Route Optimization Software - Plan the Most Efficient Routes
Could route optimization software save your business time and money? Powerful route planning solutions do more than just get people from A to B - they can be a logistical tool, fleet management system, and delivery software all in one. They produce a strong return on investment for companies with field sales teams, service engineers, and delivery drivers. But how does a mapping platform do this in real terms? In this article, we explore what routing software is, how it works, and why companies are using it to drive profitability.
What Is Route Optimization?
Route optimization is all about creating the most efficient journey plans possible. It utilizes the power of digital technology, historical traffic data, and scenario modeling so that travel routes are based on tried and tested information. This allows you, your drivers, or other team members to identify the fastest and most economical route to an end destination.
Optimizing travel routes may seem like a relatively simple task. After all, don’t you just enter your start and end points into Google Maps, then choose the shortest option? But the reality is much more complex than this. The most direct route may involve the fewest miles but that doesn’t always mean it’ll be the quickest. And if the route involves high-speed freeways, then fuel consumption can go through the roof.
Even if a route is the quickest option now, how do you know if it’ll still be the best one at your planned travel time? If you’re going to be driving during rush hour then there may be another route that’s less congested. And then there are the multi-stop variables to factor in. If you’re going to be visiting more than one location, then you might need to calculate several different routes before you identify the most efficient one. Route optimization is actually quite a complex process when conducted manually but it delivers huge benefits.
This is why route optimization software is becoming increasingly popular with businesses of all sizes. It takes the hassle out of route planning and enables you to spend time on other valuable activities. Let’s look at some of the reasons that companies are employing this approach as part of their operational strategy.
Why Is It Important?
Optimizing route selection and travel planning is a vital task for most businesses. If an organization has employees that visit customers, deliver products, or use any kind of transportation in its operations, then it will benefit from route optimization. Here are a few of the practical advantages that it offers:
Saves time - helps avoid congestion, delays, and time wasted due to poor route selection.
Improves efficiency - enables staff to identify the fastest and most fuel-efficient routes.
Boosts productivity - allows employees to get more out of their time so that they become more productive.
Identifies improvement opportunities - makes it easy to spot areas where time or money can be saved.
Increases profitability - contributes to significant efficiency savings within a business which has a meaningful impact on the bottom line.
These benefits are all hugely valuable when considered individually. But when combined over time, their positive effects on a business are compounded. For companies that are looking to increase profits and enhance customer satisfaction, using a route optimizer is a powerful tool.
Why Use Routing Software?
Route optimization software takes away all the hassle of planning and scheduling by doing the heavy lifting for you. It calculates the most efficient vehicle route while accounting for all the variable factors that have influence. This enables you to travel via the fastest and most fuel-efficient route, saving time and money. This is especially important when you have multiple stops to make, such as several client meetings or product deliveries. It saves your business time, money, and hassle from every single journey that’s made by staff members.
Using a manual route planner allows you to find the best journey between point A and point B. But it won’t help you to optimize travel plans as most map-based systems aren’t powerful enough for that. Without optimization software, you’ll need to test all of the different options you can think of in order to find the best one. This is time consuming, complicated, and takes away from other valuable activities that you could be doing instead.
Route optimization and planning is also important for avoiding traffic congestion. Because it utilizes scenario testing and historical data, it can predict which routes will be the slowest or busiest. Route planner software performs thousands of complex calculations in seconds to ensure that you have the optimum journey. Even if a route is quiet now, it can identify if it’s likely to be busy at the time you’re planning to travel. It will also update in real time based on changing traffic conditions. So, you can avoid that overturned truck, frustrating road works, or delays caused by a burst pipe.
How Different Businesses Are Leveraging It
You might now be wondering how you can improve routing and travel planning in your organization. Whether you are the manager of a field sales team, control a fleet of delivery vehicles, or manage logistics for a laundry collection company, optimizing transport can increase your operational efficiency. Let’s look at some case study examples that show how different types of businesses are using route optimization software to their advantage.
Companies With Field-Based Sales Teams
Sales reps spend a lot of time traveling. The more customer meetings they can attend, the greater the number of proposals that they can put into the pipeline. This often involves driving between several client locations each day which can be hugely time-consuming. Although the meetings may be valuable, the travel time isn’t. They can’t complete much other work while driving which means it often amounts to dead time. But what if you could reduce the driving time for salespeople while increasing the number of meetings they attended?
Route optimization software enables sales reps to plan and schedule their travel in the most efficient way. They can arrange multi-stop routes that allow them to visit as many customers as possible in a single day. By using an integrated app, they’ll receive GPS directions that take them straight to the client’s door. With the right software, they can identify the least time-consuming travel plans that take into account external factors like traffic congestion and poor weather. This means they spend less time in the car and more time on valuable activities like face to face meetings with clients.
