« Back to articles

A Complete Guide to Route Planning

Delving into the significance of route planning for SMBs, emphasizing its importance in reducing transportation costs, improving customer service, enhancing planning skills, increasing productivity, and ensuring driver safety.

Your all-in-one local delivery app for Shopify

As a small or medium-sized business owner, you’re bound to get asked a lot of questions, such as:

  • What is the best way to deal with rising transportation costs?
  • What steps should be taken to improve customer service?
  • How can you improve your planning skills?
  • How do you go about increasing corporate productivity?
  • What steps do you need to take to ensure the safety of your drivers?

So you’re probably looking for a solution to help you save time and reduce the everyday confusion of figuring out how to build a route, track drivers, and even manage them. For you, route planning is a one-stop shop.

Furthermore, the market for route optimization software is rapidly expanding, making it easier for you to develop and manage your routes more efficiently, deal with optimized routes, and save time and money. Continue reading this article for more information about route planning, including what it is and how it may assist your organization.

Table of Contents

  • What is Route Planning?
  • Why is Route Planning Important?
  • Reduced Transportation Costs
  • What are the Different Types of Route Planning?
  • Who Should Use Route Optimization and Route Planning Software?
  • Example of Route Planning Software: EasyRoutes
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Conclusion

What is Route Planning?

The process of deciding which path to follow from one location to another is known as route planning, often known as “route mapping” or “route sequencing.”

Assume you’re arranging a long trip and have no prior knowledge of the new site you’ll be visiting. In this situation, route planning uses an algorithm to identify and offer you with the best and most efficient path.

Why is Route Planning Important?

Route planning is critical for improving driver convenience and corporate productivity. Any organization with logistics demands, deliveries, delivery routes, business calendars, or field services should use this approach. There are a number of compelling reasons to use route planning in your company.

Reduced Transportation Costs

Higher transportation costs are one of the most significant difficulties that many business owners confront. Higher gasoline and vehicle maintenance costs must be borne by them. And it’s all because of the following factors:

  • The drivers are required to make repeated stops (especially due to heavy traffic or toll roads)
  • Due to unforeseen routes, the drivers must deal with excessive driving times.
  • Backtracking puts you at a higher risk of wasting fuel.
  • Increased vehicle wear and tear due to inefficiency

To overcome such obstacles, you must implement route optimization solutions into your organization in order to maintain an efficient and successful delivery schedule. These tools can help you save money on gas, labour, and, most importantly, vehicle maintenance.

Furthermore, an optimized route solution provides clear road mapping directions to drivers, lowering overall transportation expenditures for your company.

Improved Customer Experience

Customer expectations are growing to unprecedented heights as a result of new technology innovations.

Customers, in short, demand speedier deliveries and reaction times. These elements are critical for increasing corporate productivity and providing a better client experience.

Route planning software that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence platforms can assist you in achieving these objectives. Furthermore, such a system allows you to work with tight deadlines and make route changes without compromising your entire timetable.

Just keep in mind that a poor delivery experience can lead to your consumers becoming your competitors.

Helps You with Decision-Making

If your business involves travelling to several locations in one day and needs to stay on top of an ever-growing list of destinations, planning is essential.

It’s much easier to arrange delivery to various locations swiftly and efficiently if you have better planning procedures. Route optimization assists you in organizing and arranging all of your locations for the day, including multi-stop routes.

Enter your address and then allow route optimization software perform all of the legwork for you in order to produce the most efficient delivery routes. After that, it calculates the output based on the time, distance, and location.

You’ll save time on the road and be able to get to all of your locations faster.

Grows Productivity

It’s a given that your company will have various jobs to complete on a daily basis. However, in order to complete such activities, a list of locations will progressively grow, making it difficult for you to deal with the situation.

A good and precise route planner might assist you in overcoming such obstacles. Route planners now have more addresses and stops than ever before. Google Maps is a limited-featured route planner that operates on a stop-by-stop basis and simply shows you the path from source to destination.

Route planning software allows you to travel to 20, 50, or even 100 locations in a single day by taking into account a variety of parameters such as time constraints, the number of stops, and even stop alterations.

The route planner’s key responsibility is to ensure that your company reaches all of its goal points and to properly manage stops based on your location.

