Do you remember the days of trying to unfold and read an unwieldy paper A-Z in the front of the car? Maybe you used to plan your journey in Google Maps and take along reams of A4 printouts.
Or did you just wing it, using only your wits and razor-sharp sense of direction to get from A to B?
However you used to plan your routes, we bet that all changed sometime after September 2008 — when Google Maps GPS navigation was first released for Android and iOS.
Today, route planning (the process of determining the most efficient way to get from one point to another) is part of our day-to-day lives, handled by the devices in our pockets.
For businesses managing deliveries or collections in their own vehicles though, route planning is integral to operational efficiency, customer service and gaining a competitive advantage.
Delivering goods and products from a warehouse or distribution centre to their destination in the most timely and cost-effective manner can reduce costs and improve efficiency by minimising fuel consumption and vehicle wear-and-tear.
Done well, logistics route planning can improve customer satisfaction, lower costs and ensure profitability by finding the most efficient routes and ensuring that deliveries are made OTIF (on-time and in-full).
Benefits of Route Planning
There are many benefits to route planning for logistics companies. Some of the key benefits include:
Save time and money
By optimising delivery and collection routes, you can save both time and fuel, which can lead to significant cost savings.
In combination with customer notifications and barcode scanning, route planning can also help to reduce the number of late or missed deliveries and ensure the right products are on the right vehicle at the start and unloaded at the point of delivery, which can also save money.
Improve customer satisfaction
By ensuring that deliveries are made OTIF (on-time and in-full), efficient route planning can help to improve customer satisfaction — increasing the likelihood of repeat customers, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Reduce stress on drivers
By reducing the amount of time drivers spend on the road, efficient route planning can help to reduce stress and improve driver morale.
Reduce environmental impact
Optimised delivery routes get vehicles from A to B faster, reducing time on the road, which in turn reduces fuel consumption and emissions.
Factors to Consider When Planning Routes
Whether you use a tool like Stream to plan your routes, or you DIY it with maps and spreadsheets, you need to consider key factors, including (but not limited to):
- The weight and dimensions of the goods
- The distance between the pickup and delivery points
- The traffic conditions
- The time windows for deliveries
- Total route times
- Vehicle capabilities
Latest Technologies and Tools for Route Planning
Technology has seemingly moved at warp speed since Google Maps was released onto our smartphones in 2008.
Today, there are a number of new technologies and tools that can be used to improve route planning in logistics, including aspects like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics which can be used to intelligently optimise and autoplan routes, identify traffic patterns, and accurately predict delivery times.
Route planning is an essential part of any logistics operations. By using the latest technologies and tools, logistics companies can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction. Discover the benefits of route planning for yourself with a free trial of Stream.