking for – whether it’s managing miles and cost or looking at safety issues – then they use their algorithms to create that sequence list.”
CarrierTrack’s secret sauce is being able to take those sequences and put them into a navigational tool. “We are unlimited by the number of addresses,” Fasseel explained. “So, it doesn’t matter how many addresses are in a route. We will navigate you from one to another every time.”
The Union-Leader, a daily newspaper based in Manchester, New Hampshire, has used RouteSmart Online and the CarrierTrack mobile app for about 18 months. Information Technology Director Todd Erickson said the solutions have greatly improved customer service at the publication, as well as benefiting the carriers and deliveries overall.
“Our number one objective when we did this was to improve our customer service,” Erickson said. “Now our customer service representatives can be on the phone with a customer and accurately tell them, in real time, where the driver is on the route. We used to dispatch re-delivery drivers when we got a complaint because we had no information where the carrier was on that route. Now we can give that information accurately to the customer, improving our customer service and dramatically lowering our complaints.”
The CarrierTrack app delivers the most up-to-date route information from RouteSmart Online, so carriers can complete their routes accurately. It helps carriers who fill in for other carriers on unfamiliar routes, an industry concept known as “running a down route,” by giving them confidence they can complete the route. “That has been huge for us,” Erickson said.
“Anyone who has been in the business a while, you know you have down routes,” he added. “People call out, you have turnover in the carrier base, so the ability to give a carrier a phone, give them a route and have them feel comfortable for them to do the route has been big.” RouteSmart Online, working with the CarrierTrack app, delivers a winning solution for newspaper companies looking to enhance efficiencies, reduce complaints and improve the carrier force operations. Interested? Discover more about RouteSmart Online and its features here.