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The Challenge that is - Multi Stop Route Planning.

Multi stop route planning can be a nightmare, with an average UK home delivery driver making around 70-110 stops per day and delivering on average approximately 100- 160 parcels.

Calculating and planning the routes for multiple stops, by however many delivery drivers and vehicles you have quickly becomes very difficult either by hand or with the help of free online systems such as Google maps or other online multi stop route planning websites.

Your biggest challenge to multi stop route planning is time. Some companies work on the principle of batch processing their deliveries. At the end of the day all possible deliveries for the next day are thrown into the calculation and their delivery routes are planned. The problem with this method of multi stop route planning is that you only have until the time from when the orders stop being taken until the parcels need to be allocated to each vehicle and loaded, typically a few hours.

The second challenge to using free online software for multi stop route planning will be the online systems themselves. Google maps only allows up to 10 stops on any one route and you will have to place them in your best guess order for delivery, manually altering stops to produce the best route. Other online solutions might allow more stops and may even calculate the optimal route around the multiple delivery stops, but you will discover that it is only possible to plan one or two multi stop delivery routes within a 24-hour period.

Thirdly if you need to notify your customers as to when their delivery will be taking place this will be difficult with free routing solutions as traffic flow at the various times of the day may not have been considered and it will be difficult to accurately calculate when the vehicle will arrive at its destination, taking into account the number and type of parcels to be delivered adds further complexity meaning long delivery windows will need to be offered to customers to ensure parcels are delivered in that timeframe. This is not good for customer service nor customer loyalty if they need to stay in for half a day or more waiting for a delivery.

The challenge becomes further complicated once the vehicle is out on the road and accidents, traffic congestion or cancelled deliveries are notified to the route planner, as the rerouting of the delivery vehicles then becomes an issue. It is very difficult to reschedule or reroute deliveries in a very short space of time and to also communicate this out to the driver and customer along with the new route or schedule that is required.

Over the past year many consumers have either been working from home or forced to stay at home during C-19 lockdowns, but this will not last forever, and people will return to the office eventually, even if only for a few days each week. This will mean that they won’t always be at home for deliveries and will therefore prefer to choose what day and at what time they receive a delivery, most people wish to be at home to receive their deliveries and not everyone has a safe place such as a garage or back gate where a parcel can be left out of sight.

So, what is the answer to multi stop route planning?

Well, there are software solutions, available over the internet as a service, such as the Descartes Routing and Scheduling solution that enables fast and accurate mutli stop route planning using the latest road maps and traffic data. These solutions calculate multiple deliveries as the orders are taken, for as many vehicles as you have in your fleet, based on customer selected delivery slots and pick the best vehicles for each delivery route, optimising delivery density and minimising miles, making each delivery as efficient as possible.

No time is lost on batch processing as delivery routes are calculated and altered as each order is taken. This continuous optimisation approach to multi stop route planning not only results in high density delivery routes for your vehicles, but also saves time and prevents you from over committing on a delivery if you don’t have sufficient vehicles. (download our infographic - Route optimisation always on v. batch)

If the Descartes multi stop route planning solution is combined with either mobile applications for tracking, messaging and proof of delivery or the GPS Telematics options, then the real time location of vehicles can be plotted on the maps within the routing software and used to enable fast rerouting because of traffic issues or cancelled orders. These solutions can also enable customers to be updated on the delivery vehicles location and the number of stops before their delivery, either by text or via an app.
Rerouting due to traffic problems or customers’ requirements becomes easy, with new routes and directions easily transferred to the driver via the mobile applications package.

Why not contact us to discover how Descartes can help improve your multi stop route planning?

Multi Stop Route Planning