It’s Safer

Consider the following scenario: you’ve dispatched your drivers to reach their destination with no means of navigation. As they must deal with new routes, severe traffic, road closures, and road diversion, they will lose a significant amount of time driving, effort, and, most significantly, stress.

As a result, worried drivers are more likely to take risks on the road, endangering themselves and others. Safety is the most important part of your organization, and it may be achieved by following a well-defined path.

You and your drivers may simply predict the one route that is easy to use if you have adequate route planning. As a result, planning your shortest path to reduce hazards and optimize productivity potential becomes simple.

What are the Different Types of Route Planning?

Route planning is critical for company since it enables for faster and more precise delivery. Let’s go over some of the most prevalent types of route planning so you can figure out which one is appropriate for your company’s needs.

Real-Time Route Planning

Dynamic route planning allows you to swiftly locate and reroute assets. As a result, you may easily verify the vehicle’s whereabouts at any moment and assist your driver, particularly if they are caught in traffic or have a vehicle breakdown.

You can allocate another available vehicle to continue the delivery process with the help of dynamic route planning. When rerouting cars, you must consider a number of important elements, including the customer’s delivery (time) window and the drivers’ working hours.

Multiple-Stop Route Planning

You may efficiently arrange a delivery route with several stops using this type of route planning.

You can quickly construct routes for your delivery drivers and assign them to them. The beautiful thing about route planning software is that it figures out the ideal path and estimates delivery arrival times.

Open Path Routing

Open route routing is designed for enterprises that need to cover a large number of stops in a short amount of time. This routing is also used by third-party logistics (3PL) businesses that are not required to return to the depot after delivery.

The open path routing is used by food delivery companies. The rationale for this is that it allows them to complete deliveries more quickly.

Closed Path Routing

The basic Travelling Salesman Problem is closed path routing, which gives you a route plan in a U-shaped path. Simply put, it will assist your drivers in starting their journey from the depot and returning it to the final stop near the depot.

Distribution centres are an excellent example. It’s where the vehicles are loaded before making deliveries and where they must return at the end of the run.

Reverse Open Path Routing

In contrast to open path routing, planning will begin at the farthest station from the depot. The program will then build a route for your delivery driver to return to the depot.

This form of route is great for vehicles carrying a high load and can help you save money on gas. Furthermore, to conserve gasoline and money, the ideal alternative is to start from the closest stop to the depot.

The distribution plants, for example, employ this type of routing to simply collect products that need to be returned to the depot.

Depot-to-Depot Routing

Depot-to-Depot Routing is the ideal alternative for companies who need to arrange their delivery routes in an efficient way from one depot to another.

For cars that start with an empty/full load, this form of routing is the optimum option. The drivers are responsible for picking up/dropping off goods and delivering them to customers.

The distinction between route planning and route optimization is frequently misunderstood. To clear up any confusion, we’ve outlined the differences in the following section.

What are the Different Route Planning Methods?

A route can be planned in a variety of ways. It is determined by who you are and what your requirements are. Let’s start by dissecting the ways that some people are now employing.

Pencil and Paper

When you design routes with pen and paper, it takes a long time to study, create, and publish your drivers’ route directions.

Other important aspects to consider include traffic, weather, construction, client happiness, and availability. If you have a lot of customers and several drivers, it will take a long time.

This strategy is not recommended for firms that get multiple deliveries per day. Furthermore, this technology does not allow for map visualization.

Microsoft Excel (Spreadsheet)

Excel is a terrific piece of software that many companies have relied on for decades to tackle a variety of issues.

Many businesses use internal tools, such as CRMs, from which they can retrieve addresses and provide a route plan via a printout of a page. Excel, on the other hand, necessitates a great deal of manual work.

Excel does not allow for efficient route planning and optimization. You don’t even have a visual map. Of course, this makes it difficult to locate the next stop.

Google Maps

When we think about route planning, the first thing that springs to mind is utilizing Google Maps or Mapquest for driving directions. However, such programs have a restricted set of extra functions, and route optimization is not possible.

Google Maps provides a simple route with turn-by-turn navigation between two sites that may be used even if you have numerous deliveries scheduled for the day. In the satellite map or hybrid mode, this driving directions tool will provide you with a map, a road trip report, and driving directions (or routes) to various locations.

Route Planner Software or App

Why not use mobile apps in this technology age? There are several Route Planner Apps on the market today that provide fantastic solutions, and it is up to you as a user to investigate the features that best suit your needs.

