manual planning

3 common challenges facing ‘Manual’ route delivery planning


For Logistic Managers and Delivery Schedule Planners, organising and ensuring the delivery of goods from your warehouse to your customers, within agreed service levels, requires a well configured delivery schedule. But if you are like most businesses with a last mile distribution task, planning a multi-vehicle delivery operation with constraints and variables can become a mammoth task, especially when completed by ‘manual’ methods.

‘Manual’ Methods

By ‘manual’ methods, we mean planning delivery route schedules through traditional methods such as white boards, Excel spreadsheets, bundled sets of consignment notes and Google Maps. 

Read on to see the 3 reasons why ‘manual’ planning your last-mile delivery routes is hurting your business, and why you need Scopta’s Run and Route to improve your overall last-mile delivery planning.

1. Manual route planning is prone to human error and requires time!

‘Manual’ planning methods through spreadsheets and mapping tools require a lot of time and effort to do correctly, to ensure all your deliveries are accounted for. But when you have deadlines on when delivery schedules are ready for your fleet, how can you ensure the accuracy and efficiency of your plans? 

The complexity of a last mile delivery task increases significantly with only a few constraints such as cargo / vehicle compatibility or constrained delivery windows.  Even a very experienced planner can’t manually calculate a highly optimised schedule that satisfies all customer requirements.

Having to go back and forth between Google Maps and delivery lists, while creating a spreadsheet increases the chances of making mistakes that could prove costly. Manual planning or ‘planning by hand’ is complex and prone to human error. This can result in inefficient routes, increased delivery time and cost and worse – losing customers because of late or missed deliveries. 

Even with a great manual planner on your staff, there is significant key personnel risk when all of the required knowledge is invested in one to two people, rather than systematised in a scheduling application.

2. Manual route planning is inefficient and expensive

We’ve seen how ‘manual’ delivery route planning is a notoriously difficult task and puts at risk your ability to meet customer SLAs.  The second issue is the cost and inefficiency that manual planning can drive into your distribution function.  

As a direct result ‘manual’ planning can impact your bottom line through poor route planning and mismanagement of resources such as:

  • Increased capital investment due to operating a larger transport fleet than required;
  • Increased labour costs due to drivers travelling longer distances and working longer hours, and 
  • Increased fleet operating costs

Why settle for a competent delivery schedule, when you can have an optimised delivery schedule, that meets your requirements and can see your team save time and reduce operational costs?

3. Managing growth and have the ability to scale is difficult with ‘manual’ route planning

One major challenge with ‘manually’ route planning is dealing with change and scale. For example, as your business takes an upward trajectory, so too does your demand. Being able to successfully manage growth by adding in more deliveries and locations ‘manually’ can place added pressure to an already lengthy and difficult process. The only real solution by way of your current ‘manual’ process, is simply putting in extra effort and time to correctly cater to new customers and businesses. 

Another challenge is being able to manually plan for last minute changes and added deliveries. This can take the form of specific road closures and re-planning delivery routes, delivery windows and changing availability from customers, and additional deliveries to name a few.

The ability to deal with adverse change is restricted and difficult through ‘manual’ planning. By not having an agile system it can lead to poor delivery schedules with inefficient delivery routes, not to mention the stress placed on Logistic Managers to add additional delivery locations and the additional pressure placed on Delivery Drivers to meet their deadlines.

Take the leap with Run and Route

Scopta Run and Route is an automated solution that can help you and your business deal with complexities of operating a last-mile delivery business and/or company. As described earlier, manually planning delivery route schedules raises many challenges around the significant amount of time and effort required to create a delivery schedule, the inefficiencies of manual planning and the difficulty of dealing with change and ability to grow and scale. 

Scopta Run and Route equips your business with a purpose built tool that simplifies the way you plan and organise your delivery fleet. Powered by an algorithmic engine, your Logistics Manager and Delivery Scheduler can plan schedules faster and with more accuracy, reducing the time spent planning and ensuring a compliant schedule.

Run and Route will also allow you to organise and distribute your resources more effectively, meaning that you can be assured that your Delivery Drivers are taking the most optimal set of routes, saving time and reducing operational costs. 

For more information around Scopta Run and Route or to start a free trial, get in touch with one of our team members today.

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