How to Plan Routes using Excel? (with Better Option)

Route planning is an integral part of the delivery process. It is a step that needs to be performed carefully as the rest of the delivery process can, more or less, depend on it. 

The excel route planner does not really serve the purpose of route planning and scheduling because it was not designed for it. It is just a good way to sort out your list of addresses. Turning the tables, route planners can sort out your addresses, and do a lot more than that.

In this article, we will share three different ways in which you can plan routes using MS Excel.

How To Structure Your Spreadsheet?

In order to create a spreadsheet, you need to select a new sheet using MS Excel or Google solutions and then you can extract the basic details. Below are easy steps to structure your spreadsheet.

  • Step 1 – Open a new spreadsheet using Excel or Google Sheets
  • Step 2 – Then add 2 or 3 columns in the sheet.
  • Step 3 – Start entering the customer’s name.
  • Step 4 – Use another column to mention the full addresses, including the postal code.
  • Step 5 – Keep the similar font size and avoid using colors.
  • Step 6 – Check the format once you finish entering data.
  • Step 7 – Save the spreadsheet or Google Sheets and give a unique name.

How You Can Plan Routes Using MS Excel?

Excel spreadsheets are an integral part of an individual’s work-life. Various delivery businesses use MS Excel spreadsheets across different departments to facilitate business operations. 

For years, spreadsheets have been helping businesses by taking care of different functions ranging from accounting to sales & marketing. One important function that spreadsheet has been offering for a very long time is route planning.

Before we started using Google Maps, Google Drive, or other sophisticated route planning technology, people used Excel spreadsheets to plan a multi-stop route

Below is how you can plan a route with the help of MS Excel.

  1. In order to start planning routes using Microsoft Excel, you must start by creating two columns for name and address. In the name column, add a list of names you need to deliver products to. In the address column, add the correspondence address against each of these names.
  2. The address must be complete with house number, street number or street name, city, state, and zip or postal code.
  3. Choose to split the address into different columns for the street name, city, state, and zip code. It can be really helpful when you are trying to sort out addresses using the zip or postal code.
  4. Once you have set up the spreadsheet and added in all the necessary details, get on with the route planning.
  5. Adding addresses in a spreadsheet improves the visibility of the data. Dealing with a long list of addresses? No worries, you can divide them into smaller chunks. It becomes easier to deal with when you divide them into smaller, manageable parts.
  6. Delivery operations or tasks can be identified and allocated on the basis of city or zip code. This creates a clear distinction and also makes it easier to allot a particular delivery task to a driver.
  7. If you have already entered a long list of addresses and need it sorted, you can choose to sort the sheet by choosing the column based on which you want to classify the addresses.
  8. After creating the smaller chunks, you can either create an order of delivery or allow your drivers to make their own route. To better manage and control your deliveries, it is advisable if you create the routes and then allocate them to the drivers.

How To Plan Routes Using MS Excel And Google Maps?

Planning a route with MS Excel and Google Maps means that you need to manually enter addresses for deliveries per route. Firstly, you need to enter details in the MS Excel spreadsheet before you access Google Maps. Thereafter, you need to call up each driver to assign a delivery task. This means that it would be a time-consuming process if you have multiple deliveries.

You must have used Google Maps to find the unknown location whenever you step out of your house. Similarly, most business owners use this method because they are quite familiar with Google Maps and it’s free of cost, as well. But, moving forward, the limitations of Google maps might hamper your well-developed business. That’s correct because when you attempt to find the shortest route using Google Maps, you can only add up to 10 stops. And this is where you might feel a need for an alternate option.

Speaking about the limitations of Google Maps, your delivery drivers might do more stops to get to the exact location, and eventually, there would be a delay in performing on-time deliveries. Also, if drivers have hand-written routes, they won’t be aware of avoidance zones or live traffic on the roads. Such a delivery process will keep your customer waiting for a longer period. Plus, there will be higher vehicle costs and you would require an extra budget for the delivery management process.

Alright, let us get into the next section to understand the alternate way to plan a new route.

How To Create Routes Using MS Excel and Route Planner?

