Routific Alternative: Route Planner That Powers Your Last Mile
May 18, 2021
Tell me which route planner you’re using and I’ll tell you how big of a headache you have because of it. The right route planner can save you tons of time and money – but it can also cost you. How do you choose your perfect route planning tool? Today, we’ll take a close look at two last-mile delivery software providers that cover route planning & optimization: Routific vs Track-POD.
Routific is a popular choice for last-mile delivery management in small and mid-sized businesses. If you’re looking at software solutions for larger delivery operations, you might want to consider something like Onfleet.
When do you need a route planner?
Short answer: whenever you’re planning more than one route at a time.
Long answer: when you need to plan and arrange a sequence of deliveries in a way that is profitable for your business and more than satisfactory for your customers. For any delivery operation, finding a route planner is key to ensuring that you don’t lose time, money, and customers over poorly organized routes.
Route planning and optimization are both central features of last-mile delivery software, along with tracking of drivers, notifications to customers, and electronic proof of delivery. By using a route planner, you know for a fact that no human error will be made and your deliveries will run smoothly.
Let’s now look at all the features offered in Routific and Track-POD side by side and see how they compare as route planners specifically and last-mile delivery software at large.
Both Routific and Track-POD price per vehicle/driver and not per number of tasks you can carry out in a month. This is perfect for small and mid-sized businesses as you can start small and scale as you’re growing your fleet.
Routific comes in three plans: Essentials, Professional, and Premium. Professional covers most of what’s needed to plan and execute deliveries. It comes at $49/mo if billed annually and $59/mo if billed monthly.
Pricing per vehicle works in a way that you pay for however many vehicles you’ll have in use simultaneously. For example, if you have a total of 10 vehicles but only 3 of them will be used at the same time (on the same day), then you only need to pay for 3 vehicles.
Track-POD, meanwhile, comes in four plans: Starter, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise. Advanced is your go-to plan for route planning and delivery management. Just like Routific, it comes at $49/mo if billed annually and $59/mo if billed monthly.
As you can see, we’re looking at two very similarly priced software options, which means we can benchmark them against each other and focus on the features to get the best value for money.
Route planning & optimization
The first thing to look at in a route planner is naturally route planning and optimization capabilities. We’ll now go over the sub-features that comprise both and see which software is a better fit for your needs.
When organizing routes across a bigger area, it helps to have the option to visualize the orders on the map and interact with it to select a bulk of local orders. This is something you can do in Track-POD but not in Routific, so please be mindful of that when making the decision.
The way routing happens in the system is determined by the strategy that you specify in the settings. To assign deliveries to drivers, Routific offers two optimization strategies to choose from: time and distance.
Track-POD lets you pick any of the three optimization strategies: time, distance, and expense. For example, if you only have electric cars in your fleet, it makes sense to optimize by distance. If you need to cut delivery costs, you can optimize by expense.
On top of that, Track-POD also offers order auto-balance as well as different setups for starting and ending routes.
- From driver location.
- From Depot.
- Ends at Depot.
- Ends at driver location.
Please note: these advanced routing features are not available in Routific.
Route optimization with ETA
Both Routific and Track-POD calculate ETA – estimated time of arrival required for communication with customers and internal planning. On top of that, Track-POD calculates estimated departure time for location.
Fleet optimization aka fleet management is what you do to make sure none of your vehicle resources are wasted. With last-mile delivery software on hands, you can automate fleet management to perfection.
Routific lets you specify one value to indicate vehicle capacity, e.g. boxes, kilograms, or pallets. Track-POD, meanwhile, allows multiple maximum values for each vehicle in your fleet.
- Cargo parameters (weight, volume, pallets).
- Work time.
In addition to that, Track-POD users can also indicate speed ratio and route rates for each vehicle: cost per distance, cost per hour, and base fare.
If you take fleet optimization seriously, consider investing in Track-POD as it gives you more options for efficient resource utilization.
Sometimes, one and the same driver needs to perform several routes a day. To skip worrying about whether you did route planning right, you need a route planner that can assign several routes to the same driver in a day. This is something you can do in Track-POD; Routific doesn’t offer this option.
Considers vehicle types
Fleet optimization is not only about the cargo your vehicles can room. It’s also about considering different types of vehicles in your fleet. For example, you might have a car, a truck, and 2 motorcycles delivering your orders. Your last-mile tracker needs to take that into account when planning your routes.
