Who has time to spend hours each week planning the most efficient routes for their delivery drivers? If only there was a solution to automate the delivery experience so you can spend more time on other business operations. Route optimisation does exactly that!
If you’re looking for ways to boost your business’ productivity, enhance customer satisfaction and driver experience then route optimisation is the solution you’re after.
What is route planning?
Route planning refers to calculating the most effective process of deliveries via multiple stops. Route planning is used to decide the most cost-effective route.
Logistics and/or transport companies typically use route planning softwares to automate the planning process, allowing fleet managers and business owners to save time and focus on other areas of their operation.
What is an optimal route?
When thinking about what makes the most optimal route it’s easy to say the shortest route. However, a driver can take the shortest route and still be delayed in traffic. In that case, taking a slightly longer route that avoids congestion can ultimately save you time.
The most optimal route can:
- Minimise fuel consumption and spending
- Cover the shortest distance
- Take less time
- Uses less vehicles
An optimal route must work with restrictions such as:
- Limited delivery time windows: same-day delivery, 3hr delivery etc.
- Driver availabilities
- Driver locations
- Vehicle types and capacities
- Product types
What is route optimisation?
Route optimisation is the practice of calculating the most efficient routes for your drivers. There are several factors that are taken into account when determining the most cost and time-effective route. These include:
- Driver availability
- Order of stops
- Types of vehicles
Benefits of route optimisation
Improved customer satisfaction
Businesses are constantly wanting to find ways to enhance their customer’s delivery experience. Optimising delivery routes you can speed up the delivery process and in doing so, offer customers better service.
Depending on the type of route optimisation software, you can share your driver’s live location with customers so they have full visibility of their order.
Route optimisation allows you to prioritise your customer’s needs and keep them informed all throughout the delivery process.
Reduced fuel costs
In today’s climate and as a business owner, it’s important to save money wherever possible. Route optimisation makes this possible by ensuring your drivers are on the most cost-effective route for the day.
Optimising their routes means your drivers are spending their time on the road most effectively, cutting down unnecessary fuel expenses.
A more efficient route means there is less idling in traffic, time wasted going between jobs and drivers taking scenic routes to pass the time in between bookings.
Faster delivery times
Drivers on the most efficient delivery route have the ability to complete bookings faster and more regularly.
This means they can complete additional last minute deliveries, boosting your business’ productivity.
Faster deliveries are a great way to please your customers, increasing the likelihood of future purchases. Repeat customers will help grow your business and revenue so it’s best to ensure their demands are met each delivery.
Improved driver experience
Optimising delivery routes make driver journeys all the more easier. Given your team is the driving force of your business, you want to make their jobs as simple as possible to enhance productivity.
Reduced vehicle maintenance
Reviewing and optimising delivery routes means drivers can perform better on the road, reducing the need for vehicle maintenance and in doing so, saving money.
A route optimisation solution, like Locate2u, gives insight of your driver’s behaviour on the road. If they are speeding and dangerous driving, you can identify the driver and train them to improve their behaviour.
In doing so, your vehicles experience less wear and tear, reducing the number of unnecessary services. By not pushing the vehicles within your fleet to the limit, you can spare your business maintenance costs and downtime.
Why is route optimisation important?
Planning routes manually is an extremely time consuming process that often takes hours to complete and increases your workload. Route optimisation gives you the opportunity to work on your business rather than in your business.
Fleet managers and dispatchers looking to increase operational efficiency can benefit from a route optimisation solution.
Such technology allows you to transfer a number of jobs into the system, choose a group of similar bookings and allocate them to a driver. From there it will automatically create the most efficient routes for your drivers.
What is dynamic route optimisation?
Dynamic route optimisation is the process of routes being developed daily through taking into account the availability of drivers, number of stops and their locations.
Dynamic route optimisation can be used for large networks as its flexibility can assist in redirecting drivers to the most time-effective routes if there is an instant change in traffic conditions.
Dynamic route optimisation also allows you to add in last minute bookings without throwing off the sequence of stops.
However, implementing dynamic route optimisation in your system can be costly as it requires additional resources, including Bandwidth.
What is static route optimisation?
Static route optimisation is when routes are planned monthly or quarterly. Static route optimisation is easier to customise on smaller networks with the capacity of having entire control over routing behaviour.
Despite this, static route optimisation doesn’t offer much flexibility, as well as take into account the several issues drivers can encounter throughout the day.
These issues include the inability to assist fleet managers to respond efficiently to unexpected situations that can possibly influence a driver’s schedule.
What is real-time dynamic route optimisation?
Real-time dynamic route optimisation refers to the adaption of routes throughout the delivery day based on new orders being added into the system in real-time.
Real-time dynamic route optimisation examines the whole fleet for route prospects and helps prevent route issues that could occur during the day.
Unlike static route optimisation, this software is more costly and requires additional resources.
Benefits of dynamic route planning software
Dynamic route planning software lets fleets provide customers with more accurate delivery times.
