5 Best Tips to Optimize Your Delivery Routes

5 Best Tips to Optimize Your Delivery Routes

Businesses that rely on timely customer deliveries must know how to optimize their delivery routes.

If you make even one tiny mistake when planning routes, you’ll have missed deliveries, unhappy customers, and lost revenue. Delivery routing software takes all of the guesswork out of route planning.

Keep reading, and you’ll find out how a delivery route optimization system makes all the difference.

What Is Delivery Route Optimization?

Route planning optimization finds the best way for delivery drivers to deliver products to their destinations. But it doesn’t just mean finding the shortest route.

Route optimization considers different factors, including:

  • Driver proximity and hub location
  • The distance between each stop
  • Delivery time windows
  • Vehicle load capacity
  • Traffic congestion
  • Driver schedule
  • Road accidents

Check out our guide on the best tips we have for logistics planning!

Why Is Delivery Route Optimization Important?

When finding the best route, humans can’t compete with GPS.

We don’t have the mental capacity to calculate the different factors affecting a route. Even if we could, it wouldn’t be accurate. You’ll also risk increasing your operating costs because you’re overbooking vehicles and using too much fuel.

The Role of Route Planning Optimization Software

Luckily, there’s a way to make all your deliveries on time by using delivery route optimization software.

Delivery route software will use machine learning algorithms and predictive intelligence to suggest the best routes. It will consider real-time location, weather, and traffic updates to perform on-time deliveries. This makes life easier for the drivers. Plus, it offers real-time tracking and automated updates for both the driver and your customers.

It creates a plan for your driver, tells them the order of deliveries, and provides a fixed route. This cuts down delivery turnaround time and makes operations profitable by reducing miles per delivery. In addition, the software considers real-time weather and traffic updates when planning routes.

5 Common Challenges Facing Manual Route Delivery Planning

There are challenges with using traditional route planning methods:

  1. Expensive and reliant on manual intervention
  2. Unable to scale delivery operations
  3. Lack of real-time visibility
  4. Unable to analyze in-depth data
  5. Poor productivity

Find out how omnichannel logistics can help scale your delivery operations.

5 Ways to Optimize Your Delivery Routes

The most optimal routing sequences will consider the most efficient use of time and resources.

1. Plan Delivery Routes According to the Delivery Type

There are a few different types of package delivery:

  • Curbside delivery: the driver will drop the package off at your doorstep.
  • Threshold delivery: the driver will bring the package inside your home.
  • White glove delivery: the driver will bring the package into your home and set it up for you.
  • Contactless delivery: the driver will leave the package at your front door and notify you that it has been delivered.

2. Plan Delivery Routes Using Customers’ Shipping Addresses

Using a route planner, you can upload addresses from a spreadsheet or copy and paste them into the route planner. Importing them from your CRM system is also possible.

A route planner with eCommerce integration will generate delivery orders with customers’ shipping addresses from their online purchases. This is handy when you sell on platforms like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce.

3. Sequence Multi-Stop Delivery Routes

Here’s where your delivery routing software will do all the work.

You deliver more packages with fewer fleets by sequencing your shipping addresses into the most efficient order. It’s helpful when there are many delivery drivers and fleet vehicles, where route planning optimization gets tricky.

That’s why using a delivery route optimizer makes your life easier.

Having trouble coordinating your vehicles? Learn how to manage your internal fleets.

4. Optimize Delivery Routes Based on Fleet Vehicle Capacity

When mapping out your delivery routes, don’t forget to consider the capacity your vehicle can carry. You should also consider business rules like delivery time windows and customer availability.

These tips help you increase fleet efficiency and make sure you’re using your assets to their full potential.

5. Analyze Routing Data and Track Logistics KPIs

After optimizing your delivery routes, don’t forget to track your drivers and vehicles as they make their deliveries. This way, you’re in the loop of whether each package is delivered on time and to the correct address. It’s easier to spot any potential delays and take action immediately.

Plus, the built-in analytics and reporting tools will help you improve your logistics KPIs.

Advantages of Delivery Route Optimization Software

Businesses and delivery drivers benefit the most from automating route optimization.

