HomeResourcesBlogRoute optimization 101: A guide for your fleet
5 mins to read

Route optimization 101: A guide for your fleet

By Julie White September 22, 2023

Managing vehicles and drivers covering thousands of miles can quickly become an expensive endeavor. That’s why route efficiency is crucial for complex or larger fleets, so they can do more business using fewer resources. Implementing and deploying route optimization tools to plan, analyze, create and deliver the best route strategy for your workforce is key to streamlining operations. 

Why is route optimization so important for fleets? Well-planned routes mitigate fuel costs and can streamline both time onsite and the number of stops a driver can make in a day—directly contributing to customer satisfaction and benefiting your bottom line.  

Let’s dive into what route optimization is all about. In short, route optimization is the process of determining the most efficient and cost-effective route, which involves far more than just finding the shortest path between two points. Several factors contribute to optimizing routes, such as:

  • Number and locations of all the required stops on the route.
  • Delivery time windows.
  • Number of turns or intersections along the route.
  • Impact of left-hand turns, which can add to idling time. 
  • Driver location in relation to route or dispatch.
  • Traffic congestion, depending on the time of day.
  • Best approach to access points at stops.

Dynamic route optimization considers all these factors and provides fleet managers with comprehensive data and information directly to drivers. By applying individualized criteria, filters and business rules, fleets can test route scenarios and build optimal territories while reviewing the costs of different route options through the software.  

Ready to know why your business needs route optimization? Download our free eBook.

Dynamic route optimization 

Route planning is a difficult puzzle fleet managers solve each and every day. And when it comes to multiple jobs and customers, the number of possible routes increases exponentially. Factor in traffic, weather, construction and last-minute customer requests, and fleet managers have a potential routing mess on their hands. 

Known as the “traveling salesman problem,” even just five stops for one vehicle can result in 120 possible routes. The complexity grows exponentially with additional vehicles. For instance, when modeling one vehicle and factoring in 10 stops, the number of route possibilities is 3,628,800. With a fleet of five vehicles, that number skyrockets to an astonishing 37,267,043,023,296,000 possible routes.  

Additionally, managers must consider resource utilization and availability. How many vehicles and drivers should be on the road at a given time? How can fleets manage their resources to get the most use out of vehicles while keeping an eye on idling time? Will retaining fewer vehicles or drivers improve cost efficiency? Route optimization software helps fleet managers address these challenges.

For example, delivery route optimization helps businesses plan out the best path for drivers to navigate a multi-stop route efficiently, reaching as many customers as they can along the way. Well-planned delivery routes mean the number of deliveries a driver can make in a day is prioritized, supporting productivity and profitability for the entire business. 

Route optimization software 

Route optimization software for companies that move or deliver goods and services should include GPS tracking capabilities and advanced reporting features. These features enable dispatchers to help prevent unplanned stops, combat mileage increases and plan fuel-efficient routes. These software solutions are often offered as Software as a Service (SaaS), allowing them to be hosted offsite and updated from various devices.  

Dynamic route optimization software can offer these helpful features:  

  • Generate routes based on driver and vehicle availability and calendar constraints – weeks or even months in advance. 
  • Incorporate delivery frequency and time windows to provide customers with up-to-date ETAs. 
  • Test “what-if” scenarios to see different multi-stop route and resource options before committing vehicles or dispatching drivers. 
  • Create cost-effective appointments and schedules by matching job needs with available equipment and workers. 
  • Support compliance with customer requests and service level agreements (SLAs). 

A route optimization solution integrated with GPS fleet tracking technology helps with strategic, ongoing optimization across the entire fleet and workforce. Custom reports can highlight variations to daily plans such as unscheduled deviation or new road closures, allowing fleet managers to fine-tune routes over time. With a ‘day-ahead’ view that allows managers to make last-minute changes such as driver absences, out-of-service vehicles and new or changed jobs, dynamic route planning software allows fleets to pivot as new hurdles come their way.  

Route optimization software helps fleets with:

  • Addressing overall fuel and maintenance costs.
  • Streamlining the number of vehicles needed to address business needs.
  • Better utilization of drivers, vehicles, equipment and crews.
  • Prioritized customer service and “on-time” percentages.
  • Flexibility to accommodate drivers and crew preferences for shifts and routes.  
  • Compliance with HOS driver logs, regulations and work rules.

With finite resources to invest in daily operations, fleet managers must thoughtfully consider the impact of their investments on business performance. Especially in today’s uncertain economic environment, keeping a watchful eye on cost and return on investment is key.   

Verizon Connect’s route-planning software helps dispatchers and route planners make more of your fleet’s investment. It gives them the tools to respond to changes and update already planned routes as situations change throughout the day. The secret lies in our innovative RouteCloud algorithm that evaluates millions of route options using powerful cloud-based computers. Fleets can quickly find the best multi-stop route to get from one job to the next, no matter how many stops, deliveries or obstacles along the way. 

Experience the difference of route optimization. Schedule a demo today.

Julie White

Julie is an experienced product management professional with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry in a variety of customer-facing and technical roles. She is skilled in product management, business analysis, product ownership, enabling sales and customer support management.

Tags: Cost control, Customer Service, Data & Analytics, Dispatching & Scheduling, Field management, Fleet utilization, Productivity & Efficiency, Routing

Related blogs
How a GPS truck tracking system benefits fleets Fleet management software benefits for the entire public works organization Verizon Connect Wins Prestigious Big Intelligence Award for Exceptional Customer Service Innovation

Schedule a demo

Find out how our platform gives you the visibility you need to get more done.

You might also like

View all