For your delivery business to be effective and efficient, you need to optimize your operations so your drivers don’t waste time on the roads. This helps lower operational costs, reduce safety concerns, increase productivity, and make your customers happy. But how can you achieve this? The solution lies in delivery route planner apps.
Fig: Routing Challenges and how FarEye can solve
However, there are hundreds of route planner apps out there that claim to be the best at what they do. With a flooded market like this one, finding and settling with one app can be a huge challenge. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you make a quick decision without regretting it in future. But before we list the top delivery route planner apps, we’ll be discussing some of the factors we considered to choose them.
What is a Delivery Route Planner?
A route planner app, otherwise known as a delivery route planner is software that a delivery service uses to schedule departures and stops for their fleet. This software makes the delivery of goods and services more efficient and precise.
A delivery route planner app may also have GPS tracking, on-demand dispatch, and real-time route optimization. It’s not uncommon for route planner software to integrate machine learning that allows customers and drivers to communicate and leave their feedback as well. Ultimately, a well-designed route planner improves the performance and productivity of the driver and betters the customer experience.
Important Features to Consider in Delivery Route Planner Apps
Before investing in any route planner app, you want to be sure you’ll be getting value in return. This value for most delivery businesses is saving money and time. Analysing these app features helps identify the specific solutions to the needs of your business. The top considerations that are useful for most businesses include:
- Driver tracking
- Route optimization
- Delivery status
- Customer communications
- Proof of delivery
Visibility is an important part of the freight and last-mile delivery businesses. It’s great for the business owner to monitor where delivery drivers are, and also for the customers to see where their parcels have reached. A good app enables you to see all your drivers and facilitates communication with everyone involved. Truth be told, not all drivers stick to professional ethics and if by bad luck you have such people in your workforce, you’ll run into a lot of time and fuel wastage.
Route optimization is one of the top reasons delivery business owners invest in route planner apps. It helps determine the most cost-effective routes. An app should be intelligent enough not just to find the shortest route between two points but also factor in other factors like stops, offer path options, and accurately suggest delivery times.
Has the package reached the addressee within the scheduled time? Delivery route planning software should help the driver to provide signals that indicate the status of parcels. This requires proper planning of routes and prioritizing each movement accurately. That happens best if you have a prior understanding of delivery time windows, the size of the vehicle involved, and the capacity of various vehicles.
If the customer is unhappy with the way you deliver your services, then you are most likely going to lose business. Good delivery route planning shows the location and status of parcels to the addressee. They need to be updated so they don’t desperately wait for knocks on their front door when there are delays for some reason. They should know the delivery time estimates before they get their package. This happens through a text message or an email.
The high-tier delivery route planner apps like FarEye facilitate two-way communication between the delivery business and the customer. The customer, driver, and dispatchers, can send messages to each other and call by just pressing a button within the app.
Proof of delivery
A route planner app that can allow the driver to collect proof of delivery saves you a lot of future disputes that may occur. This app should either let the customer sign that they got their parcel or the delivery person should take a photo clearly showing where they left the item. Often, this is at the doorstep of the addressee.
The proof of delivery feature may save you from possible disputes but more importantly, you don’t need to have a separate record of what happened during delivery. The needed info is recorded in the app and can be counterchecked when you need to audit performance. The customer is also empowered to validate the delivery of their parcels, even when they are not home.
The Best Delivery Route Planner Apps for Businesses
Now it’s time to unveil the top delivery route planner apps for your businesses. We explain how each one of these gets rid of the hassle that comes with manual delivery route planning and highlights the useful features you might need for your business. By the end of it all, you will easily identify and choose one app for your business.
A majority of delivery business owners who use FarEye agree that it’s the best delivery route planner app out there. That’s because it comes with very advanced features that make the work of everyone involved super easy. You can rely on it to manage multi-driver fleets and make smart decisions. It has shown positive results across industries like pharmacy, beverage, construction, grocery, retail, among many others.
FarEye is a favourite of many businesses owing to the fact that it offers an incomparable customer experience. The interface is not just favourable to customers, drivers also get leaner operations and are able to create their individual profiles with complete departure, location and stop control settings. Drivers also get to schedule their shifts within the app.
The driver just needs to populate their signup info and delivery details then FarEye automatically optimizes the routes. Drivers and customers get access to the FarEye app via mobile devices, while their performance monitoring is done from a web dashboard.