Dynamic route planning software increases the communication between your drivers and customers, creating visibility throughout the entire delivery process.
Reduced operational costs
Fuel is one of the main expenses businesses face, especially with prices constantly rising as a result of events occurring around the world.
With dynamic route planning, drivers are running more efficiently on the road, decreasing labour costs and eliminating any unnecessary overtime.
Additionally, the efficient use of vehicles reduces the presence of wear and tear, lowering maintenance costs and the downtime required.
Improved route efficiency
One of the major advantages of dynamic route planning is the overall improvement of route efficiency.
Traditional or manual planning systems can be inconsistent when it comes to delivering a product on time; if a customer reschedules their order or cancels it entirely, this makes the entire planning process all the more difficult.
Dynamic route planning generates new routes in no time, allowing your business to complete more deliveries throughout the day, enhancing your overall productivity.
What is the difference between static and dynamic route planning?
The primary difference between static and dynamic routing is the class of data used to build routes.
Static route planning software uses fixed data whilst dynamic route planning software uses real-time data.
Unlike static, dynamic route planning considers weather and traffic conditions and is often used for last-minute route alterations.
Static route planning is mostly used by businesses on a tight budget with a predictable schedule.
What is route optimisation software?
Route optimisation software arranges the order of delivery stops for the driver to carry out. Prior to route optimisation software, business owners and fleet managers would plan their routes using spreadsheets, whiteboards, maps etc.
Despite this method still being used today, it’s extremely laborious and an inefficient way to manage time that could be spent on other areas of the business.
Automating route planning increases the accuracy of stops, leaving no room for human error so you can manage your daily operations and run your fleet efficiently.
The types of businesses using route optimisation software
Route optimisation isn’t only suitable for delivery businesses but also accommodates industries like appliance repairs, plumbing and electrical companies.
Route optimisation software works for any service that sends a team member on site. That way you can keep track of their location throughout the day, giving you peace of mind that each booking is being completed productively.
With these services, customers can often face extended delays and even their technician not arriving at all.
This is an ultimately frustrating experience that can result in customers refusing to use your services again and publishing a negative review online for others to see.
Route optimisation lets you send a live tracking link to your customers so they can be updated on the whereabouts of your driver in real time.
Customers want visibility of their booking, so by giving them access to your driver’s live location, you can give them an overall better experience.
A route optimisation solution like Locate2u is perfect for any business, whether you specialise in delivery or other services.
Free route optimisation software vs Locate2u
Free route optimisation software allows businesses to manage their deliveries and build effective routes without the price of a paid solution.
Free route planning apps include:
- Apple Maps
- Google Maps
This is a great way for businesses wanting to reduce their expenses and use less resources to complete the job.
Despite this being the most affordable option, free software doesn’t have the ability to offer unlimited stops and multi-stop routes. Additionally, it doesn’t plan well for numerous vehicles, making it difficult for businesses to complete various deliveries.
Free route optimisation software is a great option for small businesses and part-time couriers, however, larger businesses need multiple stops and vehicles to be planned without facing limitations.
Businesses of all sizes can count on Locate2u to minimise stress, save time and enhance their driver’s performance on the road.
Who wants to spend hours manually planning routes? Locate2u’s route optimisation will have the most time-effective routes planned in just minutes!
Unlike free route planning apps, you can have dozens of stops planned for all your drivers. Not to mention the ability to modify routes and make last minute changes without disrupting your schedule for the day.
Whilst free route optimisation might seem like a great way to save money, sometimes it’s better to spend the money and invest in a software that will improve your business.
Locate2u allows you to offer your drivers and customers a great delivery experience.
Can you optimise a route in Google Maps?
What is google route planner?
Google route planner is a free route planning tool that can be used for road trips, public transit and so on.
Google route planner lets you create routes for delivery, offering GPS navigation and traffic information for users.
Given this app is severely limited in terms of features, it’s typically used by individuals wanting to reach a specific destination, or small businesses with a reduced number of vehicles.
Limitations of google route planner
Using google route planner can be useful for drivers with a limited amount of stops to complete. However, drivers needing advanced features are more likely to benefit from other route planning apps.
Saving money by using a free route planner sounds like the best option. Sadly, this technology lacks the features to meet customer demands and enhance the efficiency of your business.
Another limitation of google route planner is the fact that you can only plan a restricted number of stops.
Businesses with more than 20 stops to complete a day will not benefit from this app as google doesn’t give you the ability to plan more than 10 stops at a time.
Also, adding in last minute stops can disrupt your entire schedule, decreasing your business’ efficiency.
Key factors that should be considered when planning a route
When building a delivery route, it’s essential that you consider the distance between your location and stops.
Planning for short-haul deliveries differs from long-haul deliveries. Because short-haul deliveries are within a 250km radius or metropolitan area, drivers are locally based and work between 8-10 hours with fewer breaks taken. Vans and box trucks are often used in short-haul deliveries.
