What is Route Optimization and How does it Work? (2024)

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Businesses with poor planning processes and field service management are doomed to a life of wasted time and money when it comes to their last mile operations.

Manual route planning weighs businesses down with tedious and unnecessary work.

The planning itself wastes time, but sending drivers out on the road to follow poorly planned routes seriously drains resources.

Last mile route optimization software is ideal for creating the most efficient routes for your drivers, but what exactly is route optimization?

Read on as we answer how route optimization software like Route4Me benefits delivery businesses.

What is Route Optimization?

Route optimization is the process of creating the most efficient and cost-effective routes essential for delivery and other field service businesses.

An optimized route may mean simply the shortest route, but it’s not always that simple.

Businesses consider time, fuel, overall cost, and sometimes even perishable goods when it comes to route optimization.

Driver schedules, number of stops, fulfillment estimates, delivery windows, vehicle capacity, and legal requirements all factor into great planning.

Route optimization-specific software provides a convenient delivery or service route where manual route planning fails.

Check out the video below! Can you relate?

How Route Optimization Works

As mentioned earlier, route optimization helps create routes to maximize delivery and field service operations.

Optimizing routes involves a mathematical problem, which considers many factors and is solved using machine learning that evaluates historical route data.

Furthermore, the route optimization algorithm leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide multiple and best routes from one point to another.

An optimized route is calculated based on the number of stops and distance between the pick-up and drop-off point.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Help With Route Optimization?

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!

Why Is Route Optimization Important?

Route optimization is essential since it helps solve the traveling salesman problem (TSP) and vehicle routing problem (VRP), which are common daily business struggles worldwide.

With route optimizer, businesses can also accomplish more deliveries than drivers spending hours in the truck.

In addition, route planning software can help with other field operations, such as transportation, shipment, and last-mile delivery. It can also help businesses operate effectively, even with just one vehicle.

Benefits Of Route Optimization

Route planning benefits many businesses, such as distributors and other services with scheduled deliveries.

It provides the shortest route based on real-time traffic, increasing delivery productivity or completing more service calls.

Optimized routes will benefit your business if you want to improve customer satisfaction or on-time deliveries. It is also ideal for limited delivery time windows and helps businesses save up on fuel and driver wages.

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Who Should Use It

Delivery fleet and field service are the primary businesses that should use route optimization.

This software can effectively assist dispatchers and route planners in the planning phase before drivers carry out the task or deliveries.

Since this software offers an optimal route, it means less time spent driving and lower fuel costs. Thus, route optimization is also ideal for businesses with fewer vehicles looking for ways to increase their profit and customer experience.

Can You Manually Plan & Optimize Delivery Routes?

Yes, you can manually plan routes. However, as your business and team grow, you’ll have more orders to handle, and manually planning routes would seem impossible. For instance, if you own a logistics company that needs to deliver thousands of orders daily, doing things by hand is frustrating and time-consuming.

There are also many factors to consider, such as the efficiency and accuracy of your planned routes and if your driver suddenly falls ill or quits.

Can Google Maps Optimize My Route?

You can plot a route on Google Maps, but you will just receive free driving directions and not really route optimization.

Not sure what the difference is?

Say you put three stops on Google Maps: A, B, and C. Even if B comes before A while going towards C, Google Maps will show you the way in the order that you have entered, i.e. A, B, and C. This not only means more fuel consumption but also a waste of time and effort.

Also, Google Maps doesn’t factor in things like the wait time at each stop or where drivers should stop first to save time and fuel expenses. In simple terms, Google Maps can plan routes but cannot optimize them.

Furthermore, you cannot use Google Maps route planner for deliveries with an unlimited number of destinations either. It doesn’t allow you to plot more than 10 stops at a time.

Check if Google Maps Route Planner is right for your delivery business. If not, you may need a great route optimization software

What Is Route Optimization Software?

Route optimization software is a delivery route planner that helps different kinds of businesses, such as fleets, home services, and field sales and marketing.

It’s a tool that assists with route management, making delivery and service operations more efficient.

With Route4Me, you can get optimized routes in seconds. It can help your business grow with efficient routing, making the work convenient for your employees who are always on the go.

