What is Route Planning? Ultimate Guide in 2022

As a small or medium-sized business owner overseeing delivery requirements, you must deal with delivery costs and simultaneously provide better customer services. And this is not an easy task!

If you’re looking for a solution that can help you save time and eliminate the daily chaos, delivery route planning is the one-stop solution for all your troubles.

And so, there is a growing demand for route optimization software, which helps you create and manage multiple routes more efficiently.

Many entrepreneurs struggle when it comes to executing delivery services. Questions may arise like how to improve the business productivity? and who will look after the delivery operations? Your answer to those questions is an intelligent route planning software.

So, let us understand what is delivery route planning?

What is Route Planning?

Route planning, most commonly known as “route mapping” or “route sequencing”, is the process used to decide the economical route to take from one place to another.

Let’s say you’re planning to have a long trip and you’re completely unaware of the new location that you are visiting. In that case, route planning, with its advanced algorithms, identifies and provides you with the best and most optimized delivery route available.

Want To Manage and Streamline Your Daily Delivery Operations?

Upper Route Planner is a route planning and optimization software that allows you to easily plan efficient routes with multiple stops.

Why is Route Planning Important?

Route sequencing is the essential process to bring more convenience to all your drivers and enhance business productivity. This process is vital for any company with logistics needs, routes, or field services. Here are some best reasons to have a delivery route planning solution in your business.

  1. Cut Transportation Expenses

    One of the biggest challenges that many business owners face is higher transportation costs. They need to bear higher fuel costs and vehicle maintenance costs. And it’s just due to the following reasons:

    • Running delivery vehicles idle in traffic congestions
    • The drivers need to deal with long driving time due to unplanned travel routes
    • More chances of having risk for fuel wastage on backtracking
    • Higher vehicle wear and tear due to fuel efficiency lacking

    To overcome such challenges, you need to include route optimization solutions in your business. With a route planning system, route creation process is easier, and the route-planning algorithm will help you re-route to minimize transportation costs. Moreover, an optimized route solution helps drivers with clear instructions, which would reduce overall transportation costs.

  2. Improvement in Customer Service

    With the new inventions in this technological world, customer expectations is rising to another level. It helps provide real-time tracking for your customers, thanks to GPS tracking technology.

    In short, the customers need faster deliveries and speedy response time. These factors are essential to enhance the business productivity and also a better experience for the customer. Customer experience is central to the success of each business.

    The software for route planning, using machine learning and artificial intelligence platforms, helps you to achieve such goals.

  3. Helps You Perform Better Planning

    Planning is most important if your business is involved in taking multiple destinations in one day and needs to be on top of the ever-growing pile of destinations.

    Creating better planning strategies makes it easy for you to manage deliveries to multiple destinations quickly and efficiently. Dynamic route optimization helps you to organize and arrange all your destinations with multi-stop routes for the day.

  4. Increase in Business Productivity

    It’s 100% sure that your business will be having multiple tasks to be performed daily. However, to perform such tasks, a list of destinations will also increase gradually, making it challenging for you to tackle that situation. It provides real-time visibility into the delivery operations and driver behavior.

    A proper and accurate route optimization software helps you overcome such challenges. Nowadays, route planners have more addresses and stops than ever. 

    Creating a route plan will help you to reach 20, 50, or even 100 places in one day by considering various factors like time frames, driver shifts, the number of stops, and even stop changes.

  5. Increased Safety

    Consider the scenario that you are sending your drivers to reach the destination without any means of direction. It will result in a significant loss of time driving, effort, and, most importantly, stress as they need to face unfamiliar roads, traffic congestions, road closures, and road diversion.

    This often leads to anxious drivers, and there exists more chance of risk on the road, for themselves and others. Safety is the top priority aspect that you need to focus on in your business, and it is possible by having a clear route.

    If you have planned routes, you and your drivers can easily predict the alternative route that is easy to use.

What are the Types of Route Planning?

Route mapping is essential for business as it allows to make deliveries faster and accurately. Let’s discuss some of the common types of route planning for your business needs.

  1. Dynamic Route Plan

    Dynamic route planning helps you to identify and reroute assets quickly. As a result, it becomes easy for you to determine the vehicle’s location anytime and help your driver, especially when they are stuck in traffic or due to the vehicle’s breakdown.

    With the help of dynamic route planning, you have an option to assign another available vehicle to complete the delivery process.

  2. Multi-stop Route Plan

    Using this route plan, you can efficiently create the delivery route with multiple stops. 