While Routific doesn’t consider vehicle type, Track-POD optimizes routes considering the following types of vehicles: truck, car, motorcycle, and bicycle.
If you’re the type of business that offers a subscription-based service, then you need your route planner to consider recurring routes. Both Routific and Track-POD do that but the workflow is different. Here’s how it works.
In Routific, you can add recurring routes by uploading regular customer profiles via a spreadsheet that has a column for notes. In that column, you need to specify the days of the week when drivers make deliveries to your respective customers.
In Track-POD, you can repeat any route every day/month/year/day of the week as well as set the ending date. This way, you can easily set up recurring routes from within the software.
To help your drivers avoid any issues on the road, route planners can offer live traffic data updated on the driver's side automatically. While Routific doesn’t provide live traffic data, Track-POD does this in the driver’s app. On the dispatcher's side, Track-POD uses statistical data to create more accurate ETAs.
Other route planning & optimization features
Both Routific and Track-POD offer a number of features that make advanced route planning & optimization possible. Below are some of them.
- Time slots – the software plans routes according to time windows comfortable for your customers.
- Service time – in order to provide the best routing solution, the system considers service duration at each stop.
- Priorities – both route planners take into account priority customers, addresses, or orders.
- Driver’s breaks – when creating long-distance and multi-stop routes, the software considers driver’s rest breaks.
User & Order management
Even with a 2-delivery operation, you might need to assign different roles and permissions to different users of last-mile tracking software. As your business grows, you’ll need to add more users. Being able to give different roles & permissions will be as relevant as always.
Let’s see how Routific and Track-POD handle user management as well as order management – an equally important part of supervising a delivery operation.
Dashboard web users
First up are dispatchers and other people monitoring deliveries on the web. While Routific doesn’t offer dashboard web users, Track-POD lets you add 7 users under the Advanced plan.
Roles and permissions for web users
Track-POD offers a selection of web user roles so that you have full control over your delivery operation. You can add dashboard web users with any of the following rights.
- Allow view Routes.
- Allow user management.
- Allow view Analytics.
- Allow duplicate.
- Allow view Vehicle Check.
- Allow edit orders.
- Allow view Directories.
- Allow edit completed orders.
- Allow Edit directories.
- All ‘Depots’.
Please note: Routific doesn’t offer user roles & permissions since it doesn’t provide web dashboard access.
Web customer access
If you have recurring customers or shippers, you can save time by giving them access to your last-mile delivery software (with any of the user rights described above). This way, they can add orders, track drivers in real-time, and access all order-related data like Proof of Delivery.
Routific doesn’t offer web customer access. Track-POD, meanwhile, boasts a newly updated Customer Portal where your shippers can log into and have an overview of their orders and supporting documentation.
Types of orders
Delivery operations can handle more than just deliveries. Sometimes, drivers need to do pickups or dropoffs. Your route planner needs to consider these different types of tasks when arranging routes.
By default, Routific allows you to work with deliveries only. However, it is possible to configure pickups, even though it requires using Routific’s Engine API.
Track-POD, in the meantime, lets you choose any of the following tasks/sequences of tasks.
- Pickup & Delivery.
- Pickup - Hub - Delivery.
When managing complex orders, i.e. cargo that requires special handling or vehicle conditions, it’s crucial to be able to specify all the requirements for drivers to follow. Last-mile delivery software needs to store all this data on both sides (dispatcher’s and driver’s). This is where custom fields come in.
The good news is that both Routific and Track-POD offer unlimited custom fields, which means you can specify every detail that needs to be considered before your fleet is loaded and orders dispatched.
The bad news is that it might require more setup than you think. Routific, for example, lets you add an unlimited number of custom fields but only when uploaded via a spreadsheet.
In Track-POD, adding custom fields is a matter of a couple of clicks, as the system offers several types of fields to choose from (checkbox, date, number, etc.). In addition to that, you can choose whether the fields will be editable in the driver’s app.
In last-mile delivery, driver's app is as important as dispatcher’s dashboard. To run things smoothly, both need to be in complete sync. Let’s now take a look at Routific’s and Track-POD’s mobile apps to see which one checks the most boxes for you.
Chat with dispatcher
Driver’s app and dispatcher’s dashboard operate together. Therefore, making sure there’s two-way communication between your dispatchers and drivers provides a lot of security to your whole operation.
