With the coronavirus pandemic, global e-commerce sales have reached incredible numbers even faster (Statista).
As online shops replace more and more traditional stores, companies are looking for practical solutions to increase their delivery capacity, provide shipment that meets customers’ expectations, and help them stay competitive.
Since people started practicing social distancing and self-isolation, e-commerce purchases across all categories have significantly grown. The most significant leap has probably been made by the food delivery industry. It was already growing in popularity rapidly before the COVID pandemic (EHL).
The current situation has forced retailers to focus on online sales and contactless on-demand deliveries. However, the latter can cause several problems, mostly associated with high customer expectations, demand-supply, logistics, and workforce.
To cut operational expenses and provide customers with impeccable delivery experience, enterprises must invest in a future-proof delivery management solution.
Simply put, a route planner app for delivery drivers is a tool that does the job of a human scheduler automatically and more efficiently.
It computes the most cost-effective route involving several stops while taking into account several important factors, such as the number of vehicles in the fleet, delivery windows, and the number of stops on the route.
Driving route optimizers minimize the travel distance and time and help businesses surpass their competition without placing further strain on existing resources.
The best route planner apps include the following possibilities:
mobile route optimization and automated routing
easily customizable routes with drag & drop management
collecting driver and/or customer feedback
free driver mobile app for iOS/Android
a digital proof of delivery and signature/photo capture
possibility to add digital documents to tasks
integrations with other programs/apps
customizable trigger-notifications to customers/drivers
delivery and fleet analytics
helpful and professional support team
Why now is the time to start using a delivery route planner
The need for advanced software to help companies manage their fleet more efficiently and plan optimal routes faster often arises when businesses grow.
Managing deliveries for a couple of drivers manually might work for some time. As the number of orders increases, manual route planning will inevitably become too complicated and time-consuming, resulting in inefficient routes and loss in revenue.
Post COVID-19, businesses are facing another critical factor that needs to be considered when offering home-delivery services – the increase in demand for contactless delivery options.
To mitigate the risk of contagion during the coronavirus pandemic, contactless deliveries have been put in place between the consumer and the delivery person.
As the delivery process typically involves signing a proof of delivery or some other document, delivery companies need an alternative to the traditional signing of paper or digital documents.
The best route planner apps provide businesses with all the necessary tools to arrange safe and professional delivery of goods without the need for any human contact.
To confirm ordered goods have been handed over, delivery management applications allow drivers to capture photos with their mobile app. This photo is then added as digital proof of delivery, matching the customer with the order ID.
The delivery industry has reached an era where both large companies and smaller businesses now use route planner apps, both providing a secure and competitive service.
The best delivery route planner apps on the market
The selection of delivery route planning software is vast, so finding the appropriate one without any guidance can be quite challenging.
We have listed some options on the market that offer the best functionality and quality per price.
Free multi-stop route planners
There are a variety of free delivery route planners available that may be perfectly adequate for basic routing schemes.
Free of charge options don’t offer as much functionality so delivery companies with multiple drivers and more complex business needs should skip this section.
Although often confused with a route optimization software, Google Maps is technically a web mapping service. It’s designed to find the shortest path between two or more stops. Still, it does not automatically reorder waypoints in the most efficient way like a route optimization software would.
We’ve compared Google Maps to route optimization apps in a previous blog post that you can read HERE.
Since Google Maps route planner is widely used by the general public and also by smaller companies when starting their delivery business, we have still included it in our list. It is an excellent tool to begin with before advancing to more sophisticated software.
very accurate ETA’s
easy to use
handy drag & drop function to reorder stops
can easily be used on smart devices
allows entering only 10 waypoints at a time
allows planning routes for 1 driver at a time
requires manual address input and route optimization
RouteXL allows planning an unlimited number of trips per day with up to 20 stops per route for free. To plan routes with up to 200 stops, a paid version for €75 ($84.80 / £67.20) a month must be purchased.
Unlike Google Maps, RouteXL uses a route optimization algorithm to minimize the overall duration of the journey and even allows splitting up stops between multiple routes.
free (paid version also available)
automatically optimizes routes
allows splitting up orders between multiple drivers
can be used to plan unlimited routes per day
allows exporting routes to sat-nav devices and navigation apps
Speedy Route is a basic route planner suitable for small companies, that permits optimizing a route for multiple delivery vehicles at a time. The free version allows calculating up to 3 routes within 24 hours with up to 10 locations per route.
