Can last-mile delivery logistics solutions really help simplify the notoriously complicated (and pricy) last-mile delivery? In short - they sure can!
How Food Delivery Route Optimization Lowers Costs & Raises Efficiency
In this blog, we’ll show you the must-haves of food delivery route optimization to save more time and money, and provide an unparalleled experience.
In the post-COVID era, food delivery has become one of the fastest growing industries worldwide.
In fact, it’s predicted to grow to a staggering $320 billion by 2029.
If you’re in that business yourself, that’s excellent news… But it’s also kind of bad news at the same time.
On the one hand, there’s plenty of opportunity for making lots of money.
On the other, the competition has never been fiercer than today as everyone wants a piece of that pie.
As a natural consequence of such a competitive market, customers have ever-growing expectations and demands, so if you blunder once, it’s not very likely it will be forgiven and forgotten that easily.
That’s why route optimization - among other things - is one of the absolute staple points for every half-decent delivery service.
In this blog, we’ll show you the must-haves of food delivery route optimization you need to get optimal results, that is:
- Save more time and money;
- Provide customers with an unparalleled experience at the same time.
- There’s never been a higher demand for food delivery services, but that goes for customer standards, too, making it harder to stand out from the competition
- Food delivery route optimization can help businesses achieve maximum efficiency while minimising their expenses
- Simple route optimization isn’t enough anymore - as customers expect more nowadays
- Finding a route optimization solution that also provides you with tools that increase your efficiency and overall customer satisfaction is pivotal for success
- eLogii is the perfect example of a solution that encompasses all the features needed for overcoming the challenges food delivery services are facing
Why is food delivery route optimization important?
First things first - you might be wondering what makes food delivery route optimization crucial for your business.
Food delivery is one of the trickiest types of last-mile delivery, as it is almost without exception same-day delivery, especially in the B2C market.
Moreover, the standards and customers’ expectations have gone through the roof, thanks to companies that have been offering 10-minute deliveries up until recently.
In fact, 27% of people say they would be willing to pay extra for their food to arrive faster.
In addition, food is a very specific load, as it requires special conditions for storage and safe transportation. The vehicle’s temperature should be just right the whole way through, and careful driving is imperative.
After all, your customers wouldn’t be all that thrilled if they were served with sushi gone bad or other food leaking or spilling onto their order.
And as more than 84% of shoppers would be unlikely to use a service again after only one bad experience, imagine how much just one simple mistake could cost you.
How to best optimize your food delivery route?
So, what can you do to optimize your food delivery route and, at the same time, ensure maximum customer satisfaction?
Some of the solutions widely used in the past have become obsolete due to rising demands, standards and the sheer work volume.
Although you could technically use excel template sheets for managing your fleet or planning routes, they won’t do you much good in the long run. They’ll get increasingly more complicated and challenging to manage as your fleet grows.
Besides, they can’t really help with route optimization.
There’s also the option of using some older types of route tracking and optimization software.
However, although they were decent enough before COVID, since the market was much less competitive, they simply won’t do the trick anymore.
Today’s challenges require newer, more modern food delivery route optimization solutions that are more adept at tackling them head-on.
What does a food delivery route optimization solution need to include for optimal results?
Nowadays, the best food delivery route optimization solution has got to offer more than just finding the best route.
You have to go the extra mile – no pun intended – to stand out from your competition.
So, the contemporary food delivery route optimization software has to include features that enable:
- Route planning & optimization as the first step toward success;
- Achieving optimal efficiency, meaning you use your fleet to its full potential in the most economical way;
- Providing first-class customer experience that helps retain customers and attract new ones.
Let’s look into each of these categories.
1. Route optimization & planning
This category includes options that are supposed to help you easily plan and find the best route every single time, no matter how big your fleet or the distance.
Several functionalities are crucial for achieving this.
The point of route planning and optimization isn’t just calculating the best route in a sort of a vacuum, that is, independent of unexpected events, such as:
- Traffic jams
- Weather conditions, etc.
Being able to track routes live and gain insights into all the possible changes that affect the ETA is crucial for further planning, adapting, and keeping your customers in the loop about the whereabouts of their orders.
Doing all that manually, even with the best GPS at hand, is simply impossible, especially when you have more than just a few vehicles to manage.
That’s why a solution like eLogii can help you stay at the top of the game at all times since it can do exactly that - provide you with real-time info on the locations of your drivers and vehicles instantly, in addition to always finding the optimal route for any given delivery.
eLogii also quickly adapts to unforeseen circumstances and makes sure to find the new optimal route and recalculate the ETA for all your vehicles.
You can also add all the necessary changes manually, for example, change the order of deliveries, or add or remove them, as eLogii’s dispatching feature doesn’t have to be fully automatic. It can be fully manual or somewhere in between - whatever suits you best in a given situation.
Moreover, when finding the optimal route and calculating ETAs, eLogii will take into account things such as drivers’ breaks or the time needed to pick up or drop off deliveries, among other things.
That way, the route you’ll be provided with will really be the best.
Interested in trying out eLogii’s route optimization features firsthand? Book a demo, and we’ll provide a custom-tailored experience of eLogii in action.
Being able to easily import and customise tasks and have a clear real-time overview can often be crucial for route optimization.
With eLogii, you can manually add and create tasks for urgent or last-minute requests, bulk upload tasks using its smart CSV import tool, or connect via API with any other system.
