Route optimization

How to Use Routing Software to Drive Growth

How to Use Routing Software to Drive Growth

In this article, we’ll show you how you can use routing software to drive the growth of your delivery.

From automating forward and reverse logistics to proof of delivery, you’ll see how route optimization software benefits your delivery.

But that’s not all. We’ll also show you how routing software helps you grow your operations. Including:

  • Building an agile delivery
  • Multi-depot planning
  • Offering click & collect
  • Driving continuous efficiency
  • Handling more with less
  • And other growth strategies

So if you’re looking to raise delivery volumes while cutting the cost it takes to fulfill them, you’ll enjoy reading this article.

Let’s dive right in.

How do you benefit from routing software?

What is route optimization software? And how do you benefit from using it?

Simple enough questions, but the answer to them will determine whether you’ll actually choose to use it.

So in this part of the post, we’ll show you the top advantages of using route optimization software.

Here’s what you need to know:

#1 Automating forward and reverse logistics

The biggest benefit of route optimization apps is that they allow you to automate the entire delivery process.

This type of SaaS software is an end-to-end solution. It contains several modules which enable you to plan, manage, and execute virtually any activity associated with both forward and reverse logistics.

This includes:

  • Route planning and optimization
  • Scheduling deliveries and returns
  • Dispatching drivers and vehicles
  • Tracking orders across the last mile
  • Collecting customer data
  • Sending updates and progress reports

The software allows you to do all of this because it creates a dynamic environment where you manage all orders and returns.

So instead of manually planning routes and handling orders and returns days later, you can plan and schedule orders and return requests as soon as they arrive.

#2 Centralizing the supply and delivery chains

Another ability of routing software is that you can connect it to other apps which you use, thanks to API integration.

For example, you can integrate it with an order management system, like Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce. This allows the software to receive order requests and automatically change them into delivery tasks. So you can schedule drop-offs as soon as they arrive.

You can integrate routing software with supply chain and inventory management systems. But any other third-party software that you use, as well.

At the same time, the software itself is equipped to handle many different facets of delivery.

All of this means that you can rely on one dashboard to manage the entire delivery from one central point.

So the question of choosing route optimization software is the question of whether you want to centralize or not to centralize delivery.

#3 Optimizing routes and route planning

Route planning and optimization is the main feature of routing software. It enables you to automatically plan multiple routes with multiple stops for all of the vehicles in your fleet.

After the initial setup (where you customize vehicles, drivers, and depot locations), all you have to do is upload order requests and click a single button to create optimized routes for the entire delivery fleet.

Unlike manual route planning, using software is also more dynamic. The routes aren’t locked (although they can be). This means you can adjust them or add new stops even when the driver has already set off on his route (on the go).

At the same time, the software uses a lot more parameters to calculate the best routes than any type of mapping and routing done by hand.

So, besides distance, routing software also takes into account:

  • Types of roads (urban streets vs motorways)
  • Traffic patterns & traffic congestion
  • Number of road crossings per route
  • Tolls and checkpoints along the route
  • Roundabouts & road junctions
  • Crossing the line of traffic
  • Road conditions (closed roads, road works, etc.)
  • Weather conditions
  • And others

All of this means that you can plan the best delivery routes easily, quickly, and with greater cost efficiency than ever before.

#4 Smart dispatch and delivery scheduling

Centralized and automated route optimization also means you can plan better delivery schedules.

When calculating schedules, besides the date and time of delivery, you can also take into account:

  • Drive time (to destination)
  • Time at pick-up
  • Loading time
  • Time to find the address
  • Service time
  • Time at drop-off
  • And other factors

All of this means that you can create more precise schedules, while the software can provide you with more accurate ETAs.

Simultaneously, all of the routes and timetables don’t have to be printed out or handled by hand.

Instead, after your planners finish organizing the day’s routes and schedules, all of the information is automatically updated onto the Driver App.

Drivers can access the app via their phones, which means dispatch doesn’t have to be involved as much as it when you manually manage delivery.

#5 Order and fleet tracking in real-time

Typically, the best route optimization software you can choose is dynamic. It enables you to track orders and vehicles or entire fleets in real-time.

The software can do this thanks to geocoding, which allows it to connect with an on-board device.

Usually, the device is a phone or tablet. The system can use geo-targeting to locate the Driver App on a smart device and relay its location back to the control panel via the Internet (WiFi or mobile data).

But you can also connect the routing software with an on-board telematics system, and track the vehicle using GPS.

In both instances, the location of the vehicle is automatically uploaded to the system and visible on the main control panel.

Dispatchers can use that to send tracking links to customers or follow up on drivers’ schedules.

#6 Measuring and monitoring KPIs

Because it takes a cloud-first approach to delivery logistics, routing software can store multiple data from your activities, such as no. of orders and distance per route, time per delivery, etc.

