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What is Route Planning?

The process of importing a list of orders and putting relevant destinations into an order that makes sense is known as route planning. Software that does route planning charts out a path that covers every one of the stops listed in the shortest possible time.

Difference between Route planning and Route optimization software

Route Planning SoftwareRoute optimization software
Helps businesses complete a delivery route in the most logical mannerMakes use of complex algorithms to create different route variations and route plans
Generates the routes that cover shortest distance without considering other factors.More than distance, it uses different parameters like traffic conditions, delivery time windows and vehicle capacity and so on to generate the optimal routes
With maximum efficiency planned by fleet managers, customers can quickly receive the deliveries.Enables customers to select their preferred time slots during checkout.
Does not factor the intricacies of dynamic routes and events that impact a driver's productivity.Takes into account of various factors like driving time, break hours, time under the roof, idle time, and all other real-world constraints that affect driver productivity.

Why is route planning critical for businesses?

Planning your routes with pen and paper makes your route management expensive and puts your business under a huge risk. Route planning helps businesses to:

  • Minimize driver time on the road
  • Improve timely deliveries and customer satisfaction
  • Maximize fleet utilization
  • Improve financial performance
  • Increase overall productivity of drivers and fleet managers
  • Reduce the fuel consumption
  • Cut down extra or unnecessary delivery costs
  • Minimize unplanned delivery routes

Different types of route planning

There are six types of route planning based on the workflows it serves. Each of these types helps businesses plan routes to meet their varied needs. These types of route planning are:

  1. Dynamic route planning
    Dynamic route planning accommodates real-world constraints like traffic and weather issues to generate routes. These route plans factor for the changes that happen once a delivery is completed and reroutes the upcoming deliveries. It helps you even assign additional delivery vehicles to complete the delivery process.
  2. Multi-stop route planning
    Multi-stop route planning generates routes based on the maximum number of stops a driver can visit in one round. Especially, a multi-stop route planning software determines the best route for these maximum stops and its estimated-time-of-arrival
  3. Open path routing
    Open path routing suits businesses that want to reach a maximum number of stops within the shortest time. The biggest disadvantage of this route planning is it does not account for when the route would end. As the final stop is located far away from the depot, it incurs high costs to return back to the depot.
  4. Closed path routing
    Closed path routing creates a U-shaped path that helps vehicles complete the deliveries and takes them back to the starting depot, where the final stop is close to the depot. As closed path routes are strategically made to accommodate the return stop, they may take longer to complete.
  5. Reverse Open path routing
    In reverse open path routing, the plans start from the furthest stop from the depot. And, it generates a route for a driver to return back to the depot. This is best suitable for vehicles that carry a heavy load and want to improve the fuel efficiency. Overall, reverse open routing ensures vehicles return quickly to the depot minimizing the room for error.
  6. Depot to Depot routing
    Depot to depot routing helps businesses plan optimized routes for drivers to travel from one depot to another. This type of route planning is best suited for vehicles starting with empty/full load.

Static routes vs dynamic routes

Static routesDynamic routes
Pre-planned routes where stops remain the sameRoutes that factor new changes made in already planned delivery schedule
There is no possibility of incorporating last-minute changes as drivers rely on the same scheduleMore suitable for factoring in the last-minute changes
Higher likelihood to have communication gapsCommunication gaps are a rare occurrence

Different methods to plan delivery routes

Businesses plan delivery routes using four different methods. They are:

  • Pen and paper
  • Excel
  • Google maps
  • Route planner applications

Key factors considered when planning a route

To get the shipments on time, businesses must get their route planning right. The key factors accounted in when planning routes are:

  • Distance
  • Vehicle capacity
  • Time taken for delivery
  • Delivery cost
  • Special customer requests
  • Delays caused due to road closures and traffic

What is the difference between daily route planning and strategic route planning?

Daily Route PlanningStrategic Route Planning
Territories, routes, strategies and policies are already defined.All practices, policies, capacity etc are fixed to see what combination fulfills the demand
It majorly suits static route plansThis suits both static and dynamic route plans
Generates routes based on orders to be delivered during the same-day, next day or several daysGenerates route plans based on the cost, capacity, frequency, and various other factors

Locus Route planning software: All-in-one integrated tool that fulfills routing needs of businesses

When businesses set out to plan routes manually or using maps, manual intervention generates inefficient routes. This results in a lot of time taken to explain the delivery schedules and routes to the on-ground staff. So, it is necessary to invest in a tool that eliminates this manual intervention and maximizes efficiency in routes. One such tool is the Locus’ route planning software.

With Locus’ AI-backed intelligent route planning, businesses can effectively allocate tasks and plan daily routes. Using its advanced route planning capabilities, businesses can minimize the transit distance, cost, and duration of deliveries. Overall, it enables businesses to eliminate inefficiencies in current route planning capabilities and optimize them.

Related Resources

How to Choose the Right Route Planning Software?
How to Choose the Right Route Planning Software?
How advanced route planning software benefits fleet drivers?
How advanced route planning software benefits fleet drivers?
Multi-stop route planning and why is it important?
Multi-stop route planning and why is it important?

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How can Locus help manage your logistics?

  • Locus’ proprietary geocoding engine converts the fuzziest of the addresses into precise geographical coordinates thereby helping your on-ground executives locate addresses easily.
  • Digitize all your operational variables such as fleets, delivery persons etc. to come up with the best route plan every day.
  • Track your orders in real-time with the Locus Live Dashboard. Locus’ last-mile delivery app Locus On The Road (LOTR) helps delivery partners process orders.
  • Visualize and tweak your scheduled plans via three key metrics— geography, time, & vehicle (fleet)—with a birds-eye view of your entire operations.
  • Build your own reports and analyze important parameters that you need to make key decisions.

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