In case you want to skip the above option to save more time, then you can get help from cost-effective route planning software. Hopping on route planner, most of the work will be reduced as route planning and optimizing will be automatically performed by itself. 

This method is quite easy for the owners as they just need to drop the spreadsheet from the local storage in the computer and let the automated software plan and optimize the routes. To make your job easier, let us have an example of how a route planner fetches the data from MS Excel to save them in cloud storage.

Route Creation on Upper Route Planner Using MS Excel

At Upper, you will have hassle-free routes generation in seconds. All thanks to its sophisticated algorithm that quickly reads the spreadsheet and allows you to manage the delivery operation. Now, let us understand how to organize a spreadsheet before we learn the planning of the entire route in the route planner.

  1. To organize a spreadsheet, open a spreadsheet using MS Excel or Google sheets and then form 2 or 3 separate columns as per your requirements.
  2. Then, add customer names, addresses, and postcodes for purchased orders. Also, you can split them into street addresses, building numbers, or city.
  3. Once you are ready with the complete spreadsheet, review the entered details and click on the “Save” button.
  4. Thereafter, select the excel file to import in your route planner or just drop the file so that the route management software can compile the data.
  5. In the next step, recheck the matched data from the file to verify whether it is correctly filled or not. If everything is correct, click on the ‘Done’ button.
  6. Following that, check if there are duplicate or unverified addresses on the list. If so, you provide the correct address by clicking on the ‘edit’ button on the right side.
  7. Lastly, click on the ‘next’ button and select the route to optimize. By doing so, the route optimization software will quickly assign the tasks to the drivers.

Additional Benefits of Using Upper Route Planner

While planning routes at Upper, you will also get the additional features to boost the delivery process and increase the user experience. Below are some added features of Upper Route Planner.

Delivery Notifications:

delivery notification

It is an essential feature that quickly sends notifications to update the customer about the delivery of a package. This automated feature helps them know how soon the parcel will arrive.

Proof of Delivery:

electronic proof of delivery feature

If drivers successfully perform the deliveries, the route planner will remind them to capture the e-signature or take a photo of the delivered package.

Driver’s Instructions:

This feature delivers the customer message to the driver. Customers can then open the link to add a delivery note, which will quickly get updated on the driver’s device.

Multiple Web Mapping Platform:

The admin can allow the user to access the preferred mapping platform. For instance, customers can directly open the Waze instead of Google Maps after the admin’s approval.

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Upper Route Planner

A Simple-to-use route planner that every one is talking about.

  • Save up to 95% of planning time
  • Save up to 40% of time on the road
  • Plan 500 stops at once

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FAQs

Google Sheets is not a function or tool designed for route planning and optimization. All it can offer is a set of adjustable tables to add and store data. It is quite impossible to plan efficient routes with the help of Google Spreadsheet. A route planning is specifically designed to offer planning and optimization functions for creating and navigating a path.

For mapping a multi-stop route plan, you must find a suitable tool that can help you put all your stops in order and overcome risks or uncertainties with precise data and optimized routes. The easiest way to do this is by using a multi-stop route planner.

Here is a list of the best delivery route planner that will help you plan and optimize routes within minutes.

  • Route4me
  • Optimoroute
  • Upper Route Planner
  • Badger Maps
  • RouteXL
  • Circuit Route Planner

Route optimization is easier when you have got a robust route planning tool. Simply, you can import an excel file to quickly get an optimized route. Thereafter, if required you can include multiple routes by clicking on the ‘add stop’ button. The route optimization software will find the shortest route and assign stops per day to the delivery driver.


Conclusion

Route planning apps are made with the goal of enhancing your delivery process and making the tasks easier for drivers and businesses. In this article, we have tried to cover the reasons why using a dedicated route planning app makes things easier for you.

We hope the reasons have been convincing enough to make you switch from manual route planning to an automatic system. If you still have any questions like why you should adopt a route planning app for your delivery business, you can reach out to us to we will guide you further.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner. A subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems, Rakesh has been involved in technology for 30+ years. Looking to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges, Rakesh started Upper Route Planner with the ultimate goal of simplistic operations in mind.

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