The benefits of route optimization software for businesses are:

  • Efficient route planning
  • Profitable deliveries
  • Shorter delivery turnaround time
  • Optimized routes
  • Reduced cost per miles
  • Better customer experience
  • Enhanced KPI benchmarking
  • Greater productivity
  • Automated work allocation
  • Risk mitigation

The benefits of delivery route optimization software for drivers are:

  • Reduced chances of human error
  • Higher number of on-time deliveries
  • Employee retention

14 Features to Look for in Your Route Optimization Software

There are many factors to consider when searching for the right delivery route optimization technology.

There are many types of route planning software today, each with unique features.

Features you should look for in delivery route optimization software:

  1. Mobile and smart device integration
  2. Ability for routes to be manually adjusted
  3. Traffic avoidance
  4. Comparison of ways driven with routes planned
  5. Notes field for customer buyer delivery information
  6. Real-time GPS vehicle tracking
  7. Both one-way and round-trip routing
  8. Up-to-date mapping API integration
  9. Offline capability
  10. B2B eCommerce platform integration
  11. Very few or no stop limitations
  12. Updated ETAs in real time
  13. Ability to juggle multiple routes or trips
  14. Ability to print paper routes

Like route planning, logistics optimization is just as crucial for your business.

5 Best Delivery Route Optimization Software

We explore five delivery route planning solutions to see what they offer drivers and businesses.

1. Circuit

Circuit began as route optimization software for delivery teams. The goal was to make it easy to plan routes with multiple stops.

There are two ways to input stops into Circuit:

  • Using the auto-complete address feature
  • Uploading large routes via a CSV or Excel file

Either way, the delivery route optimization feature works the same way. Circuit simulates thousands of different route combinations until it finds the best route, which only takes a few minutes.

2. Dropoff

We use a combination of custom optimization tools and white-glove account management services when providing the best routes. What makes our software unique is that it is people-powered with 24/7 customer service. Essentially, behind every customer is a human powering the delivery route optimization software.

Ryan Kennedy, Director of Product

Our features include the ability to upload large files via CSV or Excel file, route monitoring, customer updates, and more. We give customers the freedom to choose any courier action when delivering. These include age verification, specific customer signature, and barcode scan.

There is no tiered pricing in what our software offers, allowing all our customers to enjoy every single feature.

3. Routific

If you’re looking for an all-in-one platform, then Routific is worth checking out. It offers route monitoring, customer updates, and proof of delivery.

With Routific, you can optimize delivery routes for either time or distance and select which stops are the highest priority. So if delivery is running late, Routific will make sure prioritized stops are still completed on time.

4. RouteXL

RouteXL is the most basic service on our list, but it’s still pretty handy.

You can enter up to 20 addresses for no charge, and it will find the quickest route. This is helpful if you deal with many old, wrong, or incomplete addresses. It uses geocoding to help with this issue.

Geocoding turns addresses into geographic coordinates. It’ll pinpoint each address on a map to find the best route between them.

It offers two types of geocoding: free and premium.

The free version uses third-party geocoding services, like Bing, Here, Mapbox, MapQuest, Nominatim, or Photon. But if you have the budget for their premium pricing, your addresses will use Google’s geocoding API.

5. Route4Me

Route4Me offers a long list of add-ons and personalization options. Its pricing tiers include a level for single-person routes and a level for multi-person routes.

Plus, Route4Me lets you optimize within specific constraints, such as avoiding highways or tolls. Once a route is made, dispatch can manually move customers across routes and change the previously optimized route.

Their best features include route optimization, monitoring, customer updates, and proof of delivery.

Route Optimization Use-Cases for Your Industry and Real-World Examples

Let’s take a closer look at how route optimization can help your business specifically.

1. Healthcare Industry

Packages must arrive on time to make the most of healthcare delivery scheduling.

Industry challenges:

  • Urgent appointments
  • Customers expect real-time updates
  • Requirements unique to each patient

How route planning optimization addresses these challenges:

  • Deliveries are on time with accurate expected arrival times
  • Customers receive ETA notifications by email or SMS
  • Appointments automatically made with the right medical professional
  • Optimization of routes between one patient location to another

2. Retail Industry

Delivery turnaround times will make or break a customer’s experience with your company.

