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Route Optimisation

Advanced algorithms and AI produce efficient route optimisations

Route optimisation is the process of selecting the ideal path for a vehicle to travel.

However, if the number of stops per delivery route increases beyond 4 and there are a number of vehicles in the fleet, manual route optimisation can become too complicated, time consuming and deliver inefficient results.

Software offers a faster and proven solution to the problem, several factors can all be taken into consideration when calculating optimised routes:

  • Distance between deliveries
  • Speed and directional flow of traffic at various times of the day
  • Cost of transportation
  • Drivers’ hours and rest requirements
  • Clean Air Zones or toll roads
  • Hazardous materials carried and route restrictions (read more)

Efficiency is the ultimate goal, but the shortest distance between two points may not be the most efficient. A good route optimisation tool will also consider the time of day, traffic patterns and expected travelling speeds, the direction of turns and even any required driver’s rest stops.

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How does route optimisation work?

The Descartes Route Optimisation Tool uses clever mathematical algorithms and AI learning, plus the latest map data from several major mapping companies, in order to calculate and compare multiple routes for deliveries. Due to the computing power and capacity for processing calculations within the Descartes route optimisation engine it is possible for it to handle millions of calculations a minute, allowing continuous optimisation of deliveries and results within minutes. Routes are recalculated and compared even as orders for delivery are received and this can right up until a vehicle leaves the depot . (Infographic: - Advantages of continuous route optimisation)

These routes compare numerous possibilities and take into consideration time of day, traffic flow, season of the year, length of time required for each stop and can allocate the deliveries based upon the type of vehicle or persons skill that will be required for each delivery. 

The routing engine can even use the height, length, weight and width of a vehicle to select route that avoids low or weak bridges and width restrictions, producing different routes for a van compared to a large lorry. This information is then passed through to execution of the route and can be integrated with the vehicle's satnav, ensuring the satnav has the correct dimensions for the vehicle and routes the drive to avoid restricted locations.

Benefits of Route optimisation:

  • More reliable delivery times and ETA’s
  • Reduced driver hours
  • Reduced vehicle mileage
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved utilisation of resources
  • Improved customer service
  • Reduced driver stress and fewer accidents
  • Reduced costs

Route optimisation for planning

This method can also be used to analyse and consider various possible scenarios, such as the effect of increasing or reducing the fleet size or type of vehicles, the location or number of depots and the increase or decrease in order volumes. Enabling companies to improve planning and readiness for the future.

Proven results of route optimisation

  • Delivery capacity increased by up to 35% - [read success story]
  • Increased fuel efficiency >15%
  • Cost reduction of between 5% and 25%
  • Customer delivery satisfaction increased by 40%

Ready to see Descartes Route optimisation in action?
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route optimisation software on laptop screen dk bl

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Features & Benefits

Accourate ETA's and delivery times

Improved customer satisfaction as orders are delivered on time and a reduced office workload as the number of phone calls enquiring after deliveries diminishes.

Continuous background optimisation

Achieve more efficient route plans than traditional batch-based optimisation techniques and provide costed delivery options at the point of sale in seconds.

High quality traffic data

Very accurate route times are possible using road speeds that are based  upon the day, the time of day, the route taken and even the direction of travel, giving you confidence in the route schedule and your customers delivery times.

Cloud based software

Our Software is available over the internet wherever you have a connection, providing access to our solution when you are working from any location in the world.

Automated route scheduling

High density delivery routes are created, utilising your resources to the full and saving costs, these can be based on most efficient routes not just fastest routes.

You may also be interested in

Delivery Route Planning

The creation of optimised delivery routes, allocating resources in order to maximise a company's operating efficiency.

Delivery Tracking

Enable customers to track the ETA of their own deliveries and avoid the "where's my delivery?" telephone calls.

Digital Proof of Delivery

Eliminate paper and streamline operations with POD capture and parcel scanning for accuracy on deliveries.

Home Delivery

Also known as last mile delivery it is often the most difficult mile of the delivery chain, but can provide the largest opportunity for improvement.

Last Mile Delivery

Improving customer satisfaction with your deliveries, from slot selection to customer tracking apps.

Telematics Integration

Receive live telematics data directly into your routing software.