Thanks to logistics giants like Amazon, customers now expect to receive products delivered to their door in record time. In fact, in a survey conducted by Walker Sands, 54% of US consumers under age 25 said that same-day shipping was their number one purchase driver.
So how do you compete with giants like Amazon, which offers free 2-day shipping? Or couriers, like Postmates, that are always on call? Real businesses have increased their revenue and built a stable of loyal customers by perfecting their delivery-planning process.
What Is Delivery Planning?
Delivery planning is the practice of planning out routes and logistics to deliver products. Companies that deliver products such as pizzas, flowers, and water all use delivery planning to get their products into the hands of customers.
The four factors of successful delivery planning
There are four factors you should consider when assessing your delivery operations. A well-executed delivery plan will excel in each of the following areas:
This one may be the most obvious, but its importance cannot be overstated. Your delivery plan must enable you to get products to your customers on time or within the promised delivery window. This is vital for customer satisfaction and retention and positive reviews.
A great delivery-planning process should keep your transportation costs low but your earning potential high by sending your delivery team on the most efficient routes. If your gas costs are very high, or your drivers continually have to return to a depot to reload, or a significant number of your orders are unable to be dropped off because the customer isn’t home at the right time, your process is probably inefficient. As we will explain below, route-planning software can help with this.
Effective delivery planning should help you reach maximum capacity without overloading your drivers or requiring them to work overtime. Top-notch last-mile delivery plans take into account the dimensions and weight capacity of each vehicle in a fleet as well as the number of deliveries each driver makes in a given shift to evenly distribute the load and give businesses the most bang for their buck.
You’ll know you have a great delivery planning process when everyone in your delivery fleet (including your route planner) has a balanced workload, and no one on your team is feeling burned out. In fact, an excellent delivery-planning system will even allow your manager or route planner to spend more time on strategy.
Are delivery planning and route planning the same?
Delivery planning and route planning are not the same thing, though the terms are often used interchangeably and sometimes even called “delivery route planning.” It can be confusing because delivery and route planning are frequently used together, but, at their core, they accomplish different objectives.
Route planning is the practice of mapping out routes and can include routes for deliveries and pickups, as well as for service or maintenance appointments. Delivery planning focuses solely on getting products to customers.
Why Is Delivery Planning So Important?
If you want to be competitive, you need to be able to deliver — literally, because more and more purchases are happening online. This year, Americans are expected to spend $23,991 million on online food delivery, and that number is anticipated to grow at an annual rate of 5.1% over the next four years. Globally, retail e-commerce sales amounted to $3.53 trillion U.S. dollars in 2019, and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022.
Buyers want everything from food to cleaning products delivered to their doors, and they will pay extra if you can get their order to them fast enough. 41% of shoppers say they are willing to pay more for same-day delivery.
On the flip side, 25% of shoppers expect deliveries to arrive within two days, so not only do you need to be able to deliver, but you absolutely must do it well. Thirteen percent of retail consumers say they will never order from a retailer again if their delivery is late.
Bottom line: If you don’t have a good delivery plan in place, you won’t be able to exceed or even meet the expectations of your customers, and you could lose them — permanently.
How Route-Management Software Helps You Plan Deliveries Better and Faster
The quickest way to help your fleet manager or operations director improve delivery planning is to use route-optimization software. OptimoRoute makes route and delivery planning eight times faster and requires 60% fewer working hours than manual planning. Here are just some of the many benefits of delivery planning with OptimoRoute:
Automated route optimization
Once you’ve uploaded your orders from an Excel spreadsheet or other document, OptimoRoute can automatically schedule deliveries and plan routes. With our software, you’ll be able to map out the best routes for your fleet while factoring in multiple constraints specific to each vehicle, driver, and order with just a few simple clicks.
OptimoRoute gives business owners, fleet managers, and route planners the ability to plan deliveries up to five weeks in advance. These schedules can be easily modified as needed and clearly identify where more orders can be accommodated.
Realtime Order Tracking
It’s no secret that shoppers want more communication from retailers than ever before. Whether you send out emails or SMS notifications, keeping your customers looped in on their orders’ whereabouts will directly impact your customers’ overall experience and, in turn, your revenue. In a 2018 survey conducted by Narvar, 83% of 1,543 U.S. online shoppers surveyed said they expect regular updates regarding their purchases. OptimoRoute helps you keep your customers happy and up to date with Realtime Order Tracking and accurate ETAs.
Live fleet tracking
OptimoRoute’s dynamic replanning feature gives fleet managers the power to adapt to changes anytime they need to. Schedules can be delivered to a mobile app on drivers’ phones with step-by-step navigation instructions at the beginning of their shift (or whenever needed) and updated if changes need to be made while a driver is in the field. Fleet managers can see drivers’ planned routes as well as their actual location in real time via GPS fleet tracking.
Balancing workloads and minimizing employee burnout is easier with OptimoRoute. Our route-optimization software gives you the ability to balance delivery plans the best way for your unique company, whether that’s making sure that each driver is assigned a similar number of deliveries or is in the field for the same amount of time or that routes are optimized for the lowest operating costs. OptimoRoute also helps ensure that breaks are staggered appropriately and fit seamlessly into delivery routes.
The longer you use OptimoRoute, the more insight you will gain through the analytics tool. Our route-optimization software will help you understand which drivers, routes, and strategies are performing best.
How Real Businesses Transformed Their Deliveries With OptimoRoute
OptimoRoute has helped hundreds of businesses all over the world improve their delivery processes, increase revenue, and boost customer satisfaction. We can gain valuable insight into how to plan a delivery effectively from the following businesses:
Eldum rétt is a popular meal-kit delivery business in Iceland that needed to keep up with a rapid increase in demand. They incorporated OptimoRoute software into their delivery planning, and now they are able to plan 1,000+ deliveries with multiple variations of constraints in minutes. Eldum rétt’s ability to consistently deliver on time has helped them earn five-star reviews from their many happy customers.
Hardie’s Fresh Foods
Hardie’s Fresh Foods is a premier distributor of fresh foods in Texas. They wanted to increase delivery capacity and efficiency across their fleet of 160 refrigerated trucks. Since switching to OptimoRoute, Hardie’s delivery capacity has increased 14% (and their driver/operating costs actually decreased 12%). Their OTD (on-time delivery) rate has risen from 89% to 94% (and continues to increase by 1.5% month over month), and their mileage has dropped by 20%. It’s safe to say that using OptimoRoute routing software has helped Hardie’s Fresh Foods reach their goals of improving capacity and efficiency.
Evolution Rx (Medical)
As an independently owned pharmacy, Evolution Rx sets itself apart from major chain competitors by offering customers a more personal, customized experience. One of the ways they do this is by offering free delivery on prescriptions. Since their delivery services don’t directly generate revenue, they need to make sure their delivery planning is as efficient as possible. They use OptimoRoute to quickly plan deliveries, make sure they’re using the most efficient routes, and keep their customer satisfaction high.
Try It for Yourself
Fast and efficient deliveries are a prerequisite to being competitive as a product company in 2021, but planning deliveries doesn’t have to be a monumental undertaking. Delivery and route planning can be easy with the right software. At OptimoRoute, we seek to help businesses of all types and sizes perfect their deliveries and keep their customers happy. We’re here to answer any questions, walk you through the setup process, and help you achieve delivery planning success. Get started with a 30-day free trial today.