A Guide on Backward Scheduling – What is it, and Can it Boost Your Business?

As a business owner, you know how important deadlines are. Shipping, delivering, scheduling, and more must happen at certain times to meet expectations.

Think back to the Christmas season. Wouldn’t it have been disastrous if someone ordered a gift that arrived after Christmas? What about the customer who stays home from work to receive an expensive item? If that package arrives too early or too late, the customer will be disappointed in your service.

Or someone ordering food: If their meal comes too late, they miss lunch. As a result, they’re hungry, irritable, and probably not willing to give you a great review.

In this article, we will discuss more about backward scheduling along with its comparison between forward and backward scheduling.

What is Backward Scheduling?

Backward scheduling is basically “on-time” scheduling. To elaborate: you or a customer sets a due date, ETA, or completion time for an order. The delivery goes out on that pre-planned date – either sooner or later. Think of it like hitting a bulls-eye. If you shoot for any other spot on the target, you’ll miss the mark. This strategic method is useful for a business with build-to-order services or sales forecasting.

Hence, backward scheduling can circumvent these disasters as it allows customers to set a delivery time. As a result, your business can avoid customer disappointment and gain a good review.

What is Forward Scheduling?

Forward scheduling is “early-bird” scheduling where orders are filled as soon as resources are available and received by the customer at the earliest delivery time. This method allows businesses to determine the earliest completion time for tasks. It is useful for serial production planning or fast delivery.

Let’s say you deliver meals. The customer wants their meal now so they can get back to work. Forward scheduling ensures their needs are met immediately.

Forward vs. Backward Scheduling Comparison

While both approaches can make business management easier, each has its own benefits and flaws. Let us see a comparison with the help of its advantages and disadvantages.

Forward Scheduling Benefits

1. Improved utilization rate

Improved utilization rate

For your business, production scheduling and delivery scheduling allows you to fill orders quickly, relieving the pressure of a long company to-do list. It helps you utilize your workforce in a better way to gain desired output.

2. Integration with other platforms

Forward scheduling is a calendar-based process that can be easily integrated with existing platforms or with any other third-party systems. It is also possible to carry out forward scheduling using the simple Google calendar.

Forward Scheduling Disadvantages

1. No flexibility

Due to a lack of strategic planning time, you will struggle to adapt to material shortages and delays. Its on-the-fly, chaotic nature can add pressure to the work environment as drivers rush to fill orders. That could lead to accidents, mistakes, and other mishaps. Hence, you would not get the flexibility using this method.

2. Scheduling customized products

Scheduling customized products

Using the forward scheduling method, your delivery schedule is likely to get interrupted. Especially, if you have customized products to deliver. It is because custom items have increased lead time which may further start that forward scheduling can not be carried out successfully.

Backward Scheduling Benefits

1. Minimal risks

Following backward scheduling means you haven’t been fully committed to your assignment. You can either increase or decrease the speed as per your requirements. This maneuver consists of minimal risks which would help you meet the customer expectations.

2. Relieves work pressure

Backward scheduling relieves extra workload from your delivery team and assists them to balance workload equally among other employees. It has less chances of possible delays which layoffs working pressures from your tradesman.

Backward Scheduling Disadvantages

1. Room for human errors

In backward scheduling, unintentional human errors are likely to hit the deliveries with such a narrow window. In a last-minute rush, if the problem is on the production side, you would not have time to resolve such issues. Therefore, human errors would pop up anytime during the process.

2. High chances for under-delivery

Backward scheduling helps you reorganize delivery by relieving pressure from your employees. But, at the same time, it may give a rise to under-delivery. If truck drivers get into heavy traffic during an ongoing process, your delivery won’t be on time.

Importance of Scheduling

Delivery and production scheduling streamline your business so you can allocate resources and more easily measure revenue and material costs. That leads to:

  • Improved time management
  • Simplified client orders
  • Balanced workloads
  • Increased flexibility

Process efficiency leads to better time management for your business, delivery drivers, and clients. A scheduling system simplifies the manufacturing process for everyone.

Clients can more easily place orders. Drivers know when to deliver. You know when deliveries need to happen and can more easily measure delivery metrics such as average speed, customer preference, and gas consumption.

A scheduling system also simplifies workload management for you. You will know how much work to give each driver. With an understanding of the workload, you can also recognize when to hire more drivers.

