How to Plan a Delivery Route Without Sacrificing Your Time?

Delivering goods to customers on time is a balancing act that requires skill and strategy. However, it can quickly become a stressful act when you’re trying to hit all your stops efficiently while avoiding gridlock, wasted miles, and disappointed customers.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! 

What if you could plan efficient delivery routes without wasting time or energy?

In this blog, we will go over the options through which individuals and businesses can plan their delivery routes. We will cover options that vary from free to paid and the pros and cons of each.

Forget Spaghetti Routes, Optimize Routes for Your Entire Team with Upper


What is a Delivery Route Planner?

A delivery route planner is a tool or software solution that eliminates the guesswork of planning efficient routes for your drivers. 

Rather than manually plotting stops one by one, a route planner automatically maps out the ideal multi-stop route to hit all delivery locations. These advanced route planners consider real-time data like traffic conditions, street terminations, and driver schedules to create the most efficient routes. 

The best route planners also integrate turn-by-turn navigation and location tracking so that you can monitor your fleet’s progress.

A few key benefits of using an automated delivery route planner include:

  • Reducing planning time and eliminating human error
  • Minimizing drive time, fuel costs, and vehicle wear and tear  
  • Improving on-time deliveries and customer satisfaction
  • Boosting driver productivity and billable hours

With an effective route planner, you can streamline everyday dispatch operations without sacrificing efficiency. 

Importance of Planning Delivery Routes

Efficient route planning is the backbone of any successful delivery operation. It offers a multitude of benefits apart from cost savings. Here’s why optimizing delivery routes is essential:

  • Cost savings: Efficient routes minimize fuel expenses and promote eco-friendly transportation practices, ensuring both financial savings and environmental responsibility.
  • Vehicle maintenance: Optimal routes reduce vehicle mileage, extend fleet lifespan, and cut down on repair and upkeep costs, ultimately contributing to significant long-term savings.
  • Driver productivity: Well-planned routes streamline delivery processes, maximizing driver efficiency and ensuring timely deliveries without unnecessary delays, thereby enhancing overall productivity.
  • Customer satisfaction: Strategic route planning guarantees timely deliveries, exceeding customer expectations, and fostering trust. This results in satisfied customers who are more likely to return and recommend the business to others.
  • Brand reputation: Poor route planning can lead to delays and dissatisfied customers, damaging the brand’s reputation and potentially resulting in lost business opportunities, emphasizing the critical importance of efficient route planning for maintaining a positive brand image.

From cost savings to customer satisfaction, the importance of planning delivery routes simply cannot be overstated for businesses.

What are the Different Ways to Plan a Delivery Route?

The primary approaches to planning delivery routes include

  1. Manually: Free but inefficient routes
  2. Using Google Maps: Free for 10 stops
  3. Using route optimization software: Unlimited stops, can accommodate multiple drivers.
Different ways to plan delivery routes

So, let’s discuss each method in detail to help you choose the perfect method for planning your delivery routes.

How to plan a delivery route manually?

The traditional option is manual route planning. While cost-effective, this method is extremely time-consuming, prone to errors, and less accurate compared to other options. It’s best suited for very small businesses with minimal routing needs.

For manual planning, you’ll need a physical map, pen/paper, and a list of delivery stops and drivers. Here are the steps to plan a route manually:

Step 1: Map out each stop location on the map, ensuring no duplicates.

Step 2: Determine a logical order for the stops based on their proximity.

Step 3: Factor in estimated stop times, traffic conditions, and distances between locations.  

Step 4: Reorder the sequence if needed based on time constraints or delivery priorities.

Step 5: Double-check the full route is feasible for on-time completion.

As you can see, this approach requires significant time and lacks the data integration of digital tools.

How to plan a delivery route using Google Maps?  

Google Maps is a free and user-friendly option for basic route planning and navigation. The steps to plan a delivery route through Google Maps are:

Step 1: Open Google Maps and enter the first stop address in the search.

Step 2: Click “Directions” and then the “+” button to add additional stops one by one.

Step 3: Reorder stops if needed by clicking and dragging them in the desired sequence.

Step 4: Review the full route, making any final changes.

Step 5: Click “Start” to begin turn-by-turn navigation to the first stop.

While familiar and easy to use, Google Maps has limited routing optimization capabilities. It doesn’t factor in driver schedules, vehicle specifics, traffic prediction, or other logistics considerations.

How to plan a delivery route using route optimization software?

