What’s the Best Commercial Vehicle Route Planner for Your Business?
Whether you have a small commercial delivery business or are running larger fleets of vehicles, you will benefit from using a commercial vehicle route planner.
Whether you have a small commercial delivery business or you’re running a larger fleet of vehicles, you’ll benefit from using a commercial vehicle route planner.
That’s because route planners save you time and money by creating fast and efficient routes. With faster routes, your team can deliver more products in less time. You will also save on labor, fuel costs, and vehicle maintenance.
But every commercial vehicle route planner is a little different in terms of what features they offer.
In this post, we look at three different commercial vehicle route planners available, each for a specific use case:
Our route optimization and delivery management software, is perfect for small-to-midsize companies. We have plans for one-vehicle operations and multi-driver teams, giving teams advanced features such as route monitoring, order tracking, and proof of delivery. We’ve highlighted our customer success stories here.
Route4Me is a route management software that has an add-on for commercial truck routing. This is ideal for commercial delivery teams that need help with truck navigation. This means considering factors like truck stops, rest areas, and overpass heights — as well as low clearance bridges.
Oracle has features that are great for field service delivery teams. For example, you can set service level agreement thresholds. This means you can tell Oracle the specific skill set of each of your technicians who are on the road. This way, the right tech is always being routed to your customer’s home.
1. Circuit for Teams: A Commercial Vehicle Routing Planner for Small to Midsize Businesses
At Circuit, we offer two different routing tools:
Made for one-driver operations that need a fast way to complete their stops. Circuit Route planner is used by all kinds of industries, including contracted couriers. One of our customers, Sagar Khatri, increased his delivery output by 50% when he started the Circuit Route Planner to optimize his stops. The Circuit Route Planner is $20 per month and you can start a free trial today.
Circuit for Teams uses the same powerful route optimization software as our route planner, but you can use it with multi-driver routes. You also get advanced features that delivery teams benefit from, such as route monitoring, order tracking updates, driver tracking, and proof of delivery features. Circuit for Teams starts at $40 per driver per month, and also has a free trial you can try.
In this guide we focus on Circuit for Teams, as it shows everything you can use Circuit for.
Creating the Fastest Route with Circuit for Teams
You can manually enter addresses directly on the Circuit for Teams mobile app (for both iPhone/iOS and Android devices) or through the web app. But if you’re dealing with several stops on every route, it’s faster to import your address list through our spreadsheet import feature.
Once your addresses are in Circuit for Teams, you can either optimize for speed or you can customize your route. Sometimes it isn’t enough to have the fastest route possible, you need the fastest route possible that works for your customers. That’s when customization helps.
With Circuit, you can set priority stops, time windows, and average time per stop.
- Priority stops: Some of your customers may pay extra to get their delivery ASAP. You can prioritize those stops with Circuit for Teams. Now when our route optimization algorithm makes the fastest route, it’ll make sure those stops come first.
- Time windows: If you’re delivering to businesses, you need to be more aware of time windows. Businesses have working hours, and some businesses may only receive deliveries during specific time windows. You can set time windows on every stop, so your delivery drivers end up at the right location within the right time frame.
- Average time per stop: Depending on what you’re delivering, your driver may be at the stop for two minutes or they may be there for half an hour. The thing is, traffic patterns drastically change if we’re talking about two minutes from now or 30 minutes now. By setting the average time per stop, you give Circuit for Teams more information to create the best route for your team.
Once you’ve customized your route, you can assign it to your drivers. But routes change in real-time, and managing those changes is a must if you want to remain efficient. In the next section, we explain how you can do this.
Monitoring Routes in Progress and Sending Automatic Tracking Updates
When you use Circuit for Teams, each of your drivers will download the Circuit for Teams app for their smartphone. This lets them use the routes you optimized with their preferred navigation app (like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze).
It also makes it easy for you to monitor routes in progress and make last-minute changes if necessary.
With Circuit for Teams, you can see where your drivers are, but their geographical location is given to you within the context of the route. That means you can see which stop they just completed, where they’re headed next, and an updated ETA.
Let’s look at how you can use Circuit for Teams to handle two common occurrences: unexpected traffic leading to significant delays and a customer canceling or changing their delivery.
- Rerouting around unexpected traffic: Our route optimization algorithm factors in traffic patterns to help create the fastest route every time. But sometimes the unexpected happens. When there’s a significant accident or a highway is closed, then you need to re-optimize your route (such as skipping the next stop and moving it to later in the route to avoid the traffic). Your driver can do this on their smartphone, or you can do it from your web app back at HQ. Any changes the driver makes on their phone shows up on the web app, and the other way around.
- Customer canceling/delaying delivery: Sometimes a customer will call and ask that you make their delivery later in the day or tomorrow. Sometimes they’ll cancel it completely. When this happens, you can quickly remove their stop from the route, and have Circuit for Teams re-optimize the route. Your driver is then working with an accurate, up-to-date route.
