Delivery Route Planners Can Work Wonders for Your Fleet
Understanding the advantages of delivery route planner apps and software
March 31st, 2020
Delivery companies have to deliver goods on time, safely, and with high customer satisfaction. On top of all this, it has to be done in a cost-effective way. All these elements, especially the cost aspect, put a lot of pressure on businesses. The time spent on the road needs to be shortened to cut down overhead costs and increase the number of deliveries every day. Route optimization comes into play here, and that is why route planning tools are in high demand these days.
However, have you ever questioned if a delivery route planner app is actually giving you the best navigation? Are these route planners really the magic wand that will improve all your routes with a snap of the fingers?
Route planners: the risks and benefits
A delivery route planner app should properly collect, process, and provide routes. If you have customers with recurring and stable routes, known as static routes, any basic planning software can easily handle it. A new route for an existing customer or a totally new customer is also not a problem. You can add the new stops into the software and the new routes will be generated.
Taking a look at the other side of the coin, many businesses use what are known as dynamic routes; that is, the delivery destinations will be different every day. Furthermore, there is on-demand delivery is becoming increasingly common due to immense competition in the market. Businesses that use it have particularly short delivery times. These types of deliveries require more sophisticated planning.
What are all the variables to be taken into consideration?
As the complexity of the cases and the requirements increase, more variables come into the fold that should be considered during delivery route planning. Let's explore some of the known variables:
- Details about the goods/services shipped (dimensions, weight, volume, quantity, cost, etc.)
- Pick-up time interval
- Customer preferences (days/time windows)
- Distance between the starting point and the destination
- Instructions for the inventory
- Driver qualifications (skill-based routing)
- Capabilities of the vehicle
- Availability of resources
When these factors are blended with other parameters like the scale of the company, quantity of stores and warehouses, number of vehicles in the fleet, and number of pick-up and drop-off locations, the process rapidly gets more complex.
Can a delivery route planner app keep up with all these parameters?
A route planner pulls information from various sources to create the routes. However, there are things that a stand-alone route planner can't control or provide. This is where end-to-end last mile logistics software becomes important. Some questions that stand-alone route planners can't answer include:
1. How did the driver do?
The app plans the routes, but did the driver use those routes? How much time did he spend between the pick-up and drop-off locations?
With software that includes driver visibility and telematics in addition to route planning, you could glean this and more information about the driver's behavior. This data is actually critical in performance evaluation and company safety.
2. How can I analyze my delivery costs?
Can I do a cost analysis to see my cost per delivery, store, or location? Is there a way to see the fleet's performance? Performance metrics are important for decision-makers in companies. Again, look for comprehensive logistics software to be able to address these questions.
3. Is my customer satisfied with the delivery?
Customer satisfaction is very important. If your customers are happy, then it means they will return to your business again and again. On the contrary, if they are not satisfied with your services, then they will most likely give their business to your competitors the next time they're ready to buy. Therefore, it's necessary to get delivery metrics back from every stop; in this way, you're able to measure their satisfaction level and improve service once patterns are identified.
Q&A: Delivery Route Planner Apps
How do I plan a delivery route?
There are many good delivery route software solutions on the market, some that also include powerful mobile apps drivers can use to input events in real time directly from the field. Manual route planning without one of these tools would require you to:
- Create a map of all the stops on the route
- Decide which stops can be grouped together
- Mark the different schedules on your map
- Map all the stops on a route and then figure out the total number of miles a driver will drive on that route.
Does Google Maps have a route planner?
Yes, it does and is used for planning routes between A and B, the most basic of functionality. In recent years, they have added the ability to add additional stops to a route, which the algorithm will recalculate to accommodate drive time and traffic. While they have a powerful database of routes and markers, the bare-bones version of Google Maps is not efficient for use by logistics companies with more than one truck.
What's the best route planner app?
There are many, but the best route optimization engines come down to Google Maps, MapQuest, and Route4Me. However, if you're looking for a full route optimization tool that also provides useful features like order tracking, telematics and compliance, real time visibility, billing and settlement, and more, then DispatchTrack is a great choice for your company.
In conclusion, a delivery route planner will help you plan your routes; however, even a good one will not be sufficient to improve your delivery process fully from the loading dock to your customer's door. Nonetheless, there are more advanced tools out there that will help you optimize your entire process. Contact us today to see DispatchTrack's route optimizer in action.
DispatchTrack is a leading provider of SaaS solutions that enable end-to-end optimization of operations and customer experiences in last-mile delivery. The company's platform includes modular tools for self-scheduling, route optimization, customer communication, real-time tracking and ETA, proof of delivery, and delivery network intelligence and analytics. With customers across North America, Europe, South America, and Asia, DispatchTrack is used by thousands of businesses of all sizes, and many multi-billion-dollar enterprises across a wide range of industries including furniture, appliances, building supplies, food, and beverage. More than 60 million scheduled delivery experiences are powered by DispatchTrack each year. For more information, visit www.dispatchtrack.comKeep reading: Last mile optimization top tips →