Industry challenges:

  • Customers expect real-time updates
  • Last-mile delivery issues

How route planning optimization addresses these challenges:

  • Real-time order tracking and notifications keep customers updated
  • Efficiently deliver to multiple depots/distribution centers with order-based route planning

3. Inspection and Maintenance Industry

Even though driving is a small part of service jobs, last-mile delivery route optimization will make it easier.

Industry challenges:

  • Drivers waiting around
  • Last-minute changes

How route planning optimization addresses these challenges:

  • Dynamic replanning helps adjust to cancellations and last-minute orders
  • Advanced weekly planning adjusts for required breaks

Real-World Example: Telgian

Telgian is a worldwide provider of fire protection, safety, and security services. They have seventy field inspectors based in thirty-five states who are often on the road for extended periods.

They used to plan routes and schedules manually because of all the unique order constraints, like state regulations and licensing requirements. On average, it took three people 13 days to plan a month’s worth of inspections.

Telgian needed a better way to plan their routes.

How OptimoRoute transformed their planning process:

  • Planners can easily import large volumes of orders using a CSV file.
  • Planners can set week-long plans, including overnight routes with a different starting/end location every day.
  • OptimoRoute automatically assigns orders to drivers based on capacity and skill requirements for each order.
  • OptimoRoute plans the delivery route and schedule for each technician to service their customers.

The outcome:

  • They got by with less staff for planning and actual inspections and achieved 19% year-on-year growth.
  • A 256-hour reduction in monthly planning time, reducing the number of dispatch staff while increasing capacity by 70%.

4. Food Industry

For a food supply or delivery company, delivering on time is vital to keep goods fresh.

Industry challenges:

  • Customers expect real-time updates
  • Last-minute changes
  • Large order volumes

How route planning optimization addresses these challenges:

  • Real-time order tracking and notifications
  • Dynamic replanning distributes last-minute orders or sick drivers’ shifts evenly across fleets
  • Ability to plan routes for large order volumes within seconds

Real-World Example: Imperfect Foods

Imperfect Foods is an affordable grocery delivery service. They started working with Onfleet in 2017, when they first piloted a program in Portland, Oregon.

The pilot was so successful that they rolled out the program to new customers and markets. Onfleet’s route optimization technology has helped coordinate the pack centers, drivers, and customers in a hub and spoke model.

The outcome:

Onfleet’s software allowed Imperfect Foods to coordinate hundreds of drivers and routes, and serve over 400,000 customers in 38 states.

How Dropoff Can Help with Route Optimization Services

Customers have certainly seen efficiencies in cost savings from having an in-house fleet. So when they hire Dropoff for our route optimization services, it allows them to focus on other areas of their business. Our Dropoff portal is designed to give our customers ease when placing route orders.

Charles Barrow, Director of Strategic Accounts

We offer route optimization services that save you time and money. Our exclusive software considers various factors, such as traffic patterns and delivery locations, to create the most efficient route possible.

And because we handle the delivery ourselves, your items will arrive on time and in good condition. Whether you’re running a restaurant or a retail store, Dropoff will optimize your delivery operations.

Talk with a Dropoff expert today.


1. What are the benefits of using delivery route management software?

The benefits of route optimization software for businesses are:

– Efficient route planning and optimization
– Profitable deliveries
– Shorter delivery turnaround time
– Optimized routes
– Reduced cost per miles
– Better customer experience
– Enhanced KPI benchmarking
– Greater productivity
– Automated work allocation
– Risk mitigation

2. How does delivery routing software help create a delivery route efficiently?

A delivery routing system can help logistics stakeholders in many ways, including:

– Optimized route planning for faster deliveries
– Cut down on fuel and labor costs
– Accurate delivery routes to customer location
– Real-time visibility
– Customers receive automatic updates
– Transparent supply chain with full control over your deliveries
– Predictive intelligence algorithms for maximum efficiency

3. Can Google Maps optimize my route?

If you’ve tried to use Google Maps for route optimization, you know it’s not the best tool for the job. Sure, it’s fine if you only have one or two deliveries, but it quickly becomes impractical.

To optimize your routes, you’d have to manually enter each possible variation of stops to see which one is the shortest.

4. What is route management?

Route management is the process of planning and optimizing delivery routes to get the most value out of your fleet. People often use the term synonymously with route planning and route optimization.

The goal is to reduce mileage, gas usage, and driving hours while delivering as fast and efficiently as possible.

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