    You can easily create and assign routes to your delivery drivers. The good part of the route planner software is that it determines the best route and predicts the estimated arrival time of deliveries.

  3. Closed Path Routing

    Closed path routing is the classical Traveling Salesman Problem that provides you with the route plan in a U-shaped path. In simple words, it will help your drivers to start their trip from the depot and send it back to the final stop just near the depot.

    One of the best examples is the distribution centers. It is where the vehicles are loaded before deliveries and need to return to the starting location at the end of the run.

  4. Open Path Routing

    Open path routing is specifically designed for businesses with a maximum number of stops to be covered within the shortest period. Moreover, third-party logistics (3PL) companies that are not obligated to return to the depot after delivering make use of this routing.

    Food delivery businesses use the open path routing. The reason behind it is that it helps them to perform faster deliveries.

  5. Reverse Open Path Routing

    Unlike open path routing, the planning will start from the furthest stop from the depot. Then, it will generate a route for your delivery driver to travel back to the depot.

    This type of routing is best used for the vehicle to carry a heavy load and helps you improve fuel efficiency. In addition, the best option will be to start from the nearest stop from the depot to save fuel and money.

  6. Depot-to-Depot Routing

    It is the best option for the businesses that need to plan their delivery routes in a directed path from one to another depot in an optimized path.

    This type of routing is the best option for vehicles that start with an empty/ full load. The drivers need to pick up/drop off goods to the customers.

CTA image

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

No credit card details required

What is the Difference Between Static and Dynamic Routes?

Static routes are pre-decided paths where stops remain the same no matter if you have an order mix. And therefore, static routes are the reason why drivers and dispatchers create a communication gap. Using static routes, last-minute changes may not be carried out as the driver relies on a fixed delivery schedule. 

Whereas, dynamic routes consider the new changes in the previously made schedule. Basically, it will give an optimal route with the help of advanced routing software. Mostly, businesses that frequently do order fixing use dynamic routes over static ones. 

While preparing a route plan, a big confusion exists between route planning and route optimization. To remove such confusion, we have come up with the difference between them in the next section.

Route Planning Vs Route Optimization

Route Planning Route Optimization
Prepares the drivers to handle their delivery orders in a standard manner. Uses advanced algorithms to handle thousands of changing parameters like route traffic conditions, route distance, delivery window times, vehicle mileage.
It helps you find the shortest distance between the routes without considering other factors. It helps your business increase efficiency of your same-day delivery or field service.
Customers can effectively receive delivery quickly to the maximum efficiency planned. Enable customers to pick out specific delivery window (date and time) at checkout.

What are the Different Methods to Plan Your Delivery Routes?

There are multiple ways to plan a route. It depends on who you are and what your needs are. Let’s start by breaking down the methods that some people use right now.

  • Pen and paper
  • Excel
  • Google Maps
  • Route Planner App or Software
  1. Pen and paper

    When you make a route plan using pen and paper, it takes a significant amount of time to analyze, prepare, and share your drivers’ route directions. 

    You also need to consider other essential factors like traffic, weather, construction, customer satisfaction, and availability. It’s going to take a long time if you have more customers and multiple drivers.

  2. Excel (Spreadsheet)

    Excel is a fantastic software that many companies have used for decades to solve a plethora of problems.

    Many companies have some internal software such as CRMs from which they will download some addresses, and they use a printout of a sheet to give as a route plan. However, Excel does require a lot of manual manipulation. 

    Efficient route optimization does not happen in excel. You also don’t have a visual map. This makes it hard to find the location of the next stop, of course.

  3. Google Maps

    Whenever we think about route planning, the first thing that comes to mind is using driving directions tools like Google Maps or Mapquest. But, unfortunately, such tools provide limited additional features, and also dynamic route optimization is not possible.

    Google Maps provides you with a straightforward route with turn-by-turn navigation from between two points and can work, even if you have multiple deliveries for a day. 

    This driving direction route planner will help you get a map, a road-trip summary, and the driving directions (or routes) to multiple locations in the satellite map or hybrid view.

  4. Route Planner App

    In this technological world, why not use mobile apps? 

    There are many Route Planner Apps on the market today that offer excellent solutions, and as a user, it will be up to you to explore the features that fit your specific needs.

    User-friendly apps like Upper Route Planner will provide effective routes for all your drivers, route summary, driving distance, itineraries/driving directions, routes, route options that may apply to you.

