Today, we’ll be discussing delivery logistics. Specifically, how vehicle routing and scheduling work as part of supply and delivery chain logistics.
Saving Time with Delivery Management Software
Explore how delivery management software saves you time by automating delivery planning, and how much time you ACTUALLY save by using it.
Today, we’ll show you how to save time with delivery management software.
You’ll also see how much time you can actually save through automation. And where you’re wasting the most of your time.
Technically, using this software can cut the time it takes to fulfill orders by up to 50%. (Regardless of how many you receive per day)
So if you want to know how to spend less time planning deliveries, dropping off orders, or sending reports (among other things), you’ll enjoy our report.
Let’s dive right in.
Double Down on Delivery Management Software
Is software the future of delivery management?
In fact, 46.1% of businesses are already adopting the cloud-first approach to managing delivery logistics.
Another 51% of professionals are willing to invest in automation due to disruption caused by the coronavirus. With companies in eCommerce (66%), food and beverage (59%), and 3PL (55%) leading the charge.
So if you want to get started with delivery management software - and double down on it - this part is for you.
In it, we’ll give you some key takeaways that we’ve learned by implementing our solution with dozens of partners. And using it to streamline their delivery operations.
Let’s take a look.
A platform approach to managing delivery
It doesn’t matter if you’re handling e-commerce, retail, grocery, or pharmacy delivery.
When it comes to automation, a platform approach is a BIG DEAL.
A delivery management platform allows you to take back control of your operations.
And that depends on your desire to centralize or not to centralize your delivery.
Instead of relying on a host of separate apps, or worse - manually planning deliveries - you can plan, manage, track, and optimize the entire process from start to finish with one tool.
For example, you can connect the platform to an order management system like Shopify, using API integration. And directly turn orders into tasks for drivers.
But you can do this with other solutions that you use to track inventory or manage the supply chain.
And that enables you to receive an order, schedule it for delivery, assign it to a driver, add it to his route, track its location, and receive the POD on one dashboard.
(Regardless of whether you have an internal or external delivery fleet)
Automating route planning and optimization
Mapping software is a useful app to automate route planning. So is route planning software.
But if you want to cut the most amount of waste from your route planning, you definitely want to choose delivery management software.
First, it can handle large delivery volumes at any level.
Instead of planning one route with a few stops for one driver, the software enables you to plan as many routes as you have vehicles in the fleet. And each one of those routes will have as many stops as necessary to fulfill the entire workload.
So while route optimization using Google Maps, for example, is possible, you’re limited to planning routes one at a time. (With up to 10 stops per route)
With delivery management software, you can plan all your routes at once. And it takes seconds, rather than hours, to complete.
The software also uses more data to generate the best (most optimal) routes.
Besides distance or drive time, it can factor in many other things like types of roads, traffic patterns, or weather conditions. (Either using its advanced map updates or third-party data sources)
Most importantly, the software isn’t limited to just route planning or optimization.
You can use it to plan better delivery schedules, handle reverse logistics, or automate dispatch and reporting.
That means you get an end-to-end tool at the same price that you’d pay for a less robust solution.
Building an agile delivery operation
The other great thing about automation is that it’s the first step to building an agile delivery operation.
But what makes a delivery agile?
A recent survey outlines the five dimensions of agility:
- Speed, and;
Each of them affects four areas of your operations: structure, process, people, and technology.
As it turns out, it’s in these four areas where we see the biggest benefits of delivery management software.
First, you can use the software to initiate the agile transformation.
Once you adopt a solution, you can leverage technology to support the remaining three areas (structure, process, and people).
For example, you can use the software to measure key metrics in delivery logistics. And evaluate the structure of your supply chain.
In this scenario, you can use the data to plan multi-depot sites and cut drive time to pick-up.
The same principles apply to the process and people. For example, rightsizing the workforce and evenly distributing the workload among all teams. And fulfilling more orders in the same amount of time.
Technology also helps you to find opportunities to optimize these three areas. So you can cut back on waste and save a lot more time.
Save Time with Delivery Management Software
Now let’s take a look at how to leverage delivery management software to save more time.
We’ll cover each step of the delivery process. From how you plan and fulfill orders down to how you track them and handle returns.
You’ll see how this software optimizes each stage of the delivery.
So you can:
- Cut the time it takes to drop-off each order
- Raise the speed of your teams
- And use time more efficiently
(in every area of your operation)
Spend less time planning
If you run a delivery, you probably spend a lot of time planning them. Or, at least, your dedicated delivery planner does.
In some cases, it takes several hours or even days to plan and schedule all delivery requests.
Using delivery management software cuts the time it takes you to plan deliveries.
(Regardless of the number of order requests or how many vehicles you have in your fleet)
In fact, it takes our software less than 15 seconds to assign 100 deliveries to 30 drivers, build their schedules, and map out their routes across London.
And that’s just an example scenario.
So how does it do it?
Our software and other delivery management solutions like it automate the planning process.
Instead of manually uploading order data, assigning them to each driver, and then planning the route and schedule around them, it automatically does it for you.