Forward scheduling and backward scheduling makes your business more flexible. Because orders are planned, you can modify them to adapt to fluctuating resources or delays.

What are Some Business Challenges Solved by Backward Scheduling?

With backward scheduling, you can easily overcome modern challenges for your business. Here is how it resolved some of them.

1. Last-minute changes

Backward scheduling allows you to deal with last-moment changes so that you can adjust the purchased order as per the customer’s preference. Especially, those who run custom products businesses can find it easier to accommodate changes and reorganize the delivery schedule quickly. Thus, delivery businesses do not have to worry about changes at the very last moment.

2. Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction

If your customers are less satisfied with the delivery process, backward scheduling gives them the power to apply desired changes. Since backward scheduling is offering a customer to select their preferred time, it would be easier for them to collect the parcel according to their availability. Such customer-friendly service would increase customer satisfaction.

3. Meeting deadlines

Performing on-time deliveries amid tight delivery schedules is what most delivery businesses aim for. And that’s where exactly backward scheduling has got your back covered. Backward scheduling can balance the workload in such a way that your employees don’t feel an extra burden on their shoulders. As a result, your team would show up at the delivery location in a timely manner.

Tips for Using Backward Scheduling Correctly

Do you know backward scheduling can help you compete with rivals? Simply implement it effectively and once you do, you’ll have an advantage over 97 percent of organizations whose strategies fail. Here are useful tips for using it correctly.

1. Communicate Constantly

You must communicate your new plan to all your employees multiple times. Be clear, timely, and consistent. In smaller organizations with fewer than 50 employees, this is easier. You should have no problem broadcasting your new scheduling system.

2. Reallocate Resources

When setting your scheduling plan, shift your priorities. Determine the availability of resources it requires. How much money, transit time, and staffing are necessary to fill production orders? A leader must be willing to adapt to the demands of a scheduling strategy.

3. Be Accountable

When the new plan begins, hold each other accountable – especially yourself. If you don’t follow through as the business leader, the plan falls apart. Enforce the new scheduling plan, so everyone is on board.

4. Measure Results

This step is often skipped, but it’s integral to improvement. Track the production process of the scheduling plan. How long do deliveries take? Have customer ratings improved or worsened? Do employees feel overwhelmed? Effective measurement allows you to improve the plan.

How Upper Route Planner Helps with Scheduling and Much More

Be it forward or backward scheduling, Upper has got essential features to schedule your deliveries in advance. The route optimization software helps you plan and optimize unlimited routes. No matter which scheduling methods you use, Upper always reminds you ahead of a planned order release date. 

The online route planner is quick to make route scheduling so that you don’t miss out on requested due dates. Also, following a backward scheduling system, you don’t have to worry about the optimal routes as you can leave things up to the route planner. 

Moreover, Upper is not just limited to scheduling strategies, it actually got more than that. It auto assigns tasks to the employees, reoptimizes routes, updates drivers about delivery status, and directs them to reach the location in the best possible way.

Schedule Unlimited Deliveries Using Upper

Got a backward scheduling request from your client? Let Upper set up the best routes for your drivers while you prepare for the next deliveries.


Let us assume that you have finalized a meeting on Sunday morning and for that you want your car to get properly washed before moving it out. Here, you can use reverse scheduling to get your car ready by the best possible time i.e on Saturday evening. This means your car is likely to get less dirty when you go out for a Sunday meeting.

Backward scheduling is the process where customer sets the delivery time to receive their parcel. While suppliers try their best to deliver the item on the last possible time before an actual due date. On the other hand, if the customer request for the delivery to get completed earlier than the scheduled delivery date it is referred to as forward scheduling.

Backward scheduling is more complex than forward scheduling, but it has many advantages to look at.

  • Cheaper inventory cost
  • Minimized transportation lead time
  • Flexible delivery time
  • Clients satisfaction

There are mainly two types of approaches of scheduling: backward scheduling and forward scheduling.

Boost Backward Scheduling with a Route Delivery App

Once you have your production schedule set, you can manage deliveries with a route delivery app. Either backward or forward, both the scheduling processes are easy to make with Upper Route Planner. 

It helps you increase productivity while cutting the costs of driving. That way, you can focus on your business, and not only on route planning. Sign up for free at Upper and discover advanced features for scheduling.

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.