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How the Right Delivery Route Planner Impacts Efficiency

Delivery businesses are facing more and more pressure from customers these days. Enterprises are exerting all their efforts to fulfill orders as quickly as possible while increasing their delivery efficiency. Otherwise, their customers will go to their competitors.

delivery driver route planner

At the same time, companies are working to increase their delivery efficiency. This way, they can complete more orders per day and can achieve higher revenues and customer satisfaction.

There are plenty of different tactics that businesses can take to boost efficiency in this way. But many of the most impactful ones come down to what technology they're using. Here, it’s critical to have a delivery route planner that’s up to the task of increasing stops per route. 

Why Companies Don't Deliver Efficiently

To improve efficiency in last mile deliveries, you first need to understand why and how delivery inefficiencies happen. Being well-versed on the sources of inefficiencies will give you a better understanding of how to address them. 

Of course, the last mile is inherently one of the least efficient parts of the entire supply chain. Dealing with traffic, frequent stops, and variable customer requirements means that you can't count on everything to run smoothly.

Outdated technology

Technological solutions and tools that are outdated can slow down your growth. These legacy tools may have helped you back in the day. But if they're no longer efficient according to today's standards it may be time to upgrade. To improve efficiency, you must invest in the latest technology so you are not left behind.

Legacy software is often defined by on-prem, rather than cloud, deployments. These solutions are often slower, less feature-rich, and offer less connectivity. The result is slower routing and the potential for data and planning silos between routing and other logistics activities.

Conventional route planning

There are plenty of factors to consider when planning routes with multiple stops. These include truck capacity, delivery driver parameters, pick-up points, drop-off points, package sizes, weight, and delivery time windows, and more.

Route optimization requires taking into consideration all factors affecting delivery times, and then finding the shortest path between all those points. Done by hand, this process can take hours. This means you can hardly accommodate last-minute orders or same-day deliveries. And you may be getting a lot less out of your capacity than you want to.

Lack of predictability

Even when you’re able to reduce miles driven per stop, you might not be accurately estimating ETAS. This presents a few issues:

First, it means that drivers may frequently be running late. This means customers will get annoyed and could decide to take their business elsewhere. Second, it means that you can’t actually ensure that you're maximizing your delivery capacity. If you don’t know how many stops the driver can actually make in a given time period, you can't plan effective routes.

route optimization white paper

How a Delivery Route Planner Can Help

The pitfalls we listed above are all too common. That's why adopting the right route planning software is key to completing more deliveries, saving time, and increasing customer satisfaction. The right routing tools will help you find the shortest routes for any sequence of stops.

Best-in-class delivery route optimization software will also enable you to generate highly accurate ETAs. This way, you can ensure that efficient use of trucks and drivers is translating into the best possible service for customers. But in the modern era, those capabilities should just be table stakes. Any solution worth adopting will offer even more benefits than that. 

Here's are some of the other ways the right technology can help you improve delivery efficiency:

Maximize stops per route per day

Without clarity into a number of complex routing parameters, it's tough to get the most out of your delivery capacity. You might have a sense of how many stops each truck can make per day, but numerous factors can impact that number. Service time, traffic patterns, weather, loads, driver speed and skill differences can all affect capacity.

The right routing software simplifies the process by grappling with those parameters for you. In this way, you can make increased route efficiency second nature. Just plug in your orders and constraints and let the system find the most efficient path from stop to stop.

The result is that you're able to complete more stops per day with the same truck and driver capacity.

Make rapid adjustments

The most efficient route optimizing software enables you to make the necessary adjustments to handle last minute orders and changes. This is one way of boosting delivery efficiency in case the unexpected happens.

Let's say you've already planned the routes for the day, but you have to schedule a new pickup. The right route planning app allows you to make changes on the fly to accommodate the new pick-up request. At the same time, it should enable you to immediate alert drivers to the changes via mobile app.

Plan in advance

The delivery route planner also helps you handle low and high customer demand scenarios more efficiently by allowing you to plan your capacity in advance. The ability to plan ahead of time minimizes the risk of last-minute major changes that can cause a driver shortage. The planner also helps you optimize schedules on a weekly and monthly basis using whatever data you have.

For example, you can plan for the deliveries for the next month once you know how much volume you'll be handling. If you have high order volumes, you still have time to employ a new driver or contract with a third party. In contrast, if you wait until the last minute to plan for your deliveries, then you'll end up being short-staffed.

Monitor drivers in real-time

Tracking drivers in real-time goes hand in hand with effective route planning. After all, there's no point coming up with optimized routes if your drivers can't or won’t follow them. Thus, monitoring drivers in real-time is also necessary for improving delivery.

When you have a real-time view of how each delivery is unfolding, you can easily spot potential delivery exceptions. The faster you can spot and respond to incidents in the field, the more effectively you can ensure efficient delivery execution. That's true even once the rubber meets the road and real-world conditions threaten to derail your plans. 

Provide real-time updates and notifications to customers

The right delivery route planner also offers real-time updates and tracking to satisfy customers' demands for visibility into their orders. Customers want the ability to track orders on their own devices. They also want to receive notifications once the order is out for delivery and when the driver is nearby. That's why allowing customers to track their orders and providing them with automated alerts and updates can significantly boost customer satisfaction.

Increasing delivery efficiency does not have to be complicated or require herculean internal efforts. Having the right tools can help you optimize delivery routes, plan in advance, and track drivers in real-time. The result is increased customer satisfaction via improved delivery performance and real-time visibility. And that's to say nothing of reduced cost-per-delivery.

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