Vehicle Routing Problem : Fully Explained

The Vehicle Routing Problem is fairly common in the last-mile delivery business. Typically, this problem occurs to constraints related to vehicle capacity, quickest route, travel time, and other constraints faced by the planners.

Efficiently solving these issues could ensure quality customer service and cut down on transportation costs. 

With the sudden increase in deliveries, the Vehicle Routing Problem has become even more difficult to solve. In order to help you know better, we are here to resolve your Vehicle Routing Problem.

What is the Vehicle Routing Problem?

The key focus of the Vehicle Routing Problem is on determining the efficient routes for a fleet of vehicles. But, route optimization not only focuses on reducing operational costs but also on working on other delivery constraints as both are equally important. 

The usual business-specific constraints in finding an effective solution for a fleet of vehicles includes time window and route length.

For instance, a delivery company performing 3000 deliveries every day with 50 cars. They need modern vehicle routing tools to assign deliveries to drivers and schedule visits. By doing so, they can get rid of numerous delivery restrictions, such as fuel usage, traffic bottlenecks, and time windows.

How is the Vehicle Routing Problem a Challenge?

Delivery Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) isn’t about finding the best delivery schedule. Many additional considerations play a role in determining the best paths to take.

The existence of many limitations and the unexpected nature of VRP add to its complexity. Below are some major challenges related to the dynamic vehicle routing problem:

1. Manual intervention

As a logistic organization that relies on the manual routing of vehicles, you’re sure to suffer from the lagging efficiency of delivery businesses. Even if you have advanced route optimizers, they are still people and prone to making errors.

When it comes to amplifying the impact of vehicle routing problems, manual processes operate as a catalyst. With manual routing processes, fleet managers are increasingly facing the issue of meeting customer expectations, such as quicker deliveries. 

While corporations should automate route planning as a cost-effective alternative, manual route planning is still widely used, increasing the need for manual intervention.

2. No real-time tracking

No real-time tracking

Poor logistics visibility arises from the inability to track delivery in advance or manual tracking of deliveries. This leads to poor delivery capabilities and experiences, non-compliance with SLAs, increased logistics risks, and increased cost of travel.

3. Unwanted delays

avoid unwanted delays

Organizations frequently pay the price for needless diversions and unscheduled stoppages taken by cars on the road due to a persistent loss of vision.

Delays are exacerbated by manual dependencies such as route planning, allocation, and scheduling of delivery activities. In order to create optimum routes, we need a sophisticated, automated modern routing platform.

Such technology holds the power to prevent any inexplicable delays and unnecessary fuel usage.

4. Delivery turnaround time

Since the rise in the same-day delivery is what customer demands, service times anticipated by the consumers are also going down significantly.

A recent survey suggests that around 86% of the customers are ready to pay extra for a good customer experience. About 77% of the shoppers are ready to pay extra for the same-day or next-day delivery.

5. Fuel consumption and carbon emissions

As per a detailed study, global warming and carbon emissions are actual existential threats. As aggregators of a logistic supply chain, it’s just a matter of time until we have to comply with carbon emission regulations and embrace greener logistical methods. 

Fuel consumption and carbon emissions

Due to the lack of machine learning capabilities, we have not been able to provide an efficient machine environment. Clearly, a manual or traditional vehicle routing approach will be unable to achieve this aim.

What are the Most Effective Solutions to VRP?

VRP can be addressed in below-stated three ways.

Manual solution: that is the most inefficient approach to dealing with VRP. Solving VRP is a nerve-wracking process that even seasoned fleet managers struggle with. But there are a few drawbacks here as well. For instance, manual solutions to VRP are not welcoming of any change. Additionally, they are also very complicated.

Preset Solvers: Preset solvers can only solve certain fundamental restrictions. Hence they can’t solve VRP. It is appropriate for academic contexts that demand in-depth study, but it is not appropriate for real-world commercial situations.

Route Optimization Solution: Because it takes into account real-world restrictions, the machine-learning-based route planning and optimization solution is the most effective method.

Why is it Difficult to Solve the Vehicle Routing Problem?

One of the main factors which brings difficulty in resolving Vehicle routing problem is time management. That’s right, because adjusting time slots for long-term projects is not that easy. It can even get complicated day by day if it continues to follow a similar pattern.

Generally, you have to manually calculate 10 different route combinations and individually check the routes to find the fastest route. This might be tricky for your delivery manager as they spend too much time at this point.

For example, let us assume that you need to add 10 stops to the route plan, which would result in more than 3lacs round trips. Soon, the problem may get bigger if you add 10-15 more stops to the same route. Hence, you need to keep checking on combinations. 

Such an exponential problem would make things complicated in such a way that it would be impossible for us to calculate manually. Thus, you need an advanced routing tool to tackle VRP issues by finding the optimal route in a timely manner.

