Small Business Brief

Shipping & Transportation

The Complete Guide to Route Planning

If you are running a fleet of drivers, you don’t just want to randomly start giving out destinations and hope that everything is transported in a timely fashion. You need to plan your routes in a timely and efficient manner. Doing this manually can take up too much time and lead to many errors.

The less optimal the route is, the longer your drivers will be on the road and the more money in gas you’ll be paying. With proper route management tools, you can get your products to your customers faster and leave them more satisfied. 

In this complete guide to route planning, we will show you what route planning is and how to make the most of it. So keep on reading and we’ll walk you through everything that you will want to know about route optimization.

The Problems With Manual Route Planning

Route planning is extremely inefficient. And as your business grows, it will eventually become impossible.

One can’t manually solve problems that involve calculating hundreds of different deliveries and numbers. To cross-reference routes and schedules with drivers and vehicles is an extremely difficult and poor use of resources when done manually.

It also takes intimate knowledge and a lot of hours to manually plan routes. As your team grows, you’ll need to add more workers to determine the routes manually and training them will be difficult. 

Accuracy is another concern. Are all of the skill discrepancies, qualifications, capacities, and time windows are taken into consideration? The more complicated your schedules are, the higher the chances of human error. 

Even the most diligent planners are sure to make many mistakes. 

You also need to take flexibility into account. If you have a driver who ends up not coming to work, what are you going to do? A planning team is going to need hours to adjust for unsatisfied clients, missing deliveries, and delays. 

Benefits of Route Optimization 

Route optimization can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that we already listed. Let’s go over some specific benefits of fleet management and route optimization below. 

Increase Revenue Per Driver and Lower Costs

Every business is always trying to improve its revenues per driver while also lowering operating costs. For any company that does deliver or services on-site, low margins are hard to achieve.

A big part of managing a mobile workforce is making sure that you are running as efficiently as possible. You don’t want to waste manpower or fuel. 

Route optimization can calculate hourly wages, mileage, and many other costs. This means that it can find the best way for you to save as much money as possible while also increasing your revenue. 

You’ll also allow your drivers to reach more destinations and increase profits.  

Scale Your Delivery Team Without Extra Dispatch/Planning Resources

Your team is going to spend a lot of time organizing and reorganizing appointments, deliveries, shifts, schedules, and people. By using route optimization tools, you will be able to greatly reduce the amount of time you spend planning your deliveries.

You will now be able to directly transfer order lists in excel formats and assign them to drivers automatically based on requirements and availability.

Your company can build schedules several weeks in advance. This will lead to better planning. Some platforms let you schedule routes several months in advance. 

Not only that but the software can also take into account:

  • deadlines
  • customer availability
  • regulated driver breaks
  • lunch breaks
  • employee availability

Even better, if something changes and you need to change your fleet up, route optimization will let you do this quickly and with ease. You can replan a whole schedule with just a few clicks of a button.

Improves Customer Satisfaction

Every modern small business is at risk of going under these days. This is because just a few bad reviews could devastate any company. 

Online reviews can impact every kind of business of every size. If you want to acquire new customers, then you will need to garner many positive reviews.

Different ways to do this include Real-time tracking, ETAs, and emails and text messages sent ahead of service calls and deliveries. This will help temper expectations if there is a problem and make sure that your customers are home for the delivery.

All of this is going to lead to happier customers. 

Distributes Workloads More Effectively and Improves Employee Retention

How are you distributing service calls and deliveries currently between your company’s drivers? If you are like many other companies, then you set it all up geographically. You likely have each driver covering their own service or delivery territory.

This is a quick method to cover more ground quickly.

The problem with this method is that some drivers can end up with a lot more deliveries than others. Route optimization software can spread the work out evenly so everything gets done in a timely fashion.

The Importance of Knowing About Route Planning 

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now understand the importance of route planning. As we can see, route planning can save your company a lot of money, time, and manpower. Now, you’ll be able to get drivers to your customers quickly and in a more organized and timely manner. 

This will all lead to happier customers and more revenue.

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