24 January 202110 minute read

How to Save Time & Money Using the Most Efficient Route Planner

In order to run an efficient delivery operation, you need to be able to optimize routes easily, and know that you’re utilizing the fastest routes available.

Planning the most efficient routes manually will take many hours away from your productivity, and it’s hard enough when you have one delivery vehicle and a short list of deliveries. Add multiple drivers, complex routes, and time windows into the mix, and you’re in trouble. This is impossible to accurately calculate without an advanced route planning tool.

Some delivery teams try to use free route planning apps (or even the Google Maps app), but these often fall short because they have a limit on the amount of routes or stops you can plan — or a cap on the number of drivers you can include.

When delivery teams suffer from inefficiency, it’s usually due to two underlying issues:

  • Your route planning is taking far too long to manage at the start of every day;
  • Your routes are not as efficient as you want them to be, causing drivers to spend more time on the road and adding costs to your operation.

In order to run an efficient delivery operation, you need to be able to optimize routes easily, and know that they’re really the quickest route available. And there are other things to consider when planning routes, such as priority stops, real-time changes, time constraints, and more.

In this post, we’ll look at the typical challenges for efficient route planning, and how you can use an automated route planner like Circuit to save time and money for your business.

Key takeaways

  • Efficient route planning is crucial for delivery operations to save time, reduce costs, and enhance productivity. Manual route planning is often time-consuming and prone to errors, especially with multiple drivers and complex routes.
  • Utilizing advanced route planning tools can overcome the limitations of free apps like Google Maps, which may have caps on the number of routes, stops, or drivers, thus enabling a smoother planning process, especially for businesses with multiple drivers.
  • Real-time route customization and management are essential to adapt to last-minute changes without disrupting the efficiency of the operation. Features like batch editing of stops, real-time driver tracking, and recipient updates significantly improve the process.
  • Analyzing delivery performance data through comprehensive analytics can provide valuable insights to further streamline operations, make informed decisions, and ultimately save both time and money.
Circuit for Teams is a simple software for optimizing routes with multiple drivers. Click here to start your free 14-day trial.

Introducing Circuit for Teams: Your Most Efficient Route Planner

If you’re looking for simple route planning software, you can try the Circuit Route Planner. With this multi-stop route planner, you can optimize unlimited routes with unlimited stops per route.

But bear in mind that if you need to plan optimal routes for multiple drivers, and if you need delivery management tools for efficient operations, Circuit for Teams is a better fit for you.

Circuit for Teams: Efficient Routing, Plus Much More

With Circuit for Teams, you get access to:

  • Route Planning for Multiple Drivers: You can build routes for multiple drivers in just a few minutes. All you need is a list of stops, and a list of drivers. Our algorithm will do the rest. Simply import your spreadsheet into the Circuit web app, and it will determine the quickest way to distribute your routes, and make sure that each route is optimal. You can then share these routes with your drivers, who access it via their iPhone or Android app.
  • Route Customization: You can easily swap routes between drivers, update routes, and add stops while they’re out and about. This means you can adapt to last minute changes without disrupting the efficiency of your delivery operation.
  • Batch Editing of Stops: Manage multiple stops on a route in one go with this feature, allowing for quick adjustments to different routes, saving time especially when dealing with last-minute changes.
batch editing of stops
  • Recipient Updates: With Circuit for Teams, saying goodbye to missed deliveries just got easier! If you're on the Recipient plan or higher, you can now customize your customer messages, pick between SMS, email, or send both, and even add a personal touch in any language you prefer. As soon as your driver hits the road, your customer gets a friendly nudge with the estimated delivery time and a live tracking link to keep them in the loop​.
recipient updates
  • Exporting Detailed Delivery Data: With Circuit for Teams, accessing your detailed delivery data has become a breeze. Previously confined to global account searches, now a simple touch exports a monthly report packed with granular performance insights. Navigate to Settings > Analytics, click 'Export data', choose 'Detailed export', select the month, and you're done. This feature unveils a treasure trove of data, propelling your operational insight to new heights.
export route data
  • Additional Analytics Reports: Delve deeper into your delivery performance with four new analytical reports. Understand common causes of failed deliveries, monitor the percentage of late stops, and track average delivery cost over time. Filter reports by depot, team, or driver for a more granular activity view. Just go to Settings > Analytics, and a dashboard of insightful delivery reports awaits, ready to sharpen your decision-making and optimize your operations.
route analytics reports

And these features work closely together with our:

  • Proof of Delivery (POD) Functionality: Circuit offers photo capture and electronic signature capture, which are automatically uploaded to the cloud and accessible back at dispatch HQ. This means drivers are able to leave packages in safe places, and you can let recipients know exactly where their parcel is located without having to double-check.
  • Optional Proof of Delivery (POD) Feature: Circuit for Teams now offers an optional POD feature, allowing the toggling of POD requirements on or off for specific stops. This flexibility enables drivers to skip POD collection when unnecessary, saving precious time on their routes.
circuit proof of delivery example
  • Real-Time Driver Tracking and Improved Customer Experience: With Circuit, real-time driver tracking allows dispatchers to monitor drivers and upcoming stops. Now, an enhanced delivery experience is achieved by providing customers with a plethora of information, including dynamic ETA, delivery status, POD info, delivery instructions option, customer service contacts, sender details, and a shareable tracking link, ensuring a seamless communication channel between all parties involved​​.
circuit driver tracking

Note: Coming soon to our Premium plan, you’ll get access to multi-capacity vehicles, meaning you’ll be able to specify the capacity of each vehicle in your fleet. This allows you to do efficient fleet-level route optimization — because you can customize the volume of packages in larger delivery vehicles versus smaller trucks and cars.

