If your customers are spread across a large geographical area, and you are operating only a small fleet/workforce, it might not be efficient or even possible to serve customers across the whole area on any given day.
Depending on your business, it might be possible to group your customers into geographical areas that will be served once, twice or three times per week. That way your delivery/service locations for a specific day will be closer to one another, meaning you will spend less time traveling and will be able to perform more stops.
Using a Route Planner for Better Deliveries
With simple delivery route planning and route optimization, you can plan routes that make sense for your customers’ location segments. Otherwise, you could be wasting gas, time, and money simply by not taking the best routes possible.
While preparing such a plan you should ask yourself:
- How often do you need to visit your customers? Daily? Bi-weekly? Weekly?
- Would your customers agree to being served only on specific days of the week?
- Do you have VIP customers that need to be visited more often?
- Do you have customers that are placing significantly more orders than others?
- Are there areas with significantly more customers?
- Do you want to provide better quality service in certain areas?
Dividing Large Service Areas into Something More Manageable
After considering all the points above, divide your service area into smaller areas. Here is one possible schedule for our large delivery area example:
- Monday – Blue area (center) and Light blue area (south)
- Tuesday – Red area (north) and Yellow area (north west)
- Wednesday – Blue area (center) and Purple area (north east)
- Thursday – Green area (south west) and Light blue area (south)
- Friday – Blue area (center) and Yellow area (north west)
We split our large service area into six smaller color-coded areas. We do not have that many customers in the northeast (Purple area), so we only deliver there Wednesdays. A large portion of our customers cluster in the Blue downtown area, so we decided to service the blue area three times a week.
Better Delivery Service, with OptimoRoute
After we have defined the areas and have agreed to the schedule with our customers we can proceed to daily route planning. We will collect all the orders for the following day and import them to OptimoRoute. The automatic routing process will plan the most efficient routes taking into consideration constraints like distance, travel time, driver work time, time windows, skills and vehicle load capacity.
With route planning software such as OptimoRoute, you can do all the above (and more) while giving customers real-time updates, helping delivery drivers save time, and increasing customer satisfaction due to faster deliveries and drop offs!
Whether you’re a delivery business or local shop, optimized routes can help keep your delivery operations running at maximum efficiency. If you’re looking for multi-stop route planning, live ETAs, or just an easy-to-use delivery route planner, OptimoRoute can help.
For more information on how to get started with planning daily routes, check out our getting started tutorial.