Delivery routing is one of the most important aspects of any delivery and/or logistics company. This transport management practice determines the efficiency of your operations. It also affects your profits and customer service provision, among other important consequences. However, a huge downside of routing is that it can take up a big chunk of your time – if done manually, that is.

There are still so many logistics managers that rely on delivery route planning methods like Excel spreadsheets or even pen and paper. Using outdated methods does not do you or your business any good. On the contrary, a software solution with route planning capabilities like Track-POD can transform how you handle routes.

In this guide, we’ll explore multi-stop delivery routing, and how to use a route planner for unlimited stops.

What is multi-stop route planning?

Most delivery drivers don’t leave the warehouse with a single delivery destination in mind. Instead, drivers will have a route that includes multiple delivery stops, one after the other. The process of organizing these routes is what we call multi-stop delivery routing.

This sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it?

The truth is, it can be an incredibly complex process. Multi-stop route planning requires careful organization to coordinate stops smoothly. Logistics managers need to make sure that each stop is well-timed and organized to reduce waste and costs. The route needs to offer a continual, efficient flow of deliveries without wasting time or adding to drivers’ workloads.

To achieve the above, route planning systems need to take various factors into consideration. These include aspects like potential vehicle restrictions, the size of packages and shipments, and the most efficient routes. Beyond internal factors and planning the shortest possible distance between each delivery stop, there are also factors like traffic or road restrictions to navigate. When you put all these factors together, planning efficient multi-stop delivery routes can be quite complex.

Multi-stop planning also requires some flexibility. Even once you’ve added all the delivery stops, there is always the possibility of certain stops changing. When this happens, logistics managers need to remain adaptable by speedily adjusting to the best possible new route. Or some route planners like Track-POD’s can make these updates for you.

For any delivery business that has numerous stops in a single delivery trip, efficient multi-stop routing is essential. Route and fleet managers (and other kinds of transport managers) must use carefully constructed processes and the right technology to oversee this process effectively and efficiently.

Why is multi-stop delivery routing important?

Well-planned routes form a solid foundation for any successful delivery operation. Adequately organized multi-stop delivery routes offer many benefits, and they play a major role in the profitability of your business. Here are some of the main reasons why well-managed multi-stop delivery routing is so important.

multi stop routes

More efficient delivery routes

All delivery businesses have a common goal – to use the most efficient delivery route possible. When you’re organizing several stops on each route, this can become challenging. And it only gets more difficult when you’re juggling multiple routes and vehicles at the same time.

To nail multi-stop deliveries, you need to make the most of each vehicle in your fleet. Instead of having to constantly go back to the warehouse to pick up new orders, you can achieve more with a single delivery load and trip. That way, you can complete more delivery stops daily while saving time, money, and energy with each trip.

Well-planned multi-stop delivery routes reduce any delays between each stop. If the stops are not clearly planned out and organized in advance which is only possible with prescheduled delivery, drivers could waste a great deal of time and distance between each drop. Efficiency and time savings are key to profitable, successful deliveries.

Increased fuel savings

The routes you take have a direct impact on fuel management. One of the biggest advantages of planning smart multi-stop routes is the reduction of fuel and related costs. As any delivery company knows, fuel costs are one of the biggest expenses to work around. If you do not properly optimize delivery routes, rising fuel costs could take a huge chunk out of the end profit of each trip you complete.

Multi-stop routing boosts fuel savings in two different ways. It allows multiple delivery drops to fall under a single route. Instead of a constant back and forth, drivers can follow a single route that covers many different deliveries. This results in less driving related to each delivery, which reduces fuel costs.

Multi-stop routes, when properly planned, also ensure the shortest distances possible between each stop. By using the right software, delivery managers can make sure that drivers make stops in the shortest possible time. Not only this, but the right routing software will help consider things like traffic and gradients in order to produce the most fuel-efficient routes possible. This all results in significant fuel savings, which makes deliveries far more profitable.

Enhanced communications

Another great challenge that delivery companies face is communication. When planning delivery routes, drivers and logistics managers have to deal with time-consuming back and forth communications. Manually explaining directions when a driver gets lost, or trying to figure out exact locations over the phone can be incredibly difficult.

Proper delivery software promotes easy and effective communication. With properly planned multi-stop routes, drivers and delivery managers can maintain a strong level of visibility and communication at all times. The routes will help keep both parties on the same page.

With the right delivery software, you can update routes automatically. This makes sure that you keep all parties in the know at all times, without details getting lost over the phone. Instead, you can maintain instant communication and accuracy for smoother delivery operations. When planning challenging delivery routes with multiple stops, strong communication plays a big role.

Better vehicle management

We already established that multi-stop delivery routing helps vehicles cover shorter distances with each delivery. While this plays a big role in fuel savings, it also helps keep vehicles in top condition. You can make the most of each route, without placing additional demand on each vehicle. This keeps vehicle mileage low, which reduces the pressure of maintenance and service requirements. This saves money and offers more long-term value out of each vehicle.