And it does this across the entire planning phase:
With delivery management software, there are a few ways you can upload order information into the system.
First, you can use APIs to integrate the software with an order management system (OMS).
After a customer checks out, the system automatically sends the order request to the delivery management dashboard. And then, it can turn it into a delivery task, order by order.
The task has all of the information from the order, including:
- The date and time of the delivery;
- Customer’s details
(name, address, phone number, etc.);
- Payment confirmation, and;
- Any special customer requests
If the OMS transfers order requests onto spreadsheets, you can upload the entire .csv file into the system.
The software will automatically import all of them into the dashboard and turn them into delivery tasks. And you can import data and order requests in bulk like this even if you don’t use an OMS.
And if you still want to upload orders by hand (manually), you can do that, as well.
From our experience, this is especially useful when you want to add incoming orders on the go to existing delivery schedules.
Delivery management software allows you to plan and add depot locations on the map.
You can then use APIs to integrate it with a warehouse or inventory management system.
When a customer requests an order, the software can source the item from the supply depots based on its availability. And then, it automatically schedules the pick-up at that location.
If the order is available at multiple warehouses, then the software will optimize. It will choose the pick-up spot based on different factors that may affect the efficiency of the route.
For example, it can take into account the distance from the driver’s starting point. Or the accessibility to the drop-off zones from that particular supply depot.
Assigning Tasks to Drivers
The software automatically assigns tasks to drivers once you upload the order requests.
Initially, the system assigns tasks to drivers based on their delivery times and drop-off location. It does this by either maximizing route density or matching the schedule to fit the driver’s work hours and breaks.
But you can also use delivery management software to create driver profiles. These profiles may contain:
- The driver’s personal information
- The driver’s service ratings and history
- Type of vehicle that he drives
- The load capacity of the vehicle
- Special equipment in the vehicle
- And more
You can use these parameters to assess the order request and assign the right task to the best delivery driver. This can improve fleet dispatching for all of your vehicles and drivers.
Creating the schedule
The software also automatically creates the delivery schedule based on a variety of constraints.
Primarily, the schedule relies on the order data that you import, such as the time and date of the arrival. But it also relies on the route.
The delivery management software also calculates the travel time from one drop-off location to the next.
Based on that time and the expected time of arrival (ETA), the system can create a timetable for each driver.
But the software enables you to go into more detail and add other factors that will affect the delivery schedule.
For example, we’ve mentioned that you can add the work hours and breaks of drivers. But you can also set the time on location, which is particularly useful when you manage a field service.
Besides this, you can also allot extra time in case of unforeseen events. For example, an extra 10 minutes may be useful if a driver has to deliver goods during rush hours. Or if you anticipate longer wait times at the supply depot.
Planning and Optimizing Routes
Typically, planning delivery routes is the most time-consuming task at this stage of the delivery.
So the best route optimization software will do this quickly. How fast you may ask?
When you automate, it takes less than a minute to complete this task. (Even when you have hundreds of vehicles and thousands of delivery requests)
Here’s how it works:
Like scheduling and route optimization software, delivery management software is modulated.
It has a module for scheduling and another one for route optimization built into the system. Both modules work simultaneously to complement each other.
Aside from the order, inventory, driver, and scheduling constraints, you can add other external parameters.
Again, you can use APIs to integrate the delivery management system with a third-party app. For example, you can connect it to a traffic monitoring system or a weather forecast site.
That allows the software to create optimal routes that cut travel time to drop-off by as much as 50%.
But here’s the best part: once you’ve finished with the pre-planning, all you have to do is click one button to PLAN and OPTIMIZE every route.
Most importantly, all of your pre-plans are stored on the cloud because delivery management software is a SaaS solution.
That means once you set up the system, you’ll spend less and less time planning deliveries.
And at one point, you’ll be done with the planning phase in less than 15 seconds. So you can quickly move on to the next stage of the delivery.
Speed up fulfillment & delivery
Let’s face it, the standard 2 to 3-day delivery is fast becoming a thing of the past.
As customers continue to ask for speed and convenience, last-mile delivery is moving closer to free, same-day fulfillment each day.
In fact, delivery statistics say free one-day delivery is the ideal delivery method preferred by 95% of consumers.
So it’s imperative to use technology to speed up fulfillment.
And that’s where delivery management software steps in.
First, it can slice hours from the planning process.
You can plan future routes ahead of time, in bulk, and automatically.
For example, it takes the software less than 30 seconds to plan multiple routes for the entire fleet with hundreds of stops.
By contrast, manually doing the same task can take several hours at least.
At the same time, all of these routes are optimized for maximum efficiency.
So it takes less time to reach each stop and fulfill all of the orders.
In other words, drivers spend less time on the road.
And you significantly reduce the time per delivery KPI.
But the software also lets you dynamically plan deliveries.
You can easily plan, assign, and complete deliveries as soon as the order request arrives.
And this is the key to offering same-day delivery.
This means you can raise the speed of fulfillment by as much as 2 whole days.
