Everything You Need to Know About Route Optimization: What It Is & How Can Reduce Costs

Before we get to the details of the subject, let’s clear the base right at first. What is Route Optimization?

Route Optimization, is one line, is the process of determining the fastest and the most cost-effective delivery route. Optimizing a driver’s route is much more than just finding the shortest or the quickest road from one point to another. Route Optimization is planning a route in such a manner that it minimizes the number of stops while also ensuring that the vehicle capacities, driver schedules, and customer delivery expectations are met.

Efficient delivery route planning software is necessary to make sure that all of your trucks do not end up in the same neighborhood, costing you a bomb of fuel and driver costs with no substantial work done. Manual delivery route optimization could be a pain because there literally can be tens of routes that lead to one place and hence, that is where technology and AI come to play. By taking the help of route optimization software, the most cost and time-effective routes can be calculated under minutes, thereby optimally maximizing your number of deliveries per driver.

With dynamic route optimization capabilities, an advanced routing platform can efficiently calculate the best routes in a matter of seconds, maximizing the number of deliveries your drivers can make (and the amount of revenue your business can generate).

Can I Optimize My Route With Google Maps or Waze?

In one word: No. Apps like Google Maps, Waze, or even Mapquest are designed to tend to an average person and their average needs. These apps cannot factor in the complex problems that come with deliveries like driver proximity, accidents on the road, the distance between all intended stops, vehicle load capacity, and traffic congestion.

By using a dedicated technology for route optimization, you let the software function optimize the route while factoring in the aforesaid variables. Google Maps or similar apps, on the other hand, are mere route mappers and cannot be used for the purpose of optimization.

Why Do I Need A Route Optimization Software?

As mentioned earlier, attempting to optimize your route manually on Google Maps can become quite a problem as the app is purposed to be a mere mapper. Like most optimization tools of sorts, route optimization software also uses algorithms to deliver the best route. Such software is built to understand the variables and complexities associated with finding an optimal route that a human otherwise cannot – especially not as quick as the software can.
A delivery route optimization software can solve the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) as well as the Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP).

Travelling Salesman Problem is when you, as a business person, want to visit a couple of neighborhoods to make your pitches but you’re not quite sure what neighborhood to hit first in order to make sense of your day at large. The software, hence, does it for you. An algorithm can see through all the hundreds and thousands of potential routes available and present to you what makes most sense time and cost-wise.

On the other hand, to now make you understand how hard the Vehicle Routing Problem be, imagine 50 such salesmen looking for their optimal routes daily? That is what your drivers and your logistics team would have to manually deal with if not for the algorithms of route optimization software. The software can split up the visits and optimally assign them to your team, solving your problem just like that!

Why is route optimization critical for delivery businesses?

A Route Optimization software might not make a lot of sense or might not seem very important to delivery business owners if they have not expanded yet and are still a small team of people. Up until you are small-scale, someone in the managerial position might still be able to somehow use apps like Google Maps to plan the day.

However, as you expand, imagine that one person planning the days of 50 drivers who need to make 50 deliveries each, day on day? Let’s not even get to the human error part of the argument. The risks associated with human or manual planning can include increased operational costs, suboptimal usage of fuel, too many drivers with too little work, and hence, the subsequent need to increase wages.

With the help of software, apart from just being able to optimize routes that could still be a smaller picture, you are further enabled to take care of minimizing wages, driving times, and fuel consumption of your entire fleet!

How Does A Route Optimization Software Help Lower Costs?

We might have already been able to convince you that you NEED software, but how does it exactly work? How can it help a business save costs?

While most optimization software providers have different functionalities to offer, here the most commonly found features of such software to help you save money-

Regardless you get FarEye or another software for your optimization purposes, looking for the following functionalities, can help.

  1. Route Plan Visualization
    A software can help you visualize your routes by translating them on a map. By being able to visually plan the routes, drivers can actually glance through their day. It also helps understand where exactly a stop is, which driver is going to deliver to what location and gets you real-time traffic based updates.
  2. Route Optimization Algorithm

A route optimization feature is what primarily helps one cut their delivery times and costs. Apart from helping you find the shortest driving time considering all probable variables like time windows, vehicle load capacities, and driving speed, the software can also get you accurate ETAs. An optimized delivery, as per a study can help you cut 20%- 40% costs on fuel and drive time.

  1. Driver App
    While you create your most optimized routes, what is the purpose if the routes cannot be conveniently forwarded to the drivers? Imagine having to involve actual paper and pens in order to get the routes to the hands of your drivers? An ideal route planning software will help you auto-dispatch your drivers by shipping the optimized routes to the driver’s app. They can, on their app, figure out where to go, when to go, collect delivery proofs, and reference all the special added instructions that may come along.
  2. Live Tracking
    With software that gives you live tracking, you, as a manager or as the one responsible for an overview, can actually determine where exactly your drivers are. With this functionality, you would know exactly why, where, and when a driver is delayed and will hence be in a position to effectively communicate the delay to your customers. Hence, not only does this help to keep an eye on but also helps you increase your accountability and gain some points on customer service.
  3. Analytics & Reporting
    What use is all the operation if you do not learn anything from it? No matter what technology or software you use, there should always be a database to help you track your delivery stats over a period of time and further be able to help you understand what went wrong and where. Such data should include service times, successful delivery rates, ideal times, customer ratings, drop-offs per pick up, etc. This is essential and relevant because it can always fill up the room for improvement and enhance your performance – all for the greater good of increased, optimal profits.

FAQs- Everything You Need to Know About Route Optimization: What It Is & How Can It Save You Money

  1. Does Google Maps have a route planner?
    Yes, Google Maps essentially is a route mapper or a route planner tool. It is designed to offer driving instructions from point A to point B. Google Maps, however, is not recommended for the purposes of route optimization since it cannot take the multiple variables involved with the process of delivery of goods.
  2. How does route optimization work?
    Route optimization is the process of finding the most cost and time-effective delivery route. This process is not only about fishing the quickest route from point A to point B. The procedure, ideally done on the software, takes into consideration the various factors associated with deliveries like en-route stops, driver speed, live traffic, vehicle load capacity, etc, in order to provide you a truly optimized route.

How does route planning software work?
A Route Planning software is enabled with algorithms that intelligently let you figure out your order of stops and hence guarantee a quick, cost + time-efficient delivery route.