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What Is Route Optimization And Why Is It Important For Your Business?

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Meta description: Tight delivery schedules, keeping items fresh, and customer expectations — learn how route optimization software could improve your operations.

Route optimization is a method of planning the most economical and efficient route to get to your destination, including stops. It isn’t simply finding the fastest or shortest route between points A and B. For couriers, delivery services, or any service-based companies, route optimization is extremely useful for minimizing driving time and for planning multiple stops. 

Manually planning a route would not only be tedious but would also be overly complicated. And if you have a number of vehicles with several stops each, the number of route possibilities can be too complicated to put on paper and would take too long to plot manually. It’s not only time-consuming, but you also run the risk of messing your schedules up and disappointing your customers. (1)

So how does route optimization work?

To create an efficient route, factors like vehicle capacities, driver schedules, geography, customer time windows, and others have to be taken into consideration.    

Fortunately, there are available route optimization software that can calculate and spit out the most efficient routes in seconds. For deliveries, your drivers can make the most of their routes and maximize the number of people they can serve. Managers can also monitor and track vehicles in real time. 

For service-based businesses where route optimization is key to ensuring efficient daily schedules for teams, apps such as Jobber’s HVAC dispatch software makes this really easy and straightforward.

Using algorithms and analytics, route optimization software can find the most efficient routes based on factors such as distance, closest vehicles, turns and intersections, and even the traffic situation. After a route is plotted, routes can be assigned automatically by your fleet manager. (1)             

How can route optimization help your business?

The rising cost of logistics alone has made it necessary for businesses to have a more efficient way of optimizing routes. Here are some of the most important reasons for your business to use route optimization:

Improve customer service

Delayed service and providing customers with inaccurate information can cause a business to get bad reviews and even lose clients. With route optimization software, you can vastly improve your service. Your field representatives or delivery trucks can get to your customers on time. Customers can also change their minds; but with a dynamic route optimization software, you can accommodate their requests, earning you goodwill points. (2) 

Additionally, you can keep your customers in the loop. You can give updates. That way, you don’t have to make your clients wait and wonder what time your employees will arrive. You could also resolve any disputes that might occur such as a customer claiming that your driver didn’t arrive while your staff claims the opposite. Route optimization with GPS tracking will show who’s telling the truth.

Make drivers safe

The software can also help ensure your drivers are safe. With many drivers involved in reckless driving, plotting a safe route can greatly help in reducing driver stress. Drivers who work overtime can get tired behind the wheel, which could pose a danger to themselves and others. An investment in route optimization software can make a difference in your employees’ safety. (3)

A route optimization software could also help drivers avoid working overtime, thus reducing not only time spent on the road but also the total miles driven. Driver fatigue will be avoided. Moreover, with this software, you can track their locations. If they’re lost or in need of any roadside assistance in case of engine failures, you can send help immediately.

Save fuel

Your company will also realize fuel savings. With route optimization software, driving time can be reduced, which means fuel efficiency is improved. Companies that operate with a larger fleet could mean a reduction in fuel costs of up to 20%. Less time on the road can also mean less wear and tear for your vehicles. Moreover, your driver and vehicle’s exposure to traffic risks is reduced, which could cut liability costs and improve insurance premiums. (4)

Route optimization could eventually mean fewer vehicles for fleet managers to contract and still operate on the same level of productivity.

Improves productivity

A route planner that could handle the increasing list of delivery or service tasks each day would be a great help. The route planner would also have to handle not only the scheduling but to find the most efficient route as well.

Although navigation apps could help, they wouldn’t be much help to a business that has to reach dozens of places every day. Slip-ups can easily occur. You’d have to factor in the number of stops, driver shifts, time frames, and sometimes the weather. (2)

A route optimization algorithm can do all that in seconds, greatly reducing the scheduling and route planning time, leaving you with more time for other tasks. Studies have shown that an effective route optimization software can improve productivity by as much as 33%. (4)

Conclusion

Route optimization greatly benefits modern businesses. Planning and scheduling routes aren’t just finding the shortest routes between places. You’d also have to factor in different variables  such as traffic, available drivers and vehicles, geography, and others. 

These can take a significant amount of time to adapt to, but a route optimization software could create an accurate and efficient route in just a short time, leaving you with more time to be more productive.

References

  1. “Improving Operations with Route Optimization”, Source: https://towardsdatascience.com/improving-operations-with-route-optimization-4b8a3701ca39 
  2. “Four Benefits of Route Optimization”, Source: https://www.thealgorithmpeople.co.uk/4-benefits-of-route-optimisation/
  3. “Drivers are Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel”, Source: https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/fatigued-driving
  4. “Why Route Planning is Important For Your Business”, Source: https://www.scmr.com/article/why_route_planning_is_important_for_your_business