If the internet has taught us one thing, it is that efficiency is key in the battle of the survival of the fittest. Delivery route planning applications are a way to improve the health of your fulfillment operations. Especially when you are handling things in-house, you have to compete with the costs of larger courier companies that your competitors use.
You may, however, not have enough time to figure out the best application. To lighten this load for you, we have listed the best delivery route planning on the market. There is an in-depth analysis of its key features, pros, and cons to help you in the shortlisting process.
What is a Delivery Route Planning App?
A Delivery Route Planning Application plots an optimized and efficient route for the delivery driver. This is done after factors like distance between the delivery locations, traffic, and weather conditions in the region are factored in. The route is said to be optimized for fuel cost, driving effort, etc.
Typically, the delivery planner also has additional features like GPS tracking, Customer Communications, Delivery status, etc. Along with this, the movement and delivery data are continuously captured and processed by ML engines. These data insights will then be used in the next route planning process to ensure more efficient output.
5 Best Delivery Route Planning Applications
Efficiency is always better. In processes like fulfillment and delivery, where the cost is already high, Route Planning Applications can have a significant impact. To enable you to make a better choice, here are the top applications and their detailed reviews.
Route4Me is one of the favorite applications among delivery drivers, even those working for large-scale delivery operations. The Route4Me application has a user rating of 4.5 Stars and is available on Web, Android, and IoS platforms. The typical subscription to this app starts from about 199$ a month.
- Processing Time of less than 60 Seconds
- Cross-platform functionality
- Turn-by-turn directions
- Route Customisation according to drivers and product categories
- User-friendly Interface
- Automatic Scheduling and Routing Updates
- Routing according to preset ETAs
- Expensive than its competitors
- Additional charges for value-added services
- Fixed driver profiles and starting points
The RouteXL app can be used to plot a multi-stop route for pickups, deliveries, and services. The application uses intelligent algorithms to figure out the shortest and most efficient route between the stops. The application has been designed to support smaller courier companies and drivers and lacks dynamic features. That is why it has a user rating of just 3.5 stars, and pricing starts at just 3.5 euros a month.
- Address import from a spreadsheet
- WEBFLEET integration
- Multi-vehicle route management
- GPS tracking
- Free version available
- Route Plan can be exported to Gmaps/ Apple Maps
- Multi-vehicle Management for a Single Route
- Cannot Handle larger fleets
- No-real time optimization
- Can’t create a Proof of Delivery
OnFleet is a delivery route planning and management application that enables visibility and control over the supply chain through individual driver profiles. The application will plot, optimize and share planned delivery routes on their respective mobile application. With a user rating of 4.5 Stars, the subscription to the application starts at $500 a month. It is typically used by larger distribution centers and courier companies to handle their delivery supply chain.
- Driver and Dispatch Management Dashboard
- Real-time Proof of Delivery data
- Reporting and Consumer Communication
- Driver Chat Feature
- Live tracking for Customers and Dispatch manager
- Driver Chat feature for easier management
- Individual driver profile for better visibility.
- Expensive subscription plans
- Inaccurate routing for remote locations
- Technically Challenging User Interface
RoadWarrior is a dedicated route planning application that is known for its routing and optimization population. You can try out the app in its free version to gauge the usability of your supply chain. Based on your requirements, you can then subscribe to a team plan to enable the management and better route planning features. The application has a user rating of 4.4 stars, and the monthly plans start from $10.
- Import spreadsheet for better dispatch management
- Real-time driver progress data
- Real-time location for driver over GPS
- Free and Affordable paid plans
- Driver and Delivery management features
- Lack of Customer Support
- Lack of customizations to delivery schedule
Mappr is another basic route-planning application that allows you to calculate the shortest route. It allows you to input multiple addresses over the application to figure out the optimized route with optimization factors like the number of vehicles, expected ETA, and trip duration. It has a free plan that allows you to process upto 50,000 transactions for free. The paid plans start from $100 and can go upto $375 for annual plans.
- API accessibility
- Drag-and-Drop usability
- Multiple modes of Vehicles and related management
- Free Plan for limited transactions
- API-based platform
- No real-time data collection
- No driver management features
3 Key Types of Route Planning
Before we understand how an application plans the routes for us, here are three main types of route planning you should know about.
1) Closed Path Routing
The Closed-type routing method is typically used by trucks/delivery drivers that return to the same location at the end of the delivery cycle. As the trucks have to return to the same location, the closest location is marked as the last stop. The trucks follow a sort of U-path to complete their delivery route and are typically used by vehicles from distribution centers.
2) Open Path Routing
The Open-type routing method focuses on the efficiency of delivery. However, it does not consider the return time to the depot, which may result in high costs for returning to the depot. In this method, the app typically figures out a route to complete all the deliveries within the shortest time possible. It is typically suited for drivers/vehicles that do not return to the depot on the same day or at the end of the delivery cycle.
3) Dynamic Routing
The Dynamic routing method came into play only when technologies like ML and AI came into play. The Dynamic Routing technology will continuously optimize the delivery route based on real-time data about traffic, weather, road closures, and customer inputs. This method is typically used by delivery drivers for e-commerce businesses as customer experience is at the focus here.
Why Should You Use a Delivery Route Planning App?
Delivery is already an expensive part of the fulfillment operation. One might wonder, does it need another expense of a delivery route planner? To understand the value of this investment, you will need to understand the benefits it brings to the table.
A delivery planner is an investment to reduce various expenses in the fulfillment supply chain. With the help of the planner, you will see a significant drop in the transport and fuel expenses of the delivery vehicles. Along with this, you can cut down the transportation expenses as your orders will travel over the shortest routes possible.
Furthermore, you can extract maximum productivity and efficiency from your delivery run. The delivery planner will also have features like GPS tracking which will allow you to provide better resolution to WISMO queries. The use of delivery route planning applications is also shown to improve the safety of drivers and result in fewer accidents. This eventually reduces the liability factor for your delivery operations and improves the ROI.
The delivery costs amount to a significant number. As an e-commerce business, you would want to save some amount here without comprising on the quality. If you want to do so, delivery route planning applications will be your best bet. To make the search for these apps easier for you, the above blog has the five best apps we could find on the market that suit every type of e-commerce business.
1) Are there any free delivery route planning apps?
There are a few delivery route planning apps in the above list, like Mappr and RoadWarrior, that have a free version. These free versions have limited functionality and have only a few functions.
2) What are the key features to look for in a route planning app?
Features like driver tracking, proof of delivery, and customer communication are a must in a route-planning app. Along with this, the application must have functionality across platforms like iOS, Android, and the web to enable better accessibility and management.