When Should You Get A Route Planning App?

If you’re having problems with angry customers due to late or failed deliveries, then it’s about time to get a route optimization solution for your business. While hiring a route planner seems sufficient, your business may suffer from inefficient routing as it grows.

Also, if you’re visiting more than 10 addresses daily, Route4Me can do the work for you.

Multi-Stop Route Planner App

Download Route4Me’s multi-stop route planner app and get a free 7-day trial.
Multi-Stop Route Planner App

Remember, an efficient business operation attracts loyal and new customers. So consider route optimization for your business.

Things To Look For In Getting A Route Optimization App


As stated, route optimization should help provide the best and most cost-effective route that matches and solves business constraints. Thus, you should choose an option that meets the particular needs of your business.

Efficient Routes With High Driver Acceptability

Apart from flexibility, you should choose an app that offers efficient routes and non-overlapping.

It should be clean, which means all stops located at the same block should be assigned to only one driver.

Ease Of Use

Since route optimization aims to make things easier for drivers, you should look for a user-friendly app. It should feature a map view that indicates each stop and route flow.

Easy-To-Integrate API

You should look for route optimization API if your business requires a delivery management platform like courier companies. Don’t forget to look for an app that is easy to implement and has good documentation.

Accurate Geocoding

Another feature to look for in route optimization apps is accurate Geocoding, which is the process of transforming a location or address into a map. This ensures accuracy to prevent drivers from heading to the wrong locations.


On the other hand, route optimization would be useless if it can’t optimize routes fast. So when choosing an app, it should be quick to optimize each stop daily and handle multiple stops.

how to deliver packages concept

Accurate ETAs

Most of all, the route optimization app should feature accurate arrival times. If inaccurate, you will be forced to deal with unhappy customers and possibly pay drivers for overtime. In short, route optimization should feature accurate estimated travel time based on historical route data.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about What Is Route Optimization

How do you plan a route with multiple stops?

Launch the route optimization app or Google Maps on your computer. Next, click directions and enter a destination at the starting point. Then, add another destination to create another stop. Keep adding more destinations to create a multiple-stop route.

How does route optimization help businesses?

Route optimization can help businesses in many ways, from improving delivery productivity to meeting customer demands. It can lower delivery costs and increase delivery capacity, resulting in a better profit. In addition, it minimizes the wear and tear of delivery vehicles.

Can route optimization software help with compliance and regulatory requirements?

Yes, route optimization software can ensure compliance with regulations such as driving hours limits, vehicle weight restrictions, and environmental standards.

How does route optimization impact driver productivity?

Route optimization increases driver productivity by minimizing downtime, reducing driving stress, and increasing the number of stops per route.

Is route optimization software suitable for small businesses with limited resources?

Yes. Route optimization software is scalable and can be adapted for small businesses to optimize their delivery or service routes effectively.

What are the cost savings associated with route optimization?

Route optimization can reduce fuel expenses, lower vehicle maintenance costs, minimize labor expenses and optimize resource allocation, leading to overall operational savings.

What are the differences between static and dynamic route optimization?

Static route optimization refers to planning routes based on fixed data. Dynamic route optimization involves planning and adjusting routes in real time based on changing conditions like traffic or weather.

Does route optimization software consider real-time traffic updates?

Yes. Advanced route optimization software like Route4Me considers real-time traffic data to plan and adjust routes dynamically and avoid traffic congestion.

How does route optimization help reduce carbon emissions?

Route optimization reduces fuel consumption and lowers vehicle carbon emissions by minimizing mileage and idle time.

Final Thoughts

In summary, getting a route planner will benefit businesses the most, improving their operation and profit. There are also many route optimization solutions you can choose from, such as Google maps and Route4Me.

So if you want to have the edge over your competitors, try out route optimization for your business to meet rising customer expectations.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Help With Route Optimization?

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!

About author: Dominic Walker

Dominic Walker works as a content marketer as part of Route4Me’s worldwide remote workforce. A teacher of over 15 years, Dom knows how to break complex ideas down to the very basics and explain them in a digestible way. He loves answering questions, so if you’re wondering about route optimization, jazz guitar, or how to land a fat bass, Dom is your guy.


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.