Is your delivery service business struggling to make multiple deliveries on time? It could be a combination of poor route planning, inefficient tools or methods, or real-time constraints like traffic. This brings us to our next question – How do you plan multi-stop routes?
As we move forward in this article, we will see different ways of creating routes in the delivery industry. While some businesses use whiteboards or road maps, other businesses make use of multi-stop route planning software. Depending on the logistics trends in the global logistics market, the problems and their solutions keep changing. The choice depends on your needs and affordability.
Let us look at the solution to figure out the best way to plan a route with multiple stops.
Table of Contents
What is Route or Routing?
A route is a path or plan with a starting point and a destination. It is the plan you choose to travel from one point to another. While routing, in terms of supply chain and logistics, is the process of creating a cost-efficient route that you will follow for moving from one location to another.
A route can either be a single destination route or a multi-stop route. A multi-stop route is one with multiple destinations between the starting point and ending point of the route.
What is the Vehicle Routing Problem?
In terms of Logistics and Supply Chain, the Vehicle Routing Problem can be described as the challenge of finding the most cost-effective routes. To find the way to go from one location to a set of geographically scattered locations effectively is to solve a routing problem. The Vehicle Routing Problem can also be generalized as the Traveling Salesman Problem. VRP is one of the most calculated and researched combinatorial optimization problems.
Ways to Plan a Route with Multiple Stops – Tips & Tricks
There are several ways to solve the vehicle routing problem and plan multi-stop routes.
Pen & Paper
Drivers have been planning routes using pen and paper for many years. But planning routes using a manual method like pen and paper can take a look of time to list, analyze, weigh options, and create optimal routes. This system is ineffective for a delivery team and delivery drivers as it has no in-built navigation system.
Excel is a solution businesses and individuals have used for years to solve various problems. Using Excel is inexpensive, and it is better than pen and paper, but it cannot provide directions or offer navigation.
Road maps are physical copies of maps providing navigation through a particular area. Road maps are useful as they provide valid zip code for each location, and looking for addresses becomes easier. They are definitely a better manual system than pen and paper. But a driver cannot receive real-time traffic incidents or voice-guided navigation. Multiple stops need to be adjusted manually.
Free Route Planning Mobile App
Route planner apps are a great way to automate a heavy task. These free route planner apps not only create an accurate route plan but can optimize the routes according to your requirements, offer real-time traffic data, capture proof of delivery, and offer voice-guided turn-by-turn driving directions. Free route planner apps like Google Maps, Mapquest, and Waze are good options to plan a route.
While route planning apps are suitable for a small business, enterprise-grade software is more useful in a bigger company with the need for a proper fleet management system in place. These are much more advance than an app like Google Maps. While enterprise-grade software is expensive, they offer many benefits like effective handling of larger fleets, data recording & storage, saving time, and generating accurate performance reports.
The Optimal Way to Plan a Multi-Stop Route
The best way to plan a cost-effective multi-stop route efficiently is by making use of route planning solutions like Upper Route Planner.
Upper Route Planner is a route planning and route optimization software solution that helps individuals, contractors, delivery drivers, and businesses offering delivery services by creating the most optimal delivery routes. It works as a route planning and navigation app for drivers.
Upper Route Planner offers some beneficial features like multi-stop route planning and route optimization, Bulk Address Import from Excel, Duplicate Routes, Customize Routes, Proof of Delivery, Reports & Analytics. Upper Route Planner uses a “human-centric” design approach that makes things easier for the users.
The new Upper Route Planner for Teams comes with more features. It offers unlimited routes for unlimited team members with up to 500 stops per route. With the latest version, users can create multi-stop routes for multiple drivers at once.
Delivery drivers and truck drivers can receive their daily delivery tasks on the Upper for Teams mobile app. Users can download the app from Google PlayStore or App Store on their mobile device.
Find out more about route planning software and its benefits:
Upper Route Planner is a route planning app that helps you plan and optimize multi-stop routes with multiple locations.
Yes, you can map out multiple locations on a route with delivery route planner apps like Upper Route Planner and Mapquest. With these route planning apps, there is no limit on the number of addresses.
Yes, Google Maps can plan a route with multiple stops. But you can only add up to 9 stops, excluding the starting point of the route.
Once you enter each stop of the route, try to change the route order and rearrange addresses to achieve an optimal and shortest possible route. The algorithm will start route optimization and offer the most efficient directions to reach your destination.
Create Multiple Routes for Multiple Drivers at Once
To catch up with a business’s constantly growing needs, you need to implement specific tools or solutions. In this case, a route planning software solution is the best way to plan and optimize routes with multiple destinations. You not only get route optimization and accurate directions to the addresses, but it also improves the overall productivity of the delivery process.