What is Multi-Stop Route Planning? Why is It Important for Efficiency?

According to reports, global e-commerce sales are expected to exceed 5.7 trillion US dollars in the coming years.

The introduction of new e-commerce platforms altered the delivery ecosystems of today.

Not only has the variety and number of online orders expanded but so has the demand for excellent delivery services. Previously, customers would not mind waiting for seven to ten business days for their packages to arrive.

Many customers nowadays expect next-day or same-day deliveries. Customers are also impatient with any delivery delays or complications. To counter all the bottlenecks of delivery operation, multiple stops route planning is imperative. Here are the things to consider while mapping a route with multiple stops.

It will factor in a wide range of challenges and business constraints, such as delivery time windows, driver skillset, inventory details, and resource availability. Let’s understand the crux of what is multi-stop route planning and how it can help scale your business operations.

What is Multi-Stop Route Planning?

Multi-stop route planning is a process of choosing the most efficient route in order to perform multiple deliveries at different locations. Based on such factors, It considers drivers’ availability, traffic flows, road closures, and priority orders. The automated process will hardly take a few seconds to find the perfect route for drivers. In short, it helps drivers decide the quickest route so that they can deliver the package in a timely manner.

There are two types of route planners. Free route planner with unlimited stops and paid route planner with multiple stops.

Why is Multi-Stop Route Planning Important?

Since the number of online buyers has increased, delivering packages to them within a given deadline would not be that easy. The assigned drivers making multi-stop deliveries might spend a long time on the road unless they don’t have a proper route plan. 

Drivers may meet avoidance zones or may get stuck in traffic for longer than usual when they fail to do route planning. On the other hand, you need to take care of the customer’s time window as well. Yes, this is where most of the drivers fail, leaving customers unhappy with the delivery experience.

Thus, the dispatcher must do robust multi-stop route planning before assigning routes to the drivers rather than doing manual things. 

Here’s why multi-stop route planning has sheer importance. 

  • Finds fastest routes within seconds
  • Maximizes efficiency levels
  • Accomplishes delivery target within a given deadline
  • No extra cost on vehicle expenses
  • Reduced human errors

What is Multi-Stop Route Planner?

A multi-stop route planner is an app or software that allows users to plan a journey with multiple stops or destinations, optimizing the route for efficiency and time savings. Examples include Google Maps, Waze, Roadtrippers, and UpperInc.com, with UpperInc.com catering to both individual and business users with its advanced route planning features.

How Does a Multi-Stop Route Planner Work?

A multi-stop route planner is a valuable tool for businesses that require deliveries or services to be made to multiple locations. The planner uses advanced algorithms to optimize routes and schedules, making it easier for businesses to reduce transportation costs, improve delivery times, and increase productivity. In this article, we will explore how a multi-stop route planner works, covering the data collection, algorithm, and map visualization components.

Multi-stop route planner consists of a sophisticated algorithm that is capable of finding the efficient routes in a fraction of a second. In this process, it ensures your delivery schedule doesn’t get interrupted, and your drivers reach the location on time, regardless of the number of added stops.

Here’s a detailed explanation of how it works. 

1. Extraction of data

In the first step, the software will extract the delivery data, such as start time, end time, stops, time & distance. Therefore, the user needs to enter the details either manually or directly by importing a CSV or Excel file into the route planner. In case you have data stored on other third-party apps, you can get them with the help of API integration.  

2. Use of the advanced algorithm

Next, the algorithm considers delivery stop details and driver’s preferences set by the user to explore the quickest route in less than a minute. While doing so, it not only considers stop priority or preferences but also takes traffic, driver’s shift timings, and avoidance zones into account. Such an automated process won’t require any manual efforts, and you can have your optimized routes ready 

3. Route map

Once you have the route plan ready, you can explore the stops and their details on the map. If everything seems good, then you can share it with your drivers. In case you have got last-minute changes, you can quickly make them from the generated route map. 

What are the Benefits of Multi-Stop Route Planning?

Multi-stop route planning is helpful for every size of delivery business as they have more delivery orders. It would be difficult to perform timely deliveries if you didn’t have pre-planned routes. That’s where multi-stop route planning comes handy. Here are some notable benefits of it. 

1. Increased Productivity and Performance

One of the most evident advantages of multi-stop route planning stems from increased efficiency. 

The number of visits that sales reps can accomplish in a day can be maximized by planning the most efficient routes between customers from point A to point B.

It will not only help you increase productivity and profitability but also the quality of your customer interactions and your sales team’s overall performance.

Your optimized route plans will become more effective and efficient as you analyze and determine which customers are most likely to pay for your service using digital analytics

2. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

According to reports, the worldwide transportation industry is a major contributor to pollution, emitting over 7.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2020.