For businesses needing an advanced, automated solution, route optimization software is the way to go. Advanced route optimization software like Upper offers an incredibly efficient routing experience. 

Here’s how you can plan a route using route optimization software:

Step 1: Import unlimited stop locations from spreadsheets or apps with a single click.

Step 2: Optionally add delivery details like priorities, time windows, service times, and more.

Step 3: Select the number of drivers to generate optimized routes automatically.

Step 4: With one click, generate the most efficient routes considering all data inputs.  

Step 5: Instantly share optimized routes/schedules with drivers for execution.

Using AI and machine learning, route optimization software accounts for every operational constraint to create the most efficient routes possible. It provides accurate ETAs, real-time tracking, and proof of delivery while reducing planning time, miles driven, and costs.

For businesses prioritizing efficiency, scalability, and a competitive edge, route optimization software delivers unrivaled capabilities. 

Get Optimal Delivery Routes

Take the complexity out of route planning and ensure on-time deliveries with advanced route optimization software

Limitations of Planning Routes Manually or Using Google Maps

Planning delivery routes manually or relying on basic navigation tools like Google Maps can pose several limitations for businesses, including:

1. Limitation on adding stops

A key reason for choosing route optimization software is its ability to handle unlimited stops per route. Traditional route planning methods become increasingly complex as the number of stops increases. However, with route planning software, whether you have 10 stops or hundreds, it takes only a few minutes to plan a delivery route efficiently.

2. Lack of optimization

Without advanced algorithms, manual route planning often leads to inefficient routes, resulting in increased mileage, fuel costs, and longer travel times. This lack of optimization can significantly impact operational costs and profitability, especially for businesses with large delivery fleets.

3. Inability to adapt

Static routes planned manually can’t dynamically change following real-time events like traffic disruptions, road closures, or unexpected delays. This lack of flexibility can prompt significant delays, missed delivery windows, and disappointed customers.

4. Limited visibility

Without integrated tracking and reporting, businesses lack real-time visibility into driver locations, order status, and delivery performance metrics. This absence of transparency can make it difficult to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.

5. Inconsistent customer experience

Manual processes increase the risk of delays, missed deliveries, and inconsistent service, prompting disappointed clients and potential damage to brand reputation. Consistent and reliable delivery experiences are crucial for building customer loyalty and trust.

Without delivery route optimization, a delivery driver might take longer routes, directly impacting efficiency, costs, scalability, and customer satisfaction.

Therefore, addressing these limitations is crucial for businesses aiming to optimize their delivery operations and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

Manual Route Planning vs. Route Planning Software

Aspect Manual Route Planning Route Planning Software
Complexity Requires manual calculation and decision-making and is often prone to errors Automates route planning processes, reducing human error and ensuring optimal routes
Time Efficiency Time-consuming, involving manual input and adjustment of routes Significantly reduces planning time through automation and algorithmic optimization
Scalability Limited scalability makes it challenging to manage as delivery networks expand Easily scalable to accommodate growing delivery operations and changing requirements
Customization Limited ability to customize routes and adapt to changing circumstances Offers flexibility to tailor routes based on specific constraints, such as delivery windows and vehicle capacities
Real-time Updates Lacks real-time updates on traffic conditions and route changes Provides real-time updates on traffic, weather, and road conditions, enabling dynamic route adjustments
Cost Generally lower upfront costs but may incur higher long-term expenses due to inefficiencies The initial investment may be higher, but cost-effectiveness is achieved through increased efficiency and reduced operational costs
Accuracy Prone to inaccuracies and suboptimal routes due to manual input Delivers accurate and optimized routes based on advanced algorithms and data-driven insights

Upgrade Your Route Planning

Say goodbye to the headaches of manual route planning and discover how route planning software simplifies delivery operations.

Scenarios When You Can Consider Route Optimization Software

Let us discover some scenarios where route optimization software emerges as a game-changer in delivery logistics.

  1. Complex delivery networks: When exploring intricate delivery networks with multiple stops and varied requirements, route optimization software succeeds in creating efficient routes that maximize productivity.
  2. Time-sensitive deliveries: For time-sensitive deliveries expecting adherence to strict delivery windows, route optimization software guarantees timely arrivals, limiting delays and enhancing customer loyalty.
  3. Dynamic traffic conditions: In areas prone to heavy traffic or fluctuating road conditions, route optimization software dynamically adjusts routes in real-time, avoiding congestion and enhancing productivity.
  4. Resource optimization: Route optimization software considers factors like vehicle capacity and driver availability, guaranteeing optimal resource utilization and reducing operational expenses.
  5. Expanding operations: As businesses scale and expand their delivery operations, route optimization software provides scalability, accommodating increased delivery volumes while maintaining efficiency.
  6. Competitive edge: By utilizing route optimization software, businesses gain a strategic advantage by delivering superior service through optimized routes, ultimately driving customer loyalty and business growth.