Can VRP be Resolved using Free Online Tools?

Routing issues like VRP and TSP can be resolved with the optimization of routes, which is not part of any free applications. Some popular navigation apps might only help you to plan routes with limited stops. So, it won’t be enough to completely eradicate VRP even if you use free route mapping tools.

Those apps are usually considered when you want to find the shortest routes between point A to point B. But, they do not allow route optimization. Therefore, you need the right route optimization software that can quickly optimize routes considering the factors like on-road conditions, weather, or any avoidance zone.

Let us understand this via an example; suppose you want to search efficient route from point X to point Y using any free tools. You would get the shortest path to reach the destination (point Y), but you can’t find the optimal route, including the extra stop (point Z) on the route map.

Such an optimization process can be completed using advanced software where everything is carried out by an automated process. This means it leaves no chance for human errors while optimizing routes, and your delivery process won’t be interrupted by VRPs.

Hence, free apps do not work as an effective vehicle routing problem solver, you need much more than just a route planning option. If you are the one who is facing TRP, you must adopt the right route optimizer to facilitate day-to-day operations.

Why is an Effective Solution Needed?

The major goal of a good Vehicle Route Planning system is to cut down on logistics-related expenses. The following are some other reasons:

  • With the help of VRP, businesses can achieve long-term success.
  • VPR lowers capacity constraints for transportation and helps decision managers find an optimal solution. 
  • VPR significantly improves the fleet’s production and efficiency.
  • VPR not only saves time but also improves client happiness, resulting in higher profit margins.

What Should You Look for in Route Optimization Software?

You must ensure that you get a vehicle routing software that offers:

  • Route planning software that requires minimum human intervention. Such technology should give you automatic route recommendations helping you save a lot of money on gas while reducing the traveling time.
  • Rerouting is required to manage, postpone, and reassign on-demand delivery since new orders are added even within seconds. When additional orders are added, an efficient route planning program automatically reroutes them. This automated rerouting feature aids fleet managers in efficiently processing on-demand requests.
  • Robust allocation capabilities.
  • For fleet management, a precise parcel sorting capability is imminent. It aids fleet managers in allocating orders sensibly depending on their importance.
  • Deliveries may be delayed due to last-minute changes in the customer location. Accurate addresses are refined and converted into precise geographic coordinates by competent geocoding. For delivery drivers, vehicle load capacities assure on-time deliveries.
  • Real-time tracking must be enabled.
  • A real-time tracking function aids fleet management in analyzing potential delays that affect delivery ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrival). It allows them to quickly change routes while keeping customers informed.

Collaborate with Upper to Automate Routing Process

Want route optimization software for your business? Get Upper Route Planner to get rid of recurring VRP and benefits of advanced route planning and optimization features.


The routing problem is the result of a lack of optimal routes. VRP and TSP combinedly occur due to unable to find multiple routes for a vehicle. Also, the availability of vehicles to perform multiple deliveries would further boost complex routing problems for delivery teams. So, if there is more than one vehicle unable to perform deliveries on time, they are likely to have a routing problem. Whereas, if only one vehicle has such problems, it could be TSP.

Rich Vehicle Routing Problem (RVRP) is a common delivery constraint due to time management in the real-life delivery process. It is part of capacitated vehicle routing problem where the time is taken to manually calculate the accurate route for delivery and measure the capacity of vehicles.

The process to generate a route plan includes multiple stops by considering the number of vehicles. Logistics companies rely on vehicle routing to find the best delivery routes for performing last-mile deliveries. In logistics, vehicle routing is done by considering factors like capacity constraints and time windows while managing delivery operations.

For optimizing routes, you should use route planning and optimization software like Upper. The online delivery route planner app can assist you to find the best routes within seconds. Also, you can add upto 500 stops while planning a route map.

To check routing issues, you should closely check the performance of drivers, whether they are doing timely pick-up/drop-off or not. If not, your service is likely to take a hit due to a lack of optimized routes. Also, taking a long time to time to find an optimized route may result in routing issues.

A process to assign routes to delivery fleets in order to achieve a number of successful deliveries is called vehicle routing. During the process, it also considers factors like vehicle availability, capacity, travel time, fuel costs, and transportation costs. Some fleet managers follow route scheduling to ensure the availability of vehicles and drivers. Vehicle routing is better done with an automated delivery process where tasks are auto-assign to truck drivers.

Final Thoughts

We know you want a cost-effective, time-saving, and high-quality solution for your VRP. The good news is you have it in your bag with Upper Route Planner.

Using advanced route optimization software, you can plan and optimize your routes within seconds and save your precious time and money! You can serve 40% more customers in 95% less planning time with Upper Route Planner. 

Sounds exciting, right?

Start your and explore how it helps your business to expand and touch new heights.

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.