How Circuit Can Help You Save Time & Money on Your Route

Navigating the bustling streets on a tight schedule can be a daunting task. That's where Circuit for Teams steps in as your reliable partner, optimizing your delivery routes to save both time and money

By automating the route planning process, Circuit shaves off hours spent on manual scheduling, freeing up your time for other crucial aspects of your business.

The algorithm does the heavy lifting, swiftly calculating the most efficient routes, which in turn reduces fuel consumption and wear-and-tear on your vehicles. This not only translates to monetary savings but also contributes to a greener planet by lowering your carbon footprint.

By keeping your customers in the loop with real-time updates and personalized messages, Circuit for Teams minimizes the chances of missed deliveries. This means fewer return trips, saving you both time and resources. 

Additionally, the optional proof of delivery feature ensures that every delivery is accounted for, reducing the likelihood of disputes that could otherwise lead to refunds or re-deliveries.

The batch editing feature is a real game-changer, allowing for quick adjustments to multiple stops in a single go, which is a huge time-saver especially when dealing with last-minute changes.

Lastly, the comprehensive analytics provided by Circuit helps you keep a keen eye on your delivery performance over time. 

By analyzing this data, you can make informed decisions to further streamline your operations, cutting down on unnecessary costs and saving precious time.

In the realm of deliveries, time is indeed money. And with Circuit for Teams by your side, you're well on your way to making every second and penny count.

The Challenges in Route Planning and Delivery Management

Circuit started as a route planning mobile app for drivers, and as we learned more about what our business customers needed, we developed Circuit for Teams to help delivery teams do more. As part of this process, our users told us about a number of operational bottlenecks, including:

1. Route Planning and Route Optimization 

Whether you’re a courier or a delivery company — or you’re a small business like a restaurant, florist, bakery, or brewery — route planning and optimization can be a severe time drain. However, the problems often differ between these different types of companies. For example:

  • Business owners often spend hours every morning manually figuring out the best route for their delivery service. They might use Google Maps to figure out driving directions, handing out routes one-by-one based on city areas or staff schedules. This consumes a lot of time, and there are always mistakes in the calculation. Often, they will print out the resulting route plan and give it to their drivers, who will then have to input the addresses manually into their navigation app as they go.
  • Couriers and delivery companies often have some sort of tool to help them with route planning and optimization — sometimes a free one, and sometimes they pay for it. They suffer from limitations like a cap on the number of stops or routes, the inability to optimize for multiple drivers, or a lack of integration with other delivery processes.

2. Managing and Customizing Routes in Real-Time 

If there’s anything that will throw your route planning out of whack, it’s a last-minute change to the game plan. Especially if you’ve figured it all out manually and printed out the itinerary. Last minute changes in route planning can occur for any number of reasons, including:

  • If you get a request from a major delivery company (e.g. Hermes, DHL, UPS) to prioritize a certain package after a customer complaint or error in the ordering process.
  • If a package legally needs to be signed for in person, but the recipient isn’t at home to accept it (so you need to revisit the stop later in the day, or the following day).
  • If a delivery driver calls in sick, or has to leave work early due to personal reasons.
  • If a delivery driver prefers to run routes on one side of the city and wants to swap their list with another member of the team.

These, and other unexpected events, can disrupt route planning. Not only does this make your process inefficient, but can leave recipients without the parcels that they’re expecting. This harms customer satisfaction and adds stress to your support team who deal with the inquiries.

If you’re looking for an efficient route planner with route optimization, route customization, proof of delivery, real-time driver tracking, and recipient updates, try Circuit for Teams. Get started right now with our free trial.

3. Navigating and Operating the Planned Delivery Routes 

Circuit planned delivery routes

Planning delivery routes is one challenge to overcome, but actually operating those routes efficiently is another thing entirely. Delivery teams often struggle in the following ways:

  • Switching between the printout or the route planning app and their preferred navigational tool, or being forced to use a built-in navigation interface which isn’t as user friendly (or accurate) as Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps.
  • Using multiple different systems for managing deliveries — for example, a separate proof of delivery system (or paper forms), messaging apps, and delivery lists.
  • Having no real-time visibility on drivers in the context of their planned route, meaning dispatch has to call or message drivers to find out where they are. Then, to relay information to customers manually — without accurate ETAs.
  • Driving routes that aren’t actually optimal, causing backtracking, overlaps, and delays.

By learning about these bottlenecks, we were able to build on Circuit’s route planner app, developing a platform especially for the needs of delivery teams: Circuit for Teams

Beyond route optimization, it helps dispatchers and drivers operate routes more efficiently through built-in proof of delivery, recipient updates, accurate ETAs, and real-time driver tracking.

Final Thoughts: What You Need from Route Planning Software

In the end, an efficient route planner simply needs to create optimized routes with minimal manual effort, with each one actually being the shortest route (or fastest route). But the best route optimizers will also help you manage your deliveries more efficiently.

With Circuit for Teams, you can account for time constraints and priority stops, customize routes after they’ve been planned, and track the whole delivery process as it’s occurring. 

Drivers can follow the optimized route from point A to point B in their preferred GPS app, reducing their travel time. With features like real-time traffic monitoring, road conditions and traffic conditions awareness, turn-by-turn directions, reorder capability, and toll calculation, navigating has never been more straightforward.

If you’re looking for an efficient route planner with route optimization, route customization, proof of delivery, real-time driver tracking, and recipient updates, try Circuit for Teams. Get started right now with our free trial.

About the author

Matt GooldingContributor

Matt Goolding is a writer and content strategist, based in the Netherlands. He writes with leaders and teams in a variety of industries. You can find him on LinkedIn or via mattgoolding.com.


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Logistics map interface showing the New York afternoon delivery run with route lines and list of addresses