Route optimization

How to Plan a Route with Multiple Stops

How to Plan a Route with Multiple Stops

In this article, you’ll see how to plan a route with multiple stops.

You may even know this. And you may already be doing it.

But there are several ways of doing that. And some of them are not as efficient as others.

Here, we’ll explain all of them.

You’ll find out:

  • What are routes with multiple stops
  • Why it’s impossible to do it without software
  • What is multi-route planning software
  • Can you plan multiple stops with Google Map
  • Is there a better way to do it

So, if you want to know the best way to plan a route with multiple stops, you’ll enjoy the actionable tips in this article.

Let’s dive right in.

What are routes with multiple stops?

Routes with multiple stops are paths with driving directions for multiple destinations. The process includes putting them on the map in the most logical and practical order.

The destinations are based on a service or delivery order. Usually, it’s the customer’s home or office address. And the goal is to make the route efficient based on operational demands.

The orders and their destinations are typically uploaded to route planning software, which is used as a route planner with multiple stops.

Why is it impossible to map multiple stops without software?

It’s not hard to see how using software is changing businesses for the better.

Here, we’ll give you four key reasons why it’s impossible to plan a route with multiple stops without software.

Let’s take a look:

It wastes time and effort

If you are still manually planning routes, your employees have to sort and group orders using service areas or postcodes. And then, create delivery schedules for each route.

This process can last for hours. It’s also very frustrating.

That is often the reason why organizations rely on a professional route planner who has logistical expertise and a working knowledge of the geographical area.

This isn’t especially efficient. And it also leaves the organization vulnerable, if the planner is unavailable or leaves the company.

Technically, it doesn’t matter whether an individual or team plans routes for your business. These employees are wasting their time, effort, and skills on repetitive tasks.

You could use your employees’ potential more effectively if you assign them more meaningful tasks.

It can’t include dynamic routing

If you aren’t using automated route planning, it takes time for your employees to change delivery schedules and add new routes.

This means assigning new deliveries on the go is extremely complicated. Also, it takes a lot of time for drivers to make the trip to the supply depot.

All of this makes it hard for your company to provide fast delivery and makes you less competitive.

It can’t include real-time visibility

With manual route planning, losing track of deliveries on the map is a common situation.

The drivers can regularly check in, but you have to be able to locate everyone on the map to assign new tasks.

Besides, that’s a distraction for drivers on the road.

If anything unusual happens to the delivery or the driver, you can’t check what, why, or where it happened.

It can’t track the key metrics

If you want to manage deliveries more accurately, you need to track key metrics in delivery logistics.

Tracking KPIs manually is, again, a waste of time and valuable resources.

For example, drivers would have to keep track of fuel consumption by hand to calculate the cost of fuel consumption.

And if you own older vehicles the numbers are also very innaccurate.

After that, planners would have to process the data. And then, manually calculate the cost per delivery for every vehicle.

There’s a better way to do all of this:

What is multi-route planning software?

Multi-route planning software is a tool that maps out the most direct path from your starting point to each of your destinations in the most efficient order.

In simple terms, it helps you to create the fastest route to multiple locations.

For example, you can use GPS as a route planner with multiple stops. Many businesses use GPS devices to manage their supply chains and to track deliveries.

The biggest plus of multi-route planning software is that it creates the best routes for drivers for multiple drop-off locations automatically.

At the same time, it enables planners to map routes based on other factors besides distance that affect the efficiency of the route.

This can include both external and internal parameters such as order priority and time at drop-off, or traffic patterns and access points to destinations.

And that’s why using last-mile delivery software saves you money in a lot of ways.

Can you plan multiple stops with Google Maps?

Google Maps is another tool many organizations use to plan routes with multiple stops.

But is it any good?

Here’s what we know:

It works great as a navigation tool when you want to find the shortest path from point A to point B.

People often use Google Maps to plan trips and holiday itineraries. Or to find their way to a specific destination.

You can also add up to 10 destinations per route.

BUT, if you need to create multiple routes with multiple stops on Google Maps, it isn’t a good option.

That’s why companies that depend on delivery or transportation usually don’t use Google Maps.

Let’s take a closer look at why:

How to plan multiple stops with Google Maps?

As we said, you can plan routes with multiple stops using Google Maps.

The thing is - it works best if you’re planning a simple route.

The app calculates routes based on distance.

For example, if you choose five stops, it will reveal the shortest route between them.

It does show alternative paths. But typically, these aren’t as efficient as the suggested route.

Because of that, you might miss the most effective route.

If you want to find out how to add multiple stops with google maps, here’s the answer:

  • Click on “Add destination” and type in the address of a location you want to add
  • After that, Google Maps will automatically generate your new route.
  • Then, you can add another destination in the empty field below.

The problem of using Google Maps for route planning

There are several problems with doing route optimization using Google Maps.

The main problem is that the routes it creates sometimes aren’t the best route you can plan.

But also:

Google Maps can’t map multiple routes

If you want to plan a route for several drivers, you can only plan them separately. You have to plan one route at a time.

The app can’t rearrange stops efficiently

It arranges destinations from the nearest to the farthest.

You can’t create routes based on certain parameters

There is a Google Maps route optimization API that includes:

  • Directions API (directions that are in transit between two stops)
  • Distance Matrix API (calculates travel time and distance)
  • Roads API (determines a more accurate route)

But you have limited options. You have the option to connect it with a traffic tracking app, for example, but you have to plan the route manually, using the updates you got.

