What is Manual Route Planning? And Why is it more Costly?

What is Manual Route Planning? And Why is it more Costly?

There has been a significant transformation in enterprise logistics and delivery operations. Why?

Because of the introduction of modern route optimization and route planning tools in the market. 

But things were not like this decades ago.

Delivery businesses started off providing home deliveries to customers with a manual delivery ecosystem and planning and carried on the same procedure for years.

At the time, customers were happy to wait for the product to get delivered and didn’t care enough about the delays because of the manual delivery management process.

With the changing customer demands and expectations, manual delivery route planning was not enough for delivering the holistic experience that the modern-day consumer wants.

That paved the way for modern-day route planning software.

So, let’s dig deep to understand more about what is manual route planning and its downfalls that open doors for the latest advanced technologies to penetrate and help the delivery business industry.

What is Manual Route Planning?

Route planning is the process of calculating the cost-effective route for a delivery fleet involving maximum coverage and minimal time consumption. Doing it manually with no technology intervention is called manual route planning.

Earlier, businesses used manual understanding and local drivers’ knowledge to deliver the best results.

Things got streamlined soon after Google Maps and Apple Maps, but the gap between fleet management and the ground workforce remained.

But the transformation in the delivery segment came into the limelight with the robust and latest AI-powered route planning and optimization software.

Even now, around 52% of field service companies plan and optimize their delivery operations manually using pen and paper.

Staggering numbers, right?

The numbers highlight that businesses are still not aware of the benefits modern-day route planning has for them.

We’ll highlight that in the latter half, but let’s throw some light on the basics and discuss why route planning is vital for your business delivery process.

Why is Route Planning Important in the Delivery Business?

Route planning is a vital segment of the logistics and transportation of a business. It assists businesses in fulfilling on-time deliveries, optimizing fuel usage, reducing costs, managing weather conditions, overcoming traffic conditions, and delivering customer satisfaction.

With a well-planned route path, you can minimize the errors and streamline the delivery workflow. But with manual route planning, things look uphill because of the limitation of the process.

What’s Manual Route Planning, and Why Did it Fail?

Manual route planning is not the go-to solution for businesses with rapid infrastructure and industry requirements. Manual route planning is outmoded by adding fuel to the fire, consumer behavior, shorter delivery window, and increased delivery cost.

There are multiple drawbacks a pen and paper route planning brings for a business. We have highlighted the major ones:

1. Manual dependencies

Undoubtedly, analyzing past problems and unfortunate delivery encounters can help businesses avoid such incidents in the future by using manual route planning.

But this is a macro overview. When optimizing the logistics and transportation process at a micro level, you need data and vital information for analysis.

Automated data gathering and analyzing can help chart an optimized and well-thought delivery route plan that’s impossible to achieve with manual planning.

2. No real-time visibility

No real-time visibility

Many deliveries are mishandled, and the customer demands are not met due to a lack of real-time visibility of orders. The monitoring and tracking of fleets in real-time enable businesses to make significant decisions to handle dynamic problems during the delivery process.

Real-time visibility also offers a stronger connection between the fleet management team and the drivers. But with manual route planning and optimization, it’s a dream to unlock real-time updates and visibility of delivery fleets.

3. Poor delivery productivity

The overall delivery productivity is poor in manual route planning. The lack of predictive visibility and cost-effective route planning is highly inefficient delivery process management.

The unstructured and outdated logistics and transportation can only result in your business lagging behind your competitors and being unable to deliver a quality customer experience.

4. Delivery delay


With no accurate information regarding the traffic situation, weather conditions, real-time fleet movement, and other critical factors, delivery delays are likely to happen with manual route planning and optimization.

The losses from weather-related delays in the United States range from $2.2 billion to $3.5 billion annually. Imagine the adverse effects caused due to other factors combined.

And delivery delays are directly proportional to unhappy customers in the modern day.

5. Poor customer experience

Poor customer experience

Today customers want to stay up to date with the status of their deliveries. With manual route planning, it’s hard for you to track the visibility of the deliveries for your business so how you’ll match the customer expectation.

Using the old form of pen and paper planning can result in poor customer experience as you won’t be able to update any dynamic circumstances arising in the delivery process. 

You won’t have a robust communication connection established in your delivery ecosystem, and that’s a big hurdle that can be overcome by modern and automated route planning.

6. Multi-drop delivery challenges

Another major roadblock that manual route planning possesses is hiccups with multi deliveries and route planning. It becomes challenging for last-mile logistics to deliver optimized delivery results using manual routing strategies in a densely packed city.

The fleet managers and delivery drivers won’t be able to complete deliveries within limited delivery time windows, which reduces the effectiveness of your logistic ecosystem.

7. Increased fuel costs

Following the traditional delivery routes can result in increased fuel consumption. With the effect of dynamic unavoidable traffic situations or harsh weather conditions, your delivery fleet can end up using more fuel than the calculated consumption.

With compelling predictions, you can minimize the adverse effects on your delivery contingent and achieve business goals quickly. But the manual process of planning routes doesn’t give you this freedom.

Now that you know the significant drawbacks of pen and paper route calculation, let’s look at the benefits of using route optimization software for fulfilling your deliveries.

