Take control of your day with a smarter, more dependable route plan. Learn how you can leverage routing software to enable more efficient deliveries for your field service business.
Your route plans hold a lot of weight for your field service business – not only do they impact your employees (customer service, sales, drivers, etc.), but they are critical to providing a positive customer experience. It can be challenging, if not impossible, to build the perfect route – one that meets all of your requirements while allowing you to run profitably. But, with the right technology and processes in place, it can be done!
If you’re looking to save time, use fewer resources, and have real-time updates – combining route planning and GPS tracking can help you accomplish your goals. WorkWave Route Manager provides the ability to plan, route, track, and analyze your day all from one easy-to-use solution. Just upload your orders via Excel/.CSV (or connect through our APIs), dispatch the approved plan to your drivers’ smartphone app, follow progress with live GPS tracking, and when your drivers are done you can analyze the results. It’s an all-in-one solution that gives you flexibility, visibility, and control.
When you’re ready to reevaluate the way you plan your delivery routes, you’ll quickly seeing the benefits of on-time arrivals, productive employees, and reduced call volume. Here are just 7 ways you can instantly increase your delivery efficiency with route planning technology and optimization.
1. Set priorities
An easy way to organize your day is to set order priority. By doing this, you can identify certain customers or stops that must be served based on an order’s importance or a specified calendar date.
By defining the order’s priority, you are letting the algorithm know what must be included in the route optimization or on the flipside let orders get pushed to another date if you run into resource constraints.
Route Manager can easily work around your rules, so if you have some flexible stops, by placing a “low” priority or a later “serve by” date – orders can be added to future dates – allowing you to schedule what’s a priority today.
2. Make commitments – and stick to them
Since customers today insist on transparency and are less focused on speed, avoid making delivery promises you can’t keep. Otherwise you could be doing damage to your reputation.
How do you meet your commitments and keep customers happy? By accounting for “time-windows” within your route plans. WorkWave’s routing algorithm will always assign the right order, to the right resource, at the right time. As a result, you’ll increase your accuracy, precision, and reliability. You can leverage APIs that seamlessly plan routes from the checkout process – or just mark the time-window start and end within your route plan file (Excel/.CSV) to account for specifics.
3. Leverage your drivers’ input
You might be attacking each day using your own knowledge. But, it’s a good idea to check in with your drivers and use their insight to make tweaks. Here are just some ways you can improve by getting feedback from your team:
- Traffic pockets that are always a problem and peak times
- Customers who tend to throw off delivery schedules and need more time added per stop
- Ask if there are start/end location requests so that you can build in locations to the plan and offer job flexibility
- Assign areas to certain drivers – if they are more familiar with certain neighborhoods and can get around easily, you can set rules
4. Minimize wasted space and time
Route Manager’s algorithm understands that your driver’s availability and space on your vehicles are precious. That’s why it’s important to define vehicle characteristics (like weight, height, load limits, and special characteristics) and driver availability. Route Manager does the heavy lifting for you by running all of the route optimization calculations and maximizes your resources by filling your vehicles to the specs provided.
5. Review the impact of your changes
If you need to make adjustments to routes, you want a solution that gives you control and flexibility. Move delivery orders around with the drag-and-drop feature, swap routes between vehicles, or re-optimize delivery schedules easily. Not only can you make changes on the fly, but you can review the impact before you “approve and dispatch” changes to your drivers.
The route summary allows you to quickly visualize any violations and calculate the new cost for your routes. You’re on your way to making better, data-driven decisions to keep your day moving without any disruption.
6. Minimize your chance of error
Delivering the last mile is challenging and at times you might feel like the “jack of all trades.” You juggle drivers’ performance, put out warehouse fires, solve spikes in customer service calls and more. With so much going on, you can rely on route optimization technology to help you avoid mistakes from happening (and move on to other priorities). Here’s how route planning software can help you get ahead – without worrying about issues:
- Give your field service team read-only access to check-in on driver location, completed stops, and proof of delivery
- Set exceptions (like vehicle maintenance days or holidays) and never plan for unavailable days or resources
- Define rules and you’ll never violate them
7. Reduce paperwork and guesswork
Whether you want to keep your drivers or office staff organized, Route Manager can help you stay connected. With visibility into updates from the road, you don’t have to play phone tag or rely on instincts. Maintain visibility on updates like: order completion, current or previous GPS location, or live ETAs.
Customers like Recker & Boerger have seen an increase in communication by leveraging the Route Manager 360 app. It helps record arrival/departure, proof of delivery, lets your stay informed on performance metrics through the complete route analytics dashboard. Plus, when you step away from your desk you can check in on drivers with access to WorkWave: GPS Track to view live location and confirm what triggered any alerts.
Want to learn more? Read about Why GPS Tracking is Necessary for Every Delivery Business.