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Route Scheduling vs Route Optimization: Why Both Matter

Explaining the distinctions between routing, route scheduling, and route optimization in logistics, highlighting their importance in creating efficient and cost-effective delivery routes.

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Routing, route scheduling, and route optimization are all important steps in the process of building dependable and cost-effective routes.

Those three processes may appear to be the same, but each one, particularly route optimization, is a separate notion.

Knowing the difference between route optimization and routing/route scheduling will help you save money on gas, deliver more merchandise with the same number of vehicles, and improve the overall efficiency of your delivery operations.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences:

Table of Contents

  • What is “Routing”?
  • What is Route Scheduling and How Does It Work?
  • What is Route Optimization and How Does It Work?
  • Why Do Businesses Use Route Optimization?
  • What’s the Difference Between Route Optimization and Route Planning?
  • How to Use All Three Processes to Plan Routes
  • Conclusion

What is “Routing”?

Routing (also known as route planning) is the process of determining the best cost-effective path by minimizing the distance or time required to reach a set of predetermined locations.

Because of the increased competition and tight margins in the global market, routing is a vital function in logistics systems. Vehicle operation, fuel, labor, and maintenance all add up to a lot of money when it comes to transporting products and services.

What is Route Scheduling and How Does It Work?

Drivers are assigned shifts that conform to their working hours, and route scheduling is the process of designating an arrival and service time for each stop.

Routing and route scheduling have the same goal: to reduce your expenses, such as mileage and vehicle capital costs. However, there are other goals to consider.

In school bus routing and route scheduling, for example, the goal can be to reduce the total number of student-minutes spent on the bus. When it comes to food delivery, the goal is to meet the time frame that you promised to your consumers. Every industry has its own set of objectives.

What is Route Optimization and How Does It Work?

Route optimization is the process of developing one or more routes with the goal of lowering total costs while attaining the best feasible performance within a set of constraints and taking into account other routes with the same goal.

Why Do Businesses Use Route Optimization?

The goal of route optimization is to improve a company’s total route efficacy. One of the first stages of the route optimization process is route planning, which may be broken down as follows:

  • Defining route constraints and parameters;
  • Planning routes;
  • Dispatching routes;
  • Monitoring routing activity;
  • Auditing routing activity;
  • Improving planned routes.

What’s the Difference Between Route Optimization and Route Planning?

Route optimization, as opposed to route planning, takes into account other aspects including timetables, time limits, weight capacity, road limits, and so on. As a result, we can define route optimization as the process of resolving a difficult routing problem.

Route planning and route optimization are two words that are occasionally used interchangeably. However, because of the increasing complexity of route limitations and the real-world applications of route planning systems, the two concepts must be defined independently because they refer to different realities and practices.

How to Use Route Planning, Route Optimization and Route Scheduling to Plan Routes

To create the most effective routes, you must apply all three of these processes; yet, if you design your routes manually, employing all three methods is extremely meticulous and time-consuming.

What is the reason for this?

To begin, you must first map out each and every stop. This shouldn’t be too difficult if you only have a few stops to visit in a day. However, if you have a lot more stops, don’t make any plans for later. For a while, you’ll be glued to your computer.

Then you must figure out how long it will take you to visit each stop. There are numerous elements to consider in this situation, including traffic conditions, distance traveled, and potential interruptions along these routes. How will you account for everything?

Finally, you must determine which routes will allow you to reach all of your stops in the fewest amount of time (the shortest route in terms of distance isn’t necessarily the quickest, adding to the confusion) and distribute each route to your drivers in a clear and understandable manner.

Whew, just thinking about all of that makes a man fatigued.

The worst part about this procedure is that it is so laborious that it is easy to lose track of time and make a mistake. Hours of labor could be ruined as a result of this.

GPS systems can assist you in keeping your drivers on track, but they are not without problems. They don’t let you adjust a route once a driver has left the depot, so there’s not much you can do if anything comes up at the last minute.

Using Google Maps for traffic updates is also beneficial, but it just shows current traffic conditions and does not forecast future traffic.

That is why routing optimization software is required.


With EasyRoutes, you’ll be able to plan routes that are 100 percent optimal and correct in real time. Simply select your orders and the amount of routes you require, and we will provide you with the optimal selection of routes for your needs. You’ll also be able to adjust routes on the fly. You’ll save time and earn more money as a result.

A delivery route planner can also assist you in managing multi-drop and multi-depot assignments by factoring in a variety of constraints that are crucial to guaranteeing better routes and more timely deliveries, such as time frames, driver hours of service, avoidance zones, and turn limits.

Get EasyRoutes on the Shopify App Store
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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 Shopify merchants 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.

"This app save us hours in a day in how we run our delivery schedule compared to the old traditional ways.. Because this app runs so smoothly with our back end, we were have acquired our own drivers which was never part of our business plan - in result has saved us $$$."
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