Route optimization is a complex process where a number of factors are weighed to determine the most cost-efficient route. These factors often include the number and location of all required stops, the distance from departure to the arrival point, and whether stops need to be made within a certain time frame. Additionally, one might want to consider traffic patterns, construction along the route, and whether any left-hand turns are required.
When all these things are taken into consideration, the number of route options quickly adds up. For instance, if you need to plan a route with one vehicle and ten stops, the number of possibilities numbers into the thousands. However, if you’re dealing with five vehicles and ten stops, the number of possibilities jumps into the millions. This is why route optimization is done mainly by software that uses computer algorithms to narrow down your options quickly.
Route Optimization Software
There are a number of options when it comes to route optimization software. However, the best program businesses will include the ability to map multiple locations, upload customer information, edit and adjust routes on the go, and the ability to share routes with team members.
Here is a list of optimization applications that meet the above criteria and then some:
- Maptive: This Google Maps-based program offers multi-stop route optimization and the ability to upload addresses through an excel spreadsheet. Users can add up to 25 locations and up to 73 stops. Additionally, routes can be shared digitally or printed out.
- Mapquest: This app will order your stops in the most efficient manner and gives you the option to create a round-trip route. However, it only allows you to plan trips for one driver and 26 locations. Users can send routes to drivers through an SMS link.
- RouteXL: The main feature of this software is its ability to split up stops across multiple routes. This means you can easily divide up orders between various drivers.
- Flightmap: Featuring 200 stops per month for up to two vehicles, Flightmap supports uploading addresses through spreadsheets and lets you set maximum tasks per vehicle and trip duration limits. Furthermore, it integrates with Tookan, a delivery management solution.
Advantages of Route Optimization Software
Although everyone can benefit from route optimization software, these programs are mainly designed for businesses with delivery and mobile service operations. As such, the following list details how route optimization software can help companies thrive.
A significant advantage of route optimization is managing fuel costs. Fuel costs are continually rising, so by optimizing their driving routes, businesses can reduce expenses. For example, rather than wasting fuel sitting in traffic, route optimization software provides the most cost-efficient path for each job. Additionally, many programs offer route dispatching. This means that the software takes care of relaying assignments to drivers. This reduces administrative overhead and lets a company’s employees focus on other higher-priority tasks.
When businesses optimize their driving routes with optimization software, they save time and resources. This is because route optimization improves fleet productivity by making it possible for jobs to be completed quicker. As a result, drivers can deliver shipments logically and timely without having to backtrack from job to job. This is especially essential for same-day delivery services. Consequently, companies can make efficient deliveries which make for not only happier drivers but also satisfied customers.
Improved Customer Service
Today’s customer has high expectations when it comes to the delivery of goods and services. They require quick and efficient delivery. Therefore companies in this line of work must utilize route optimization to ensure that they can keep their consumers happy.
Uses in Different Sectors
Route optimization is used in many different fields of work and it has many benefits owing to its ability to reduce cost and relieve the burden of work. Let’s take a look at its uses in the following sectors:
- Handles business factors by manipulating outlet timings and regulatory constraints.
- Uses the retail infrastructure to build a stronger platform- such as the facility of same-day delivery to the customers.
- Recommends efficient fulfilment operations such as optimal fleet mix.
- Tracks the performance and route of vehicles, store deliveries, warehouses etc.
- Can perform ETA calculations for customers.
- Regulates sales plans to specify suitable schedules for sales representatives so they can spend less time on the road and more time in the store.
- Provides automated retail operations to reduce freight costs for distributor fulfilment.
- Provides ideal and actual route comparison, accurate fleet tracking, instant alerts on delays if there are any.
- Reduces planning time and easy accommodations of unplanned orders and fulfilment.
- Saves logistics costs, minimize human dependence and manpower, reduces sorting time by planning automated shipment sorting.
- Uses geocoding and IP detection to regulate product sorting processes among delivery centres.
- Analyzes traffic situations and devises a sales plan according to delivery timings and working hours of the delivery centres.
- Helps in taking charge of operations on a single dashboard and makes smart alerts for spillage, idle time, delays etc.
- Monitors vehicles that are assigned to multiple tasks and clients on a single day.
- Analyzes the routes and automatically allocate them to riders based on their geolocation and historical data.
- Balances the deliveries according to the driver and accommodates their break time within their schedule.
- Provides a 24/7 hawk-eye view of all vehicles, riders and other resources in a unified dashboard.
- Takes immediate customer feedback with specific apps.
- Specifies deliveries based on the skills and experience of the riders to increase customer satisfaction.
- Regulates slot-based deliveries to avoid online traffic, overbooking and increase customer delight.
- Arranges deliveries accordingly in a day and minimizes driving hours with efficient routes of the riders.
- Manages reverse and forward logistics together.
- Improves visibility of vehicles, delivery men and other resources on a single dashboard.
- Creates attractive sales pitch for customers according to their location and advertise the services globally so the customers pour in from all over the world.