Moreover, you can set a task priority ranging from 0 to 100, where a score of 100 means it’s a task of utmost importance.
That way, the ones with the highest priority will be considered when optimizing routes so that they can be taken care of first.
Failed tasks workflow
Let’s face it - failed deliveries happen much more often than we’d like.
In fact, 5.6% of all UK deliveries fail on the first attempt, which means lots of unnecessary costs for you.
So, the best food delivery route optimization solutions will allow you to set up failed tasks workflows your drivers can act by in the unfortunate occurrence of a failed delivery.
You could, for example:
- Rearrange the route to allow later attempts;
- Set up rules for leaving deliveries in a safe, alternative location;
- Or simply allow returning the delivery to depot.
Versatile routing options
Many platforms can take care only of simple route planning at best.
Some others, like eLogii, can give you a hand with much more, including:
- Handling both single and multi-depot operations;
- Setting up custom start and endpoints;
- “Return to depot” functionality for drivers to reload mid-route;
- Advanced geocoding to prevent ending up stuck in a sideway street, etc.
2. Optimal efficiency
The features that fall in this category are the ones that help you make the most of the resources you already have in the most economical way possible.
This is an essential type of functionality for growing businesses that don’t want their costs to soar linearly as they scale.
Some of the features that can be of most use include the following.
Setting up vehicle configuration
This feature is a must-have for food delivery for one simple reason.
Customers expect their food to arrive fresh, unspoilt, hot, cold, or frozen - depending on the type of food they’ve ordered.
That means that you have to match just the right type of vehicle with a certain kind of load every time.
For example, the vehicle should, in some instances, have refrigerating capabilities or a specific load capacity for bulkier items.
Setting up your vehicles’ type, capabilities and capacity in eLogii will enable you to easily match any load with just the right vehicle for optimal performance.
That way, you’ll save lots of time and prevent any mistakes that are inevitable when there’s a human factor involved in complex logistics operations, especially when you have a large fleet with lots of different vehicles.
Creating drivers’ profiles for easier management
The principle is the same for both drivers and vehicles of your fleet.
Sometimes, a particular type of load, or a very tricky route, requires vehicles with special capabilities as well as drivers with a certain skill level necessary to tackle those demands head-on.
Once you set up your drivers’ profiles in eLogii, you’ll get a clear and comprehensive overview of all the essentials regarding their skills.
Moreover, you’ll easily keep track of their availability since you can include their working and breaks schedules in the general view.
Setting up the drivers’ profiles option will ensure that your delivery is always handled by the one driver most adept at taking care of it in the most efficient way.
Seamless communication between base and drivers
Another must-have when aiming for food delivery route optimization is having frictionless communication between the drivers and your dispatcher.
That way, both base and drivers will always be up-to-date with any possible changes, cancellations, needs for rerouting or new tasks that have come up.
eLogii’s Driver App will allow you to always keep in touch with your fleet.
By using it, you can do things like:
- Notify drivers on important matters via push notifications;
- Allow drivers some degree of task customisation and reordering, so they’re not limited by the pre-set order when it’s clearly not the most optimal choice;
- One-click-dial drivers and enable them to do the same with customers and support teams and vice-versa.
3. Customer satisfaction
Last but not least, customers should always be the focus of your business since everything depends on their satisfaction and readiness to use your services further.
That’s why a good food delivery route optimization solution should always provide the following features.
Keeping customers informed
Keeping your customers in the loop about their order’s status and location is something you can’t do without nowadays.
The best way to do that is by providing real-time notifications on ETA, including recalculations of ETA in case of on-route changes.
With eLogii, you can send both email and SMS notifications or go with one of the two, depending on your customers’ preferences.
Moreover, you can always allow live on-the-map delivery tracking, so your customers can access the information on their delivery’s whereabouts whenever they want to.
One major part of ensuring a good customer experience is confirming Proof Of Delivery (POD).
A wide choice of POD collection methods is something you shouldn’t leave out from the overall customer experience.
That way, each customer can opt for the one that best suits their preferences.
eLogii comes with a wide variety of POD methods, including:
- Barcode scans;
- QR scans;
- Cash-on-delivery confirmation.
These are all collected on drivers’ phones via the mobile app, which time- and geo-stamps the POD automatically for complete traceability.
Enabling customers to easily provide feedback on your services is vital for two main reasons:
- You’ll gain valuable insights into what, if anything, needs improvement;
- You’ll show your customers that their opinion matters to you.
Your customers will be automatically sent SMS messages or emails linked to a web-based app that allows them to rate the overall service and leave a comment if they like.
And since it requires no more than a couple of clicks to access the app and give their rating, customers will be much readier to leave feedback than they would if it required a more complex process.
As always - simple everything down whenever you can, and your customers will thank you for it.
The bottom line
As we’ve shown you, there are quite a few boxes you’ll want ticked regarding food delivery route optimization.
So, not considering food delivery route optimization will cost you a lot - maybe even your business in the long run.
Finding the right solution is of pivotal importance if you want to stay afloat in the sea of other food delivery companies and see a significant ROI in the near future.
Just make sure that the solution in question can help with more than just route optimization, but will also give a hand with:
- Ensuring your customers are satisfied with you every step of the way;
- Finding a way to use your fleet - both drivers and vehicles alike - to the best of its capacity.