Delivery is big business, especially these days. It’s also a difficult, complex, pressure-filled, and — at times — risky industry. Above all, delivery services are profitable, with food delivery services alone netting more than $26.5 billion in the United States in 2020.
Why plan delivery routes?
There are an estimated 71,000 couriers and messengers and 1,305,155 delivery drivers currently employed in the U.S. delivering millions of parcels every day. With so many deliveries and vehicles to manage and so many routes to choose from, planning a delivery route that’s both time- and cost-efficient can become a complex operation.
Because of its intricacy, it’s important to find ways that both simplify and streamline your route planning. Doing so will benefit you, your business operations, your drivers, and your valued customers.
Route planning tips for couriers and deliveries
Take a look at these expert delivery route planning tips and optimize your delivery services.
Collect traffic and location data
One of the most common and biggest frustrations for delivery drivers and operations managers is getting stuck in traffic between delivery stops.
Whether caused by an accident or general rush-hour congestion, traffic adds to delivery time, resulting in missed deadlines. It can also have a negative impact on your drivers and their well-being, potentially leading to aggressive driving behaviors that put them, other road users, and your business at risk.
To efficiently manage and minimize your fleet’s drive time, you need to be able to adjust when unexpected traffic jams materialize. A GPS delivery route planner tells you and your drivers where and when to expect congestion and alter the route appropriately.
GPS tracking devices work by maintaining a constant connection to satellites. They usually connect to 24 satellites every second but need to receive signals from at least four satellites to track the location of the GPS device.
Satellites send signals to the GPS at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) to determine the vehicle’s exact location. Once the satellite locates which road the vehicle is on and which direction it’s heading, it will then collect data on other GPS devices in vehicles following the same roads. It will determine how many vehicles are on the road and at what speed each vehicle is moving to assess oncoming or current traffic.
Thanks to live traffic updates, your GPS delivery route planner will automatically reroute the driver to avoid traffic, saving you time and money.
Make your frequent routes more efficient
The more you travel the same route, the better you’re able to recognize traffic patterns. Take note of how often your frequent routes become congested and at what times. This will help you plan delivery times so your drivers can avoid these roads when they’re at their most congested to improve time efficiencies.
You should also aim to monitor the general conditions of your regular routes, keeping up to date with alerts such as roadwork so you and your drivers have plenty of time to find alternate routes.
Keep track of delivery drivers with GPS
GPS fleet tracking offers a range of benefits for your delivery business. You’ll have real-time visibility of your vehicle locations, with some delivery route planners updating as often as every two seconds.
Because you’ll be given a full view of where your drivers and vehicles are at all times, you’ll be able to determine which of your drivers are near either a pick up or drop off. The GPS will alert you of which driver is closest to the pickup location and has delivery availability, allowing you to improve and speed up dispatches.
The GPS can also assess how many deliveries a vehicle can make according to its capacity.
Monitor congestion in busy areas
A driver can’t avoid congestion every time they set out to make regular deliveries in busy areas. For example, if you often make deliveries to a location in the center of a major city, you can almost always guarantee traffic. This is especially the case during rush hours. That’s why it helps to plan delivery routes that avoid congested areas during busy times whenever possible.
Use your GPS tracking system and delivery route planner to monitor how congested upcoming locations are. If they’re heavily congested at a specific time, you may choose to alter your route by delivering to another location first then circling back when the congestion has eased.
It also helps to use live fleet tracking to let your customers know when you expect the driver to arrive at their location and of any delays due to congestion.
Can you get delivery route planner apps?
Some providers of delivery route software will also supply a useful delivery route planner app. This is especially useful for those who manage a fleet of couriers. With an app connected to your vehicle’s GPS tracking devices, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where your drivers are at all times.
View a driver’s delivery history and assess how many more stops they need to take so you can determine how long they’ll be on the road. With a delivery route planner app, you’ll be able to see how far away your driver is from each of their stops and send updates to customers so they can manage their expectations of delivery times.
