Running an alcohol distribution company can be quite challenging. In addition to your other responsibilities as a business-owner, such as supervising your staff and finding new customers, you also need to manage your routes and deliveries.
Wine, liquor, and beer distributors often have hundreds or even thousands of customers that they deliver to. When you have that many stops to make, planning routes with pen and paper takes hours. It’s truly a tedious task.
Also, route planing is complicated. You need to consider traffic, construction, weather, customer availability, and many other factors. The routes you come up with on your own probably won’t be the most efficient routes possible. You might even delay your field employees so much that they miss their ETAs. Your customers won’t like that!
Thankfully, you don’t need to plan your routes manually. You can use route planning software instead.
Using A Route Planner Saves Time And Improves Driver Performance
In today’s high-speed, real-time economy, alcohol retailers have high expectations. They don’t care if you made a mistake on your schedule, or if an accident caused a traffic jam on the highway, or if one of your drivers called in sick at the last minute. They’re not going to accept excuses. They just want their delivery to be made on time.
A route planner is the tool you need to meet these expectations. All you need to do is plug in the addresses of your customers, and then your optimized route will be ready in less than 30 seconds. And if there’s a change you want to make to a route, such as adding a stop you initially forgot about, you can make that change and re-optimize the route in less than 30 seconds as well. You’ll be able to give your drivers everything they need to show up on time, every time.
Keep An Eye On Your Drivers
So, we’ve covered how using a route planner helps dispatchers do their job more efficiently.
But what about drivers? Route optimization software allows you to give your drivers great routes, but that won’t matter if your drivers don’t actually follow the routes you give them.
That’s why the best route planners have a GPS tracking feature. Such a feature allows you to monitor your fleet’s movements in real-time. At any time you want, you can check in on a driver’s location to make sure they’re sticking to their route and staying on schedule.
Tracking data will help you evaluate your employees, and you can also share it with your customers to give them some peace of mind.
ETAs are helpful, but they’re just a number. The customer won’t know if an ETA is accurate or not until the time of the ETA has already come and gone.
Sharing tracking data with customers gives them something more concrete. They can see your driver’s location updated on a map in real-time. That way, if you’re running on schedule, they can see that and stop worrying. And if there is a delay, they’ll know about it, so they can plan for it.
It’s easy to share tracking data with customers in Route4Me. A unique tracking number is generated for each order. You can send this to customers by email or text, and they just need to plug the tracking number into our customer portal to see the status of their delivery.
Optimize Your Distribution Territories
If you haven’t already, you should assign each of your drivers to a specific territory to increase the efficiency of your operation. It’s a waste of time and gas to send each driver back and forth across your entire service area – they’ll be much more productive if their stops are closer together.
You can set up territories manually in Route4Me, or you can use our territory optimizer tool, which analyzes your routing data to determine the best way to use your fleet.
So, do you think a route planner would help your business? Do you have any questions about this article? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.
Finally, answering these three quick questions will ensure that you understand the benefits of fleet management software:
- How can a route planner help your customers stay updated about their inbound visits?
- Why should you only use scheduling solutions that offer a GPS tracking feature?
- How can a scheduling app help you optimize your distribution territories?