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Route Management: What It Is & How It Streamlines Delivery Operations
7 min read

With the rise of e-commerce, shipping costs are higher than they’ve ever been for businesses as they scramble to keep up with the rapidly increasing demand for both deliveries and speed.

According to last year’s CSCMP’s State of Logistics Report, the cost of logistics rose to a record-breaking $1.652 trillion annually, an increase of 11.4%.

The report also found that COVID-19 has only accelerated the already expeditious growth in e-commerce.

So what can you do to keep on top of this demand while keeping your costs in check? The answer is route management—which is what this article is all about.

Route management helps drive logistical efficiency by maximizing the number of deliveries while minimizing fuel expenditure and driver costs.

Want to skip ahead? Here’s a table of contents:

  • What is Route Management?
  • Benefits of Route Management
  • Route Management Challenges
  • How Route Management Software Streamlines Delivery Options
  • MetroSpeedy Manages Urban Delivery Routes

What is Route Management?

Route management is the act of making your delivery operations as efficient as possible. This typically involves the use of route optimization software, used to ensure things are running smoothly at a street level. It does this by monitoring driver behavior and truck activity to determine that the optimized routes are being correctly followed and safe driving is being practiced.

The purpose of route management is to minimize travel mileage and fuel costs by providing drivers with optimal routes. This helps improve overall efficiencies for delivery companies or any business that uses drivers, fleets, or couriers.

Benefits of Route Management Software

Using a route management system has a whole lot of benefits, including reducing costs thanks to its ability to create the most optimal routes.

According to ABI Research, the cost savings from using route management tools could be well over 12% in profitability and 13% in vehicle utilization, with a 15% decrease in travel time.

Keep reading to learn more about the different benefits of using route management software.

Reduced fuel costs

Route management software is a huge time-saver as it allows you to plan routes that are as efficient as possible, instantly. This means that drivers can spend less time on the road, resulting in reduced fuel usage and cost.

In fact, an optimized delivery route can save you 20% to 40% on fuel and drive time.

Plan complex multi-stop routes

Unlike your basic GPS app, route management software helps you instantly and automatically generate optimal travel routes,  no matter how many stops you need to make. It does this while also considering variables like vehicle capacity,  available drivers within specific hours, and the different delivery time windows that have been promised to customers.

We won't say this is impossible to do manually, but we can confidently say it would take a long time.

Increased delivery count

Route management software lets you make more deliveries by putting together more efficient routes without over-scheduling your drivers and risking burnout,  or annoying customers with inaccurate delivery time windows and late deliveries.

By optimizing your routes, route management software makes sure that service time won't be impacted by letting you know when you need more drivers to get the desired amount of deliveries done.

Faster delivery times

Optimized routes are faster routes. It’s as simple as that.

Increased customer satisfaction

Just like you want to know where your drivers are, customers want to know where their parcels are.

Route management software can provide both you and your customers with real-time updates on driver’s whereabouts, meaning delivery times are always accurate. With Onfleet, customers also have the ability to talk to their driver directly, just in case.

According to a report by Eye for Transport, these are the most popular items customers ask for when asked about their delivery expectations. “Full visibility” ranked as the top ask.

Delivery customers are asking for visibility and efficiency in their delivery services

Onfleet, doubles as real-time driver tracking and visibility software, benefiting both the customer, and you!

For example, if one of your drivers gets delayed for whatever reason, this will be visible in real-time to both your company and the customers affected, and the amount of delayed time will be added to the original estimated delivery time, keeping it accurate.

This also reduces the number of support calls to your contact center as customers are able to self-serve themselves the information they need.

Increased driver satisfaction

Your drivers are going to love optimized routes because it'll mean that they don't need to worry about getting stuck in unexpected traffic and not getting all the deliveries done or completed late. And happier drivers mean happier customers!

Route Management Challenges

Route management isn't easy, no matter how big or small your company and delivery operations are. There are a lot of factors involved that are subject to daily (and hourly) changes.

Here are a couple of the biggest challenges.