The software can then analyze that information and generate key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the data.

This is what allows you to measure and monitor key metrics in delivery logistics.

You can use these KPIs to set benchmarks and goals, compare output against them, and evaluate performance with much greater precision.

Some of the KPIs you can measure and monitor include:

  • Order accuracy
  • On-time delivery
  • Drive time
  • Vehicle capacity vs availability
  • Average time per delivery
  • Average cost per delivery

If a KPI is lower than anticipated, you can find the reason more easily than manually searching the entire operation.

It’s also much simpler to make adjustments to operations. As you can easily track performance, and test it against previous output.

#7 Electronic proof of delivery

The best routing software has electronic proof of delivery (ePOD). This is a key capability when you want to streamline the drop-off process.

ePOD enables you to automate how drivers collect verification from customers.

Instead of manually filling out forms, field agents can use the Driver App on their smart devices to confirm a successful drop-off.

The routing app lets drivers collect POD using several different methods:

  • QR codes
  • Barcodes
  • Electronic signatures
  • Photographs
  • Order-specific PINs

Once collected, the system automatically uploads and stores the POD to the routing platform where dispatchers can access it.

This removes the need for manual reporting, which streamlines communication and makes it easier to track and monitor progress.

And when you have complete visibility over the last mile, it’s much easier to reduce waste and optimize operations. Which will invariably help you to grow your business.

How does routing software help grow your delivery?

In this part of the article, you’ll see exactly how routing software can help you grow your delivery.

You’ll see various delivery tactics to grow your operations such as:

  • Increasing the delivery offer
  • Raising operational efficiency
  • Reducing costs and expenses
  • Lowering time per delivery
  • Handling more with less
  • And much more

So, if you want to know what can routing software do for your business, here’s where you can find out.

Let’s start.

Helps build an agile delivery

Automating operations using routing software helps you achieve a key requirement of the modern last mile:

It helps you build an agile delivery.

Using technology initiates the agile transformation. But it touches all aspects of your business: people, processes, and structure.

And once you achieve it, you can improve the speed of delivery, decision-making, and many other activities that make your operations more dynamic.

Smart multi-depot planning

Not choosing the right depot sites across the last mile can significantly raise the time it takes to pick-up orders for delivery.

In fact, drive time to pick-up accounts for 18% of the total distance traveled by delivery drivers on average.

And when you plan routes around those depots as much as you do around drop-off sites, it’s vital to optimize those locations to reflect your actual last-mile operations.

Routing software helps you to plan multi-depot locations. You can use it to select the best pick-up sites for each route and reduce the drive time it takes to reach them.

And the less fuel vehicles consume at pick-up, the lower the price per delivery.

Streamline the supply chain

Routing software is an end-to-end solution. That means you can use it to manage and optimize the first mile, as much as the last mile of delivery.

Smart APIs (application programming interface) lets you connect with other apps that you use.

For example, order management systems, like Shopify and Magento for ecommerce or GrubHub and UberEats for food delivery. But also inventory management and telematics systems.

Managing all of these aspects of the supply chain enables you to maintain complete control over when, how often, and how many products you order from suppliers.

And then you can use the original routing capabilities to plan efficient pick-ups and drop-offs for them, regardless of whether you use an internal vs external delivery fleet.

Expand the delivery offer

Raising operational efficiency by automating last-mile delivery leaves a lot of room to expand your delivery offer.

On the one hand, routing software raises the speed of delivery, which opens up space for you to offer faster delivery options to customers, like next-day or same-day delivery.

But it also enables you to offer other on-demand fulfillment options:

  • Free delivery
  • Curbside pick-up
  • Fixed delivery
  • Click & collect

Offer click & collect

Here’s another thing you can do with routing software for small businesses: you can offer click & collect.

The state of delivery in time of the coronavirus has made contactless delivery essential if you sell products online and at the physical store.

Technically, click & collect allows customers to order products online and then pick them up directly at the store.

And when you can use one platform to manage the entire supply chain, you ensure that depots remain stocked. (Regardless of whether you require inventory for standard delivery or to supply your physical locations)

Raise route density

Route density improves the efficiency of your delivery by reducing windshield time.

With less time spent in a vehicle, drivers reach more stops. And when each driver handles more orders per route, the cost of fulfilling those orders goes down.

Of course, you can’t reduce the cost per delivery to zero. But you can minimize it enough that it becomes affordable for your business to offer free delivery to customers, for example.

Factor in different parameters

Routing software takes a granular approach to managing delivery logistics. You can go as much or as little into detail as you want, and optimize virtually every aspect of the entire operation.

You can optimize processes such as:

  • Route planning
  • Delivery scheduling
  • Depot planning
  • Fleet management
  • Driver management
  • Order management
  • Supply chain organization
  • And much more.

