Setting Up Efficient Delivery Routes for Your Drivers

Delivery Route Planning Software

If you’re a fan of any fantasy or superhero franchise like Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings or Marvel, you’ll notice a common arc: Heroes have to reach some place to complete an important quest, but the path is ridden by insurmountable obstacles, which they often bypass through alternate, even secret paths. 

Likewise, given that drivers making last-mile deliveries face many obstacles on the road, it is necessary to help them avoid these with effective route planning. This blog discusses setting up efficient delivery routes (secret routes) for your drivers. Let’s start the ride! 

What is delivery route planning? 

Delivery route planning is the process of planning, sequencing, and scheduling optimal routes so that drivers deliver the maximum number of orders in the shortest time. It helps delivery managers to plan cost-effective and economical routes for riders that minimizes distance and time taken for delivery. 

Delivery route planning creates physical paths between pickup and drop-off points through multiple locations. The pickup points are warehouses, fulfillment centers, hubs, depots, or facilities. The drop-off points are customer destinations where products are delivered.

Why is delivery route planning crucial for your drivers?

Truck driver using Locus route planning software on his smartphone

If the answer is yes to all these questions, your route planning needs a serious rework. Increasing your profit from last-mile deliveries and cutting unnecessary costs is crucial. But that cannot happen when your drivers are unhappy with delivery workflows. Read on to find out why delivery route planning is vital for driver satisfaction. 

Increase safety 

Unfamiliar roads, road closures, or traffic make riding more stressful for drivers. Effective route planning ensures you prepare and take in account risks and constraints on the road and maximize your fleet’s productivity. Planning delivery routes that avoid heavy traffic and bad roads help drivers avoid the anxiety of missing deliveries because of obstacles. 

Improve work-life balance 

We often forget that drivers are not their job.  Like everyone else, they too would like to spend time on their interests outside of work and also with their loved ones. With efficient delivery routes, you can empower drivers to complete more deliveries in a shift so that they spend relatively less time on the road. 

Boost your driver productivity 

Some drivers may have difficulties in managing their time. They may not follow the route plans to drive more empty miles, or take unnecessary breaks that would lead to delayed deliveries and incur added costs for businesses. An efficient route plan helps you optimize driver shifts and minimize backtracking, thereby improving driver productivity. 

How do you plan efficient delivery routes for your drivers?

Vector image of truck driver using Locus route optimization software for efficiency

You can summarize a fleet driver’s needs in three words; safe, simple, and efficient deliveries. But how do you plan such efficient delivery routes that make your drivers’ work lives easier? It’s time to find out the answer.

Use geocoding 

One of the drivers’ costliest delivery mistakes is ending up at the wrong delivery address. Given the pressure to make on-time deliveries, your drivers cannot do the guesswork of spotting the right customer location for every delivery. 

You can avoid this time-consuming and costly mistake with the help of geocoding: Essentially, it converts those inaccurate addresses into precise geographical coordinates that help your drivers make deliveries on time. 

Realistic Loading times and Expected Time of Arrival (ETA)

When route planning is efficient in theory but unrealistic to execute on ground, it increases drivers’ workloads. One reason for this mismatch is when routes do not account for actual loading times and Expected Time of Arrival (ETA). An unrealistic ETA target that does not factor in real loading and unloading time pressurizes your drivers to make deliveries according to steep, often unattainable timelines. 

With its data history, a delivery route planner helps you accurately calculate and plan service time for each stop. While planning ETAs, it factors in parameters like time windows, pickup time, delivery location, proximity, type of goods, vehicle capacity, loading time, travel time between stops, and unloading time. Its multi-stop route planning ensures drivers have enough time between each stop and minimizes the pressure of running behind the delivery schedule. 

Get your performance targets and incentives right 

The two biggest mistakes while using a delivery management system are setting unrealistic targets for drivers and not rewarding them with incentives. These two aspects are directly linked to driver satisfaction. When you put unrealistic performance expectations, your turnover rate increases resulting in constantly losing your highly-experienced and skilled drivers. 

With its historical data and advanced tracking capabilities, route planning software helps you gather driver performance information. It provides granular insights on which driver performed well and consumed more fuel. It enables you to reward incentives to your drivers based on some crucial parameters like On-Time In-Full (OTIF), First Attempted Delivery Rates (FADR), and so on. 

Enable real-time communication 

To achieve the maximum number of on-time deliveries, you should enable seamless communication between delivery managers, drivers, and customers. 

As drivers are busy on the road, it is unsafe for them to update their delivery status or share their current location with dispatchers. Control Tower solutions lets you track your drivers in real-time. In case of any canceled deliveries, the route optimization software automatically updates them in seconds. Also, it automatically notifies your customers when drivers are nearby. Its end-to-end communication ensures customers are better prepared before the driver arrives. 

Conclusion 

Drivers feel satisfied when their lives are easier on the road, when they perform better, and when their skills are valued. The delivery routes determine all these elements that result in driver satisfaction. Investing in dispatch management solutions is critical to generating optimal delivery routes, and managing driver workloads. 

Locus’ route planning software factors in more than 180 real-world variables and generates the most effective delivery routes. Its Driver Companion App facilitates your driver with easy navigation, daily task management, and real-time communication. It enables your drivers to handle reattempted deliveries, cancellations or returns in real-time.  

With Locus’s route planning solution, your drivers can focus on making the optimal number of on-time deliveries. It also allows them to schedule necessary breaks between deliveries and empowers them to do more while spending less time on the road, which helps them achieve a good work-life balance.

Do you want your drivers to make more on-time deliveries in a day and help them return to their homes in time for dinner? Book a demo with Locus today!

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