A paid version of Speedy Route is also available for €45 a month ($50/ £40). With the paid account users can plan an unlimited number of routes per day with more than ten waypoints per route.
The advantages of Speedy Route include adding time constraints on the routes, and a handy drag & drop location reordering function. This allows tuning the order of the stops to the user’s specific needs.
free (paid version also available)
automatically optimizes routes
allows planning routes for up to 10 drivers at a time
locations in the route can be timeboxed
drag & drop location reordering function
allows importing multiple locations from files (.text format)
routes can be exported as CSV (spreadsheet) or GPX (TomTom, Garmin)
a very limited number of stops and routes per day can be planned
timeboxing available only for up to 25% of the locations on the route
Flightmap’s mapping infrastructure was designed by Tookan (a paid delivery management software) and allows planning routes for up to 2 vehicles with the limitation of 200 stops a month. For more prominent companies with up to 500 vehicles, a paid version for $0.10 per stop per month is available.
Users can upload addresses in bulk via CSV files with additional data or add them manually.
Optimization objectives like “trip duration limit” or “maximum tasks per vehicle” can be set. Still, these will affect all drivers the same.
free (paid version also available)
automatic route optimization
allows viewing optimized route in list and map view
enables manual stop re-arrangement with drag & drop function
possibility to export routes in CSV files
route optimization only available for 2 drivers at a time
separate stops cannot be optimized using different parameters
no mobile app for drivers
Paid multi-stop route planners
As delivery businesses grow, the need for more complex route planning software will inevitably become necessary. Paid software includes more features and should meet delivery businesses’ unique needs better.
There are so many options on the market that going through a list of them all would be overwhelming. We’ve taken a look at five software apps that we believe offer the best functionality for their price.
*Special offer for bigger companies with more than 50 vehicles
14 days (no credit card required)
Available via live chat, email, phone, and helpful articles
GSMtasks entered the market in 2015 and is primarily a task management software that offers route planning and optimization in addition to many other features.
Because of the software’s extensive functionality, it’s suitable for many different businesses who want to manage their team in the field more efficiently.
Although GSMtasks’s price is considerably lower compared to others, its features do not lag behind larger competitors. Users can mass-upload addresses with related delivery information via Excel files. Routes are automatically optimized while taking into account different optimization objectives and time-windows that have been set.
With the auto-assignment function, tasks are distributed to the drivers’ mobile app that is used as a navigation device, available for iOS and Android smart-devices. The app also includes a digital proof of delivery. It allows drivers to upload photos as well as collect client signatures.
Additional free features include:
recurring task scheduling
GPS navigation integration
custom meta fields
customizable push-notifications to clients with a tracking link
Pro version $59/ €52.4 / £47 per vehicle/mo. (monthly billing)
Pro version $49 / €43.5 / £39 per vehicle/mo. (annual billing)
7 days (no credit card required)
Available via live chat, e-mail, phone, helpful articles, and FAQ section
Routific is a popular route planning and optimization software that was founded in 2012. It’s a smart logistics platform that optimizes routes for last-mile transportation fleets.
Their route optimization is based on real-world factors like time windows, vehicle capacities, delivery types, driver shift times, and much more.
Routific also has two driver mobile apps – Routific Driver and Routific Driver Lite. As these are not directly connected to the web application, routes have to be sent to the driver via SMS text message.
OptimoRoute was founded in 2012 and offers cloud-based software for delivery drivers and service technicians who need efficient routes and schedules in their daily work.
One of the advantages of OptimoRoute is that users can set up individual driver profiles. Users can plan their routes while taking into account several factors like drivers’ skills, vehicle types, and shift schedules.
A free mobile app for drivers is also available for Android and iOS platforms.
Additional features include:
real-time route modification
live tracking and ETA
real-time notifications to clients via SMS or email
Basic package with route optimization starts at $349 / €310.3 / £278.6 per mo.
Available via email and helpful articles (priority support available for pro users)
Onfleet was founded in 2012 to offer businesses a professional delivery management solution. A few years later, they started to focus more on route planning and optimization as well and added the functionality in their software.
Onfleet’s integrated route optimization engine takes multiple factors, including location, capacity, time, and traffic, into consideration to produce the most efficient routing solutions.
Auto-dispatch sends the routes straight to the drivers’ mobile app, which is available for download both in the App Store and on Google Play.
Some extra features include:
task, status and driver search
live driver tracking and ETA’s
integration with different navigation platforms
proof of delivery in the driver app
CSV and Excel files import
automatic notifications to customers via SMS (premium and pro plan)