There are dozens of reasons that a delivery route may need to change: a new retail outlet just off the standard route, a new distribution center in a different location, an influx of new drivers. Logistics is about making the most of the time you have, and being as efficient as possible. For delivery routes, a key component of efficiency is understanding the delivery route thoroughly, and doing plenty of research before you send your driver on the first trip.
Planning for Obstacles
The simplest part of researching a new delivery route means looking into obstacles along the road. This includes things like road construction that can drastically slow traffic down over a long period of time. Even if the road isn’t currently under construction, a road in poor condition can mean construction is coming soon.
Roads that see a high number of automobile accidents should also be avoided. Accidents also slow traffic, but beyond that, you don’t want to put your fleet in danger. Speed limits also have an effect on efficient driving: the more downshifts your driver has to make in order to slow down for speed traps, the longer the trip will take.
As driver regulations shift and change [Ed. Note: Link to Driver Regulations blog post], routes, speed, and the length of trips are all important factors in choosing your delivery routes. It’s extremely important that your drivers meet all safety regulations not only from a legal standpoint, but also from a safety standpoint. Make sure that your drivers are able to stay on a schedule that won’t have them breaking regulations, but still allow for efficient and effective deliveries. Some regulations change from state to state, so it’s important to be cognizant of the differences when planning routes as well.
The geography of the route should make a big difference in your decision-making process. If a given route tends to skew uphill without many downhill sections to level it out, leading the driver higher and higher, much more gas is going to be used to get the truck to its destination. Obviously gas prices and the amount used are important in keeping your prices low, and in some cases, you won’t be able to have much choice but to go to a higher altitude. That said, a topographic map might help you find a route that may not increase as dramatically.
- Maeghan Hurley