In this article, we take a look at the many benefits of the route optimization app.
Route optimization apps are both tools and personal assistants for everyone involved in last-mile delivery.
Among other things, you’ll see how a good app can:
So, let’s get started.
It can’t get more straightforward than this. But let’s take a step back.
One of the main reasons humans are reshaping the world (for better or worse) is because we are able to use tools.
Aeons ago it was a wooden stick, today it is a small metal box… A small metal box that can practically think for itself.
Why do we use artificial intelligence? Why do we develop software?
For all our abilities to construct something as complex as a personal computer, human brains are limited in many ways.
On the other hand, machines still cannot differentiate between bicycles and cars on a picture when Google asks them to.
But ask a machine what’s the best and most efficient way to mapping multiple stops, and in a matter of seconds, a program can give you the answer.
Together, humans and AI make a pretty good team.
So, let’s get back to the most obvious benefit of the route optimization app - optimization itself.
Any larger company can have dozens of deliveries per driver while also having dozens of drivers.
Optimizing routes saves time and fuel first and foremost.
Less fuel consumed means less mileage, which means that the delivery fleet is in better shape.
The world’s leading companies save hundreds of millions of dollars per year just by cutting the operating costs.
Any good route optimization app should have an efficient tool for making multiple stops.
Furthermore, it has to be quick to reroute the drivers when any modifications to the planned route happen.
All of this is done with precision and consistency that is impossible for a human being to do. (Regardless of experience or expertise)
That’s why one of the main benefits of route optimization software is, as the name suggests, optimization itself.
For the sake of an argument, let’s say that a human can optimize routes with multiple stops as efficiently as software.
Even if that was the case, a person can get tired, make a mistake, be late for work, get sick, or simply have a lunch break when something unexpected happens and drivers need help.
When using route planning apps instead of the human workforce, one of the main benefits is consistency and reliability. Along with the precision and the absence of human error.
That helps drivers because they know they can rely on their route optimization app to solve any of their problems at any time of the day.
No matter the amount of data they input into the software, or the number of modifications, a good app will always do its job in a matter of seconds.
This is of utmost importance because it enables drivers to focus on their driving.
There’s no additional stress of having to multi-task while trying to get to the destination as fast as possible.
More focus on the road means less chance of an accident, and there’s no need to explain why that is useful.
The benefits above lead directly to happier customers, which is one of the most important benefits of route planning apps.
In the end, it all comes down to customers, right?
Everyone wants their packages delivered on time and fast.
By making the drivers more efficient and by saving time, customers get the best service possible.
By making the fleet more durable, and travelling the least distance between the two stops, a company also builds trust through reliability with its customers.
On the other hand, a good app has to be available to the customers as well.
By having access to the app through their smartphones, customers can track shipments.
They can also change their requirements and interact with the company, and even with the drivers too.
More than ever, the state of delivery in time of the coronavirus has highlighted the needs of customers to be “in the loop” with the whole delivery process from the safety of their homes.
Just consider that Jeff Bezos saw his fortune almost double during 2020 thanks to Amazon fulfilment.
But that doesn’t mean your company can’t take advantage of the situation.
If you want to know how to compete with Amazon delivery, all it takes is to co-exist with them.
You don’t need to have a big fleet or a massive supply chain network with warehouses around the world.
What you do need to do is follow Amazon’s example, and provide a better experience to your customers.
So good communication with them has never been more important.
And with an efficient route optimization app, you can accomplish that.
Therefore, a good app should allow you to communicate easily internally and externally with suppliers and customers.
But also to collect customer data with electronic proof of delivery, and use it across the ecosystem.
The benefit of informing customers about their deliveries goes the other way, as well.
A good app should enable you to track sales trends indirectly through fulfilment.
If you can use it to provide information about the availability of some products to customers, it can do the same thing for the company as well.
This opens a whole new world of analytics that you can use to strategically plan the sales of your product line.
This also makes it a lot easier for you to plan and procure certain products and stockpile them in order to meet the oncoming demand of their customers. (Even when demand exceeds your capacity)
With flexible work hours (especially in 2020 during the pandemic), knowing the exact time of the delivery has become an increasingly important factor to customers.
This, of course, is only made possible with the use of software such as route planning apps.
That’s another benefit on the customer side of the spectrum.
Nowadays, people have busy schedules and often forget that they ordered something, especially if they regularly buy online. And more people do.