Multiple routing variables

If you're planning your routes manually, you know about the sheer mass of information you need to consider—available drivers, service areas, vehicle capacities, and delivery time windows, to name a few. And the more stops involved in these routes, the more complex they become.

Quite frankly, planning optimal routes is nearly impossible. Not only is it extremely time-consuming, but we’re only human, meaning we make mistakes. Unfortunately, in this case, these mistakes mean wasted time and money, not to mention any ripple effect they may have on your drivers and customers.

Like we mentioned earlier, route management software solves this challenge by doing all the tedious work for you and generating the best possible routes instantly, regardless of the number of stops.

Systems and processes that lack agility

Another challenge with manual route planning is the inability to pivot quickly when unexpected changes happen like poor road conditions or a weather warning.

Without route management software, you won’t be able to let your drivers know in real-time about these changes. When you do let them know, they’ll need to figure out which route to take instead which is time-consuming, especially if more than one route or driver is affected.

With the right software, your team can respond to changes in real-time and receive automatically adjusted routes based on the new circumstance. This means your drivers won’t be left scrambling trying to figure out what to do next when changes do happen.

How Route Management Software Streamlines Delivery Operations

Here are the key ways that route management software can help make your delivery operations run more efficiently, lower operational costs, and generate more revenue.

Automate route planning

Like we mentioned earlier, route management software will instantly and automatically plan the most optimal routes based on all the different factors that you want it to consider. This includes the number of stops,  unique delivery time windows, driver working hours, vehicle capacities,  and more.

Visualize delivery routes

Drivers shouldn’t need to have to look at a route and spend extra time deciphering what it means. By visualizing the routes rather than using text lists, drivers can tell at a glance exactly where they need to go.

Onfleet’s route optimization feature.

Onfleet’s route optimization feature

For example, Onfleet will factor in variables like time, location, traffic conditions, and vehicle capacity to map out the most efficient routes for your delivery trucks. If anything unexpected comes out (like a roadblock, flat tire, etc.), routes can be re-optimized instantly and real-time updates sent out to the affected drivers.

This also eliminates a lot of the admin work for delivery managers.

Automate driver dispatch

With route management software, delivery managers can set rules to automatically assign deliveries based on proximity and route distance. The software will then dispatch drivers automatically, telling them exactly when and where to go, a visual of their route, and any other instructions they’ll need along the way.

Onfleet’s dispatch interface

Onfleet’s dispatch interface

Tracking delivery metrics

Tracking delivery metrics is essential to continually make improvements to your delivery operations and ensure they stay as efficient as possible.

Most route management software comes with built-in reporting capabilities, so you can see exactly which areas need to be improved to lower costs and increase profits.

For example, Onfleet can help you monitor the following KPIs and segment the data by team, driver, day, week, and hour of the day.

  • On-time rates
  • Service times
  • Successful deliveries
  • Customer feedback ratings
  • Idle time
  • Drop-offs per pickup
Onfleet advanced analytics dashboard

Onfleet advanced analytics dashboard

Provider customer updates

With Onfleet, you can send your customers automatic status updates when their delivery has started, as well as delivery ETAs, through text message. The platform also allows customers to communicate with drivers, dispatchers, and call centers, empowering your team to problem-solve in real-time.

With Onfleet, customers will receive automatic status updates when a delivery has started.

MetroSpeedy's specially designed cargo tricycles
MetroSpeedy's specially designed cargo tricycles

MetroSpeedy Manages Urban Delivery Routes

Onfleet customer, MetroSpeedy manages multiple, same-day deliveries for urban areas. Headquartered in Manhattan, its delivery team relies on eco-friendly vehicles such as scooters and bikes as well as specially designed delivery-tricycles built for multiple, fast stops. In order to meet the promise of same-day delivery, MetroSpeedy harnesses the power of route optimization to make the most of every New York minute.

Improve Your Route Management Today

If you don’t have one already, you should now have a good idea of the benefits of route management software and what to look for in your future app.

Using the right route management software and technology will be invaluable in your overall delivery service and fulfillment strategy.

Want to learn how Onfleet can help? Get in touch with our sales team or start your 14-day free trial today.