When multi-stop routes are efficiently planned, the possibilities and limitations of each vehicle are also taken into consideration. This ensures that each vehicle performs at its best on each delivery route, without any unnecessary strain.

Larger delivery volumes

With multi-stop route planning, your business can deliver more. Time is always limited, and we can’t control the number of hours in a day. However, we can control how much we are able to accomplish within these hours. By carefully routing delivery operations with multiple stops, each delivery vehicle can increase its output. This allows delivery companies to achieve more, with less effort.

As delivery demands increase, this process is important to get right. Any delivery business that needs to scale its operations, or deal with a shortage of drivers or vehicles, will need to have efficient multi-stop deliveries in their back pocket. This is the only solution that allows big businesses to deal with a high volume of deliveries in a short period of time.

Improved customer satisfaction

This feature leads to higher completed and on-time deliveries in less time. As a result, customers can receive their orders faster, which helps improve customer satisfaction levels. In today’s world, eCommerce businesses are offering things like same-day delivery, and customers have become accustomed to fast deliveries. By utilizing an efficient route management system, businesses can increase their delivery speeds and efficiency, which allows them to meet rising consumer expectations and demands.

Increased profits

Finally, the essential benefit of multi-stop routing is that it allows businesses to maximize their profits. As mentioned, this feature saves time, lowers fuel costs, increases efficiency, and boosts the output of deliveries. There are also longer-term savings involved, such as lowered vehicle maintenance costs. This all comes together to increase the profitability of delivery operations.

The use of bad routes just isn’t practical for any delivery business. A smart solution to planning and executing deliveries is essential for maintaining a high level of profitability for all types of delivery operations.

How to do multi-stop delivery routing

There are two main options that logistics managers have for multi-stop delivery route planning. Managers can either plan the routes manually or use specialized route planning software.

Choosing to plan routes manually is just not practical. It’s time-consuming, complicated, and it won’t offer the most optimal routes. Manual planning can’t keep up with any sudden route changes, which makes communications and flexibility a complete headache. This process will also require dedicated input from experienced route planners, which makes it difficult for a company to adapt quickly.

Making use of a dedicated delivery routing software, like Track-POD, is the only viable option. This allows logistics managers to easily plan and manage multi-stop routes with minimal effort. Routes are optimized to deal with any challenges, plus the system creates new routes almost instantly.

Here’s how you can use a tool like Track-POD to instantly plan and update multi-stop routes.

Step 1: Upload drops and deliveries

First, you need to upload all of your drops to the route optimization software. Instead of manually punching in each delivery drop and planning it yourself, the tool will do all of this work for you.

Step 2: Plan drops and packages

Once all drops are in the system, the tool will use a smart algorithm that automatically spreads drops and deliveries across vehicles. The system takes all vehicle considerations and restrictions into account, automatically assigning the correct drops to appropriate vehicles. Things like weight restrictions, size limitations, and vehicle types are all considered.

Step 3: Optimize the route

Now, all you need to do is optimize and plan the routes in one click. The system assigns suitable delivery vehicles to the appropriate routes. These routes are all automatically created to offer the best possible efficiency, with the maximum number of stops included. In each case, it includes an accurate, i.e. dynamic estimated time of arrival (ETA) with each drop.

Step 4: Assign drivers

The optimized routes then sync up with the drivers’ apps. This instantly assigns routes to drivers, and it makes sure that each driver is fully up to date with all necessary delivery information and ETAs. Communication and visibility couldn’t get any easier.

Step 5: Track and adjust

The drivers are then sent out in transit, and they can be accurately tracked and managed in real-time. One of the major benefits of using an elite route planner tool is that the route will adjust automatically according to conditions on the day, such as traffic. When this happens, both the driver and logistics manager receive real-time updates. This makes communication easy while maintaining the most efficient delivery routes possible.

Challenges of manual multi-stop routing

There are various challenges involved in multi-stop delivery routing. These include things like.

  • Finding the best possible routes for each vehicle.

  • Assigning the right drops to the right vehicles.

  • Keeping communication clear.

  • Tracking vehicles in real-time.

  • Ensuring that the most efficient route is always offered and updated.

Staying on top of these processes manually is impossible. This is why the right multi-stop delivery routing solution is necessary in today’s world. Especially in such a competitive delivery environment, businesses need to make sure that they’re offering everything they can to keep multi-stops as efficient as possible.

Track-POD’s route planner takes all time and effort out of the process while making sure to maintain total accuracy and clarity.

Conclusion

Getting multi-stop delivery routing right is incredibly important for the success of any delivery company. This can be a complicated procedure, with many considerations and moving parts that you need to account for.

In order to keep your multi-stop deliveries efficient and accurate, the right software tool is necessary. This eliminates human error and wasted time – ensuring that delivery operations remain fast and profitable.