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How to Plan the Fastest Route to Work for Your Delivery Drivers

Featured image credit: Marcus Millo/iStockphoto.com

You must always look out for ways to get your drivers to reach their destinations faster and more safely while saving fuel. But, the fastest route to work is such an elusive concept, right?

Wrong!

Some tools and apps can give accurate driving directions from one place to another and also show you the fastest route and the shortest route.

Four such tools are Google Maps, MapQuest, Waze, and route optimization software. All four are used by many last-mile delivery companies.

So, you might be wondering what the difference is between these route planner apps. Here, we help you out by answering the question and, in the process, help you decide which app would best suit your delivery business.

Google Maps Route Planner for Deliveries

Google Maps route planner is the most used app in the world for route planning. However, while it might be great for personal use, it’s not suitable for commercial purposes.

To plot a route on Google Maps you need to enter your destination address and your starting location. You can plot multiple routes as well, but that’s limited to 10 destinations at a time. Is that viable for a thriving last-mile delivery business?

Also, Google Maps doesn’t offer route optimization. Meaning, it only shows you direction according to how you entered your destination addresses.

For example, if you enter Destination B first and then Destination A, it’ll show you the way from Destination B to Destination A, even if Location A comes first when driving towards Location B. This means more fuel consumption and a waste of time for your delivery drivers.

So, Google Maps for route planning might be very popular, but it’s not the best solution for finding the fastest route to work, especially if you have to plan multi-stop routes for multiple drivers.

Having said that, Google Maps does offer some great features, such as voice directions for a hands-free, eye-on-the-road-at-all-times driving experience, offline mode for continuous navigation even at low network coverage areas, and location sharing. It also offers turn-by-turn directions.

MapQuest for Simple Navigation

Although not as popular as Google Maps, MapQuest has been around for quite some time and it’s quite a functional multi-stop route planner.

It’s similar to and even better than Google Maps in certain aspects. However, it also lacks some important features.

The biggest similarities between MapQuest and Google Maps are that both offer web-based and mobile apps and both provide street view.

Note, the MapQuest app for mobile phones is a tad better than its web app since it offers more features, such as single button options for finding places like hospitals, parking, grocery stores, and coffee shops.

The MapQuest route planner is also free and is available in around 252 countries.

The feature that would make the MapQuest planner better for a last-mile delivery business than Google Maps is that it shows an estimated fuel cost for every trip.

Another great benefit of this app is that rerouting is more user-friendly, making it easier to replan a delivery trip if required.

Having said that, even MapQuest is not the best delivery route planner for finding the fastest route to work because it lacks notable refinements that are offered by the other route planner apps on this list.

For example, the web version often shows annoying popup ads that partially or sometimes completely block the map. Even if you’re using the mobile app, the user interface is a bit all over the place and the directions are not always accurate.

It also doesn’t offer offline navigation, making it difficult to drive in a location with bad or no network coverage.

If you can ignore the above, MapQuest is a decent navigational app that is great for personal use.

For commercial purposes, however, it’s not the best choice since, like Google Maps, it too doesn’t offer route optimization or unlimited route plotting.

Waze – a Notch Above Google Maps and MapQuest

Waze is another very popular app used for driving from one point to another and finding the fastest route to work.

It sometimes offers better navigation than the Google Maps route planner, solely because it’s a user-generated data-driven app.

Unlike Google Maps, which uses satellite data to highlight real-time traffic conditions and predict the estimated time of arrival (ETA) at a location, Waze uses user-generated data, which is sometimes more accurate.

This is because users can report an accident on a road that occurs just as they are passing by. Once reported, other Waze users (Wazers) nearby will receive a notification. The notification will keep asking the Wazers passing by the road if it’s true that there was an accident.

So, as long as the road has not yet been cleared, all Wazers will keep receiving the notification and can choose to avoid the road.

Similarly, Wazers can easily update Waze about multiple other things like road closures and heavy traffic. Waze also adapts quickly to help you avoid such roads and will show your drivers the fastest route to work.

Apart from the above, Waze also offers voice directions and allows voice instructions too. So, while driving, your drivers don’t have to keep looking at the app or, if there is a sudden change of plans, they can just instruct Waze by “talking” to the app. This makes it a much safer route planning app on-road for all kinds of drivers.

The voice instructions are furthermore better than Google Maps. The directions are spelled out using the name of the roads and lanes you need to take.

For example, it’ll give direct instructions like “take exit 18 on the right”, and it’ll keep repeating the instructions a few times so that you don’t miss the turn.

However, just like Google Maps, Waze is not the best route planner for multiple stops. It too lacks a route optimization feature. You can plan a route with multiple stops, but there’s no guarantee that the route will either be the fastest or the shortest.

Route Optimization Software for the Fastest Delivery

A multiple stop route planner app is the best solution to plan the fastest route to work. In addition, it also optimizes routes to save fuel, allows you to plot multiple stops, and lets you keep an eye on your drivers.

A route planner app would not provide free driving directions like Google Maps or Waze, but the benefits of such an app are manifold. Some of the most important benefits are:

  • It comes with a GPS tracking feature that helps you track your drivers when they’re on the road. This ensures that they don’t waste time while working and you can send roadside assistance immediately in case of an emergency.
  • Also, such software comes with a customer portal that allows your customers to track their orders on their own.

You can even send personalized notifications via SMS or email to customers through the route planner’s customer alerting and notification feature whenever their orders are on the way or near them.

  • Another great advantage of route optimization software is that you can see analytics like the fuel costs, the number of stops made, the time spent on the road, and the total distance traveled. Such data can help you identify the problem areas to make the necessary changes to ensure a flawless delivery experience for your customers as well as your drivers.

Hence, a delivery route planner app is a good investment for your last-mile delivery business. It will not only show your drivers the fastest route to work but can also save you fuel costs and improve your delivery service.

So, how do you plan the fastest route to work?