In fact, eCommerce sales grew by 30% in Q1 and Q2 of 2020 alone thanks to COVID-19. That’s 30% more deliveries worldwide.
So, having an app that can notify the customers about incoming deliveries can go a long way in avoiding any miscommunication, and any missed deliveries.
But even if something does come up, and the customer is unable to pick up the package, you should allow them to ask for a different delivery time.
Now imagine that a customer has to call some kind of call centre to reschedule a drop-off.
Usually, that would lead to some irritation among your teams (or at best a frustrated sigh).
But when all you need to do to rearrange a delivery is to click a couple of times on your cell phone, and all that without causing any stress to anyone, it makes things a lot easier.
A good app will have no problem rearranging deliveries, and drivers and dispatchers can plan the changes without a fuss.
In some instances, a driver may not even know his delivery plan has changed, especially if a customer’s delivery is due in a few hours or tomorrow.
It adds a whole new layer of convenience for everyone involved.
Speaking of drivers, a good route planning app gives them additional flexibility as well.
While also helping dispatchers seamlessly change their routes in real-time, the app also updates maps automatically.
For example, imagine if a road is closed for maintenance. Or a driver encounters heavy traffic on his route. You’d probably want to avoid that.
Route optimization apps can take care of this problem in two ways.
First, you can do it manually. A driver can input this data into the app, so dispatchers can immediately find an alternative route.
On the other hand, some companies are already using AI and connecting their route optimization apps to traffic monitoring systems.
Geocoding in combination with AI can update maps in real-time and close-off specific sections of the road if the traffic is heavy.
Another type of situation where it’s great for drivers is when some pick-up points have changed.
For example, that can easily happen when you’re used to planning multiple depot locations.
Apps make it easier to access some pick-up or drop-off points when you approach them using an adjacent street, especially if the drivers aren’t used to these new sites.
If your drivers make hundreds of stops per week, it’s easy for them to forget the last time they delivered to point A.
But the app doesn’t let them forget, as it already has the data for any future use.
We talked about modifying the routes on the go, and it’s all more or less a part of some logical requirements and needs.
But what about unexpected situations that you have no control over?
Something as trivial as a sick day can cause a lot of chaos if you’re unprepared to deal with it efficiently.
On the other hand, traffic accidents are a common risk factor with last-mile delivery.
U.S. Federal Highway Administration estimates that 21% of all road accidents are weather-related.
Now imagine your drivers having an additional responsibility of checking the weather every time they take the wheel.
Good software can take weather into account, especially when there is a long-distance delivery.
It can help avoid any additional unnecessary risks.
It may sound harsh, but customers DO NOT and SHOULD NOT care about all of this.
They may decide to switch to your competitor if you are unable to cope with unpredictable events.
Therefore, an app that allows you to easily react to any and all possible incidents makes for a powerful and useful tool.
And with route optimization software, you can:
There can be numerous reasons for a customer to change or even cancel their order.
These are not the usual additional requirements we mentioned above, this can be something that the customer really doesn’t have any real control over.
Therefore, these kinds of situations require special attention.
If a customer ends up satisfied after some unanticipated emergency, it can go a long way in regards to reliability and trust between the customer and the delivery company.
Therefore an app has to provide you with total visibility over all of your resources.
So, in the case when a customer has to cancel a delivery, you can instead delight customers by rearranging their delivery to a more convenient time.
Here are some of the best route optimization apps for iPhone or Android users:
The best route optimization apps are the ones that are not just available to you but are also easy to use.
No delivery or operations managers want to spend hours learning how to use a route optimization app. Nor do they want it for their dispatchers and other teams.
That’s why UI and UX are important. Without it, the app is too difficult to use.
So, the app you end up choosing has to be user friendly.
Of course, a route optimization app is not a simple tool, some training for your workers is normal so that they get used to it.
The provider should offer you some form of tutorial or a DEMO so you can get to know the app.
But everything should be kept as simple as possible to ensure the most efficient use of the software.
So, there you have it.
Our take on why you need a solid route optimization app.
The key takeaway here is that it can improve your delivery operation. But that’s not all.
Luckily we can help you with everything.
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. Our killer guide on how to choose the best route optimization software
3. How to leverage Route Planning Software to drive delivery excellence
5. How we crush customer experience with delivery management software
6. Where to find and how to choose delivery management software
8. How we dominate reverse logistics and eCommerce returns
9. How teams dominate remote work using nothing but Field Service Software
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