This route planner app is a must-have for delivery businesses with multi-driver fleets but also a good option for smaller businesses that consider scaling up in future. The basic plan is priced at a monthly charge of $349 and allows unlimited users and drivers on board. What’s best? You have a free trial for 14 days before you can decide if it’s right for you.
Important features on FarEye route planner app
Real Time Dynamic Routing:
FarEye delivery route planner comes with the most efficient route optimization feature that considers capacity, time, location, and traffic. In case you reoptimize or make any changes, drivers get real-time updates on their end.
FarEye offers visibility to you and your customers into the location of the driver. The tracking dashboard is properly branded, attractive, very intuitive to give a real-time tracking experience to the users.
To help you achieve precision and effectiveness at delivery, this app comes with predictive ETAs. With this, you get alerts on potential problems along the route and avoid them. It also makes the prediction of arrival times more accurate than most delivery route planner apps.
Automatic status updates
Keeping customers up to speed with the status of their packages should be a priority for every delivery business. That’s why the ability of a delivery planner app to automatically send messages on when the delivery begins and when it should be expected is critical. FarEye has this feature where you do all this without much thought.
Proof of delivery
You get not one or two, but several proof of delivery signatures within the FarEye app. The driver can collect delivery photos, signatures, barcodes, and even make notes about their experiences during delivery.
Integrated customer communication
This feature makes it possible for the customer to message or call the dispatcher and driver within the app. And yeah, the customer doesn’t need to worry about their data being mishandled by anyone because they can anonymize their calls.
Other features that FarEye Delivery Route Planner offers include:
- Intelligent vehicle & route selection
- Magic Geo-Fencing
- FIFO assignment to first available driver
- Customer DNA Mapping
- Slot-based segregation & color coding
- Load balancing
- Interactive route maps - drag & drop parcels
- Custom routing - buffer time breaks
RouteXL integrates some advanced features like splitting stops across several routes. It finds the best routes for pickups, deliveries, and services through its smart algorithms which compute and sort various locations you input in it. Your work is to populate the app with departure and destinations, press a button, then let the app handle the computing and categorizing.
Unfortunately, RouteXL doesn’t update information automatically or in real-time. Any changes you make must be emailed to the driver so they can make the appropriate move. In addition, there’s no mobile app, no customer updates, and no proof of delivery, making most of the freight activities manual. With this, there is room for errors to happen which can cause losses in time and money.
As you can tell, RouteXL delivery route planner is not robust enough for bigger delivery businesses. But this doesn’t make it useless, a small delivery business with a single driver making 20 stops every month would find it very useful.
If all you do is 20 stops per month, then you can enjoy the free version of this app. Otherwise, you pay €35 to increase the addresses to 100 and €75 for 200 addresses every month.
Important features on RouteXL route planner
- GPS tracking
- Allows for mass copy-pasting of addresses into the app
- You can print out hard copies of routes for drivers or email the routes to them
- Drivers are able to load routes into TomTom Pro devices thanks to the WEBFLEET integration
MapQuest Route Planner
Just like RouteXL, you can do mass copying and pasting of addresses into the app. After feeding it the data, it then reorders and optimizes everything to provide the most efficient routes possible. Depending on what the app has provided, choose the shortest distance or the shortest time for specific deliveries. You send SMS links to your drivers.
The ability to set routes as round trips makes this app special because it becomes easier to monitor when your drivers should return to the dispatch.
MapQuest is another great option if you own a small delivery business and are looking for a free option. A business with a single driver who doesn’t take more than 26 deliveries may find this app very efficient. However, be prepared to be interrupted by annoying pop-up ads as you use it.
Important features on MapQuest route planner app
- The round trip option makes it easier to time and monitors drivers
- You can optimize your routes according to distance or time
- You have the option to customize your routes to avoid country borders, highways, toll roads, seasonal roads, and more
- Copy and paste route data into the app or import from a spreadsheet
Final Thought on Delivery Route Planners
Now you know which features to consider when looking for delivery route planners. Though there are free apps you can use for your business, only go for them if you have a few destinations to serve. Some of the top choices have a free trial available; make use of such to make a decision for your needs. If you have questions about delivery route planner apps, reach out to us so we can help.