6 Different Route Planners Compared
If there’s one thing (besides invoicing) that’s going to be extremely time consuming in your delivery business, it’s route planning.
From looking at traffic patterns, to the order of stops and how long it takes your drivers at each stop. Manually planning routes can take hours everyday, as well make it really hard when something goes wrong on the road or needs adding in.
To really save time—and money—you need to automate this process. But how do you know which is the best route planning software for you?
We’ve taken the hassle out of searching and compared six different route planners:
- free software.
Let’s dive in.
Why use a route planning software?
Using route planning software means you can be reassured your drivers are taking the most efficient routes possible. This saves you time, fuel, labour and fleet maintenance. It helps you run not only a faster, smoother delivery business but a more profitable one.
The difficulty with route planning is that it’s complex, because there’s so much to take into account (accurate address data, drivers, vehicles, order of stops, time windows and so on). Let alone when something goes wrong or needs to change midway through the run.
This is where using a route planning software can really help. Once you plug in your addresses, it takes just moments to optimise your route.
When trying to decide on the best route planning software for your business, consider software with features which:
- reduce your route planning time
- reduce the time your drivers are on the road
- streamline your delivery process (with automated notifications for example)
- enable updated and accurate ETAs
- allow route monitoring and proof of delivery.
Let’s look at five of the best route planning softwares, based on this criteria.
TransVirtual’s route optimization software is just one part of our fully-featured transport management system (TMS). The route optimisation function turns your route allocation into a one-step process. So you take the time and hassle out of planning trips and also feel reassured that you’re making an efficient delivery. Scan deliveries into the app, press one button and your software will calculate the best route for you.
In just a few moments, it takes into account things like:
- a driver’s workflow
- the order of their stops
- distance between stops
- required time windows
The end result? You’re automatically shown the most ideal route, to help you shave time off every trip you make.
Once the most efficient route is generated, your drivers can be guided by turn-by-turn navigation.
Making changes on the road is quick and simple too, and these changes are easily sent to your drivers. Your drivers can easily capture instant proof of delivery with their mobile device, which then triggers automated customer updates.
Setting up your own system is a highly consultative process between you and our friendly support team, and it takes your entire fleet into account. You’ll also have access to GPS tracking, and our powerful analytics can look at historical data too (so you know exactly where and how you can improve).
- automated tracking updates
- route monitoring and live tracking
- comprehensive DIFOT reporting.
We’ve built an enterprise-quality software that’s priced for everyone. After your 14-day free trial, you can continue on with no upfront costs, no set-up fees, and no minimums. Just pay for what you use at a low, per consignment rate.
This is designed to be flexible and scalable depending on what you need (we have a comprehensive suite of features which you choose to add on, or not). The best bit? Your TransVirtual software will grow with your business because it’s a fully-featured TMS, and you can just use what you need, when you need it.
OptimoRoute is a route planning software that includes customer tracking updates and route monitoring, but is also less advanced in other ways. For example, it doesn’t include proof of delivery so you would need to use a separate app.
OptimoRoute is a good option otherwise. A handy feature is being able to download your optimised routes to your drivers’ navigation device (like TomTom, Garmin or Navigon).
It’s a straightforward route planner with easy connections to your existing navigation devices.
Why did OptimoRoute make our ‘Best route planning software’ list?
- Simple, straightforward route planning. To get started, simply upload your orders and from there you send the optimised routes to any driver using your OptimoRoute app. Your dispatch team can make real-time changes which are also reflected in the driver’s app.
- Automatic analytic reports. Understand which of your drivers are more efficiently completing all stops (or not).
OptimoRoute has three pricing tiers using a per driver/per month pricing scale.
Starter: Optimise routes up to 250 stops. Route monitoring and order tracking not included.
Business: Optimise routes up to 500 stops, includes route monitoring but not order tracking.
Enterprise: Optimise routes up to 750 stops, includes route monitoring and order tracking.
Routific contains some of the advanced features of TransVirtual, as well as some basic route planning functions. Let’s look at those basic route planning functions.