When sales teams optimize routes, they have more time to drive revenue. They’ll have more capacity for hunting down new leads, preparing top-notch proposals, and business-winning presentations. It also gives them more time to nurture existing customer relationships and build a strong foundation for repeat business with loyal clients. Instead of treading water to keep afloat, they’ll have the space to go after growth opportunities that drive the company forward. This shift can have dramatic effects on revenue, profit margins, and create a huge competitive advantage for your organization.
Organizations With Technical Service Engineers
If your business has a fleet of technical or service engineers, then route optimization software can save them valuable time too. Any company that visits customers to conduct maintenance or repairs will know the importance of accurate route mapping. More often than not, these clients will already be annoyed that something has broken. So, turning up late due to traffic delays or poor route planning will only add to their frustration. They may have busy schedules or other time constraints that mean they can only accommodate a visit during a small time window. This makes it even more essential to arrive at the correct time.
Engineers will often drive hundreds of miles in a single day. They can’t pick locations to accommodate their preferences - they need to go where the problems are. With such large distances involved, the best route needs to be selected up front. With multi-stop routes of this magnitude, a mistake can be incredibly costly. Not only will vital time be wasted but unnecessary amounts of fuel will be used in the process. For field service managers, planning and optimization can streamline daily operations and provide asset tracking too.
Having a cloud-based route manager at their fingertips will mean they never need to waste time driving or being stuck in traffic jams. The dynamic system will give them live updates on congestion or weather reports that may affect their driving time. Software like MapAnything also integrates directly into the customer database. This makes it easy for them to call clients when they’re 30 minutes away and let them know to expect them shortly. Clients appreciate being given some warning to be able to plan their own time accordingly so this can improve customer experience too.
Businesses With Delivery Drivers
Delivery businesses can also benefit from route optimization software. They often have numerous stops to make in a day so planning them efficiently is vital. When it comes to making deliveries, time is often a critical factor. You might be responsible for ensuring that food is delivered quickly so that it remains hot. Or that parcels are delivered before a strict deadline to ensure service level agreements are adhered to. With a workforce of several drivers and vehicles, software is the most efficient way to stay on top of it all.
Using an advanced route optimization tool makes delivery planning quick and easy. Simply select the customer addresses from your CRM and let the software do the rest! It’ll find the most efficient multi-stop routes from your depots or distribution center to the delivery destinations. It can also alert drivers to any changes in driving or weather conditions that may affect their route.
From an organizational perspective, mapping software can also provide a 360-degree overview of logistical activities. It’ll track drivers from the initial depot departure down to the last mile, so that management has maximum visibility over their employees. You can compare productivity, identify improvement opportunities, and award your best performing team members.
What To Look For In Optimization Software
If you’re considering this type of digital tool for your business, then what should you look for? The best route optimization software will incorporate a number of different features into a single mapping solution. Here are a few questions to ask before committing to a platform:
Connectivity - is it a cloud-based application that can be accessed from anywhere via an app or can it only be used on a desktop PC?
Integration - will it integrate with your CRM to pull through customer location data automatically or will you constantly need to upload Excel spreadsheets?
Flexibility - does it only provide transport routing or can it be used for other interlinked purposes such as strategic planning, territory management, or business mapping software?
Price - is it competitive and calculated per user, team, or company?
Data points - is routing based on distances alone or does it account for multiple factors such as weather, traffic, and historical data.
Reviews - what do other users think of the services and does it have a credible customer base?
Support - do they have a global support team or are they based in the USA?
By considering these points, you’ll be able to find the right route planning software solution for your business needs. They will help you identify all the key questions to ask so that you can decrease operational costs and increase profitability. If you need a multistep route planner, fleet management solution, or advanced delivery management software, then MapAnything does it all. It’s the optimization solution that provides dynamic routes and schedules that integrate multiple locations from your Salesforce.com CRM. Get in touch with us to learn more about our travel planning and management solutions.
Best Routing Software For Any Size of Business
With over 2,100 customers and over 150+ employees worldwide, MapAnything helps clients increase revenue, drive productivity, gain better territory visibility, and deepen customer loyalty. Our Location of Things (LoT) software is built for one simple task - empowering your enterprise to maximize revenue capture, maximize the number of happy customers you serve, and maximize leads generated to accurately attribute ROI. We do this all in the CRM workflow to help clients streamline operations, automate their business process, and increase overall accuracy and adoption.
MapAnything makes field teams more effective, efficient, and profitable. MapAnything allows you to perform vital Salesforce® tasks from the map-based interface––log calls, update records, create new tasks and events, and add thousands of contacts to a marketing campaign with one click. Schedule and optimize an entire week in MapAnything to spend less time planning, and more time selling.
MapAnything brings your Salesforce data to life and ensures field sales teams are operating at maximum efficiency. When every meeting is a new opportunity to produce revenue, field teams need the right tools in their arsenal to spend more time with customers and less time planning routes or performing administrative tasks. Our route optimization software arms field reps with the information they need to perform productively and generate more revenue for your business.
Interested in trying it out for yourself? Request a live demo here.