Any type of delivery or logistics company, no matter what their scale, faces the same common challenge. This is the challenge of planning daily delivery routes. This may seem like a simple enough idea, but there are plenty of possible routing problems that can arise.

Getting each delivery route as optimized as possible is no easy business. Using the right route planning software can make a drastic difference to the operational efficiency of any business.

To make sure that your delivery operations are adding the most value to your business, you will need to understand common routing issues. How do you know if your delivery company is facing these routing problems? How do you fix them? We will explore all of this in our guide below.

8 Most Common Routing Problems (With Solutions)

Understanding your logistics problems is essential for optimizing delivery routes. With so many moving parts involved in each delivery and route, companies need to ensure that they are avoiding routing issues that could hold back their operations. We have outlined some of the most common routing problems and how to deal with them below.

1. Increased Customer Demands

One of the biggest difficulties that delivery businesses face is the increasing demands of e-commerce consumers. In today’s world where e-commerce is becoming the new norm in retail, customers are expecting more and more. With rising competition between e-commerce businesses, they are tending towards these needs - offering things like same-day delivery. This can put a great deal of pressure on delivery companies.

The main demands that customers are after are faster delivery times, instant communication systems, and instant reporting on any issues that may arise during the delivery process. As there are already so many variables and considerations involved in delivery planning, keeping up with these customer demands can be an immense challenge for businesses with already busy schedules.

How to Solve This Routing Issue

Staying on top of challenging customer demands can be achieved with the right delivery management software. Route planning software allows businesses to access all of the tools to provide customers with the level of service that they are after.

The software can be used to plan and optimize routes for the fastest possible delivery times. All variables are taken into consideration to make sure that deliveries can be achieved as efficiently as possible. The software schedules the routes for you, taking the strain out of meeting each individual customer demand.

Top route planning software, such as Track-POD, also offers businesses all of the tools that they need for enhanced communications with customers. This software allows for instant updates to be sent out on the status of the delivery. Customers can also track orders on a real-time map for constant updates.

2. Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP)

This common issue in delivery routing comes down to the load capacity of the vehicle. Each vehicle can handle a maximum load, and its deliveries are restricted by this. If you load a vehicle beyond its capacity, it could result in an accident or other risks. If you do not load a vehicle enough, you are wasting the opportunity to increase your delivery routes. Every single delivery needs to have its weight and volume measured, and organized into a suitable vehicle.

Doing this manually can be a seriously challenging process, as there are many calculations and considerations to make. The role of a logistics manager is to maximize the productivity and efficiency of each vehicle without overloading it.

This can be even further complicated by other requirements of the deliveries. Things like freezers, cargo dimensions, compartments, and different cargo depots need to be considered.

How to Solve This Routing Issue

How do you get past routing problems due to vehicle capacity? Once again, delivery management software is the solution to this problem. The software maintains a database of your entire fleet’s information, including the capacity and specifications of each vehicle. All orders will be automatically assigned to the most suitable vehicle. This is done in a way that optimizes the vehicle’s capacity as well as the delivery route of the cargo.

By automatically optimizing and assigning cargo, delivery companies know that each vehicle will be working at its maximum efficiency. This helps to save time, reduce costs, and eliminate CVRP risk.

3. Shortage of Drivers

Too many deliveries and not enough drivers or vehicles. This is a common problem that logistics companies face. Whether this is food deliveries or longer trucking journeys, the issue of driver shortage is a regular feature.

As demands for courier deliveries increase, the delivery fleet needs to keep up. If your business has a shortage of vehicles or drivers compared to the number of deliveries needed, then this can really hold back operations.

How to Solve This Routing Issue

Of course, the best solution to a driver shortage is to get more drivers on board. However, this is not always possible. If this is the case, delivery software can help delivery companies with these routing problems.

Powerful delivery route management software allows you to get more done with fewer vehicles. You simply load all of the deliveries into your system, and the software will assign the deliveries out to the most efficient routes. This maximizes each delivery stop and route, making sure that every vehicle is offering the most it possibly can.

By optimizing delivery schedules this way, companies can get more done in less time and with fewer resources. This helps to make up for any potential shortages in drivers.

4. More Complicated Home Deliveries

Home deliveries have become increasingly demanding. Any courier service that offers home deliveries will have noticed that delivery options are steadily becoming more complex. This relates to the increasing demands and expectations of consumers.

Some typical challenges that couriers face with regards to home deliveries include things like an increasing volume of orders, a wider option of home deliveries, and a major demand for faster order fulfillment. Home delivery has gone beyond a simple process, as customers want more delivery options. This can include delivery to home, work, secure lockers, or the option for collections.