There are four different ways to input addresses into Routific when it’s time to plan your routes: Shopify integration, creating a customer profile, importing from a spreadsheet or simply adding them manually.
Once you’ve done that, you can start planning and optimising your routes. It has a neat little feature here that enables you to drag and drop stops if you want to modify the route slightly (remember that manual changes will usually mean your route isn’t optimised). Your drivers can now access their routes through the app.
Why did Routific make our ‘Best route planning software’ list?
- Live tracking for route monitoring. When looking at the app, green boxes tell you a package has been delivered on time, yellow boxes show that it was late, and red means it wasn’t delivered at all.
- Proof of delivery (although limited). Routific allows for Sign on Glass—capturing a signature on the driver’s mobile device—but not photo capturing when there’s no one to sign and the package is left at the front door.
Routific also has three pricing tiers: Essentials ($39/vehicle/month), Professional ($59/vehicle/month), and Premium (contact for custom pricing).
Keep in mind that the Essentials plan doesn’t include live tracking and you can’t use an API integration to bring Routific into your workflow. The Premium option means that Routific will tailor a custom plan to your business only.
WorkWave is management software with built-out platforms for different industries (like plumbing, pest service and landscaping). But it also has a solid route planner built into the software.
To get started, upload your routes as a CSV or Excel file and WorkWave optimises your routes from there. It has the same nifty drag and drop feature as Routific and you can include parameters like stop priorities.
Like the others, you then send the routes to your drivers using their WorkWave app.
Why did WorkWave make our ‘Best route planning software’ list?
- Automated customer updates through driver tracking. In order to reduce how often your driver needs to use their app, you can set up geofences around your route. When the driver enters a geofence, the customer is automatically notified that their delivery will arrive soon. This is a very neat feature, but it can become very time consuming (which can balance out the time-saving effects). It can also be problematic if you have a high number of stops in close proximity to each other. Beware.
WorkWave route manager pricing
Like many others, WorkWave offers three main pricing tiers.
WorkWave Route Manager: the most basic tier, includes order tracking updates but no geofencing.
WorkWave Manager 360: Upgrade to 360 and get real-time planning, order tracking, route monitoring, and more
WorkWave Manager 360+: Includes the features of 360, plus hard-wired vehicle tracking and driver behaviour metrics (like hitting the brakes suddenly or speeding).
This is exclusively a route planning software, so it doesn’t have any advanced features like proof of delivery or order tracking.
As you’ll be getting used to by now, you simply need to upload your addresses from an Excel or CSV file and MyRouteOnline will optimise your routes for you. With the more advanced plans you can save these addresses for future use. Optimise for up to 350 stops per route.
Why did WorkWave make our ‘Best route planning software’ list?
- Route plan in three different ways. You optimise your route by distance, time or a balance of the two. As you’ll know in this business, at various times you need to use these different measures to truly optimise a route.
- Flexible options once optimised. Once you’ve optimised your routes, you can: export them as an Excel file (great for printing), email them, or export them to a navigation device like Garmin or TomTom. Of course, your drivers can access their routes via the MyRouteOnline app, too.
MyRouteOnline has five pricing tiers: Basic ($29/one-time), Classic ($49/month), Premium ($99/month), Business ($799/one-time), and Let’s Talk (Enterprise Usage or Non-Profit).
An interesting feature to their pricing is the way they work off credits. One address equals one credit, and you can reuse that address or credit again within 30 days for no extra charge. There are some differences between the inclusions in each tier so be sure to know exactly what you’re getting.
Can the best route planning software be a free version?
Every dollar counts in this business, doesn’t it. We know that sometimes the difference between your own pricing being competitive or not, is just the tiniest added cost. So you try to save everywhere you can.
Free route planning software can work well for solo drivers managing small routes. Circuit, for example, has a free route planner if you don’t need to optimise for more than ten stops.
But once you’re working with longer routes, you’re also going to benefit from more advanced features like proof of delivery and real-time route monitoring. In which case, the free software just won’t be enough to remain competitive.