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How to Save Your Time by Optimizing Delivery Routes

Published: 6/7/2021Last updated: 6/8/2021

Courier driving is all about speed. The less time that you spend on your route, the earlier you finish. So how do you go and continually save time? Today Pete is going to break down the best ways to optimize your routes.

This is the second in a series of videos from Pete the Courier Driver with hints and tips for courier drivers. If you’re new to delivery driving, make sure to also check out The 7 Greatest Habits that You Can Adopt.

Hello everybody! Today’s video is How to Save Your Time Optimizing Delivery Routes.

The first time you go into a distribution center, they’re going to give you the paperwork for your run and you might have 80, a hundred, 200 drops. So you’re going to get the printout. And then it’s down to you to work out how to load the motor in the right order and how to get it off in the right order.

As long as the job gets done, they don’t care whether you get home at four o’clock or eight o’clock. It makes no difference to them. To you, it does because either you’re going to get home earlier, or if you get finished early, you might be able to grab another job at the end of it.

Time is money in this game.

When I used to do Argos, they’d give me a printout, like one of the old-fashioned spoiler printouts. And the first couple of days I’d just do it in the right order. Just the order they gave it to me. I mean, they did sometimes still have optimization software, but sometimes it just ain’t the brightest.

I would be like: “SG1, SG2, SG!, SG2, SG3, SG2, SG3 SG4, SG27, SG3”… hold on. Where did SG27 come from? And then I’d flip through the paperwork and I’d realize, in about 10 stops or 20 stops time, “I’m in SG27.”

(Well, that didn’t make any sense!) I ain’t gonna drive all the way over there and then come all the way back again. And then go all the way over there again. It’s just killing my time.

So then you kind of think, well, okay, I’ll just do it in postcode order. But that doesn’t work either because you know, SG1 and SG2 might be next to each other, SGI8 and SG19 might be opposite sides of the county!

So what you need to do is get yourself some route optimization software.

The difference between GPS and Optimization

There’s GPS and there’s the optimization. The GPS will tell you where you are, so you can accurately find a place. The route optimization, the multi-drop software would tell you where you need to be.

You also have certain time constraints if it’s a timed delivery. But what you need to do is find yourself a decent route optimization software, there are a few out there. It’s just a matter of finding the right one.

When I was on Parcel Force, they would say they had route optimization. They would give it to you (the software). But it was just loopy. It was all over the place and it was very frustrating.

I’d be thinking: “Right, okay. I’m delivering here. I’m delivering here” – and then two hours later, I will be delivering on the opposite side of the road somewhere I was two hours ago. Because what it has done is it’s taken me up round along and then back down, like, you know?

At 10 o’clock, I was on the left side of the one road, at two o’clock I was on the right side. And I went, “That’s crazy. I could have just stopped here and I could have just walked across the road and dropped these. I wouldn’t have to come back here. It doesn’t work very well.

So you want to find yourself a decent piece of optimizing software. You know, a decent bit of kit. It will save you time, it will save you money.

And the way it works is this, it’s very straightforward: All you do is when you load your fan in the morning, you want to be able to add your stops. Nice and easy. You want to add the parcel location, so when you get to the stop, you can find it. You want to put stuff in the notes so that, you know, if you need to call the customer ahead of time, that’s fantastic. And if it’s timed, so you don’t turn out to a stop when you can’t be there.

Once you’ve added all your stops and you’ve got all your stuff on board, click optimize, and then the optimization software will find you the quickest, best route of getting all the way around there. Then you follow the route and then when it’s done, you go home. Or, there’s always the possibility you can grab another job for a bit more money and who doesn’t like a bit more money?

Why I like Circuit Route Planner

I have tried a few of them. I say for the money and for the actual ease of work and stuff like that, I like Circuit. It’s my favorite. It’s just a personal preference. But having said that I do have some experience in the matter. But yeah, so that’s kind of why I’m behind it. But, honestly, route optimization software is an absolute must in this game. Without it, you’re kind of just throwing away time, throwing away money, and just causing yourself an extra load of grief.

So that’s it. There are gonna be more videos on the channel if you want to see, just about multi drops and stuff like that. So please subscribe to Circuit on YouTube. And also there are videos over on my own channel, Pete the Courier Driver, also on YouTube.

Take care, take money.

  • Angela Barnard

    Angela Barnard

    Freelancer Writer
Angela is a content strategist, blog writer, and editor based in Poole, UK. She loves helping businesses and brands develop their content stories and communicate messages in plain English. You can find her on LinkedIn