Long-haul deliveries means drivers will likely exceed 400km to reach their destination. Drivers will work for days at a time, needing longer breaks so they are well-rested during their journey. Larger vehicles including tractor-trailers are required for long-haul deliveries.
When planning your delivery routes, you must consider deliveries that are time-sensitive and need to be prioritised. There are two categories of time-sensitive deliveries:
- Delivery occurring within a certain time frame
Drivers and customers typically negotiate time windows so that products are able to be delivered.
- Delivery of perishable goods left in transit for a long duration
If you are transporting goods that require refrigeration, you must plan the fastest route to avoid waste.
When planning routes you should include downtime required for breaks and delivery stops. That way deliveries are on time even when driver breaks are added into the mix.
Short-haul deliveries normally consist of a number of quick breaks and stops. In order to accommodate your drivers, you should assign at least 15 minutes for each stop so there is adequate time to drop off the item at the correct location and gather proof of delivery.
You’ll also have to take into account short breaks so that drivers can refuel, have a quick meal and meet their personal needs.
When it comes to long-haul deliveries there are less delivery stops, however you’ll need to assign additional time for loading and unloading of vehicles. Drivers must also take longer breaks so they are well-rested in order to arrive safely at their destination.
Using past experiences and company information is a great way to create the most efficient routes for your delivery drivers.
Looking at company data will help you see where delays and other issues occur so you can potentially avoid them in the future.
Specific locations may be infamous for delays and delivery problems. By using previous data, you can organise enough time for your driver to drop off items without compromising other deliveries.
Past company information can also be beneficial in determining the safest route when it comes to terrain and weather conditions. Should a route prove difficult for drivers to navigate, taking a longer yet safer route is extremely advantageous.
How do you optimise a route plan?
Optimising your delivery routes is a great way for your business to save money when it comes to fuel consumption and labour costs.
Doing this manually can be exceedingly time consuming and more susceptible to human error, possibly slowing down the process and minimising operational productivity.
Route optimisation is the best way to improve driver efficiency and customer experience.
In order to know what you need from a route optimisation software, you must take into consideration:
- Number of stops you typically make
- Type of deliveries and products
- Size and type of your fleet
- Order volumes
To find the software that best suits your business you must ask yourself the following:
- What are my business objectives?
- Can I handle the delivery process by myself?
- Do I manage my own fleet?
- Do I outsource to a 3PL?
Taking these components into consideration will allow you to streamline your delivery process and with the right software, you can have routes optimised for your entire fleet in minutes!
Can I optimise routes manually?
Long story short you can optimise your delivery routes manually, however it is indeed a long story.
Manually planning routes could take up hours each week that could be used to focus on other business operations. Time is precious within the delivery industry and not implementing tactics to make your business more productive can have negative repercussions.
Depending on how many orders per week you’re completing, manually planning is possible, however, having a software to build routes is the more efficient option.
This can help take your business to the next level and give your drivers and customers an overall better experience.
How much does route optimisation cost?
There’s no one answer when it comes to identifying the cost of route optimisation as there are a number of factors that influence the overall price.
One of the best ways to see how much the software costs is by doing your research and seeing the basis of what companies have to offer.
Visiting websites that compare softwares and even organising demos with sales executives is useful in gaining insight as to how much route optimisation costs.
Route optimisation software costs will be dependant on:
- Number of vehicles
- Number of deliveries completed each week
- Additional features
- Additional requirements
How to improve business efficiency
Route optimisation is one of the main steps to boosting your business’ efficiency, however there are other ways in which that can be achieved.
Delivery and fleet management softwares like Locate2u offer GPS tracking so you can track the performance of your fleet and have peace of mind that deliveries are being carried out productively.
Locate2u also gives users access to route optimisation so you can have the most optimal delivery routes built in only minutes. This allows you to spend time focusing on other areas of your business.
Examples of route optimisation
Mt Beerwah Springwater is a bottled spring water company located in Queensland who saved hours by using Locate2u’s route optimisation software.
As mentioned earlier, manually planning routes is highly stressful and time consuming for business owners and fleet managers.
There’s so much to take into account such as the number of stops, driver availability, weather and traffic conditions as well as the type of vehicle and goods being transported.
“The route planning has been good because it routes on traffic conditions and peak times…Plus it fits more (bookings) in a day.” Will Neil, Manager
Locate2u allows business manager Will Neil to add in more bookings throughout the day without disrupting the driver’s schedule. In doing so, enhancing the business’ efficiency and improving customer satisfaction.
Best route optimisation software/ best route planning app
So what exactly is the best route optimisation your business should invest in?
Locate2u manages your bookings, optimises your routes and gives you access to a reliable proof of delivery system. No more excel spreadsheets and manually planning routes.
Locate2u is a groundbreaking technology that lets you plan dozens of stops and add last minute modifications to routes without throwing off your delivery sequence.
Businesses using Locate2u can expect to improve their team’s performance and enhance communication between drivers and customers.
With faster deliveries and improved visibility, Locate2u is the best route optimisation software out there today.