Blog > Last mile delivery
Every carrier is looking to optimise their delivery planning, but doesn’t always know how to do it. In this article, we’ll explain it in simple terms:
Your days are busy with deliveries of large parcels for a furniture company, small courier parcels or express deliveries.
Some will be handed to the customer at home, while others will be delivered to letterboxes or drop-off points. UA small percentage of these deliveries will have to be rescheduled for the next day, due to the absence of customers.
You also have to manage the absence of one of your delivery drivers at short notice. You do your best to manage these emergencies, the unexpected and sudden peaks in activity, and you don’t really have the time to think about rethinking your organisation.
There’s a lot to be gained from optimising your delivery planning. You could save time, but also money. It could even help you reduce CO2 emissions, as more and more freight carriers are asking you to do.
And how is this possible?
It’s possible because, by planning your routes, you can make better use of the resources available. In practical terms, this means:
Your customers themselves will see this as a source of satisfaction.
Planning and optimising your routes will enable you to meet your delivery deadlines more efficiently and improve the quality of your customer service. By grouping deliveries according to geographic area, and taking into account the specific constraints of your customers (opening hours, delivery preferences, etc.), you will be able to:
That’s the question you probably asked yourself when you started reading this article. It’s important to understand the difference between simply organising or creating routes, and what’s known as route planning.
When you organise your routes, you take into account the factors relating to the tasks assigned:
You must also take into account your resources:
If you only employ one or two delivery drivers, you may be satisfied with grouping your tasks in a logical order, to reduce the number of miles you have to drive.
But if you use a navigation system such as Waze or Google Maps, you won’t get optimised route. You will have to enter all the stops on your itinerary one by one, and they will just be added one after the other, without having the possibility to optimise the order.
And what happens if your customers ask for specific delivery time slots or parcels to pick up on the way? And what if you absolutely have to find a way of reducing your costs?
Obviously, you can use Excel spreadsheets to create more or less optimised routes that take these criteria into account. But you’re likely to spend hours doing this, with results that are imperfect.
That’s where the possibilities of manual planning end.
And that’s where route planning starts.
The route planning is no longer just about organising trips from point A to point B, but about entering a large number of parameters, which are then automatically calculated and compared in real time. It allows you to create optimised routes based on:
And this planning is made possible by the use of route optimisation software, which enables you to reduce the number of miles travelled and your CO2 emissions, while taking all your constraints into account.
With just a few clicks, the software will tell you whether it’s better to visit this customer that day or the next day, and/or whether another mode of transport would be more appropriate.
The tool gives you an appropriate itinerary, which is simply the result of these complicated calculations. This is the optimised routes for your delivery drivers. It can be modified automatically in real time if a delivery is added at the last minute.
This is how AntsRoute’s software works.
And where you might have thought you were spending money, you’ll actually be saving efficiency, time, money AND peace of mind.
Contrary to what some carriers think, optimisation software is neither complicated nor expensive.
At AntsRoute, route optimisation software is available from €24 per month per vehicle. The time and mileage you save will pay for itself very quickly.
At this price, you already benefit from a large number of the available functions, and you don’t need to reorganise everything.
You can go even further by subscribing to more complete offers. You’ll be able to:
and so much more, depending on your organisation and your needs.
The most important task is to gather the information you need to optimise your routes:
Thanks to their algorithms, route optimisation software will calculate the most efficient routes in terms of distance, time and resources. It takes into account your specific constraints and can be set up to optimise different criteria, such as reducing costs or minimising CO2 emissions.
You can then provide drivers with real-time information about their route. They can include delivery instructions, last-minute changes and traffic updates, by connecting the software to an application such as Waze. For your part, you can geolocate your delivery drivers, track the progress of their routes and react quickly if necessary. If a delivery is added, delayed or postponed, you can reorganise the route accordingly.
If you have subscribed to a more advanced plan, you’ll be able to analyse statistics to identify peak times and areas of high activity, so you can better allocate your resources and delivery capacity according to the need.
You’ll also save time on administrative follow-up and improve the customer experience, thanks to automated notifications, proof of delivery and appointment scheduling.
By following these tips and using the right tools, you’ll be able to optimise your delivery route planning, improve your operational efficiency, optimise your costs and provide quality customer service.
AntsRoute software is currently offering a 50% discount for 1 month and a 7-day free trial. This could be the perfect time to take the plunge!