Why Falling for a Mediocre Routing Platform Won’t Let You Map Anything

Why Falling for a Mediocre Routing Platform Won’t Let You Map Anything
Featured image credit: g-stockstudio/iStockphoto.com

Throwing away pen and paper, and even your outdated route optimizer can mean significant savings to your field service business.

With fuel and vehicle maintenance costs at the top of one’s mind for most field service business owners, it is essential to keep vehicles running as efficiently as possible, which means careful route planning.

Think about this – when you have one driver who needs to make eight stops, that could add up to over 350 different routes. However, if you are into a situation where you have eight drivers and 14 stops, you now have thousands of route options. At 21 stops, there are more than a million route permutations. Now add to this the complexities of delivery time windows, drivers’ time off, and vehicle downtime. The list can go on. Can you effectively do commercial vehicle route planning if you are using anything less than the best route planner?

With route optimization becoming a necessity for virtually every field service business, it becomes essential to choose route optimization software with the utmost care.

Even a mediocre delivery planner will guide your drivers from point A to point B, but only an advanced vehicle routing platform will compute the most efficient routes while considering customer preferences. Only an intelligent routing platform will be able to assess the most direct route may have the fewest miles, but that does not always mean it is the quickest. For your complex and unique vehicle routing requirements, you need a system that can mapanything, monitor instances of aggressive driving, and increase your service-level agreement (SLA) adherence.

Why Do You Need More Than A Run-Of-The-Mill Route Planner To Grow Your Business?

While consumer products like Apple and Google Maps can get the job done, they only provide directions to destinations in the exact order you have typed in. There’s no strategy or intelligence in figuring out the most effective way to get there. Whether your drivers take a left or right turn is based on a route optimization strategy, which is where an advanced vehicle routing system can help you.


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!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

It can be a bit overwhelming to pick a delivery route planner that is designed specifically for your type of business. To keep it simple, watch out for the following features and best practices when choosing your next multifactor route optimization software:

Allows Territory Allocation For Prioritizing Urgent Deliveries And Increasing Efficiency

Territory mapping will allow you to divide the service area into territories, and allocate a specific area to each driver, which can reduce driving time and improve efficiency. Your drivers will no longer have to drive back and forth from one address to another. In addition to assigning territories, an advanced vehicle routing platform will help you flag and prioritize deliveries that cannot wait another day.

Shares Route Information And Updates With Drivers

With an ordinary delivery routing software, automatically sharing routes with drivers is either not possible, or it takes a lot of time. You need to call each one them, guide them through the routes, make sure they understand instructions and answer their questions. With an intelligent routing platform, you can share routes and other updates with drivers in real-time. It’s an excellent feature for collaborating with drivers and field employees.

Plans Multi-Stop Routes For Multiple Drivers

Optimizing routes for a single driver and 5-7 stops is easy. However, scheduling multiple deliveries across the city with several drivers can be a challenging task. This task can be even more difficult if you are using cheap or free route planning software, as you may have to upload the addresses manually. A reputed route optimizer provides multiple options to upload the list of customer addresses, and can then literally map anything to create the most efficient multi-stop routes for multiple drivers in less than 30 seconds.

Tracks Drivers In Real-Time

You can give your drivers specific guidelines about where they need to go and what route they should follow…but how do you know if they are adhering to your instructions? Most low-end route planner software does not offer real-time tracking of drivers and vehicles. The most significant benefit of a vehicle tracking system is if you see a driver drifting off course, you can guide them back to the correct route. You can also track drivers who engage in bad driving habits such as aggressive driving, speeding, and idling and educate them on following proper driving practices.

Increases Productivity And Security

If you are using an old school route optimizer, your drivers will be wasting half of their time in typing in product numbers, unit IDs, and product IDs. An intelligent routing platform like Route4Me provides a barcode scanning feature that eliminates this hassle and allows Android and iOS users to scan barcodes at each destination and save the scanned data automatically. Your drivers can use the saved hours to fit more stops into their route, which means they will generate more revenue. Barcode scanning will also give you another layer of delivery verification or proof of delivery.

ALSO READ: Now You Can Easily Scan E-Ink Barcodes with Route4Me’s Barcode Scanner

Works In Offline Mode Too

Firstly, no ordinary last mile software will allow your drivers to add or modify routes on their smartphones while they are on the road, or add a note about a stop into their route planner app. These upmarket features are exclusive to high-end multi-stop route planners, like Route4Me. Even if some software does allow these functions, they require an internet connection to add and mapanything. However, it’s unfair to expect good signal strength all of the time, especially in rural areas. This is the reason you need a route optimizer that works offline.

ALSO READ: How Route4Me’s Offline Mode Allows You To Run Your Business As Usual When There’s No Internet

Ensures Adherence To Delivery Time Windows

Who doesn’t hate sitting around waiting for a delivery all day? In this new era of same-day delivery, if a customer requests shipment between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., your drivers must have access to the tools to accommodate this request. Considering delivery time windows while creating routes is not available with free route planning software, but an advanced delivery route planner with multi-factor route optimization capability will most certainly have it. Also, as per FMCSA, your drivers can drive for a maximum of 11 hours, but only if they were off-duty for ten consecutive hours before their shift. Be prepared to pay a hefty fine if you violate this rule. You may not be able to keep track of driving time for each driver using a mediocre delivery route planner, so switching over to an intelligent routing platform will help.

Communicates ETAs To Customers

There are two things your customers want: their own choice of delivery time and communication about delivery status. These two are the most critical aspects of customer experience. A premium route optimizer that can map anything will allow you to send notifications to your customers informing them when the package is on its way and expected arrival time. Such software will also track weather conditions and traffic snags in real-time, and allow you to update customers if there’s an unexpected change in the delivery time window.

The Mobile App Allows Drivers To Add Notes And Do Color Coding

Route planning can only get you halfway. Your drivers need to follow those routes. For that, you will have to equip your drivers with the right tools to provide the best delivery service for your customers. Useful features such as the ability to add notes and color code particular delivery details come integrated into the best route planners. These features enable drivers to add or modify notes and images, and color code a specific route or customer to give additional context. Both the in-app notes and color-coding are centralized and can be accessed by all drivers from anywhere, at any time.

Provides Proof Of Delivery

You are accountable to customers with some evidence of delivery — something you will not get with any low-end or free route planning software. Confirmation of delivery can help you save yourself and your brand image if you ever have a dispute where a customer says the delivery was never made, but your driver claims to have made the delivery. These situations can put you in a tough position. An advanced vehicle routing system like Route4Me comes with an eSignature feature that allows customers to sign for deliveries on your drivers’ mobile device. Now, what more significant proof of delivery do you need than the customer’s signature on your driver’s route planner app?


Here are our two cents: If you are a start-up field service business with 1-2 vehicles, any ordinary or even free route planning software will do the needful. In fact, you must take advantage of the free features. However, when your business starts to grow, you will need something that can mapanything, is easier to use, more robust, and flexible. In the age of same-day and even same-hour delivery, your customers expect a lot from you. So, when the time comes, make sure you are ready to exceed their expectations.


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!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

About author: Rahul Dasgupta

Rahul Dasgupta is a content writer with over 20 years of work experience. He holds a master’s degree in computer science and has written thousands of blog posts on route planning and scheduling, making it easy for readers to learn about these complex topics. Rahul enjoys playing tennis in his spare time and loves cuddling with his pet labrador Shinu. Rahul is a big fan of Roger Federer, Messi, and Bill Gates - he admires their drive to be the best at what they do and their philanthropic efforts.


About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 40,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.