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Amazon’s same-day delivery allows customers to order a product that is then delivered the same day. This service pressures small delivery service-based businesses to increase delivery efficiency and complete orders at a faster rate if they wish to stay competitive. And, according to Statista, 9% of customers want same-day shipping, while 18% and 40% will wait for next-day or two-day shipping, respectively.

So, if you don’t deliver fast, chances are your customers will go somewhere else. As a type of operational efficiency, delivery efficiency allows you to complete more customer requests per day—making customers happier and increasing net revenue. When done correctly, you should see a decrease in cost-per-delivery and an increase in net revenue each day, week, and month.

There are six tactics you can implement TODAY to improve your delivery efficiency.

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3 Obstacles Preventing Businesses From Delivering Efficiently 

A delivery professional writing on a clipboard standing in front of a truck full of packages to be delivered
Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

Before we dive into how to increase delivery efficiency, it’s important to understand why inefficiencies happen in the first place. Understanding how inefficiencies come about will allow us to take the right steps to reverse them and begin to increase revenue. There are several main factors that negatively affect delivery operations and impact your bottom line.

Manual route planning 

Factors like delivery driver schedules, truck capacity, drop-off points, pickup points, package weight, package size, delivery time-windows, and package importance must be looked at individually and collectively for proper route optimization. However, this generally takes hours to complete for even a small set of packages when done manually. Should last-minute orders come in, perhaps while your driver is already out, you’ll be unlikely to optimize your delivery route, and delivery efficiency will decrease.

Outdated or ineffective technology

Outdated technology can only make you as efficient as when that technology was created. (You can make butter with a butter churn, but it’s not efficient based on today’s standards.) By the same token, if you’re using older technology to optimize your routes, then competing with large companies using the latest tech will be difficult, if not impossible. Set yourself up for success with the latest technology, so your delivery efficiency is as high as possible.

Lack of prioritization with deliveries

How you prioritize your packages affects your overall efficiency. For example, getting one huge package off of your vehicle early in the day leaves room to fit many smaller pickups later. However, just delivering things as they come in and go out could result in a highly inefficient system that causes you to lose out on potential orders and revenue. So think about your prioritization, whether that’s package size, expiration date, or fast shipping payment, to increase efficiency further.

Let’s look at ways your business can create more efficient delivery processes to obtain more orders and increase revenue.

6 Ways to Improve Delivery Efficiency

Increasing revenue and completing more deliveries lies in advanced and automated planning.

1. Use a route planner that updates routes in real time

Routing and scheduling software options like OptimoRoute can make adjustments before and after your drivers leave, which can boost delivery efficiency in the face of the unexpected. 

Let’s say you have a route planned for the day; however, when the driver leaves, a new pickup needs to be scheduled. A routing and scheduling software will automatically adjust for the new delivery. When choosing a routing option, make sure to pick one that provides real-time updating for each driver to achieve the highest delivery efficiency possible.

2. Prioritize orders based on importance

During a busy week, some orders might have to be delayed. So, delivery efficiency, in this case, means looking at which orders will impact your business the most and ensuring that those are completed first. Focus on priority orders to increase revenue and reduce impact when all tasks might not be completed. 

Look at importance based on what delivery needs to be delivered first. For instance, if you are picking up and delivering frozen goods without a cooling truck, prioritize those deliveries to make sure they are not spoiling. 

Leave less important deliveries till the end of the day after all the most important orders to make sure your delivery schedule is optimized for the worst-case scenario.

3. Schedule orders and routes weeks ahead of time

Advanced scheduling helps you plan for high and low customer demand ahead of time rather than at the last minute. This can reduce the risk of major last-minute changes resulting in a driver shortage (or excess, which costs you money). Use the knowledge you have on upcoming orders to optimize the drivers’ schedules for the upcoming month. 

For example, if you plan now for the deliveries you know you’ll have in the following month, you’ll have time to hire a new driver. On the other hand, if you wait until the last minute to schedule all your deliveries, you could be short-staffed and unable to complete your jobs.

When scheduling deliveries in advance, make sure to leave room for new orders while maintaining estimated workloads weeks in advance for the best results.

4. Factor driver breaks and lunches into your schedule

You can increase efficiency if you optimize drivers’ lunches and breaks. When you don’t plan for driver breaks, and then drivers take them, you create the illusion of missed time or quotas when, in reality, the schedule you created wasn’t possible.

For example, proper planning might have your driver scheduled for a 30-minute break near popular lunch spots after all the important deliveries have taken place. Without that planning, your driver might need to go out of their way to find lunch, causing important deliveries to be delayed. Plan ahead to monitor your delivery efficiency realistically rather than see missed quotas and potentially misinterpret the reasons.

5. Track driver performance over time

Look at important driver performance metrics like delivery speed over time to find new places for delivery efficiency improvement. Optimizing your drivers’ schedules and perfecting your delivery efficiency isn’t a one-time task. Rather, route planning and schedule optimization require ongoing evaluation of performance metrics because routes and packages (and sometimes drivers) change regularly.

Let’s say you spend a week implementing these tips and optimizing your routing procedures. A month later, you notice one driver always takes longer. In this case, you can look and see what’s delaying them compared to the other drivers—further improving delivery efficiency.

Use routing and scheduling software that allows for performance metrics so that you can find potential areas for improvement.

6. Send customers Realtime Delivery Notifications and Proof of Delivery

Show your customers when they should expect their package through live delivery notifications and supply proof it was delivered (through Proof of Delivery) to increase customer experience in the face of missed deadlines or delays. Let’s face it, no matter how much you increase your delivery efficiency, delays and missed deliveries will happen. Track everything and create transparency to save time and increase customer satisfaction and trust.

If you are transparent, you don’t have to waste time making excuses as to why there were delays. This increases customer trust as well since they know you’ll tell the truth no matter what happens. Delivery tracking should be live, and one option is to show them how many stops away the driver is from their home and the expected delivery time. Finally, proof of delivery can be electronic, even including a photo of the package at the customer’s home.

Increase Delivery Efficiency With Automated Routing and Scheduling

Simple steps can be taken today to improve your delivery efficiency and see more revenue as you complete more jobs per day. Boost your revenue and efficiency further with automation via route optimization and scheduling software. Delivery management software like OptimoRoute automatically gives completely optimized routes based on the information you import to the software and real-time data—giving you more time to work on other tasks. Try OptimoRoute today by signing up for a 30-day free trial.