The new wave of coronavirus has made life tough again and hopes of easing restrictions have taken a back seat. Social distancing norms have become much stricter and consumer behaviour has seen a massive transformation.
The e-commerce demand spike has forced logistics companies to maintain productivity and improve their customer service at the same time. To keep delivery costs in control and address wide demand swings, route optimization software is the need of the hour.
8 points to consider when selecting a route planning software
Selecting the right delivery logistics platform is the key to reduce delivery costs and minimize delays. Consider these eight essential factors before selecting a route planning software for your business.
Inaccurate addresses lead to trucks pulling up in wrong locations, thereby breaching on-time delivery promises. Beyond impacting productivity and profitability, incorrect addresses lead to a bad customer experience. Accurate addresses are the bedrock of any successful logistics business, especially during the pandemic.
Geocoding converts address data into accurate geographic coordinates that can be calculated, mapped and analyzed. Whether there is a change in road networks or manual errors, location data helps logistics businesses to maintain a reliable service.
Good geocoder tools make ambiguous addresses straightforward, consistent and clear. More than converting geo-coordinates, it eliminates red tapism and limits administrative burden.
2. Facilitating Universal Import and Export of Data
With hundreds and thousands of customer data being dealt daily, it makes no sense to manually type all addresses into systems. It has now become a regular affair for businesses to feed data into electronic systems and export it when required for analysis. A route optimization software is an ideal tool to import and export specific addresses.
While purchasing a route optimization software, check the
- Ease of the software to facilitate “to and fro” movement of data
- Ability to upload abundant customer data in universal formats like .csv, .pdf, .xls etc.
3. Multi-route feature for dynamic route planning
Logistics businesses need to manage multiple vehicles in a fleet with various deliveries, pick-ups and service calls. Hence, it is necessary for fleet managers to plan the most feasible and shortest routes to ensure on-time deliveries.
While looking for a route planning tool with multi-routing abilities, customers should look for these two important features.
- The solution should provide multiple optimized routes so that drivers can select the route that has minimal time to serve.
- It should be easy to reroute previously planned routes and reallocate more stops to a different vehicle (Useful for last-minute delivery changes)
Last-minute changes have become inevitable today as on-demand delivery orders are skyrocketing. An efficient route planning software should accommodate these last-minute delivery changes and automatically update delivery routes. This is where dynamic route planning comes into play.
Dynamic route planning returns optimal routes based on real-time constraints. It enables intelligent planning of on-demand orders and scheduled orders quickly. It charts out new routes for fleet drivers dynamically even if customers’ delivery preferences change.
Dynamic route planning helps drivers or fleet managers to adapt to changing delivery plans and maintain the efficiency of deliveries. It enables logistics businesses to gain a competitive edge over their market rivals.
4. Fast Processing of Optimal Routes
When multiple stops and routes are not processed in real-time, it serves no purpose. The pandemic has pushed businesses to enable quick processing of delivery routes. As fleet managers and drivers deal with deliveries in real-time, the processing should take place fast. A software that takes several minutes to process an optimum route on each request will not be of any use.
5. Updated Mapping Data
With customers having no face-to-face interaction with brands during the pandemic, failed and delayed deliveries can inflict a fatal blow to your business. One of the major reasons for failed and delayed deliveries is following wrong directions to reach a specific delivery location.
Display of wrong directions can make it confusing to track the optimal routes. Hence, it is necessary to look for a delivery logistics software that provides real-time and updated mapping data. Up-to-date mapping data saves time in deliveries and minimizes the burden of updating delivery information.
6. Autosave Function
Uninterrupted internet connection is necessary for seamless functioning of a route planning software. Power failures, technical errors, natural calamities or cyber attacks can interrupt the internet connection and put a halt to real-time route planning. Autosave function comes in handy as it frequently saves last-minute updates, thereby securing crucial data.
7. In-Built Performance Analytics and Reporting
Apart from managing delivery operations in real-time, it is necessary to analyze them. A good route optimization software provides a centralized dashboard that shows detailed analytics of actual routes and optimized routes.
Analyzing the statistics of past deliveries helps fleet managers to stay updated with customer preferences.
8. Historical Data Introspection
It is essential to check whether a route optimization software is independently capable of examining and using historical data. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, customers expect timely deliveries whether it is on-demand or a standard delivery. To cope with varying customer demands consistently, businesses should leverage historical data.
Analyzing historical delivery data helps businesses to enhance their performance. The metrics to track include:
- Driver history
- Delivery locations
- Delivery accomplished
- Preferred time slots
- Prevailing route traffic
- Delivery requests remaining
- Open close hours and many more
The coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight on efficient deliveries and providing delightful customer experience. A good route optimization software ensures flexibility, visibility, and predictability during the delivery process. The right selection of a route planning software is a job half-done.
How Locus can solve your vehicle routing problems?
Locus Route Planning software provides intelligent route recommendations based on various delivery constraints like traffic, driver skill sets and so on. It gives quick and automatic route recommendations even if there are last-minute changes.
With Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning coming to the fore, Route Optimization Algorithms can help your logistics in every mile of the delivery. Locus’ route planning software can be your partner in this journey of optimizing routes.
Infographic by Locus
<a href="https://blog.locus.sh/8-points-for-a-successful-selection-of-a-route-optimization-software/" target="_blank" style="text-align: center; display: block;"><img src="https://locus.sh/assets/img/infographic/resources/how-to-choose-the-right-route-planning-software.jpg" alt="[Infographic] How to Choose the Right Route Planning Software?" style="width:100%;height:auto;max-width:750px;margin:auto;"></a><br/>Infographic by <a href="https://locus.sh/">Locus</a>
This post was authored by: Sreshtha Das