Routing plan vs actual | Descartes Routing UK

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Routing plan vs actual

Comparing your routing plan versus actual routes taken provides useful data for future use but can also be useful in real time.

Why compare actual vs. planned delivery routes? 

The last mile delivery is complex and important to get right. Get a delivery wrong and it impacts the customer experience and loyalty, brand perception, repeat business and company profitability. 

Companies invest in software to create optimised delivery route plans, but it only works if the plan is adhered to. However, there are often outside influences that affect the ability to follow the plan and it is important to understand these and how they affect overall fleet and delivery performance. 

Deviations from the plan can start before the vehicle even leaves the depot 


Plan v Actual performance 

For fleet operators there are three points to investigate; 

Optimised route delivery plan 

Using Descartes’ proven delivery scheduling and route optimisation software, enables a detailed delivery plan to be created that takes into account all the business constraints, order specifics as well as road layout and traffic issues, quickly creating an efficient and cost-effective delivery schedule. 

Changes made by human planners 

For a number of often genuine reasons planers may make changes to optimised routes, however, there are equally preconceived ideas of how a route should look and changes may be made that are not necessary, impacting the performance and efficiency of the route. Both these types of changes need to be captured and compared against the original plan. 

Actual execution and route deviations 

Once the delivery vehicle leaves on the planned route there are a number of reasons for a deviation, the driver may know, or think he knows a better route or there are unexpected events such as a road traffic accident that closes a road. All these deviations need to be captured and compared to the plan. 

Vehicles can be tracked using either the driver’s handheld device or the use of installed vehicle telematics devices. Being able to visualise the location of a vehicle in real-time compared and show it compared to their planned route and timetable is useful to highlight delays. Customers can then be kept informed of the location and ETA and proactively informed of any delays or changes to the schedule. 


Technology simplifies the review process 

Platforms such as Microsoft PowerBi, are easily integrated with Descartes route planning software and enables fast and detailed comparisons to be carried out that will provide deep insight into plan v. actual performance. 

While machine learning can accurately recognise drive-time, stops, time at a stop and spot patterns such as changes to the planned sequence. Recommendations can then be filtered through to improve delivery plans for the future making them more accurate and realistic for drivers. 

In the long-term, data of actual versus planned routes can be used to analyse why certain drops always take longer, enabling that to be factored into future deliveries so that delivery plans can be fine-tuned.  

Combining the plan versus actual data with information from the proof of delivery solutions adds further detail and accuracy to the analysis.


Possible queries?

  • Was the planned route the one that was driven?
  • Is a driver always stopping in a layby for a snack or drink?
  • Have unforeseen circumstances such as traffic congestion caused delays to the plan?
  • What hours has each driver worked?
  • How long are deliveries taking at each stop?

Accurate data, automatically gathered, enables your transport planner to plan and expedite accurate and robust transport plans with confidence.


Plan v. Actual generates results

  • Deliver excellent customer service
  • Respond efficiently to problems or delays as they arise
  • Review daily performance based on accurate information
  • Improve future operational performance
  • Produce more realistic and accurate route plans
  • Reduce future transport costs
  • Drivers have more confidence in the delivery plan. 
Actual vs plan screen

Features & Benefits

GPS Tracking

GPS Tracking

Using either Telematics or our Mobile Applications vehicles can be tracked in real-time providing useful information about ETAs, routes followed and arrival times at stops, enabling customers to be easily updated about their delivery.

Route planner

Turn by turn tracking

Useful data is gathered that enable changes to be made, enhancing future expected delivery times while making delivery drop and drive times also more accurate.

SAAS in the cloud

Cloud based software

Our fleet route scheduling Software is available over the internet wherever you have a connection, providing team access to our solution,  working from any location in the world, at any time. 

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