5 Ways to Optimize Delivery Routes

5 Ways to Optimize Delivery Routes

Optimizing your delivery routes involves finding the most cost- and time-efficient routes for your fleet drivers to follow when making deliveries. It ensures that parcels and packages get to their destinations on time, drivers stay on schedule, and your resources are utilized efficiently. As a result, delivery route optimization has many benefits, including increasing productivity, customer satisfaction and retention rates.

Optimized delivery routes also help you gain a competitive advantage. Clients know they can always rely on your company to fulfill even high-priority and complex deliveries within set deadlines, which increases their loyalty and attracts new clients. Below, we discuss several ways to improve delivery routes.

1. Map Out Delivery Routes Based on Fleet Vehicle Type, Capacity and Utilization

When optimizing your delivery routes, you must consider the type of vehicles in your fleet and the best way to utilize these to maximize fleet efficiency. You should also consider the workload on different routes when allocating fleet vehicles and organizing delivery schedules.

Loads should be assigned to fleet vehicles based on the vehicle type and amount of storage space each has. For instance, box trucks are ideal for transporting bulky items for short or long distances, while cars are more limited — they can accommodate smaller loads that have short delivery times. This ensures efficient fleet route optimization by preventing overloading or underutilization of fleet vehicles, which leads to a waste of resources and could increase operational costs.

Once the right fleet vehicle is selected, the loads should also be organized in a way that maximizes the capacity of each vehicle and ensures easy retrieval of packages, which helps drivers save time and stay on schedule.

2. Plan Routes Based on the Customer’s Shipping Addresses

Plan Routes Based on the Customer's Shipping Addresses

Client shipping addresses are critical in determining the most optimal delivery routes. Organizing routes based on client locations helps reduce travel times and distance by grouping packages meant for the same area. It also makes it easier for the drivers to navigate routes and increases the likelihood of completing deliveries on time.

Planning routes based on location also involves considering a specific area’s size, boundaries and road conditions. Other factors you must consider include security concerns, rough terrain, weather conditions and population. This ensures your drivers follow the most efficient routes to guarantee timely deliveries and customer satisfaction.

Route planners optimize routes by location by identifying high-traffic areas that should be avoided during peak hours or finding alternative routes at those times. They also help anticipate other possible difficulties so you can implement preventive measures and prevent delays.

3. Establish Routes for Different Delivery Types

Different delivery types have different routing requirements, which determine the time taken per delivery as well as the special delivery instructions to be followed. So, to optimize delivery routes, it’s key that you consider the types of delivery requested by your clients. The main types of deliveries you must consider to make delivery routes more efficient include:

  • White glove delivery: White-glove delivery is time-consuming because it requires special handling and installation of fragile or highly sensitive commodities.
  • Contactless delivery: This type of delivery is fast because it limits the contact between the client and the delivery personnel who leave the package with the customer.
  • Threshold delivery: Threshold delivery is relatively fast because delivery personnel leave the packages somewhere safe from the elements, such as the client’s doorstep, lobby or first dry place on their premises.

It’s best to reduce the number of delivery options you offer to help manage customer expectations. You can also gently nudge customers to select specific options that ensure efficiency and reduce delivery times. Another way to optimize delivery routes is scheduling high-priority deliveries such as same-day deliveries first so these are out of the way sooner and don’t cause more delays.

4. Delegate Route Planning to a Third-Party Logistics Provider

Outsourcing route planning to a third-party logistics (3PL) partner is a reliable and effective method of optimizing delivery routes. These 3PL providers specialize in route planning and other related tasks, so they already know the best routes and can help you save time and money spent experimenting with inefficient routes. They can also help to improve driver productivity by ensuring clear and open communication for seamless route execution.

By delegating route planning optimization to a reliable 3PL, you also gain access to high levels of expertise, extensive experience and specialized technology to reduce lag times. Plus, they leverage technology to find and improve weak spots in your current routes.

An in-house dispatching team can help you manage your drivers and optimize routes. With an in-house team, you have more control over the routes and delivery times, and communication follows a single chain of command. However, you spend more resources and time hiring, training and maintaining an in-house team than you would when you outsource the services.

5. Invest in Delivery Route Optimization Software

Manual route optimization is a time-consuming process that may eat away the time needed for more essential business operations. Innovative route optimization software uses artificial intelligence and complex algorithms to identify and suggest how to optimize delivery routes. They take real-time locations, traffic conditions and weather into consideration when determining the best delivery routes.

Routing software improves fleet utilization by allocating the right driver and vehicle to each delivery. Reliable route planning optimization software also provides drivers with real-time updates on the speed limit and traffic laws as they traverse different areas to reduce the likelihood of accidents and ensure compliance. Live updates on potential dangers, such as flooded roads and road works, improve road safety.

With delivery route optimization, your customers get more accurate delivery information and real-time updates on delays. This ensures better communication between drivers and customers and boosts the customer’s satisfaction. The software can also boost driver morale by allocating the right amount of time to each delivery and factoring in breaks so they don’t waste time on the road.

Optimize Your Routes by Partnering With ExpressIt

ExpressIt is a reliable third-party logistics partner that can help you optimize your routes based on your unique needs. We are a woman-owned business with over 30 years of experience in the logistics space. Our personalized routes boost customer satisfaction by ensuring deliveries are made within set schedules and specific deadlines to improve productivity and efficiency within your business.

At ExpressIt, our experienced and professional delivery team will help you overcome route planning and delivery challenges to improve your business’s bottom line. Contact us today to learn more about our route optimization services or to request a quote by filling out our online contact form. We will be in touch with you soon.

Optimize Your Routes by Partnering With ExpressIt