You’ll also be able to make quick decisions. If you have a last-minute order come through or the original designated driver can no longer make a delivery, you can assess if other nearby drivers can take on the journey. At the same time, you can choose which vehicles will be used to make which deliveries, as you can check the weight and volume capacity.
Challenges of free delivery route planner apps
If you run a small business that only has a few vehicles, you may find that simply using Google Maps can help. It’s easy to use when getting from point A to point B, which may be all you need.
However, for large fleets that make multiple deliveries each day, a free GPS delivery route planner won’t cut it. Things like Google Maps aren’t built to handle the large volumes of deliveries and the vast amount of drivers and vehicles involved in commercial delivery businesses.
As a delivery fleet manager, investing in a robust delivery route planner is one of the best delivery route planning tips you can follow. The technology will allow you to assess and manage all angles of deliveries in ways you couldn’t with a free route planning app, including traffic, adverse weather, complex route planning, and more.
Can GPS delivery route planners save money?
You may feel the initial investment in an advanced delivery route planner app is worth it. However, once you purchase and install the technology into all your vehicles, you’ll no doubt save money.
A route planner saves you money by decreasing and optimizing your drivers’ time on the road. Every driver will be shown the most time-efficient routes to take while making deliveries, saving you money on fuel.
Spending less time on the road also reduces general wear and tear on your vehicles. If your vehicles maintain their good health for longer you won’t have to spend as much on maintenance costs or for replacing vehicles.
You’ll also save money by saving yourself time. Because a GPS delivery route planner decides all your routes for you, you no longer need to spend hours choosing vehicles, assessing delivery stops, and deciding the best routes to take — the technology has it all covered in a matter of seconds.
Features to look for in delivery planning software
Your delivery route optimization software needs to work for your specific type of routing, whether static routing, dynamic routing, or real-time dynamic routing. This will allow you to smoothly input and plan routes in a way that works best for your business.
The processing speed is also important, as you need to receive updates as quickly as they happen to plan routes optimally. You’d benefit more from software that processes route updates in mere seconds than one that takes several minutes.
You’d also benefit from a GPS delivery route planner that displays telematics data. This includes the direction the driver is heading and the speed at which they’re driving. It helps if the system saves your driver’s location history, so you can see where they’ve been and where they’re due to go next. As a delivery fleet manager, this feature helps manage both your and your customers’ expectations.
You’ll no doubt want to analyze your delivery trips so you can assess whether there’s room for improvement. To get the most out of your route planner app, look for one that includes a system where the analytics of routes is uploaded. Refer to them later and see where you can improve overall route and delivery performance.
Why use KeepTruckin as your GPS delivery route planner?
The TheKeepTruckin GPS tracking system uses advanced vehicle tracking technologies, offering your most basic needs to plan a delivery route as well as a range of impressive features.
The KeepTruckin GPS tracking system provides real-time visibility into all your vehicles, so you know exactly where they are and where they’re going at all times. The driver’s location history is automatically uploaded to KeepTruckin servers, so you can gauge how much progress they’ve made in their journey. When the driver arrives at their designated stops, you’ll receive automatic live alerts.
You’ll also be able to assess telematics data across all your vehicles. This data will tell if the driver is stuck in traffic, which you can use to update your customers. Share the driver’s location with the help of KeepTruckin’s live GPS tracking solution, and you’ll be able to improve customer service and satisfaction.
KeepTruckin includes a range of other features to help you fully utilize your GPS delivery route planning. Each of your vehicles will be connected to the KeepTruckin system, so you can easily check available vehicles and your drivers’ Hours of Service. Input the address of your dispatch center and where the delivery is being made to find out which of your drivers are best situated to make the journey. You’ll also get automated reports to assess if your vehicles are being utilized to their full potential.
Request a free demo to learn how KeepTruckin can help you with delivery route planning and becoming a better, more productive business.