Dynamic Route Optimization: 5 Essential Features
April 20, 2022
Any business that uses delivery routing without optimization is losing money at this point.
Transportation costs are always on the rise. And delivery businesses are always on the lookout for ways and tools to manage them.
The only sure-fire way of operating costs while keeping customer satisfaction high is by utilizing route optimization software and machine learning.
Today we're looking at 5 features of advanced routing software with dynamic optimization capacities.
Static vs dynamic route optimization
Route optimization is a must but does it have to be dynamic to be cost efficient? Let's look at the key difference between dynamic and static route planning and optimization.
In static route optimization, deliveries and collections are prescheduled in advance and no changes can be applied to the routes dynamically.
The biggest advantage of static routing and optimization is that you get the most reduced costs you could have.
- Driver schedules are planned in advance.
- Orders are jam-packed into trucks to maximize space utilization.
- Fuel costs are minimized thanks to multi-stop routes.
On the other hand, the biggest downside of static route optimization is rigid customer service. And buyers expect logistics services to be flexible and accessible.
Routing for different types of delivery services is impossible without dynamic route optimization. Things like traffic data help carry out the delivery faster and sometimes this involves detours. Not to mention weather conditions, last-minute orders, and delivery time slot adjustments.
Dynamic route optimization means you can use real-time data and apply changes to the route based on your constraints and priorities.
5 essential features for dynamic route optimization
Of course, there's more to dynamic routing and optimization than just 5 features. However, these are the pointers you can use when looking for dynamic route optimization software for your business.
1. Dynamic departure time
Dynamic departure time is a feature tied closely to delivery time slots.
Using time windows for deliveries and collections is a win-win. The customer can choose when their package arrives and the driver is more likely to find the customer at the delivery address.
Meanwhile, planning deliveries during time slots requires more advanced routing and optimization.
For example, to make sure your drivers start routes in time for the earliest time slot and not way too early, you can use Track-POD's dynamic departure time.
Dynamic departure time means that the actual route start time may be postponed to match the first time slot in the route. This gives you more flexibility and guarantees that the driver won't waste time on the road.
Pro tip: use Track-POD's soft time slots feature to permit a time allowance (usually 15%) for route planning and optimization.
2. Priority orders
Priority for orders, customers, and addresses is what makes on demand delivery possible. Sometimes, adding a last-minute delivery order is what it takes to provide same-day delivery.
Both on demand and same-day are highly requested by online buyers. To be able to meet that demand, you need dynamic route optimization software that considers order priority.
Track-POD route planner, for example, lets you assign priority to last-minute orders or regular customers that always need to be served first.
That way, you get to enjoy the benefits of AI-powered routing and optimization while also leaving room for urgent delivery jobs and adjustments to predefined routes.
3. Dynamic ETA
Dynamic or live estimated time of arrival (ETA) is a must in building a smooth delivery experience. When you share delivery notifications with live tracking and ETA, the latter needs to match real-time tracking data.
Route optimization tools like Track-POD can calculate ETA both pre-route (to fit into the delivery time window, for example) and update it as the delivery is in progress (every 5 min).
In your web dispatcher dashboard, you'll see both planned and updated ETA, which helps you track performance and draw insights.
By sharing a live tracking link with the customer, you're putting them at the center of the delivery experience, making them feel like they have control over the delivery service.
By making sure estimated arrival time is up-to-date and comes from real-time tracking data, you build trust in your delivery services and support customer loyalty.
4. Order transfer
Order transfer is another feature of dynamic route optimization software that gives you a lot of flexibility in order fulfillment.
Order transfer is built for emergencies. The logic is straightforward: if one of your drivers can't deliver a chunk of their orders, they can transfer them to another driver so that customers get their packages on the same day.
With Track-POD route optimization software, you can choose to enable or disable the order transfer feature in your settings.
When enabled, order transfer gives your courier staff the option to transfer deliveries to each other in case of emergency. The driver who's being reassigned orders from a different driver can either accept or decline.
Once accepted, the orders will be added to the new driver's daily routes. If rejected, the orders remain assigned to the initial driver.
5. Partial delivery
Not all deliveries will be completed successfully. Not all deliveries will fail either. What happens to the orders in-between?
Sometimes a customer accepts their delivery partially, e.g. if one of the items in their package was damaged during transportation or loaded incorrectly without QR or barcode scanning to double-check items before departure.
To support your drivers and minimize your total delivery costs, go for dynamic route optimization software that considers partially delivered orders.
Track-POD supports the following order statuses.
- Not delivered.
- Partially delivered.
This means that your drivers can mark an order as partially delivered and you'll see it instantly in your web dashboard or Route Manager app (Android Beta).
Dynamic route optimization is a must for any delivery business that wants to stay competitive and meet customer expectations with excellent delivery service.
To make sure dynamic route optimization works for you, you need the right software in place. I hope this overview of 5 essential dynamic routing features helps you make the right choice.
If you're curious about Track-POD's dynamic route optimization solutions, book a free demo and we'll give you a guided tour.