Parcel delivery operatives will be under pressure to meet delivery expectations. Unless they plan smartly. If the routes for the parcel deliverers are cleverly planned in advance, this results in a lower workload.

With the December parcel peak around the corner according to finder.com, in Britain there will be an estimated spend of £4.8 billion on purchases from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone. With consumers increasing their online shopping habits it is also expected that this number will grow by around 30.2% for 2021. So how will companies manage to deliver all packages on time?

More time for bottlenecks

One thing is certain: no planner can manage to schedule 80 percent extra shipments within the same time frame without smart tools. They can bring in additional recourse or subcontract. However, with a route planning system they can quickly asses the resource required and take smart decisions on how to handle the additional workload they have been given.   For a route planning system, such an unusually large number of shipments means hardly any extra work. Within seconds, such an IT system distributes all shipments as efficiently as possible among the available vehicles. No restrictions are overlooked, including time windows to environmental zones.

The planning system will provide the planner with a starting point for the periods activities.  They see which journeys are getting delayed and can reschedule shipments to avoid late deliveries. It is also possible to have the system calculate with one click what the outcome is if an extra vehicle is used. In short: with a route planning system, the planner has more time to solve the bottlenecks. The last-mile delivery specialists will have plenty of bottlenecks in December.

More packages per vehicle

packages in a van

However, a route planning system is more than a tool for solving bottlenecks. The algorithms improve the planning capability, with the road network built in to the time and distance engine, the planner has fast and accurate delivery calculations. First of all, the system takes into account the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle and the loading capacity in all the vehicles available. Only when the dimensions of the packages are known, the last centimetre in the cargo area is used. That means more parcels per vehicle and therefore a greater chance that the promised delivery time to the consumer will be realised. Because nobody wants to receive their parcel late.

A route planning system also offers the possibility to use shorter time windows. As the technology around delivery continues to improve, this data can also be used to improve the customer experience. Once the system has a plan it will also provide an estimated time of arrival for each parcel, this information can then be passed onto the customer. When the vehicle is out it will send live updates for the progress of the schedule. This decreasing window can be communicated to both the office and the customer for a greatly improved delivery, especially during the December parcel peak period.

To predict

Unfortunately, some parcel delivery and transport companies are still resistant to use route planning systems for tactical and strategic planning. Several online stores start predicting the number of parcels per day months in advance. The online warehouse uses this prediction to prepare the employees in the distribution centres for the peak, to hire the right amount of temporary workers and – if possible – to smooth out the peak in the workload.

Carriers can use such a prediction to calculate different scenarios with the route planning system. How many vehicles and drivers are needed during the peak period? What are the consequences if the number of shipments is five percent higher than predicted? Or ten percent higher? Does it make sense to hire additional drivers, who are currently difficult to find, or perhaps to open an extra hub? By starting to plan in time, last-mile carriers can guarantee the timeliness of their deliveries even in peak season. It is precisely because of this that the logistics sector can realize a successful experience for everyone in its busiest month ever.

Learn more about route planning software

Find out more about route planning software and the advantages it brings by downloading our free eGuide!

About the Author

Stacey has a keen interest in the transport and logistics sector, with the main focus being on how software improves processes by keeping up with the everchanging demands and new challenges faced. #smartsoftware #logistics #routeoptimisation #transport

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