Multi-stop route planning is the approach taken to ensure that a route with multiple stops is carried out in the best and most efficient manner – i.e. reaching all stops in the shortest time period, using the least fuel. This enables your drivers to maximise the number of customers served, whether that be delivery, collection or site/home visits, as well as limiting excess mileage.

Why is multi-stop routing important?

Multi-stop routing is important and useful for a whole raft of reasons:

  • Having an effective multi-stop route planning tool helps get your vehicles to the right place at the right time, every time.
  • It also allows you to find the most efficient route so you can serve each customer in the least time and while using the least fuel.
  • Less time driving means there is more time for customers – more time serving customers means happier customers, more customers and ultimately: more income.
  • It also reduces fuel and maintenance costs as the vehicles aren’t being driven as far and therefore not experiencing as much wear and tear.

You can set your route to prioritise a major account first and from there you can have your driver visit or deliver to other customers based on proximity. This ensures priority customers receive the best customer service and continues a positive customer relationship.

Routes are automatically released to their drivers via an app – there’s no need for printing out paper manifests, and any changes to the route get automatically updated in-app while the driver is out on the road. Not only does this reduce paperwork, but it also means that drivers are always driving the most efficient route.

Creating well thought-out routes that factor in the distance between stops and peak traffic times will give your drivers a smoother driving experience. The lower stress they experience will translate into better customer service.

What’s the best way to plan a route with multiple stops?

The easiest, most accurate and most efficient way to plan a route with multiple stops is with route planning software.

Specialist route planning software is available to help you automatically plan multi-stop routes that consider a wide range of factors including traffic, timeframe requirements, number of stops, the distance between stops, and capacity of the vehicle.

Some may ask “can I just use Google Maps?” and while you are able to plan routes with multiple stops in Google Maps, and similar consumer mapping software, it’s not sophisticated enough for running a fleet of commercial vehicles.

Consumer mapping software requires too much manual intervention (in adding addresses and rearranging them into a sensible order) and isn’t able to suggest an optimised route. Trying to find the shortest and most efficient route, without the use of specially-designed software, is time consuming and ineffective. A single driver with 5 stops can have 120 different route permutations and a single driver with 9 stops can have 362,880 different route permutations. The best way to plan a multi-stop route is by using specialist routing software.

Multi-stop routing software allows management to set delivery zones to further increase efficiency, so no more drivers are in a set area than those that are needed.

How can PODFather help?

At PODFather, we develop and deliver multi-stop route planning software for a range of industries, to ensure they provide a great service and get the best out of their delivery teams. For more information, get in touch.

Jane Geary

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