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The Issue with Route Planning Based on Postcodes

Examining the inefficiencies of traditional postcode-based delivery routes in the courier and online grocery delivery industries.

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Households are receiving more deliveries than ever before as a result of the rise of online shopping and the rapidly expanding takeaway delivery market. Indeed, since 2014, sales in the courier industry have increased by 62%, a figure that is expected to continue to rise exponentially over the next five years.

Meanwhile, the online grocery market is expanding, with average weekly sales having increased by more than doubling since 2010. While the courier industry is clearly thriving, with more demand than ever and no signs of slowing down in the future, delivery companies are stuck in the past when it comes to route planning.

Despite advancements in superior route optimization methods, delivery drivers are still assigned routes solely based on postal codes, which is arguably the most inefficient and ineffective method of route planning. So, what is it about postcode routes that makes them ineffective, and what alternatives are there?

What are the drawbacks of routes based on postcodes?

Drivers are usually given a postcode and are in charge of making all of the stops in that area. Sure, businesses can assign postcodes to each driver and call it a day, but does this make the driver’s job any more difficult?

These factors contribute to inequitable workload distribution. There is no guarantee that each driver will be assigned the same amount of work when packages are assigned to them solely based on their postcode. There may be more stops in one postcode than in another, resulting in a workload disparity that varies dramatically from day to day.

Companies are then faced with the dilemma of paying too much, too little, or unequally between two employees, among a slew of other issues brought on by the unpredictable nature of the job market.

The drivers have no idea when they’ll be finished

Drivers are unable to accurately predict when they will be able to return home due to the unpredictability of postcode routes.

Until a driver receives his or her route in the morning, he or she has no idea whether he or she will have a busy or quiet day. As a result, if their assigned postcode has a higher number of drops than usual on a given day, they will be forced to work later that day without knowing it until they arrive at work.

Knowing a postcode area like the back of your hand isn’t always beneficial

Although postcodes have the sole benefit of allowing drivers to become familiar with their surroundings, this can become a problem when a driver is absent for any reason or when a new driver is hired, causing routes to be reallocated and productivity to suffer.

Knowing the area well does not imply that you can always predict traffic – roadworks and accidents happen, adding to the journey’s unpredictability. Without the need to know the area like the back of your hand, routes optimized without the constraints of postal codes produce far better results.

These are no longer problems thanks to route optimization software

EasyRoutes, a multi-stop route planner, will assign deliveries to drivers automatically based on the most efficient route between stops.

Rather than circling the same neighbourhood with a constantly changing number of deliveries, drivers can avoid traffic and efficiently zip from point A to point Z with an optimized journey that considers far more than a postcode.

There is no need for manual work when using route optimization software to assign equal work to multiple drivers. Employers and drivers can rest assured that workloads and working hours will not differ significantly from one day to the next or from one driver to the next. While drivers may not become as familiar with areas as they would with more traditional delivery methods, route planners’ increased productivity far outweighs the minor advantage of familiarity.

EasyRoutes will soon allow drivers to share their local knowledge, reducing the value of having a thorough knowledge of a particular area.

Route Planning in the Future

Because the courier industry is expected to continue to grow at an exponential rate, it is self-evident that it will need to modernize and adapt in order to meet such high demand. Delivery companies may suffer as a result of outdated postal code-based routes and the problems that come with them.

When thinking about the future of delivery driving, it’s clear that using postcodes isn’t an option.

Learn more about EasyRoutes: Roundtrip.ai

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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 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.

"We have tried several route planners for our operation but this one by far is the best one we've used."
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