And with Circuit for Teams, you don’t have to keep updating your customer when any change occurs. Instead, your customers get automatic updates sent through email, SMS message, or both:
- The customer gets their first update when your driver starts their route. This update tells them their ETA based on the optimized route. It also includes a link to a dashboard where they can check to see the status of their delivery.
- They get their second update when their delivery driver is about 10 minutes away. Your customer can communicate with the driver through these messages, in case they need to give any extra info. For example, if your driver is delivering to a medical office that’s in a hard-to-navigate complex, then your customer can help guide them.
Collecting Proof of Delivery (POD)
If you’re delivering goods to a business, it’s important to have a proper paper trail between your delivery driver and your customer. You want to cover your bases in case your customer says they can’t find their items due to an inventory issue on their end.
If you’re dropping off small items — and your driver isn’t coming into contact with a physical person — then you can use our photo capture proof of delivery. The driver snaps a photo of where they left the order, and uploads it to Circuit through the mobile app.
Both your business and the customer get a copy of the photo, along with a timestamp so they know where and when the delivery was made.
But you’re likely going to want more security than that, especially if you’re delivering large quantities of goods or high-priced items.
That’s where our electronic signature capture comes in.
With Circuit for Teams, your driver’s smartphone turns into a signature pad. The customer can easily sign it with their finger, signaling that they received their order. A copy of this signature is sent to both you and your customer.
What we covered above are the core features of our commercial vehicle route planner. You can:
- Create optimized routes (customized towards your customers’ needs).
- Monitor routes in progress (making last minute changes as necessary and automatically sending updates to your customers).
- Collect proof of delivery (either through a photo or signature capture).
Combined, these features help you run a smooth delivery operation. They let you make more deliveries in less time and improve customer satisfaction. Circuit for Teams is used by several kinds of businesses — local couriers of course, but also local breweries, computer repair services, pharmacy delivery and retail stores.
Or if you’re looking for a different type of commercial vehicle route planner, we recommend you keep reading to see some alternatives to Circuit for Teams.
2. Route4Me: Route Planning for Long-Haul Trucks
We’ve covered Route4Me before, discussing some of its pros and cons as a routing software. But Route4Me has a feature that might make it a good option for your delivery team of truck drivers — a Commercial Vehicle and Truck Routing add-on.
For context: Route4Me is a route management app that has basic plans which you then can customize to give you the features you want, by adding on extra features (for a fee).
So you’d pick one of Route4Me’s plans (which start at $149 a month), and then add their truck route planner for an extra $10 per vehicle.
With this truck routing add-on, you get route planning and optimization for commercial trucks. This includes Class 1-8 truck routing, which factors in weight stations, height, hazmat, rest stops, and axle count restrictions.
A Quick Recap of Route4Me
- Route4Me has a large marketplace of delivery service add-ons you can add to your monthly plan (for a fee).
- Route4Me has a truck routing add-on which is perfect for Class 1-8 truck routing.
- Route4Me offers a 7-day free trial.
What kind of delivery teams will benefit the most from Route4Me? Route4Me is a good choice for companies who need specific truck routing features, or want a highly customizable route planner.
3. Oracle: Field Service Delivery Management
Oracle has scheduling and routing features that are well-suited for field service technicians and delivery teams alike.
For example, you can create your fleet and upload service level agreements, skills, location, and technician availability. By giving Oracle this information, its AI learning algorithm can create routes to fulfill your customer orders as efficiently as possible.
Oracle also helps you better manage your staffing levels. Oracle’s software takes a look at your historical record to try and spot trends and better predict the future.
For example, if you’re mostly dealing with HVAC repair services that tend to get busier during the warmer months, then Oracle could spot this trend and begin recommending an increase in staff as spring turns to summer.
A Quick Recap of Oracle
- Oracle lets you upload service level agreements and customize your routes based on technician skills and availability.
- Oracle doesn’t have a free trial but does offer live demos.
What kind of delivery teams will benefit the most from Oracle? Oracle is a good fit if you’re running a large-scale field service crew.
Final Thoughts: Choosing the Best Commercial Vehicle Route Planner for Your Business
The best commercial vehicle planner for your business will depend significantly on what you do. If you’re managing long haul trucker operations, where your drivers are dealing with very few stops but need to factor in things like rest areas and weight capacities, then you ought to consider specialized vehicle planners like Route4Me.
If you’re managing a team of field service technicians, then look at something like Oracle.
If you’re a small-to-midsize delivery team, dealing with cargo vans or some other commercial vehicle, who wants an easy way to efficiently manage their multi-stop routes, then look to Circuit for Teams.
With Circuit for Teams, you can:
- Build the fastest route that’s tailored to your customers’ needs. You can set advanced settings like time windows and priority stops.
- Monitor routes in progress and send out automatic updates. Our automatic updates let your customers know the delivery ETA, and then tell them when their order is just minutes away.
- Collect proof of delivery. You can give everyone peace of mind by collecting either a photo or signature when a successful delivery is completed.