While Routific doesn’t have the chat option, Track-POD lets drivers communicate with dispatchers throughout the entire route, including with photos whenever there’s a need to report an issue.
Access to navigation systems
To plan and carry out routes, Routific uses Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze. If you need more variety in navigation systems, consider Track-POD as it offers Google Maps by default + Apple Maps, Waze, TomTom, Here Map, and Sygic to choose from.
Deliveries can get messy. Even when you have reliable software to support you in planning & optimization, there’s still room for human error. One way to minimize errors in loading is to introduce mandatory load checks for drivers.
Track-POD gives you the option to make load checks mandatory for drivers before they start their routes. For example, by scanning the barcodes on the packages, drivers can make sure they’re heading off with the right cargo before they lose time making a delivery to a wrong destination.
Because all data from driver’s mobile app is synced with dispatcher’s dashboard, any mistakes will be reflected in reports and any unloaded orders will be assigned the status Not Delivered automatically.
Please note: load check is not available in Routific.
Vehicle check is another key component of safe & efficient routing. When it comes to planning multiple daily deliveries, you can easily miss some vehicle issues – unless you make vehicle checks mandatory before route start.
With Track-POD, you can require your drivers to run vehicle checks before starting and closing their routes. The beauty of it is that you specify your own criteria, setting minimum, maximum, warning, and critical values for each parameter.
Naturally, all this data will be displayed on dispatcher’s side too, with all vehicle issues easily identifiable. On top of that, Track-POD stores your history of checks to help you keep track of vehicle issues in perspective.
Deliveries don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, an order or a part of it remains undelivered. Routific allows drivers to either confirm completion of a task or skip the stop.
Track-POD, on the other hand, offers more nuanced reporting to account for different delivery scenarios: Delivered, Not Delivered, and Partially Delivered. On top of that, Track-POD enables drivers to change order status from Not Delivered to Delivered after they’ve returned to the destination to complete an unsuccessful delivery. This is not possible in Routific.
Reasons for rejection
Another delivery scenario is an order that is rejected because of damage to the goods or any other issues. Both Routific and Track-POD let the driver specify reasons for rejection of delivery – only Routific doesn’t provide the option to specify reasons for rejection of goods.
Note: another option not provided in Routific and available in Track-POD is entering the actual quantity of goods when scanning the order.
Geofencing is a feature that allows dispatchers to have better control of drivers by making it impossible for them to deliver the order if they’re not in the vicinity of the customer’s address. Geofencing is available in Track-POD only.
Order transfer, as the name suggests, is the option to transfer orders from one driver to another. This is needed whenever drivers can’t complete a particular order but don’t want to interrupt the delivery sequence. Please note: order transfer is available in the Track-POD driver app on Android devices only.
You don’t need me to tell you how connection troubles can slow down any operation. With dispatchers at the office and drivers on the road, this is particularly risky.
While Routific’s driver app doesn’t work without the Internet connection, the Track-POD app operates normally until the connection is restored. Then, all data is immediately synced between the dispatcher and the driver.
Cash on Delivery
Cash on Delivery (COD) is another way to confirm successful delivery. The way it works is the dispatcher specifies an amount of money for the order and the driver needs to type in that exact amount for the delivery to be considered successful.
We’ve talked about the importance of two-way communication between dispatchers and drivers. Equally important and crucial for customer satisfaction is instant communication between drivers and customers. Let’s explore how Routific and Track-POD handle that.
With Routific, you can set up Out for Delivery notifications. These are sent when deliveries are estimated to occur within a time window. By default, this notification will be sent 30 min prior to the driver's arrival at the destination. It includes the date of delivery and estimated time of arrival.
Track-POD offers notifications sent precisely when the driver has started their route. This notification can include a live tracking link and the client’s number in line. The message is fully customizable, i.e. you can use Track-POD’s template and adjust the tags and text itself.
In Routific, en route notifications with an updated ETA are sent only if the original time window is no longer doable. This notification can be triggered multiple times and includes the date of the delivery as well as an updated ETA.
Track-POD allows you to set up automatic en route notifications whenever a driver has left their previous stop and is heading towards the customer. Alternatively, you can have the driver trigger this notification manually. Again, the notification has a live tracking link and is fully customizable.