On the other hand, a route optimization software API allows you to connect it to many different third-party apps, such as delivery management software, supply chain management software, and others.

You can’t create an optimal stop order

As we mentioned earlier, Google Maps plans routes based on distance factors. So it’s better suited for small operations with a few fixed routes.

You can add only ten different stops per route

Yes, you can only add up to ten different stops per route with Google Maps. But is that enough?

As we know, coronavirus changed retail and delivery, so it wasn’t the best solution for most businesses during last year.

So…

Can you plan routes with multiple stops using Google Maps?

Yes, but it isn’t the best solution when it comes to delivery management.

There may be another way:

Is there a better way to plan a route with multiple stops?

Using route planning software is definitely a better solution than manually mapping routes when you need to plan multiple routes with multiple destinations.

So…

YES! There is a better way to plan a route with multiple stops.

And it’s called: route optimization software.

Route optimization software allows you to plan multiple routes which have multiple drop-offs or pick-ups. And it may be the best solution for managing and mapping routes at the moment.

The Route optimization software is a tool that can plan routes automatically. It helps you plan the best route for multiple stops for all of your drivers or vehicles.

At the same time, the planner calculates routes for the optimal time, fuel, delivery windows, and vehicle capacity.

It also takes into account other factors such as:

  • Types of roads
  • Traffic patterns
  • Number of road crossings or stop lights
  • Depot locations
  • Driver schedules.

As a result, you get the most efficient routes, which take your delivery service to another level.

Route optimization software improves customer service, as well.

For example, route optimization allows your customers to choose a specific date and time for their delivery.

And if you offer flexible delivery options to customers, they are more likely to choose you.

A survey about the future of CX showed that almost 80% of customers think that convenience is important, and 51% of them are willing to pay for it.

So, tracking, monitoring, and improving your delivery operations become easier than ever.

Top benefits of using route optimization software

Why is route optimization such a good tool for planning routes with multiple stops?

Here are the answers:

It increases the number of stops you can complete each day

Using route delivery software you can dispatch orders in real-time.

Your drivers can complete multiple stops during one route.

But if they have room in their schedules you can add new drop-offs and re-adjust the route, as soon as an order arrives.

That will make your employees satisfied since it takes a lot of time to change delivery schedules and add new routes without route optimization software.

Removes pressure from your teams

It’s easier for planners to create multi-stop routes based on drivers’ preferences and schedules.

Also, there’s no need for unnecessary communication among your teams.

The routing software automatically tracks deliveries and updates information to the delivery management platform.

Firstly, that makes it great for dispatchers.

They will spend less time adjusting routes and planning new drop-offs and pick-ups.

So they will be able to dedicate their skills and effort, getting better results on more important tasks.

Secondly, drivers won’t be frustrated because there’s no need to talk to dispatchers.

All they have to do is follow the delivery schedule via the delivery driver app on their phone.

You can plan routes with vehicle and driver limitations

Route optimization software allows you to add information about vehicles and drivers.

And that’s relevant when you want to plan the most efficient delivery routes.

That means you can add vehicle capacity information.

That way you can determine, for example, how many stops to assign to a vehicle.

You can assign some vehicles multiple-stop routes, while for others you won’t be able to due to the limited capacity. And the system will inform you of that.

Also, some vehicles and drivers are better suited to work in different delivery areas.

So you can link specific drivers to specific vehicles. Or choose which driver drops off an order to which location.

You can create delivery schedules based on order priority or task types

If your customers have delivery options, such as same-day delivery, you can’t use Google Maps.

That’s because fast fulfilment doesn’t rely on distance. It relies on speed, time, and efficiency.

So you’ll need to plan better delivery schedules and set order priority based on the type of delivery the customer chooses.

Route optimization software is a good solution for this, as you can input the data about the delivery itself.

It allows you to add order priority, timeframes, types of tasks, and other information you need for creating the optimal delivery schedule.

The software only then calculates the best multi-stop route based on all this data.

That way, it ensures on-time delivery, order accuracy, and other important factors.

You can have Real-time visibility

When drivers are on their routes, you can’t really see where they are or what they are doing.

You can’t track the performance of drivers and delivery progress.

And you can’t assign new tasks, or add new stops on the go.

For these types of situations, route optimization software is a real problem-solver.

It allows you to keep track of your drivers in real-time, tracking their location using geolocation or GPS.

The location of each driver is instantly updated into the system and shows up on the map on the screen.

Then, your team can easily track progress as the driver moves from one stop to another, on his multi-stop route.

Dispatchers can easily add new stops and tasks to driver schedules, and the system includes the new stop in the route.

Drivers can access changed routes using the driver app.

And because developers create route optimization apps for iPhone and Android devices, it doesn’t matter which one the driver uses.

The real-time managing options of route optimization software give you the possibility to assign deliveries and service stops as the orders for them arrive.

That way, it creates the best multiple-stop routes.

Want to start planning deliveries using route optimization software?

We can help you!

Here are the nine free guides that will show you exactly what we do to optimize the last mile and dominate delivery logistics.

1. What is route optimization? And why do you need it?

2. What’s the difference between Route Planning and Route Optimization

3. How to choose the best route optimization software for your business?

4. To centralize or not to centralize delivery: What’s the best approach?

5. Must-Read Books About Last-Mile Delivery and Why You Need to Read Them

6. Grocery Delivery Software: The Definitive Guide

7. How to scale delivery with Map Routing Software

8. How delivery management software cuts costs and saves you a LOT of money

9. How much does delivery management software ACTUALLY cost [Full Guide]

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