Customers also want more flexibility in these delivery schedules, with deliveries offering a greater level of convenience to their lives.

How to Solve This Routing Issue

Route planning software offers the ability to handle complex home deliveries better and allows you to stay on top of increasing demands. Logistics managers can use the software to consistently optimize their delivery routes as orders continue to come through. Simply add the order and delivery address to the system, and it will be assigned to the smartest, easiest route and driver.

Route optimization software also helps to reduce delivery costs. This gives your business the opportunity to offer cheaper delivery options to the customer. Besides speeding up the delivery process by optimizing and quickly managing routes, the software also offers instant, on-demand communications.

Managers and customers will be kept up to date with any route changes and delivery visibility throughout the process. This leads to a greater level of customer service, and more flexibility in the delivery schedule.

solving routing problems

5. Delivering at the Right Time Window

A major challenge and limitation on deliveries is that customers may only be available at certain time windows. This means that when the right time window opens up, the vehicle needs to be able to deliver to the customer within this period. If deliveries are running on certain time windows, there are many considerations to make with operational planning. This can be incredibly difficult when delivery routes include multiple stops.

Drivers shouldn’t waste time by waiting around between time windows. They also don’t want these time windows to overlap, resulting in rushing or missed delivery opportunities. Making sure that the route is optimized to hit each time window in the right order, without slowing down the delivery schedule is essential.

How to Solve This Routing Issue

Businesses need to utilize delivery routing software that can organize delivery schedules so that each time window is efficiently packed. The software should use an algorithm that ensures the best assignment of each delivery based on its corresponding time window.

Each delivery and time window is considered and dished out to an appropriate route through software. On top of this, notifications can be sent out to better manage the progress of each delivery, and to keep drivers updated on any potential changes in the schedule.

6. On-Demand Reporting and Notifications

Another major increased demand is that of real-time updates and reporting. This is expected across the entire delivery chain to help improve communications and efficiency. With real-time updates, delivery managers can keep up with their orders and monitor each step of progress much better.

Knowing the status of the delivery at every stage is critical for proper planning and organization. This is where on-demand reporting becomes imperative. Instant notifications take the difficulty out of communications by offering an automated solution. This is always accurate and much easier to keep track of.

Many routing problems arise from a lack of on-demand reporting. One missed update can affect the whole chain of events that follow.

How to Solve This Routing Issue

By using software, on-demand reporting can be maintained across the entire delivery chain. Delivery management and route optimization software can send out instant, automated notifications each time a vehicle leaves its location. Notifications can also be sent out when deliveries reach their destination, or if a change in routing is scheduled.

Beyond instant notifications, reporting is an essential tool for logistics managers. Software like Track-POD offers complete analytics and reporting functions for every route and delivery. This can be used for managers to track their KPIs and to look into the efficiency of each route and how processes can be better managed.

7. Keeping Up to Date With Complex Delivery Routes

Routing problems are much easier to manage when the route consists of cargo being collected from one depot and transported directly to a new destination. In this case, the vehicle simply needs to be pointed from one place to the next. In today’s demanding delivery landscape, routing is a bit more complex.

Delivery routes generally involve multiple stops at various locations. Drivers are expected to collect cargo from a depot or warehouse and make various drop-offs within a busy and complex delivery network. How do you manage the multiple stops? How do you know when to deliver and where? How do you save time and fuel for maximized efficiency?

How to Solve This Routing Issue

Delivery routing software is the answer. Use the software to automatically create routes and schedule the deliveries. The software takes all variables into consideration to make sure that deliveries are done as quickly and easily as possible. This software will also help to clearly map out these routes, and keep drivers informed of each stop.

8. Communication

Logistics managers need to be able to communicate with delivery drivers. Delivery drivers may need to communicate with customers. Customers also want a clear line of communication for any queries on their orders. Delivery routes involve multiple points of communication that need to be clearly managed.

Communication during delivery routes can be a real challenge, often resulting in inaccuracies or risks. Manual communications can also take up a great deal of time.

communicating routing problems

How to Solve This Routing Issue

Choose software that offers clear communication features. Transport routing software should include a real-time map that monitors the progress of each delivery route. This allows logistics managers and customers to track the progress of each vehicle. This software should also be able to send out instant notifications for consistent, automated updates.

Choose Track-POD for Routing Success

Eliminate the risk of routing problems with Track-POD. This single delivery optimization software ensures that your routes are planned and coordinated to achieve the best possible results. By using software like this, logistics managers can avoid common routing problems - saving time and reducing routing costs. For any type of delivery business, no matter what the scale or specifics, a software option like Track-POD is essential for success.