Hence, incorporating route optimization software into essential scenarios revolutionizes delivery logistics by optimizing routes, improving efficiency, and elevating customer experiences to new heights.

How Does Upper Route Planner Help Companies in Planning Routes Efficiently?

Upper Route Planner empowers businesses with route optimization capabilities. Its advanced algorithms quickly generate optimized routes with multiple stops and drivers, eliminating the need for manual planning or basic tools. 

From real-time driver tracking to proof of delivery, Upper provides an all-in-one platform. Plus, Upper seamlessly handles complex routing requirements, considering factors like traffic, delivery windows, and vehicle capacities – ensuring maximum efficiency.

What sets Upper apart is its comprehensive feature set, which is tailored explicitly for delivery operations. Here are some of them:

  • Excel Import: Import multiple addresses and data in one go from your system to abstain from entering them manually, saving significant time and limiting mistakes in data entry. The excel import feature streamlines the process, allowing you to upload large volumes of data efficiently.
  • One-Click Dispatch: Once you optimize the routes, quickly send them to respective delivery drivers and dispatch them according to the delivery schedule. With just a single click, you can rest assured that your drivers are notified and dispatched, boosting productivity and limiting delays.
  • Customer Notifications: Keep your clients updated with their delivery status by sending them automated custom notifications and ETAs. Tailor messages to meet specific needs and preferences, providing your customers with personalized updates throughout the delivery process.
  • Proof of Delivery: As soon as your delivery drivers complete each delivery, they can collect proof of deliveries by clicking photos and getting e-signatures from the customers. This process ensures accurate documentation and provides evidence of successful deliveries for both you and your customers.
  • Report and Analytics: Know delivery status and determine the performance of your delivery drivers using on-demand reports. Gain valuable insights into delivery operations, enabling informed decision-making and continuous optimization of your delivery processes.
  • API Integration: Integrate Upper with your existing software or any third-party software to fetch delivery data seamlessly. This integration enhances workflow efficiency by allowing for the smooth exchange of information between different systems, ensuring seamless operation across your entire delivery ecosystem.

Accelerate Route Planning

Speed up your route planning process and achieve faster deliveries with Upper's advanced route planning software.

This is how Upper’s advanced technology can help businesses efficiently plan delivery routes, ensure optimal utilization of resources, and guarantee timely deliveries.

Frequently Asked Questions

The maximum distance between a pickup and drop-off address relies on factors like goods type, vehicle capacity, and time constraints. Generally, it’s recommended to keep this distance as short as possible to ensure prompt service. However, this distance may vary depending on operational requirements and logistical considerations.

When considering Google Maps as a route planner, there are pros and cons to evaluate. On the pros side, it is free and widely available, has a user-friendly interface, provides turn-by-turn navigation, and is compatible with Android and iOS devices. However, the cons are that it is limited to planning routes with a maximum of 10 stops, lacks advanced route optimization capabilities, cannot accommodate constraints, and requires manual input.

Delivery drivers typically take multiple routes on a normal day, depending on factors like delivery volume, distance, and scheduling. The route planning for delivery drivers may vary based on individual workloads and logistical requirements.

Delivery management software offers various advantages, including streamlined route planning, real-time tracking, automated dispatching, and improved communication. These tools optimize delivery routes, reduce fuel costs, and enhance overall operational efficiency, ultimately leading to increased efficiency and consumer loyalty.

Different types of route planning include dynamic route planning, multi-stop route planning, open path routing, closed path routing, depot-to-depot routing, and many more.

Maximize Productivity with Efficient Route Planning

In the delivery sector, efficient route planning is crucial for businesses looking to thrive without sacrificing time. By utilizing the power of advanced route optimization technologies, companies unlock a world of transformative benefits, streamlining processes, reducing operational costs, and elevating customer satisfaction to unprecedented heights.

The key is to balance optimized routes with efficient time management strategies. Route planning software automates the task of sequencing deliveries, considering dynamic variables such as traffic or weather patterns. This combination empowers businesses to maximize driver productivity, minimize travel times, and ensure timely deliveries.

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.