These route planning apps are available for Apple (iPad or iPhone), Android, and PC, depending on your preferred platform. Most apps provide a free trial period.

Routes, route summaries or overviews, itineraries/driving directions, routes, route alternatives that may apply to you, addresses, map options, and the rest of the optimization features are all provided by great apps like EasyRoutes.

Of course, as a business, you’ll want to collect the email address during the subscription process, and the software will assist you in doing so, whether on your website or elsewhere.

Who Should Use Route Optimization and Route Planning Software?

Companies that supply services or items that require one or more stops to reach their destinations can benefit from route planning software. The following are examples of firms that employ routing software:

  • Courier services for small businesses
  • Delivery of food or meals
  • Stores that sell things
  • Delivery of flowers
  • Delivery of alcoholic beverages
  • Laundry/Cleaning in the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industries
  • eCommerce for field sales

Example of Route Planning Software: EasyRoutes

EasyRoutes is a route planning software that not only saves time but also helps you fulfill more orders and grow your business. You can arrange all of your delivery routes efficiently and streamline your delivery operations.

EasyRoutes is route planning and optimization software that can assist your company in a variety of ways, including:

  • Tasks related to route planning should be automated
  • Easily save hours of weekly planning time
  • Reduce the amount of work in the back office
  • Plan routes quickly, either on the spot or in advance
  • Plan multiple routes for multiple drivers at the same time
  • Back-end integration is seamless
  • Additional orders can be imported through spreadsheet
  • Duplicate the stops and routes

If you have any questions about route planning after reading the thorough information, we offer frequently asked questions in the next part.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How will you use route planning to save time while arranging delivery routes?

Route planning may easily automate the route creation process by employing route optimization software. The routes are developed in seconds, and you can analyze and plan for the next available delivery routes as a result.

Which route planner app is the best?

Google Maps — For a variety of uses
EasyRoutes is a service for delivery companies.
Field salesmen will benefit from Badger Maps.
RouteXL is a delivery service.
MapQuest is a great resource for road vacations.

What are the advantages of cutting route planning time in half?

If you have less time to plan, you’ll have a better chance of achieving a lengthier order acceptance deadline.

What is the procedure for route planning?

The following are the steps that must be followed:

Step 1: Addresses: Make a list of all the sites or stops you’ll be making.
Step 2: Requirements in addition to the above: If you’re making a delivery, for example, you’ll need to know where to leave the merchandise.
Step 3: Plan and Optimize: At this point, you’ll want to use a route planner to figure out the ideal path for you. A competent route planner will take into account all of the important routing details.
Step 4: Put it into action: You’re all set to go now! Step 4: Put it into action: You’re all set to go now!

What is the difference between static and dynamic routes?

Static routes (master routes) are those that have a set timetable. Regardless of how many orders you have on a given date, the sequence of stops remains the same. Dynamic routes, on the other hand, are fully dependent on the orders and amount.

What is the difference between route planning and scheduling?

Route planning improves workloads and worker availability by taking into consideration factors such as vehicle capacity limits, journey time, and transportation costs, whereas scheduling optimizes workloads and labour availability.

Conclusion

Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of what route planning is and how it might benefit your logistics company.

We hope this saves you time, money, and effort in determining the optimal path for you. Furthermore, it enables you to travel from one area to another in the most effective method possible, analyze cost possibilities, and eventually move forward in your life and career.

Furthermore, EasyRoutes makes it simple for drivers to reach destinations with several stops, saving time and increasing business efficiency. The software solutions enable you to track drive time, spend less time driving, and deliver products on time to consumers.

About Roundtrip

Roundtrip's mission is to equip every business with the software tools they need to deliver products to their customers in a delightful way. Thousands of worldwide choose EasyRoutes to power their local deliveries across dozens of product categories, from meal kits and groceries to coffee, cupcakes, kibble, and so much more. Our easy-to-use route planning and delivery optimization app is certified Built for Shopify, a two-time Shopify staff pick, and the top rated local delivery app on the Shopify App Store.

"EasyRoutes' customer service goes above and beyond! The team is incredibly accommodating to every request and was always happy to troubleshoot. We've tried other delivery platforms in the past and EasyRoutes is hands-down the most intuitive, supportive and functional."‍
She Loves Me
Flower delivery in Washington, D.C. 🇺🇸
Designed to make deliveries easy