In this new post, we’ll take a look at manual planning.
You’ll see nine of the biggest reasons why it’s impossible to map multiple stops on your delivery routes without software.
In the end, you’ll understand why automation is the key to modern route planning. Plus, we’ll show you the best solution on the market.
Let’s get started. Here are the 9 biggest challenges to manually planning routes with multiple drop-offs:
Are you still planning manually?
You or your planners can spend hours mapping routes for drivers.
Even then, chances are you might miss finding the best possible route.
And you have to do it every single day, for every single driver.
The time you spend here could be better used elsewhere.
Manual planning is a complex task.
What seems optimal on the map is often very different in practice. So, not everyone is cut out for it.
Only professionals with a working knowledge of distribution, geography, roads, and the supply chain network can find the most optimal solutions.
Without them, it’s impossible to consider manually routing multiple stops and drop-offs.
Whether you have an individual or a team in place to plan your routes, their potential is being wasted on this manual, repetitive task.
And it can last for hours.
More often than not, route planners also have to sort and group orders based on service areas or postcodes. And then put together delivery schedules.
All of this takes even more time away from their workday.
Finding the best route is also frustrating work.
Burnout is a serious symptom of the job.
And that can cause professionals to leave their jobs - a potentially severe loss for your organization.
The time, effort, and skills these pros bring to the table would benefit your business more effectively if they were assigned more meaningful tasks.
For example, developing tactics to grow your delivery operations.
Without automated route planning, your pros need time to re-adjust delivery schedules and create new routes for drivers.
Technically, this makes it almost impossible to assign new deliveries on the go.
This makes you less competitive.
You are unable to improve the delivery offer to meet today’s standards, like same-day delivery.
What you are left with is trying to focus on your local delivery area.
But even then, you waste valuable resources trying to generate speed and neglecting other aspects of your operations, like drive time or fuel consumption.
So, even if your team can create a new schedule and routes, it will still take them at least an hour to do it.
Add to that the time it takes drivers to make the trip to your supply depot, and fast delivery becomes unsustainable.
With manual route planning, you can easily lose track of all the moving pieces on the map.
As soon as your drivers set off on their routes, you have no more control over them.
Unless dispatchers keep a constant tab on them, there is no way of knowing where your drivers are or what they are doing.
Even if you regularly check-in with drivers, it’s impossible to assign new tasks without locating everyone on the map first.
And since everything is dynamic, as soon as a call ends drivers have already moved on from their last-known location.
It’s a problem for drivers, too.
Not only does it make their assignments more complicated, but it can also distract them from the road.
That seriously raises the question of their safety.
If something happens to the delivery or the driver en route to drop-off, you have no way of knowing what, why, or where.
And that leads us to the next problem.
Mistakes can happen to any delivery.
But without a suitable software solution and visibility over the last mile, it is difficult to efficiently carry out returns.
Without automated reverse logistics capabilities, you have to manually correct those mistakes.
If the customer isn’t home, then the driver can simply return on his way back to the supply depot.
But if an item is damaged, you will have to:
All of this takes too much time.
During the wait, you risk losing the customers to frustration.
And since small businesses rely on service quality to know how to compete with Amazon, Walmart, and other giants, it’s a risk your company simply shouldn’t take.
As the size and complexity of your delivery grow, you will manage larger fleets, cover greater service areas, and handle more order volumes.
But without the use of technology, it’s difficult for you to use proven delivery tactics to grow your operations.
Instead of investing in software, you will either have to train or hire more planners both for existing sites and new service areas.
The larger workload and more staff also mean that the cost of payroll (and overhead) will go up.
And as a result, you will need even more capital to expand operations.
One of the biggest delivery challenges in eCommerce is cost.
Technically, there are also a lot of opportunities to save money through the optimization of last-mile operations.
But that requires you to track key metrics in delivery logistics.
With manual planning, this process is difficult.
In fact, keeping track of KPIs by hand can lead to more waste of valuable resources.
For example, if you have to calculate the cost of fuel, drivers would have to keep track of how much fuel their vehicles consume per route.
Depending on the type of vehicles in your fleet, those numbers might be imprecise.
Once they collect the data, planners can process the information for each vehicle and calculate the cost per mile or delivery
And this is only one key parameter you have to consider.
Free route planning software solutions are usually limited tools.
In most cases, you can only plan one route at a time.
And again, you have to input information by hand.
For example, if you use Google Maps, you can easily create routes from point A to point B.
But if you have to add more than one stop on your route, things become more complicated.
Plus, Google Maps can only support up to ten different stops per route.
Not to mention, it doesn’t automatically select the most efficient route. You will have to do that by hand, as well.
All of this is a challenge when you have to plan for dozens of routes with multiple destinations.
But there is an answer to all of these problems.
A multiple stop route planner is an optimization tool.
The main goal is to automatically create routes for drivers around dozens of drop-off locations.
At the same time, the planner adjusts routes for the optimal time, fuel, delivery windows, vehicle capacity, driver’s lunch breaks, and countless other factors.
Modern solutions map out these routes automatically at the click of a button.
And by adopting a cloud-first approach to delivery logistics, anyone on your team can access it from anywhere.
A user-friendly interface also cuts the learning curve in half.
That means that you won’t rely on a handful of pros to plan routes.
Instead, you can train a member from each team to use the software.
And within a matter of days, you can ensure that operations can continue without a hitch even when someone is out of the office.
The best part is that route optimization software is just one part of a larger ecosystem.
If you choose delivery management software, you can gain access to even more capabilities like:
But we’re here to help.
We have everything you need to start improving your delivery.
Here are the nine free guides that will show you exactly what we do to optimize the last mile and dominate delivery logistics.
1. The definitive and complete guide to Route Optimization Software
2. Why mapping multiple delivery stops is impossible without software
3. How to leverage Route Planning Software to drive delivery excellence
4. What is Delivery Management Software?
5. How we crush customer experience with delivery management software
6. Where to find and how to choose delivery management software
7. Delivery Management Platforms
8. How we dominate reverse logistics and eCommerce returns
9. How teams dominate remote work using nothing but Field Service Software
eLogii is an end-to-end cloud-based delivery management platform. Our powerful solution solves the biggest challenges of modern distribution and field service businesses, including: route optimization, planning and execution.
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