Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Shipping Routes
A delivery route is a sequence of stops your drivers will take when you send them to deliver products to your customers. With online shopping becoming extremely popular over the years, the shipping routes have also become quite exponential. That makes the task of creating routes more complex. There are many locations to cover, and you need good drivers who can accomplish the job on time. Let’s discuss the key components of optimizing your shipping routes.
Why do you need route optimization?
Optimizing the route your drivers will take on their delivery rounds is essential for your business. You want your courses to be efficient, covering as many deliveries in one go and quickly. Along with delivering the cargo in top shape, speed is another key element that heavily affects your customer’s satisfaction with your delivery services. The happier your customer is, the more likely they will suggest your services to their friend, bringing you new customers.
Additionally, with the increase in fuel costs, your routes need to be as efficient as possible to reduce your costs when making deliveries. As your business grows, your demand for new vehicles will also increase. You don’t want to oversaturate your company with delivery vehicles. Instead, maximizing the number of parcels to be delivered per vehicle is essential for the overall reduction in fuel costs and route optimization.
Make use of route optimization software
Making routes manually is an outdated and prolonged method. On top of that, planning out multiple delivery routes for numerous drivers makes the process quite tricky. That’s why many delivery companies are using route optimization software. These programs can easily make an optimal route by just inputting your customer’s addresses. The program will automatically give you the shortest and most convenient route for your drivers to follow.
However, the route optimization software can’t do all the work for you. Many other factors must be considered if you wish to avoid delivery delays. Here are other logistical issues you must resolve when optimizing your shipping routes.
Different parcel delivery types
Packages come in all shapes and sizes and will be delivered to different locations. Some customers want their package delivered at their threshold, some want a curbside delivery, while others might want a white glove delivery. These factors can vastly affect the speed of your delivery.
Sometimes, the deliveries involve installations, adding more time to your route. Such deliveries, although seemingly optimal due to their proximity if they are close to each other, might not be as optimal in practice due to their type. Your driver must invest the time to install the product into your customer’s home. That time also has to be accounted for in your route. That is why you should always determine the delivery methods for each customer before creating the route.
Therefore, try to organize routes per delivery type. On the one hand, curbside deliveries are quick and easy. Your drivers can make such deliveries in large numbers without an issue. By putting only curbside deliveries in one route, your drivers will be available sooner to take another delivery route.
On the other hand, parcels that require a white glove delivery are pretty delicate. Dedicating some drivers to white glove deliveries, which take more time, will let them focus more on the quality of the delivery itself. Mixing the delivery types will slow down the process if your driver has a couple of fragile objects to deliver on top of a dozen regular parcels.
Maximize your vehicle’s capacity
Having an unoptimized vehicle capacity use will waste both your time and increase your fuel costs. Many delivery companies stress the importance of using your vehicle’s transportation capacity entirely. It is critical for achieving maximum performance and the most optimal delivery. Account for the maximum carry weight and the maximum number of packages that can fit into your delivery cars. That is important for optimizing your shipping routes as it will let you know how many packages you can fit into one vehicle.
Analyze the efficiency of your drivers
An optimized shipping route means little if you don’t have drivers who can complete them efficiently. It would be best to track your vehicles when making deliveries to see how well the drivers complete their routes. With driver shortages in most industries, you will want your drivers to be at their best. Help them improve their performance if there is room to better their delivery efficiency.
There are many steps to take into account when maximizing the efficiency of your shipping routes. An advantage over your competition is key to staying ahead in the delivery industry. The route optimization software can only do so much and cannot account for all the factors affecting your routes. You must also include your vehicle’s capacity and driver’s skill. The type of delivery will also greatly influence the speed of your routes. Some deliveries will be unique and take longer than others, like curbside deliveries. Therefore, keep in mind all the minutia when optimizing your shipping routes.
Bio: Charles Smith is a freelance author working with moving companies like evolutionmovingdfw.com for over two years. He writes articles on delivery optimization and helps startup delivery companies grow and develop.