But you can also use third-party data to include additional parameters into your plans, as well.

For example, you can take into account distance, fuel consumption, and traffic when planning routes with multiple stops. And that makes it easier to generate more accurate ETAs, which ensures the timeliness and accuracy of each delivery.

Reduce cost per delivery

Route optimization software is a modular system. All of its various modules work coherently to optimize the entire delivery process across the last mile.

And when the only way to raise cost-effectiveness is to optimize delivery even the smallest of improvements can help you reduce the cost per delivery.

And as cut expenses, you increase the profitability. That makes it easier to offer same-day delivery to customers, for example.

Lowers time per delivery

The software can also integrate with third-party solutions thanks to smart APIs, which enables you to add other parameters when planning deliveries. Including:

  • Types of roads
  • Traffic patterns
  • Number of road crossings
  • Roundabouts and traffic junctions
  • Stoplights en route
  • Crossing the line of traffic (turns)

All of this means drivers will use routes that actually lower the time it takes to reach each stop.

Raises delivery accuracy

Routing software relies on geolocation and GPS to generate the most accurate maps of your delivery area.

At the same time, you can use APIs to integrate the software with third-party traffic monitoring systems. This enables you to plan routes around traffic patterns and avoid traffic congestion during rush hours, for example.

That means drivers will gain access to routes with the correct drop-off locations and the least amount of drive time. All of which ensures you maintain high delivery accuracy for all of your orders.

Cut service time at drop-off

Routing software enables you to streamline how drivers drop-off deliveries at the customers’ door.

First, you can add service times to each task and limit how much time drivers spend with each customer. This enables you to go into more detail when planning their timetables, and plan better delivery schedules.

But that doesn’t affect customer experience. Drivers can then use ePOD to quickly capture and verify the drop-off. Which makes it visible to dispatch teams and removes the need for making manual progress updates and reports.

Find and reduce waste

Technically, delivery is a wasteful process. And although it’s fast becoming an essential part of the modern business model, it doesn’t generate direct revenue. This means cutting costs is the only way to make it profitable.

By allowing you to analyze KPIs, routing software lets you find waste in your delivery operations and use optimization to reduce it.

From how many orders you fulfill per route, through how much fuel vehicles consume during drop-off, to the size of the fleet, you can analyze and evaluate the entire delivery. And then, implement changes that reduce operational expenditure and make the last mile more efficient.

Continuous efficiency

Optimization doesn’t stop after you complete after using the routing software for the first time.

Because the system enables you to analyze KPIs, you can use historical data to achieve continuous efficiency across the last mile.

You can use the software to make super-efficient plans that take into account more operational constraints. And save the most effective routes for future use.

And that ensures the best possible performance in terms of efficiency, reliability, and cost, even when you grow and scale.

Handle more with less

The better the routes you plan, the less time it takes to reach your customers. And the less time it will take drivers to fulfill orders.

Technically, routing software can allow you to raise order volumes without increasing the size of your fleet. And you can handle more with less by simply making your operations more efficient.

Upsell and cross-sell with delivery

As drivers rely more on the software, route optimization apps for android and iPhone will reduce a lot of pressure from their jobs.

They’ll have fewer things to worry about, and more energy to provide an exceptional service with every order. And that means they can build genuine relationships with your customers.

Those meaningful connections can help you start upselling and cross-selling with delivery. So you can generate more revenue without putting additional pressure on your last mile.

Increase order volumes

Word travels fast in the delivery business. If customers see your delivery as a convenient point of sale, they’ll use it more often. And when sales go up, order volumes go up along with them.

When that happens, route optimization software comes in handy. It allows you to improve last-mile delivery when demand exceeds your capacity, so you can handle the new, extra business.

With more time on your hands, you can re-invest the additional profits back into the delivery. Which can lead you to create even better incentives, and generate even more orders and revenue from delivery.

Expand the delivery network

As you fulfill more orders and raise the efficiency of your operations, you’ll inevitably be able to increase your workload thanks to routing software.

Once you do that, profits will go up. You’ll have more time, money, and energy to start growing your business and expand the delivery network far beyond just the local last mile.

We can support you all the way.

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

1. The Definitive Guide to Route Optimization Software

2. Why it’s not possible to do route optimization using Google Maps

3. Last-mile delivery solutions you can use to scale your business

4. What’s the Difference Between Route Planning and Route Optimization?

5. How to crush customer experience with Grocery Delivery Software

6. How Route Planning Software Improves Your Delivery

7. How delivery management software cuts costs (and saves you money)

8. How to compete with Amazon delivery and dominate retail at their own game

9. How teams crush remote work and achieve last-mile e-commerce delivery success

See how it works in action

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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