Insights & News

What Is Route Management & How to Optimize It

closeup image of a road with yellow and white markers

Posted On March 20, 2024

Route management optimization is at the top of supply chain trends in 2024. And for a good reason!

With the vast complexities and options presented in today’s shipping industry, connectivity and automation offer logistics professionals streamlined solutions that account for increased efficiency and -above all- profitability.

So, if you are still doing some of your route planning work manually, read on to better understand how automated route management solutions can help you scale processes.

What Is Route Management?

Route management refers to optimizing delivery and service routes for maximum efficiency. 

Traditionally, route management was a manual task that involved numerous calculations on paper and a plethora of coordination phone calls.

Today, route management systems use the latest technology to find the ideal route schedules and combinations.

They also make smart asset allocation and combinations to come up with the best plans for fast delivery/pickup times, sustainable routes, customer satisfaction, cost-effectiveness, driver comfort and more.

Why Is Route Management Important?

Just by looking at a map, you can easily tell that there are many ways to travel between two locations!

And the truth is that there are even more ways to reach all the different drop-off points of within a day’s delivery itinerary. This is where route management comes into play.

In the past, route managers used pen and paper – and endless phone calls – to plan and communicate the most efficient routes for last-mile deliveries. But when Google Maps came into play, it presented the supply chain pros with a whole new world of possibilities.

Today, route management is vital for successful operations. It streamlines everything – from route planning and load optimization to compliance and regulations.

But there’s more to it. Routing management uses historical data to identify bottlenecks and provide smart solutions for improvement.

Indeed, pickup and delivery routes things are not linear! Various unpredictable events can take place: traffic jams, changing fuel prices, drop-ff delays, drivers calling in sick… you name it!

However, route management systems do away with such drawbacks by (almost) instantly re-planning and re-scheduling using real-time information.

In fact, there are various benefits directly or indirectly related to route management.

Route Management Benefits

Route management offers several significant benefits in domestic shipping that enhance supply chain operations’ efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and reliability. 

1. Reduced Costs

Applying comprehensive route management systems can help companies cut down on operation expenses in various ways – for instance: 

  • reduce fuel consumption
  • minimize vehicle wear and tear
  • avoid overtime wages
  • utilize assets optimally
  • reduce the need for manual entries and costly errors

2. Improved Efficiency

Dispatching and delivery are planned with a view to completing the biggest number of orders within a given timeframe while leveraging last-mile operations.

3. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

Route manager software significantly contributes to higher customer satisfaction levels.

Thanks to real-time tracking, it provides accurate delivery estimates and sends proactive customer notifications. Plus, it makes it easy for drivers to capture proof of delivery.

4. Reduced Environmental Impact

Sustainability is still trending among supply chain stakeholders globally. And needless to say, it’s essential for everyone’s well-being. In this scope, route management digs out the shortest distances, minimum fuel consumption routes and ideal shipping times (e.g., off-rush hours) to reduce carrier and shipper carbon footprint.

5. Increased Asset Utilization

Carriers are offered substantial data, allowing them to maximize the use of their vehicle fleets and staff.

Via route management systems, vehicles travel to their fullest capacity and reverse logistics opportunities are efficiently employed.

Moreover, companies can make the most out of their existing staff, like drivers and dispatchers, without unnecessary overtime.

6. Improved Safety

By combining historical and real-time data, route planning software avoids routes with higher accident rates or hazardous conditions. It also provides assigned routes based on driver experience and keeps everyone happy!

7. Flexibility and Scalability Based On Data

All routes are easily adapted to changing conditions, such as traffic patterns or customer demands, and they can easily scale to keep up with changing logistics needs.

In addition, companies can quickly get various reports and are thus able to analyze critical data that enable continuous improvements and informed decision-making.

8. Compliance with Regulations

Effective route management helps ensure compliance with transportation regulations and takes the burden off route managers. Such regulations include driving hours, vehicle weight limits, hazardous materials transportation rules, etc.

Evidently, using an automated route management system, coupled with your experience, can leverage your logistics operations to the maximum.

So, if you are still doing most of the work manually, here are some more things to consider.

Manual Route Management: Challenges

Today, route management systems can improve a company’s profitability by up to 12%. This percentage can level up greatly if you account for related processes, such as reverse logistics.

Here are a couple more things to consider.

Overwhelming Complexity

When routes are planned manually, the amount of data and information to process is overwhelming. This complexity makes errors almost inevitable, leading to financial losses and wasted time.

Not Enough Time And Staff

This is especially important for small or medium-sized businesses with limited staff. 

Indeed, if too many orders come together or as a business grows, many route managers and dispatchers struggle to keep up. 

And if any variable changes, they must make adjustments ASAP. Plus, they need to communicate the new information to everyone involved – a time-consuming work that can easily create delays and frustration.

Scale Your Logistics Operations

Managing supply chain requirements, guaranteeing timely and complete deliveries, and safeguarding the quality of transported goods is a complex task.

At Flat World, our dedicated software, such as Pipeline transportation management system, along with our comprehensive logistics solutions, help businesses grow to their fullest potential – easily and seamlessly. Get started today.