With over one billion users, Google Maps is the most downloaded and widely used navigation application worldwide. It is the most preferred tool to find the shortest distance between two locations and get turn-by-turn directions. While its precise routing, easy-to-use interface and fast load time make it popular for individual use, it may not be the best-fit for planning routes to multiple destinations or managing logistics for a business.
When carrying out complex logistics operations for a business, a number of other important factors must be considered. You need a smart solution that can automate your end-to-end logistics activities, save costs and reduce human dependency. Google Maps or other web mapping services are not capable of doing that. That’s where advanced Route Optimization software comes to the rescue.
How is Route Optimization different?
Typically, when you enter your start and end locations on Google Maps, it geocodes the two points on a digital map. Google’s advanced algorithms consider real-time traffic and road conditions to provide the shortest possible route as well as the Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) from point A to B.
Google Maps can plan multi-stop routing, but it is best-suited for simple routing scenarios and may not necessarily offer the most optimal route when you have more than five stops.
If you must plan a more complex journey with multiple stops, you would have to manually enter every location on Google Maps and decide the order of stops yourself. Route Optimization, on the other hand, offers a range of added features that go above and beyond simple route planning.
Route Optimization uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms to plan the most optimal sequence of stops with traditional and static planning capabilities, as well as real-time and dynamic routing to support on-demand logistics operations.
Business Constraints Considered by Route Optimization
Route Optimization software caters to the dynamic needs of modern enterprises across various industries to offer more than just accurate route planning. It takes into consideration a number of business constraints, in addition to real-time traffic and road conditions to offer logistics optimization at various levels, thereby adding value to the supply chain.
- Vehicle Allocation
Companies that deal with hundreds of shipments on a daily basis often find it challenging to utilize their vehicles efficiently. Manual vehicle allocation leads to unfair vehicle load distribution. Route Optimization offers accurate allocation of orders per vehicle used, as well as the optimal fleet mix depending on the size and volume of orders.
- Rider Allocation
Another common setback in logistics is the fair allocation of tasks to riders and delivery executives. Route Optimization studies historical data and considers rider locations, skills, preferences, and tribal knowledge to assign tasks equally among fleet drivers and delivery agents, ensuring fairness in workforce management.
- On-Demand Routing
General mapping software does not consider business-specific constraints such as on-demand routing and dynamic rerouting. Route Optimization takes into account ad hoc demands and reroutes quickly, removing the hassle of manually entering new addresses and can accommodate forward and reverse logistics requirements within a single journey.
Business Benefits of Route Optimization
- Time and Cost Savings
Businesses in the supply chain face cut-throat market competition and need solutions that can help them scale their operations while reducing costs and saving time. With the help of Route Optimization, you can plan the most cost-effective delivery routes and reduce fuel costs by up to 30%.
Route Optimization saves time not just on the road but also for logistics managers who would otherwise spend several man-hours on planning deliveries manually and coordinating with on-ground staff.
- Smart Dispatch Planning
When you have hundreds of packages to deliver in a day with more than a handful of drivers and fleet, manually planning dispatches may not be a great idea. Route Optimization software can help you plan daily dispatches effortlessly with intelligent clubbing of orders and smart rider allocation.
Route Optimization recommends the best-suited vehicles based on traffic, shipment size, volume, vehicle type, stop durations, delivery times and more. It also considers rider skills, preferences, and historical data to assign ideal dispatches to delivery partners.
- Enhanced Visibility in Logistics
A major challenge for supply chain managers is ensuring every order reaches the client as planned, and avoiding unnecessary delays in transit. While it is a pain to coordinate with riders and delivery agents over calls and texts, Route Optimization software solves the problem with the help of live fleet tracking and predictive alerts in case of unnecessary halts, and deviations from planned routes thereby reducing frauds in logistics operations. Real-time tracking of fleet and live status updates bring more visibility in the supply chain and enable better decision-making for logistics managers.
- Improved Productivity
Implementing a Route Optimization solution can improve supply chain productivity in many ways. It helps in reducing the time spent on planning routes and the number of miles traveled per driver. The time saved can be used to accommodate on-demand orders and dispatches. Smart clubbing of orders improves the utilization of fleet and automated routing improves driver performance as they can concentrate on driving and not on navigating.
- Customer Satisfaction
At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of every business is to make the customer happy. Route Optimization ensures that your deliveries are completed in time, shares live delivery updates and ETAs with customers, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty towards your brand.
Do you actually need Route Optimization?
Google Maps and other navigation tools can help you plan basic routes efficiently. But when you have multiple drivers who hit the road at different times of the day and varied fleet sizes and order volumes, you need more than just a web mapping service. You need an advanced route optimization solution that can streamline your logistics from end-to-end.
Businesses across industries such as retail, FMCG, 3PL, and e-commerce are now implementing smart routing and fleet tracking solutions for best results. Do you actually need a Route Optimization software for your business needs? If you wish to scale up your logistics, stand out among competitors in the market and improve your customer delight, then certainly yes!