Shipping and transportation 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 the 2022 CSCMP State of Logistics Report, business transportation costs increased by 21.7% in the previous year.
So how can you keep up with the demand for last-mile delivery while keeping your costs in check? The answer is route management, which we'll break down in this article.
Route management increases logistical efficiency by maximizing the number of deliveries, improving customer service, and minimizing costs.
Want to skip ahead? Here’s a table of contents:
- What is Route Management?
- Benefits of Route Management Software
- Route Management Challenges
- How Route Management Software Streamlines Delivery Operations
- Route Management Use Cases
2. Asian Veggies
3. The Guardsmen
What is Route Management?
Route management is the act of making your delivery operations as efficient as possible. This typically involves using route optimization software to ensure things run smoothly at a street level.
Route management aims to minimize travel mileage and fuel costs by optimizing routes for drivers. This helps improve overall efficiencies for last-mile delivery companies or any business that uses drivers, fleets, or couriers.
Benefits of Route Management Software
Using a route management system has many benefits, including:
Reduce fuel costs
Route optimization software is a huge time-saver, allowing you to plan the most efficient routes instantly. This means drivers spend less time on the road, and you spend less money on fuel. 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 optimization software helps you instantly and automatically create optimized 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 you’ve promised to customers.
We won't say this is impossible to do manually, but we can confidently say it would take a long time.
Increase delivery count
Route management software helps you increase deliveries without over-scheduling your drivers or annoying your customers with inaccurate delivery time windows and late deliveries.
Using route management software will alert you if you need more drivers to complete scheduled deliveries.
Boost customer satisfaction
Just like you want to know where your drivers are, customers want to know where their parcels are.
Route management software updates you and your customers on a driver’s whereabouts. And with Onfleet, customers and drivers can communicate securely within the mobile app should any questions or complications arise.
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:
Onfleet doubles as real-time driver tracking and visibility software, benefiting both the customer and you!
You can proactively communicate about delays, which reduces the number of support calls to your contact center.
Make drivers happy
Your drivers will love optimized routes because they won't need to worry about getting stuck in traffic or working late to finish their routes. Plus, using a route management app requires no special training — drivers can begin using it immediately on their smartphones. And when drivers are happier, you’ll have less turnover.
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.
Manually planning routes is time-consuming and can become unmanageable as your company grows. 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 or the number of vehicles in your fleet.
Systems and processes that lack agility
Another challenge with manual route planning is the inability to pivot quickly when the unexpected happens — like poor road conditions or a weather-related warning.
The right software can help your team respond to changes in real-time by automatically adjusting routes and updating delivery instructions, if necessary. This means your drivers won’t be scrambling to figure out what to do.
How Route Management Software Streamlines Delivery Operations
Here are the key ways route management software can improve your delivery operations:
Automate route planning
A route management system instantly and automatically plans the most efficient routes based on the number of stops, delivery time windows, driver working hours, vehicle capacities, and more.
Visualize delivery routes
Drivers shouldn’t need to decipher their routes. By mapping the routes rather than just listing the stops, route planning software shows drivers exactly where they need to go.
For example, Onfleet will factor in variables like time, location, traffic conditions, and vehicle capacity to map out the most efficient routes for your couriers. If anything unexpected occurs (like a roadblock, flat tire, etc.), Onfleet can re-optimize routes instantly and send real-time updates to 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, telling them exactly when and where to go, create a map of their route, and include any other instructions they’ll need along the way.
Track delivery metrics
Delivery metrics are essential for continually improving route management.
Most route management software includes reporting capabilities, so you can see which areas need improvement to lower costs and increase profits. A route management system should also allow you to run reports, download them, or easily export them.
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
Provide customer updates
With Onfleet, you can send your customers automatic status updates when their delivery has started and 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.
Route Management Use Cases
Onfleet customer MetroSpeedy manages last-mile deliveries for urban areas. Headquartered in Manhattan, with a satellite location in Washington DC, MetroSpeedy uses eco-friendly scooters, bikes, and delivery tricycles to make multiple fast stops.
MetroSpeedy uses Onfleet for route management to ensure deliveries arrive on time, regardless of traffic conditions.
Asian Veggies, a next-day-delivery grocery company that launched in April 2020, was manually planning routes in its service area across the New York City-New Jersey metro area. The founder was spending up to 1.5 hours a day on route management before partnering with Onfleet. Using Onfleet, they reduced route management time to just 15 minutes per day.
San Francisco non-profit The Guardsmen sells Christmas trees every year to raise funds for its programming. Initially, The Guardsmen didn’t offer delivery, but as demand for the trees grew among downtown businesses, the organization began delivering trees to customers.
Manual route management was complicated and inefficient, and delivery times were unpredictable. But after partnering with Onfleet, The Guardsmen was able to manage its all-volunteer fleet remotely and trigger accurate delivery notifications for customers.
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.