Who Can Use Route Planning & Optimization Software?

The companies involved in delivering services or goods with one or more stops to reach the destination locations can effectively use an intelligent route planning software. The different types of companies that use delivery routing software are:

Route Planning Software Example: Upper Route Planner

Now, it’s time to explore one of the best examples that makes a smooth and organized route planning process. 

Upper Route Planner is an intelligent route planning software that not only saves time, but helps you deliver more orders, and increase business profitability. You can efficiently plan all your delivery paths and streamline the delivery process. 

Upper Route Planner is route planning and optimization software that helps your business in many ways like:

  • Automate route planning tasks
  • Easily save up to 10 hours of planning time each week
  • Minimize back-office workload
  • Quickly plan routes the same day or in advance
  • Plan more than 500 stops at once for multiple drivers
  • Add multiple addresses by using Excel sheet
  • Create duplicate stops and routes

If we talk about the pricing structure, then it will cost you $39.99 per driver per month (if billed annually).

After looking at the detailed information on route planning, if you have any questions related to the same, we have frequently asked questions in the next section.

CTA image

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

No credit card details required


FAQs

By using route optimization software, you can easily automate the route planning and optimization process. The routes are optimized in seconds and accordingly, you can review such routes and plan for the next available delivery routes.

  • Upper Route Planner – Best for industries like Meal Delivery, Flower Delivery, Post & Courier Delivery, Inspection Services, Furniture, Field Sales Reps, Cleaning services and Weed Delivery.
  • Badger Maps – For field salespeople
  • RouteXL – For delivery
  • MapQuest – For road trips

If you have a shorter planning time, there are more chances that you can give attention to other important tasks of your company like how to boost the overall profit of the of company and deliver for orders.

The steps involved are relatively straight forward:

  1. Addresses: Gather the addresses of all locations or stops you need to make.
  2. Additional requirements: For instance, you will want to know where to leave the product if you’re making a delivery.
  3. Plan and Optimize: You will want to use route optimization software to calculate the optimal routes for you at this stage. It will consider all the essential last-mile routing details.
  4. Execute: Now, you’re ready to go!

Yes, fleet managers can use dynamic route optimization to increase fleet productivity by saving time on the road. It cuts down the time taken to go from one stop to another, helping you save time with a smoother delivery. It improves both delivery capacity and delivery performance.

Static routes (master routes) deal with fixed schedules. The sequence of stops remains the same irrespective of orders you have on a particular date. On the other hand, dynamic routes completely depend upon the orders and quantity, fixing schedule gaps on the go.

Route plan provides you with optimized routes by considering factors like vehicle capacity constraints, travel time, and delivery costs into account, while scheduling optimizes workloads and workforce availability.

  • On your computer or mobile, open Google Maps
  • Click Directions
  • Add a starting point and a destination.
  • On the left, below the destinations you entered, click Add
  • To add a stop, choose another destination
  • To continue adding stops, repeat steps 4 and 5
  • Click on a path to get the directions

While creating a route plan it is necessary to cut-off time as it would simultaneously reduce the transportation cost as well. Plus, the customers would be happy to receive an on-time delivery. Hence, business owners should focus on reducing the delivery time.

We recommend the use of dynamic route planning software to boost your productivity by saving more time.

The strategic route plan focuses more on how to boost productivity by following the company’s SOP. Those who consider the strategic routes have an objective to bypass the avoidance zone like diversions, toll booths, or restricted areas.

On the other hand, a daily route plan too can assist you to sideline the restrictions, but it prioritizes customers’ demands. And according to that, you can make last-minute changes. It depends on the number of orders received and to be delivered in a single day.

Route Optimization Software Helps You Move Forward Quickly

Route planning software helps you save time, effort, and money while finding the best route option for deliveries. Upper Route Planner is the most efficient route planning software that not only saves time but helps you deliver more orders by saving drivers time on the road. 

It helps businesses of different industries to plan delivery routes and streamline delivery operations efficiently. Using Upper Route Planner, it becomes easy to perform the following tasks:

  • Easily save up to 10 hours of planning time each week;
  • Minimize back-office workload;
  • Quickly plan routes the same day or in advance;
  • Plan more than 500 stops at once for multiple drivers;
  • Add multiple addresses by using Excel sheet;
  • Create duplicate stops and routes.

If you have any confusion or query in mind, get in touch with us and our customer success manager will answer your queries.

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.

https://www.upperinc.com/guides/route-planning/