Benefits of modern-day route planning

You can derive numerous benefits using a dedicated delivery route planning software, some of which we have highlighted here.

1. Automated route planning

You can integrate automation in your route planning process using powerful software that help you to get real-time logistics data for well-informed decisions. You minimize the risk of human errors and inefficiencies in your logistics process.

Automating the reductant processes can help you increase the efficiency of route optimization and delivery management.

You can send automatic updates to your ground workforce to adjust to dynamic uncontrolled situations for better customer experience and deliver results.

2. Real-time visibility

You get real-time updates regarding the delivery process with the help of a robust ecosystem enabled using a route planner. Your logistics and transportation teams can work in sync, maximize their productivities, and strive forward for overall business growth.

It is easier to enable the customers to get updates related to their deliveries with accurate ETAs and precise locations for a quality customer experience. Your fleet management team can effectively monitor the on-ground workforce and guide them to resolve issues.

3. Minimal delivery cost

A modern-day routing software overcomes the additional delivery cost barriers and helps optimize the delivery process for cost-effective management.

Your team can save extra fuel consumption caused during traffic jams and long delivery routes by spotting the shortest delivery paths. With the increased efficiency of your team, you can maximize your profits and increase customer satisfaction levels.

You can reduce the manual paperwork and digitize most manual touchpoints in logistics and delivery operations.

4. In-depth analytics

In-depth analytics

Using dedicated route planning and optimization software lets you extract data-rich reports and information for intelligent analytics and optimize your delivery process.

You can get different metrics like the average delivery cost, the work rate of your employees, and customer reviews, among others, to perform robust analytics to enhance the business operations.

Multiple data sets can be used to focus on excellent customer satisfaction and increase your profits by multiple folds.

5. Streamlined bulk delivery management

Streamlined bulk delivery management

The most significant feature of using a modern-day route planning and optimization tool is to handle bulk delivery orders with finesse and professionalism. You don’t worry about smooth delivery and management because of the software’s solid logistics and delivery ecosystem.

Your team can add multiple delivery locations and sync the software with Excel sheets to enable the driver to get the most optimized route to cover maximum delivery points within a minimal time. A multi-stop planner can assist you to save your money and streamline the delivery flow.

6. More control

The introduction of the tool helps you get more control over the logistic and delivery operations. Within a few clicks, changes and updates can be made in real time, and the message can be delivered to the entire team involved in the delivery process.

You can eradicate the lag between passing on crucial information to your workforce to make well-informed decisions.

This wraps up the significant benefits a route planner offers for your delivery business. But which route planning and optimization tools are ideal for your business?

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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


Automated route planning using the technology to consider multiple touchpoints and tailor your drivers’ most efficient and effective delivery path. You can choose the number of delivery destinations, and the automation tool enables you to find the path that takes minimal time to complete all deliveries.

The benefits of manual route planning are minimal compared to modern-day route planning and optimization. It provides a 100 % human intervention that can be a blessing in disguise. You can make decisions based on human emotions and cleverness, which can sometimes prove handy compared to automated software. But overall, there’s a thin benefit arena offered by manual route planning.

The prime difference between manual and auto-routing is that auto-routing can deliver optimized delivery path results without working hard and calculating the different metrics involved in the route planning process. With auto-routing, you can save time and energy and shift your focus toward your core business and deliver a quality customer experience to your target audience.

Route planning can be optimized using the detailed insights provided by the route planner. The data and vital information can be collected and analyzed to make well-informed decisions to improve the logistics and delivery. Data sets like customer reviews, average delivery cost, employee performance, and vehicles performance can be taken into account to enhance the efficiency of your delivery ecosystem.

The route planning software using its algorithms analyzes multiple aspects of the delivery process like weather and traffic conditions, vehicle size, driver schedule, location, and deliveries lined up, among others. It concentrates on all the aspects and delivers an optimized delivery path covering all delivery points within a limited time. There’s no requirement for you to enter different values for all the delivery touchpoints as the powerful automation system of the tools delivers efficient results

Which modern-day route planning software can assist you with your route optimization?

With a plethora of tools available in the market, you need to choose the best and the finest tool for your business. You need an easy-to-use, powerful route planner to fix your logistics loopholes and deliver a quality customer experience.

And if you filter down the best tools available, keeping in mind different vital ingredients required for your business success, Upper Route Planner stands out from the rest.

If you choose Upper Route Planner as your go-to route optimizer, you can:

  • Save 95% of your planning time
  • Get a holistic view of your delivery operations
  • Increase your customer range by 40%

Wouldn’t you want similar results for your business?

So, what’s making you wait?

Irrespective of your business size and industry, streamline your daily delivery operations with Upper Route Planner. Our route planner app is suitable for iPhone and Android devices.

Avail of the free 7-day trial period now, and transform your logistics and transportation business operations.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner, a route planning and optimization software. With 28+ years of experience in the technology industry, Rakesh is a subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems. His ultimate goal with Upper Route Planner is to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges and simplify operations such as route planning, scheduling, dispatching, take a proof of delivery, manage drivers, real time tracking, customer notifications and more. He loves sharing his thoughts on eliminating delivery management challenges via blogs. Read more.