Last week, Google introduced two new software tools aimed at helping businesses operate fleet vehicles for deliveries.
The first tool is called the “Last Mile Fleet Solution” and uses Google Maps to guide delivery drivers through the steps needed to reach their customers. The second tool, “Routing API,” is part of Google Cloud and allows a manager to plan routes for an entire fleet of delivery vehicles.
Last Mile Fleet Solution is in public preview now for companies that manage or own a delivery fleet, while the Routing API will roll out in Q2. Here's what to know about each offering.
Last Mile Fleet Solution
Google Maps is already known for its hyperlocal data, thanks to location-tracking data from the devices that users access Maps from. Last Mile Fleet Solution takes advantage of that data in order to streamline delivery services.
Benefits of the tool include simplified address entry to capture valid addresses, automated route planning that efficiently navigates drivers, the ability to track shipment progress, and after-the-fact analysis of fleet performance.
Drivers will get a full-day view of their upcoming tasks, with the routing and traffic data they need to adjust for maximum efficiency.
The new service “builds on” a previous offering called On-demand Rides & Deliveries, Google explained in their announcement.
“With Last Mile Fleet Solution,” says Shalin Mantri, Group Product Manager at Google Maps Platform, “companies can improve their experiences with simplified address entry to help capture correct addresses. Shipment tracking and up-to-date arrival times allow consumers to be ready and available to receive their packages. And detailed delivery locations can help drivers drop packages off at the right place, every time.”
“Last mile” deliver is a term that refers to the shipment of products from a business's transportation hub to the final destination, typically at a customer's home. It can add up to more than half of an operation's total shipping costs, making it a key element for any business that makes deliveries.
The Routing API tool uses Google Cloud as well as Google Maps' dynamic routing data to power even more advanced fleet routing functionality. It works best when used alongside Last Mile Fleet Solution, letting managers follow along with each driver's actions.
Managers will be able to optimize all routes to account for time windows, vehicle capacities, and package weights.
Prices for both services are available upon contact — all Google says about prices in its announcement is that it offers “predictable pricing per delivery.”
With these new tools, Google is jumping into competition with established fleet management system (FMS) providers — the biggest and best names, according to our researchers, are Verizon Connect, Samsara, and Teletrac Navman.
Google's tools offer a stripped-down version of what FMS has to offer, from route planning to a centralized dashboard that lets a manager view all vehicles in a fleet at the same time. If you're looking for an entry-level version, Google's tools are worth considering.
For a feature-rich FMS that handles additional core fleet services like fuel tax tracking, hardware units to collect detailed data from each vehicle, and government-mandated ELDs to properly log Hours of Service, we've rounded up all the best options over here.