Once the delivery has been carried out, Routific sends a notification to the customer saying that the delivery has been completed or skipped. No order details or Proof of Delivery is included in the notification.
Track-POD, in the meantime, sends post-delivery notifications with a customizable Proof of Delivery PDF in case the delivery was successful and a notification saying the delivery was marked as Failed in case something went wrong.
In addition to the three notifications described above, Routific sends a Planned Delivery notification when a route is dispatched to the driver. Please note: all Routific notifications can be sent either by email or SMS, but not both.
In Track-POD, notifications about scheduled routes can be sent at any time. You have full control of this process and can choose to have the notifications sent by email, SMS, or both.
Proof of Delivery
Electronic Proof of Delivery is a massive step towards digitalization of your entire business. Moving to paperless and, if needed, contactless deliveries means that your business model is sustainable and you match customers’ expectations even in the most challenging times.
Both Routific and Track-POD let you carry out paperless and contactless deliveries with the option to sign on glass. Let’s look at the differences.
Routific allows one photo per order as proof of successful delivery. Track-POD, meanwhile, allows multiple photos that can be used both as proof of delivery and proof of issues.
With Track-POD, you can introduce an additional step to up your share of successful deliveries. During loading or unloading (or both), you can have your drivers scan their orders or goods to make sure they’re delivering the right package to the right address.
In addition to that, your drivers will be able to enter the actual quantity of goods in case there’s been a mistake and a partial delivery occurred. Please note: Routific doesn’t support scanning of orders and goods.
Custom POD template
As explained above, Routific doesn't offer Proof of Delivery document sent to the customer upon completion of delivery. In Track-POD, you can create and brand your own delivery notes that will be emailed to customers as PDFs as well as stored on the dispatcher’s side.
Reporting & Analytics
Analytics is your most powerful tool when optimizing your delivery operation. If you want to maximize your resources, you need trustworthy business intel available every step of the way. We’ll now look at reporting and analytics options available in Routific and Track-POD.
Routific’s reporting capabilities extend from delivery notifications to end-of-day reports. The former is a way for dispatchers to instantly see how drivers proceed with their deliveries. The latter provide an overview of all the routes in the project with a breakdown into:
- Scheduled deliveries.
- Completed on time.
- Completed late.
- Missed deliveries.
In addition to that, Routific provides stats on individual driver performance (expected and completed time, status of the stop, etc.). End-of-day reports can be downloaded as PDFs.
Track-POD, meanwhile, offers ready-made reports that you can choose from to look at your delivery operation from different angles.
- Route sheet – reports by selected routes.
- Loading list.
- Shipping label.
- Driver statistics.
- Trip summary by routes.
Analytics tab is a live feed of order and driver data that provides a quick overview of your delivery operation. While this is not available in Routific, Track-POD offers extensive analytics to help you keep close tabs on your performance.
Track-POD stores your analytics for two years and lets you specify any timeframe within these 24 months to pull data related to your deliveries. All analytics are presented in columns that are fully customizable. Depending on how much data you want to see at any given time, you can minimize or maximize your view.
Naturally, all data is exportable in PDF, Excel, or JSON. Alongside the columns with analytics, you can see results by KPI.
- Delivery in full – your share of successful deliveries + a pie chart with reasons for rejection.
- Partially – your share of partial deliveries + a pie chart with reasons for rejection.
- On-time deliveries.
- Average service duration.
On top of that, Track-POD offers KPIs by cargo parameters: weight, volume, and pallets with values for all depots.
No route planner works in isolation from other tech you’re using to manage your delivery operation in the context of a larger business structure. Therefore, you want your route planning software to integrate smoothly with other systems. Let’s see what Routific and Track-POD have to offer on the integrations front.
Zapier is a tool that connects your route planner to other applications. While Routific doesn’t offer integration with Zapier, Track-POD lets you use it to integrate with 2000+ apps.
Both Routific and Track-POD offer API integration that connects your route planner to larger systems like CRM or ERP.
Choosing a route planner is a big choice to make, yet it’s a necessary one. Luckily, you can always narrow the choice down to a couple of similarly priced options and weigh all the benefits while being mindful of the cons.
I hope this side-by-side comparison of Routific and Track-POD gives you enough insight to make an informed decision and invest into something that matches your expectations. If you have more questions or want to see Track-POD in action, you can always get in touch with our team and have a personalized demo.