We’re living in an increasingly on-demand world, so it’s no surprise that we’re expecting things faster, better and easier. In other words: now!
For transport companies and delivery services, this presents a double challenge: Increasing their speed of service to meet the growing expectations of consumers, while keeping their costs from soaring in the process. To achieve this, companies must focus on delivery route optimisation.
Delivery route optimisation requires a solution that combines speed and economic efficiency. This involves analysing two key variables—the distance and the duration of the journey, and the constraints and costs to determine the ideal route. But the key question is: How can organisations carry out this analysis quickly and accurately on the move for each trip? The solution lies in route planning software, an essential tool for optimising transport and delivery costs.
What is route planning?
Route planning is the process of calculating the fastest and most economical route for a trip (including a multi-stop route). A vehicle fleet management tool intended for transport and logistics companies can also complement the route planning tool for the distribution and delivery sector. It’s usually a piece of software or an online platform that companies can customise to their individual needs.
To plan the most efficient trip, the tool takes into account a series of parameters, such as:
- Driving time
- Stopping times
- Vehicle load
- Number of packages
- Toll roads
- Road restrictions
- Delivery times
- Working hours.
The software calculates not only the duration of the journey but also the transport costs involved. Based on this data, the tool generates the most efficient route plan.
What are the objectives and benefits of route planning for SMEs?
The objectives and benefits of route planning software are the ability to get from A to B as efficiently as possible.
With this in mind, route planning is hugely beneficial for both the profitability of transport services and customer satisfaction. By minimising kilometres travelled and delivery times, companies can reduce transport costs including fuel, overtime payments, and the number of vehicles to operate, ultimately increasing their productivity and profits.
For companies delivering products for various industries, route planning tools can be easily integrated into existing tools. For instance, the addresses listed on an Excel sheet can be directly converted into an itinerary, freeing up employees for other tasks.
The tool is suitable for sectors as diverse as mail delivery, construction and waste collection, and insurance and leasing companies. For service providers, route planning also guarantees greater productivity and efficiency when managing fleets of several hundred vehicles by intelligently distributing tasks.
For customers, intelligent route planning means a greater satisfactory experience since companies can more accurately calculate delivery times, and therefore communicate and fulfil more precise ETAs. In addition, the tool gives customers increased control and reassurance as they can track orders, receive regular notifications regarding their order’s status, and ultimately receive products and services on time.
The essential functionalities of route planning software
Route planning tools integrate the following functionalities:
- A quick calculation of the best route and intelligent assignment of tasks.
- Track vehicle progress on the map in real-time.
- Management of deliveries, including delivery status, proof of delivery receipt, and quantities delivered.
- Customer information, including order tracking and instant notifications.
- Recording of arrival and departure times at each site.
- Real-time map and route updates.
- Communication via messages and calls with both team members and customers.
- Filter search and intelligent analysis of activity reports.
- Navigation with voice guidance.
- Receiving feedback, comments and ratings from the driver.
To explore suitable options, its worth companies utilising route planning software platforms that offer free versions of their account—either in a form of a trial or a free forever version.
Efficiency and reliability—it’s win-win
With intelligent route planning, transport companies and delivery services can save both time and money. They’ll avoid unnecessary miles as well as increase productivity. It also equips them to meet the expectations of our increasingly demanding society, making for happy customers.