What Does Route Mean?

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Route planning can be intimidating, whether you’re just getting started or have been doing it for quite a long time if you do not have a foolproof process in place.

How can you ensure your routes are fuel efficient?

How can you make sure your drivers get a balanced workload?

How can you guarantee on-time delivery to your customers?

The answer to all these questions lies in how well-optimized your routes are and the process you follow to optimize them.

So, look at everything you need to know about route planning and scheduling before you start planning your next route. We also debunk the misconceptions you might have about route planning which has been limiting your revenue and growth for years.

But, all of this information won’t make sense if we don’t define “route” first. So, let’s start there.

What Does Route Mean?

The term “route” refers to the way your drivers get from a starting point to their destination. A route can be a highway or all the places your field service reps pass through on the way to their final destination.

There are many terms associated with the “route,” such as route planning and scheduling, route management, vehicle routing, and scheduling, and route mapping.

We explain all these terms in our route optimization glossary and FAQs. It is important you go through these before reading further to ensure you are informed and will understand what we discuss next.

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Can’t I Optimize Routes Manually? 

Yes, you can optimize routes manually, but you should not. Below we provide the primary reasons why:

  • It is time-consuming and will eat up all your productive hours.
  • It’s inefficient and relies heavily on drivers for data accuracy.
  • There is no way to ensure drivers are following your instructions.
  • There’s a higher chance of human error, especially if your dispatchers have to plan routes for many vehicles and drivers.
  • It offers zero flexibility. You cannot amend routes quickly for any last-minute changes. Instead, your team might need hours to adjust routes which will cause delays, failed deliveries, and ultimately unhappy customers.
  • Robustness will be an issue. When relying on spreadsheets and simple tools, your newly hired drivers need a lot of local and institutional knowledge to complete the job.

If none of the reasons matter to you (which we are sure is not the case!), then only can we advise you to carry on with old-school route planning activities, using pen and paper.

Isn’t Route Planning and Scheduling Only Important for Big Businesses?

Of course, not!

Whether you are the owner of a small business or a behemoth, you would want to make more money and grow your business further.

Also, it’s not like a small business owner would want to cut fuel costs, while an enterprise won’t. Indeed, all business types want to improve their bottom line and keep their expenses down as much as possible.

Dynamic routing helps reduce fuel, operational, and driver payroll expenses significantly. This is something that both small businesses and enterprises appreciate.

Can’t I Optimize Routes with Google Maps or Waze?

The answer could be a yes or a big NO. It all depends on what your requirements are.

Both Google Maps and Waze are excellent tools if your drivers just need to travel from Point A to Point B. But, they’re not ideal for multi-stop routing when your drivers need to make dozens or hundreds of stops every day.

This is because both tools simply take you to your customers in the same order in which you entered their addresses. It basically only does this one thing.

It can’t tell you the shortest or most optimal path for reaching those addresses.

It also won’t eliminate the need for physical delivery logs or customer signatures, and it doesn’t provide you with reporting and analytics data that would help you understand your business better.

Long story short, Google Maps and Waze are ideal for personal use and are not comprehensive tools for route optimization.

How Can I Plan the Fastest and Shortest Routes?

An advanced road trip planner can help you plan the fastest route (without you putting in much effort) and ensures your drivers always show up on time.

You can reap many benefits when adopting a driving route planner, such as:

  • Increased revenue per driver and reduced expenses
  • A scaled field service team without additional dispatch or planning resources
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Efficiently distributed workloads and improved employee productivity and retention

How can a route planner do that?

Well, a multi-stop route planner helps plan well-optimized routes, while factoring in all the constraints like traffic, weather, one-ways, avoidance zones, left-turns, sunrise and sunset, load, weight, and height, which might affect your routes.

Also, the vehicle routing and scheduling process takes just 30 seconds and you just need to upload the list of customer addresses and set some parameters. You’ll have 100% accurate and cost-effective routes.

Moreover, a map route planner comes with geocoding technology to automatically verify and rectify any wrong customer addresses. So, you never need to worry about the accuracy of an address.

But, that’s not all a multi-stop trip planner has to offer.

The best route planners are armed with a lot of powerful features that we list below which can make your entire field service operations process more productive and efficient:

  • GPS tracking helps you monitor your drivers on the road in real-time to ensure they are following your instructions and don’t drive aggressively.
  • Geofencing automates the check-in and check-out process.
  • eSignature smooths over the proof-of-delivery process to avoid any customer disputes.
  • The customer portal helps your customers track their packages on their own.
  • The customer alerting and notification feature lets your customers know whenever their packages are out for delivery or the drivers are nearby.
  • Reporting and analytics tracks your fuel expenses and driver performance.
  • Territory management and color-coding convert more prospects into customers.
  • Driver breaks reduces driver fatigue and improve efficiency

How Can I Identify the Best Delivery Scheduling Software?

There are plenty of trip planners available which could make it hard for you to identify the one that best fits your needs.

Below is a checklist that you can use while evaluating your choices:

  • Does the routing software come with encryption and other security features?
  • Can the route mapping software be integrated into the programs you already use?
  • Is the software user-friendly?
  • Has the delivery route planner app provider company been in business for long?
  • Are there any hidden charges?
  • Do you need to sign a long-term agreement or can you pay as you go?
  • Do you need to buy any hardware?

To learn more, read these nine questions you must ask your route optimization software provider.

Also, ask a route optimization software provider these 10 things regarding hidden costs.

And, to learn about Route4Me’s capabilities, read these answers to the most common questions about Route4Me’s route optimization software.

So, what does route mean to you? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Click Here To Test Drive It! (FREE TRIAL)