Blog > Last mile delivery
Blog > Last mile delivery
26 July 2021 | 6 min read
The employers in the transportation industry are faced with a shortage of delivery drivers, despite the fact that many positions are offered with permanent contracts. To overcome this, they are using all the solutions at their disposal, starting with route optimization applications.
This planning software is a popular solution for improving the working conditions of drivers and reducing their stress levels.
Thanks to such applications, operations managers can build more feasible routes, while drivers can be sure of having the right information at the right time to drive the route successfully.
The delivery and road transport sector is suffering from a poor image. There are many clichés about these jobs: long working hours, stress, safety issues, low wages, etc. And the health crisis has not helped!
In the 2020 report, the Observatoire Prospectif des Transports et de la Logistique (OPTL) lists 42,230 vacancies registered with Pôle Emploi for “short-distance route driving and delivery” positions, an increase of 8% over the previous year.
But the most significant figure showing this lack of attractiveness is the percentage of recruitments considered to be difficult. The operations managers found it difficult to hire 60% of drivers and short-haul delivery workers. This figure even reaches 73% for truck drivers!
Although the business is growing, due in particular to the boom in e-commerce, companies are not managing to recruit enough drivers to meet demand.
Some transport companies are forced to decline contracts or postpone delivery dates, at the risk of upsetting their customers.
To avoid this situation, most of them implement strategies for prevention and retention of delivery drivers. Improving the level of driver satisfaction and strengthening the relationship with them is now part of the logistics manager’s job.
The routes considered as unfeasible or unrealistic are among the most important reasons for dissatisfaction. The advantage of online route optimization software is that it calculates the best route taking into account multiple constraints:
By taking into account these multiple constraints inherent to the industry, you limit the risk of unforeseen events, and therefore of unplanned overtime at the end of the route.
This is an essential step towards reducing the pressure on drivers’ shoulders and gradually restoring trust and dialogue…
All route planning software works together with navigation applications such as Waze or Google Maps. The advantage of a route planning application like AntsRoute is that you can precisely determine the type of vehicle assigned to each driver: heavy trucks, cooling trucks, light commercial vehicles, scooters, natural gas vehicles, electric cars or bikes, etc.
From the AntsRoute interface, the route maps are then generated based on this information. For example, if you choose the ‘heavy trucks’ type, some routes are modified to take into account traffic restrictions or the height of the vehicle (tunnel, bridge, etc.).
You can similarly set the maximum battery life of an electric vehicle. The application then calculates the optimal route based on the location of the charging stations.
By retrieving data from GPS applications such as Google Maps or Waze, your delivery drivers and dispatchers also benefit from real-time route updates. The application, which works on all mobile devices, shows the driver the estimated time of arrival, with the number of minutes ahead or late compared to the time initially scheduled.
In the event of unforeseen events, delays or traffic jams, the driver is automatically notified, and his route is recalculated accordingly. If you ask a driver to make an extra stop to pick up a parcel, for example, the route is updated in real time on his smartphone, which also works as a GPS and route map.
Keeping your drivers loyal means improving internal communication wherever possible. Providing drivers with useful information allows them to be involved and to have more control over the situation.
The objective of a route optimization application is precisely to provide each operator with all the relevant data at any time. By logging on to the mobile application, the driver must be able to get an answer to his main questions quickly. Where should I load? How many operations should I carry out during my route? Which truck should I use? What is the best route to deliver my customers?
In concrete terms, with the AntsRoute app, a driver can see in real time the relevant information about his delivery route:
Thanks to the accurate and synthetic view of his route, it’s no longer necessary to enter the different addresses one by one in his GPS. The driver has a maximum amount of information to succeed in his deliveries at the first attempt, and thus limit failures that are both time-consuming and stressful. In the event of a difficult delivery, he also feels less alone with the customer, since he has more data to ‘clear’ the complaint beforehand.
The use of a mobile application also improves exchanges, and therefore the relationship between the delivery driver and the end customer. These apps allow the deliveryman to communicate a lot of information quickly and without the risk of forgetting it:
Informed and reassured, the end customer can more easily organise himself to receive the parcels from the first visit. In case of difficulties, they will also be less tempted to blame the driver, as the bad news has been delivered beforehand…
The last but not least reason for using a route optimization application such as AntsRoute is to eliminate paperwork. This is an important argument when you know how much administrative management of routes is a problem for some transport workers.
For example, the driver simply taps on the screen of his smartphone or tablet to find his route map and online delivery reports in the mobile application. If the operations manager wishes, he can also attach various documents related to the route (order forms, invoices, etc.) in paperless format.
Finally, the electronic signature and digitization of proof of delivery are very effective in preventing disputes and facilitating the handling of them. For example, the driver can take a photo to prove the condition of the parcels on arrival. This technique is crucial for responding to customers who are not always in good faith…
In the same way, if the customer is absent, the delivery person can take a picture of the message on the door, or enter the reason for the delivery failure in a few words in the application.
Finally, these paperless proofs of delivery eliminate the risk of lost or stolen delivery documents.
The AntsRoute application, available on Android smartphones, iPhones and iPads, is a highly effective tool for improving the working conditions of your drivers on a daily basis and preventing their departure. To allow you to measure the benefits for 7 days, we offer a free trial, without commitment or credit card number. Click here to sign up!