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The Ultimate Guide to Route Planning in Logistics

When you’re managing customer relationships in logistics, it’s important to deliver on time. Consistently delivering on time helps you create a positive customer experience, and more than half of customers will pay more money for a good customer experience. Route planning is a powerful tool in logistics, helping you meet and exceed customers’ expectations in a cost-effective way. Here, we’ll explore route planning in logistics and discuss how optimized routing can boost your business. 

What Is Route Planning in Logistics Operations? 

Route planning refers to the process of developing the fastest and most cost-effective means to transport and deliver goods. With route planning, you assess the number of orders on each truck and map out the delivery routes to enable the driver to make the maximum number of stops in their allotted shift.

Effective route planning lets you fulfill more orders on time without maxing out your resources. Instead of hiring multiple drivers, you give your existing fleet the ability to deliver more without extending its time on the road. 

Key Benefits of Route Planning

Customer satisfaction is the biggest benefit of effective route planning. If you’re not planning your routes, you could be unnecessarily delaying your delivery times, which negatively impacts the customer experience. Additionally, route planning reduces your transportation costs and makes your drivers more efficient. 

Optimized routing for each driver reduces the wear and tear on your vehicles, allowing you to extend their lifespan and spend less on repairs. You also reduce your fuel consumption, which can enhance your brand’s image with eco-conscious customers. 

Additionally, your drivers can become more familiar with their regular routes, which improves their confidence and can reduce turnover. It also boosts drivers’ productivity since they can make more timely deliveries on an efficient route. 

Best Practices for Planning a Route in Supply Chain Logistics

Route planning is easier with the right software because you can analyze your data more effectively. Once you’ve chosen the right route optimization software, follow these best practices.

Leverage Real-Time Data for Better Decision-Making

To optimize your delivery schedules, use real-time tracking to guide your decisions. Even when your fleet is driving the same routes daily, factors including traffic conditions, weather, construction, and more can impact your drivers’ regular routines. Before dispatching your drivers daily, check the conditions, and map out alternative routes when needed. 

Use real-time data to see which of your current routes could be changed for greater efficiency. Track metrics including average delivery time and average number of daily deliveries to determine where you can streamline your routes. With delivery route planning software, you can effectively track each truck and see how long it takes each driver to make deliveries. Over time, you can identify trends that are impacting your operations. 

For example, if one of your drivers’ routes is always congested at the same time every day, consider an alternative route to save time and boost their productivity.

Use Route Optimization Technology

Efficient route planning is much easier with technological solutions. Modern route planning software uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and telematics to analyze driver behavior, vehicle performance, traffic, and other data to help you effectively plan your routes.

As technology improves, you can track each driver in real time and reroute them when something impedes their normal route. For example, if your driver is on a highway on which there has been a huge accident, you can send an alert and reroute them. 

Technology also lets you optimize each part of the product delivery process, from shipping to final delivery. Use the software to plan the best route from the factory to the distribution center and create a more reliable supply chain. 

Consider Driver Performance, Experience, and Availability

Driver performance impacts customer satisfaction. When engaging in logistic route planning, consider each driver’s performance and experience. Assign your best-performing drivers to your busiest or most challenging routes, and start new drivers on slower routes until they get comfortable making deliveries consistently. 

If your logistic routes cross difficult terrain, assign them to more experienced drivers. For example, if your fleet regularly crosses high-elevation mountain passes that are prone to bad weather, assign a driver who is familiar with these conditions. An experienced driver will likely be safer on these challenging routes and make more on-time deliveries. 

Additionally, consider each driver’s availability. When you know that your best drivers aren’t available, plan accordingly so you’re not leaving people with less experience alone to handle the whole workload. 

Prioritize Visibility and Transparency

When planning a route using software, pay attention to visibility and transparency. Real-time visibility gives you insights into driver behavior, traffic, and other factors impacting your ability to deliver products on time. 

By being transparent with your drivers and your customers, you can improve both driver satisfaction and the customer experience. Customers will appreciate your ability to give them more accurate delivery estimates and meet your promised delivery times. Drivers will appreciate your cutting back on unnecessary drive time and vehicle wear and tear. 

Choose a software solution with analytics and reporting tools that can help you benchmark driver performance over time. This way, you can see how the optimized routes are impacting your business and make adjustments if needed. 

Unlock More Than Just a Route Planning Solution

Optimize your logistics with route planning software that goes beyond dispatching and managing drivers. Surgere’s transportation and distribution visibility solution lets you track multiple items at the same time, including shipping containers, racks, and the vehicles used to move them. 

We give you end-to-end supply chain visibility to make every aspect of your supply chain more efficient. You can get products to your customers quickly without expanding your fleet, which helps improve the customer experience and inspires loyalty. 

Quickly find any shipping load in real time to answer customers’ inquiries and give them accurate delivery estimates. Our solution gives you valuable data so you can plan your routes more effectively and make more on-time deliveries. 

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how we can help you assess every aspect of your supply chain.

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