Faster delivery relies on fast decision-making.
If you’re unable to make quick decisions, you won’t be able to react to last-mile delivery challenges. (Or overcome them when they happen.)
Delivery management software helps you here, as well.
Using software means that you and your staff spend less time on menial, day-to-day tasks.
In turn, that reduces the overall workload. And with more time on your hands, there is more room for you to focus on other key aspects of the delivery.
For example, it enables you to plan for unexpected events before they happen.
And when you have a plan B in place, it’s much easier for dispatchers to know what to do and react to unplanned events. Like when a vehicle breaks down, or when a customer isn’t at home.
Using technology to automate fulfillment also enables you to create an agile delivery. (As we mentioned earlier)
And when you align the structure, people, and processes around the same goals, it’s much easier for you to make decisions that help you reach those goals.
On aggregate, dispatchers spend a lot of time talking with drivers and customers.
(Regardless of whether they use phones, radios, texts, or emails.)
In fact, the average dispatch conversation lasts 10 seconds per call.
If, for example, a driver has to make 30 calls, that amounts to 5 minutes per driver per day.
This isn’t much until you consider that a fleet of five vehicles wastes 25 minutes on calls each day.
Typically, these calls can be avoided as most of them have to do with:
- Locating the customer’s address
- Figuring out the next stop on the route
- Checking driver availability
- Drivers’ proximity to the drop-off
- Estimating the time of arrival
- And finding out other vital information
Delivery software doesn’t remove this need for information gathering.
Instead, it reduces direct driver-dispatch communication across the last mile.
It does this by automating how you dispatch drivers in the first place.
On the one hand, drivers rely on the delivery driver app to view route and schedule information. They can also use it to access other information about the customers, orders, and so on.
Dispatchers also have complete visibility over the last mile of delivery. They can use the driver tracking capability to get a clear picture of the availability, location, and progress of all the drivers in the fleet.
They can use the delivery platform to assign tasks and orders in real-time.
As they add new stops, the system dynamically readjusts the routes to fit the new schedule. Once the system calculates the new routes, it immediately updates the data to the app.
And this removes the need for dispatchers to interact with drivers in the field. While drivers can limit their communication with dispatchers only to essential queries.
Reporting is another way dispatchers and drivers waste time when fulfilling orders.
To streamline this part of the delivery process, the software contains one more essential component of a route optimization solution you should look out for:
Proof of delivery.
Proof of delivery (POD) is another way delivery management software cuts time.
Instead of speaking to dispatchers or collecting a paper POD (and wasting the customer’s time), a driver can collect it using the delivery app.
They can do this in a number of ways, by scanning barcodes or special order numbers, taking photos of the package, or getting e-signatures from customers.
Once they’ve collected the POD, it marks the delivery as successful and completed. Which dispatchers can see on the dashboard.
There’s a clear connection between reverse logistics and e-commerce returns. And while it’s not part of forward logistics, it’s still part of the last-mile delivery experience.
Typically, because of this, reverse logistics would require specific planning and time slots in the schedule.
But because delivery software enables dispatchers to dynamically plan routes and schedule pick-ups and deliveries, you can handle them as they occur.
This means centralizing all of the delivery operations and handling returns in the same way you do fulfillment. Which requires less time to do.
How Much Time Do You ACTUALLY Save with Delivery Management Software?
Now, it’s time to add up all of these time-saving opportunities.
And show you how much time you REALLY save with delivery management software.
To do this, we’ve taken this scenario:
A company from London with four depot locations has to deliver 100 orders across the city with ten vehicles/drivers.
IT TAKES THE SOFTWARE 10 SECONDS TO CREATE ALL THE ROUTES AND SCHEDULES FOR THE ENTIRE FLEET.
All of that information is immediately available across all the apps on your driver’s phone.
If you’re using the software in a real-life scenario, it will take you more time than that to set it up.
On average you’ll spend:
1-2 minutes to add generate the map of your delivery area
2-5 minutes to add the address of your depot locations
5-20 minutes to create driver profiles
5-20 minutes to add various vehicle parameters
This, of course, depends on the size and complexity of your delivery fleet.
But once you do it, you won’t have to do it again. This means you’ll spend 50-60 minutes at most setting up the software to recreate your last-mile delivery operations.
Connecting the API with your other systems may take as much (depending on your developers).
Besides this, uploading the orders may take a few minutes depending on the volume for that particular date.
But the software will still generate all of the routes and schedules in less than 20 seconds.
You will spend as little as 3 minutes per day planning, scheduling, and dispatching all of your deliveries.
Compare that to manual planning. Which can take delivery planners as much as several hours to plan and dispatch all orders.
And because of the automated dispatch, reporting, and the delivery app, drivers can focus solely on getting to the customer as soon as possible.
This means there’s far less waste of time and resources on distractions. And you can significantly raise the delivery speed of the entire fleet.
It’s easy to see why delivery management software is a far superior way of planning, managing, and optimizing your last-mile delivery.
Still not convinced?