What is multi-stop route planning?
Multi-stop route planning is essentially selecting the optimal route for making deliveries by factoring in variables like fleet and driver availability, delivery address, the volume of shipments, fuel efficiency, traffic, driver skills, special handling of the package, and scheduled returns. Multi-stop route planning also takes into consideration uncertainties like last-minute road closures and vehicle breakdowns to decide on the fastest route that the delivery agent must take to deliver the package to the consumer.
Why is multi-stop route planning important?
Every day enterprises need to deliver thousands of packages to consumers. Delivery agents assigned with consignments crisscross the length and breadth of cities and towns, taking multiple routes and stops to deliver shipments to consumers’ doorstep. The sheer volume of shipments combined with several variable factors like traffic congestion, weather, and roadblocks make manual scheduling of deliveries a difficult task.
Organizations know that any mistake in the last mile can severely impact their brand value and lead to consumers deserting them over other brands. Poorly planned driving routes result in:
- Fewer deliveries and order fulfillments per day
- Increased fuel consumption
- Delayed deliveries and negative customer experience
- Delivery vehicle breakdown
- More manual efforts
Enterprises are rapidly changing their delivery models and embracing multi-stop route planning technology to make better and more efficient deliveries.
What is multi-stop route planning software?
Multi-stop route planning software helps enterprises pick the best possible delivery route for packages. The software addresses real-time routing problems and improves on-time delivery capabilities. It enables dispatch managers to automate the route planning process, saving time and reducing operational costs.
What are the benefits of multi-stop route planning software?
Increasing Productivity and Profitability
Multi-stop route planning helps maximise the number of drops and pickups, allowing delivery personnel to attempt more deliveries in much less time than pre-optimization. This, thereby enhances the delivery personnel's productivity, making each delivery trip more profitable than before.
Multi-stop route planning provides real-time, on-ground, end-to-end visibility of all resource movement, including the fleet vehicles and drivers, across a company’s distribution. This, in turn, enhances the potential for better profits owing to better control across logistics and operations processes.
Reducing Delivery Turnaround-Time
Multi-stop route planning is primarily about finding the most efficient route for delivery fulfillment, and it also helps reduce the turnaround time for customers by optimizing first mile operations.
Enables Performance Measurement via Data Analytics
Multi-stop route planning software helps companies to focus and drive their operations on intelligent factors like GPS tracking and real-time traffic situations. This, in turn, allows managers to set goals to measure against performance and to analyze KPIs, thereby increasing productivity and keeping drivers accountable for the job.
Shrinks Carbon Footprint
Carbon footprint is defined as the number of greenhouse gases (primarily C02) emitted in the atmosphere by particular human activity. Multi-stop route planning offers an efficient route with minimal idling of drivers and fleets on the streets. It not only saves fuel costs but also the fuel burn, thereby shrinking the carbon footprint, one delivery at a time!
Boosts Customer Experience
It’s no secret that there is immense competition in the logistics industry. This also means that if one company fails to meet consumer expectations, the consumer will go to a different brand the next time they purchase an item. Multi-stop route planning helps retain brand loyalty and enables enterprises to improve customer service.
What features must multi-stop route planning software have?
From automating route planning, scaling delivery operations to gaining real-time visibility, such software empowers enterprises across verticals to boost logistics operations. Some must-have features include:
Automated Route Planning
Traffic, no-entry windows, and tonnage are only a few of the factors that impact delivery speed. Consequently, the shortest route between your warehouse and the recipient’s place may not be the best, as it could be riddled with traffic or other conditions that impact the movement of your vehicles.
Multi-stop route planning software is powered by machine learning (ML) algorithms that sift through historical data to suggest the most efficient routes for delivery as opposed to the shortest ones – saving time, as well as fuel costs in most cases.
Vehicle idling time not only results in massive costs but also slows down delivery schedules. Software powered by a route planning algorithm overcomes this hurdle by giving real-time updates regarding your vehicle’s position. Enterprises have the option to contact the driver directly and ensure they do not take any unnecessary breaks on the way.
Intelligent Allocation and Dispatch
A modern route planning tool is capable of smart allocation, which saves precious time for the fleet. As the system is automated, there is no room for error. Shipments are allocated to agents logically to ensure maximum work in minimal time. Such planning also reduces the burden on last-mile delivery partners, leading to happier employees.
A modern route optimization solution improves fleet utilization and reduces miles per driver by drastically improving routing and execution through routing algorithms.
Pick-up and Return
Multi-stop route planning software empowers delivery executives with an intuitive and powerful mobile app through which logistics stakeholders can manage and control job allocation, routing, sequence, and also facilitate real-time communication with customers.
By leveraging digital control towers, multi-stop route planning software empowers enterprises to get real-time visibility of fleet movement. This helps businesses to act upon things like pick-up and drop, route-wise performance, etc. for all orders on a single screen. It ensures timely fulfillment with actionable alerts and notifications.
During peak business hours and holiday seasons, some businesses might find it difficult to scale delivery operations. Modern planning and routing software can quickly outsource delivery tasks to third parties and scale operations according to demand.
Powered by advanced technologies like ML, route planner software empowers businesses to quickly analyze historical data regarding route performance and in turn, helps reduce the chances of theft, pilferage, and delays.
Advanced multi-stop route planning software powered by ML algorithms ML can self-learn the ‘correct’ address just from delivery addresses, successes, and failures in the past. It converts lexical addresses into geographic coordinates (geocoding) as simple as latitudes and longitudes, which are used to mark positions on a map. Once delivery is done successfully on any address, next time, the system can fetch the address internally, so that the last mile connectivity will be faster and more accurate.
Why is multi-stop route planning so critical in last-mile delivery?
Multi-stop route planning is an integral part of the last-mile operations of any enterprise. It is critical to drive efficient deliveries and ensure that the consumers are happy and satisfied. With the rise in e-commerce and the ever-growing demand for swift delivery, companies need to invest in technologies that help them manage the complexities of delivering thousands of packages to consumers spread across various locations. Multi-stop route planning software’s consumer-first approach is what enterprises need to ensure better deliveries.