A sustainable enterprise should minimize its reliance on transportation and improve its energy efficiency. 

Route optimization will save you money on gas and reduce the carbon footprint produced by your vehicles.

Each gallon of fuel emits over 20 pounds of CO2, and each liter of gasoline emits more than 2 kg of CO2. On the other hand, planning the best route with the help of a route planner reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

3. Increased Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Existing and potential customers can sense when sales reps are not hurrying to their next appointment and can invest the mandatory time. 

They will be able to spend meaningful time with professionals who can suit their demands. This will enhance not simply the amount of sales but, more crucially, client satisfaction.

Furthermore, you get access to the best advantages when you integrate data from your travels into CRMs. 

When you integrate customer lifecycle data with your most efficient route planning, you can strengthen your connection with existing clients and increase customer retention.

4. Increased Profit and Growth

One of the most significant long-term benefits of streamlining your multi-stop route planning efforts is increased profit margin. 

This is because more sales will be produced at a lower operation cost.

When sales reps take the most efficient routes, they will spend less time on the road and have shorter delivery time windows. It also helps with reducing fuel expenses, upkeep costs, and carbon footprints.

Furthermore, as previously said, more quality encounters with customers and prospects will increase the quantity and size of sales. 

Therefore, when some costs are reduced, as a consequence, revenue will increase as well.

5. Save Time When Planning

Save Time When Planning

Manually sorting addresses is inconvenient and time-consuming. You will probably end up reviewing and analyzing places and the most efficient route for hours at a time. 

You will need to collect a large amount of data, maps, and distance tables, and once you have them all, determining the best route will take even longer.

An efficient multi-stop route planning will provide you with access to all of the easily available data and will allow you to do the calculations much faster. 

This will save you a lot of time that you can use to scale your firm’s growth.

What are the Key Features of a Multi-Stop Route Planner?

A reliable route planner has an array of routing features to help you plan the best routes. Here we will shed light on some of its key features.

Advanced route planning & optimization

Having a route planning feature is common, but you need a reliable optimizer as well. So, one of the key features is advanced route planning and optimization that can help you find optimal routes in just a few seconds. After all, you need a robust route plan ready before your drivers go out for deliveries. 

Smart importer

Secondly, you must check the Import feature in the software. In fact, try out the software to see if it allows you to import stops directly or not. Such a feature can save you a lot of time, and you don’t need to make manual efforts, which might lead to errors. Therefore, if you have a CSV file or Excel file ready, you can directly import them without adding stops manually.

Seamless dispatch

Dispatching is the most crucial step in any delivery business. Therefore, a route planner must provide a quick dispatching feature so that drivers can get optimized routes on time in order to deliver the packages on time. The automated dispatching process sets dispatchers free from doing things manually. 

Real-time driver tracking

Delivery business owners or dispatchers mostly have queries regarding drivers’ whereabouts. Hence, you must choose an advanced route planner with unique features like real-time tracking. The live tracking feature is useful in eliminating communication gaps between customers and the backend team.

Software integration

Delivery route optimization software should have an in-built integration feature to collect data from the existing software quickly. In this process, you can extract the data from any third-party app using an API key. As a result, your route planning process doesn’t get stuck, and you can generate optimized routes in seconds. 

Which are the Factors to be Considered while Choosing a Multi-Stop Route Planner?

When planning a multi-stop route plan, you need to consider more than one factor to find the optimal routes. Below are the factors that you should consider while planning a multi-stop route. 

1. Location:

Consider a specific geographic region or territory and narrow the route within that location. You should remember that the bigger the territory, the fewer stops an expert may realistically make in a single day.

2. Priority of Potential and Existing Customers:

The most effective route will prioritize the existing customers as well as potential customers who will deliver the greatest return on investment.

3. Performance:

The route must subsequently decrease miles driven while increasing customer retention. When all of these elements are considered, your multi-stop route planning will yield routes with appropriate travel times, realistic accessibility to target destinations, and an increased return on investment. An essential factor to consider and understand here is that in route optimization, quality determines a successful and efficient route, but not the number.

Here are the things to consider while choosing multiple stop route planner for your business.

How Does Multi-Stop Route Planning Help in Last-mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery process heavily relies on multi-stop route planning as drivers need to deliver the packages to the end users. If done manually, you might not reach the destination on time, leaving the customer unsatisfied. So, many businesses have started investing in the technologies as soon as they saw a surge in last-mile deliveries. By adopting the automated routing process, they don’t need manual intervention, and the process can take place as per the delivery schedule. 

Developing a multi-stop route plan for your multiple deliveries can not only help in achieving targets but also help you deliver an excellent customer experience.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.