The difference between planning routes on Google Maps and route optimization software is enormous:
- Route optimization software is powered by algorithms to efficiently and logically organize the order of stops for multiple drivers, accommodating the various constraints that your business has.
- Google Maps is simply a quick way of getting the fastest route and accurate directions from point A to point B. It doesn’t take multiple stops or constraints into consideration, and won’t help you optimize your operations.
Google Maps works if you simply need to go from point A to point B, but it isn’t suited to even the smallest of mobile workforces with a handful of orders to complete. Multiple stops on a route combined with factors that need to be accounted for (specific to the business, operations, needs of customers) cannot be handled by Google Maps – it simply wasn’t built for that.
When to consider using route optimization software
Regardless of the actual service that you provide, a business with a mobile workforce needs to do planning according to a whole range of constraints and task types. Route optimization software has the features to build routes according to your constraints – and this is something that Google Maps isn’t capable of. These are just a few of the capabilities of route optimization software:
Planning according to time windows and date ranges
It’s likely that your customers have specific times, days and dates for when they’d like your service to be performed – whether it’s a delivery, an inspection, or a repair. Route optimization software easily factors these in when optimizing your routes.
Planning according to driver and vehicle constraints
Your mobile workforce is made up of actual people, driving vehicles of all different sizes. Route optimization software gives you schedules that work in the real world: you can schedule in lunch breaks for your staff, and assign orders based on the specific skills needed for each order. Also, you can manage a load of each vehicle according to its capacity and route optimization software will schedule in return to the depot when each vehicle is empty.
Scheduling based on order priority, and various task types and durations
Route optimization software gives you the ability to plan your orders according to their high, medium or low priority level. The software can also recognize connected pickup and delivery orders – where items or people need to be collected at one location and taken to another location.
Creating multi-day and multi-week schedules
You might have the flexibility of completing some orders over the course of a few days or weeks. Or, there might be orders that need to be completed within a certain timeframe. Route optimization software can give you optimized multi-day and multi-week schedules that factor in these timing constraints.
Benefits of using route optimization software
When you use route optimization software rather than Google Maps to organize your mobile workforce, you’re getting more than just routes and directions. Instead, you’re getting optimized schedules that account for your customers’ needs and make the most of your resources. These are some of the benefits to look forward to when your business starts using route optimization software for its operations:
Reduced planning efforts
Automated planning with route optimization software can be up to seven times faster than manual planning. That’s a lot of your time saved – letting you focus on other important tasks related to growing your business.
Logical routes and schedules to cut mileage
Optimized routes (that still account for all of your constraints) will ensure that mileage is as low as possible, cutting your fuel and vehicle costs by up to 30 percent.
Serve more customers with improved productivity
Thanks to the supremely efficient routes created by route optimization software, you’ll fit more orders into the day – probably more than you ever thought possible. This allows you to increase capacity with the same number of employees. Or, control overtime hours, and reduce the need for independent contractors.
Provide better customer service
Exceptional customer service gives you an edge over your competitors, and route optimization software helps you here too. Performing services and orders on time, according to customers’ appointment preferences increases their overall satisfaction. They’ll be more likely to remain loyal to your business and recommend you to others.