What is Route Optimization and How Can Your Fleet Benefit?

  • What is route optimization and how can your fleet benefit?

Manually determining commercial trucking routes is a thing of the past that is inefficient and time-consuming. Even if you're using a web-based mapping system to schedule routes, it's not the same as integrating route optimization into your operations. Navigation apps give you simple point A to point B directions. Route optimization solutions, however, give you efficient directions from point A to point Z, including stops, deliveries, and a multitude of other factors.

Rand McNally Fleet is here to help you understand how route optimization is used in fleet management. Making the change from manual to advanced route optimization technology when it comes to your driver routes can impact your company's bottom line.

What is route optimization?

Route optimization is the process of consistently finding the most efficient and cost-effective route for your deliveries. When talking about your commercial fleet of trucks, though, it's more complex than finding the shortest distance between point A and point B. When you operate a fleet of assets, routing each truck to predetermined destinations encompasses comprehensive goals that go beyond scheduling a simple route.

With route optimization, the software can test different scenarios to help your company determine the best routes and resources available in a given location and time.

How route optimization works

Compared to a simple route search on a mapping system, route optimization technology takes every factor into consideration, such as the number of stops, deliveries, and locations. Other aspects include:

  • Available hours
  • Closest driver to the route
  • Deadlines
  • Driver breaks
  • Driver qualifications
  • Left-hand vs. right-hand turns
  • Legal requirements
  • Load capacities
  • Number of intersections
  • Number of turns
  • Schedules
  • Time windows
  • Traffic delays

Route optimization relies on sophisticated technology and is almost impossible to accomplish manually. Humans don't have the capacity to compute thousands or even millions of different parameters to find the best route for a single truck, let alone an entire fleet.

Computer algorithms and heuristics can narrow down the best options for your assets in seconds. Route optimization algorithms can churn through millions of possibilities and give you one that's optimal for your specific requirements. Strategies for fleet route optimization also give you more flexibility and adaptability to changes, like when a driver calls in sick, or you receive a last-minute order.

Benefits of route optimization

Route optimization solutions support your daily operations. For example, it helps you plan the best routes for individual assets each day while also providing accurate estimated times of arrival, efficient multi-stop deliveries, and increased customer satisfaction. As a result, drivers waste less time driving, which then allows them to add more stops to their day while reducing fuel costs.

Benefits of fleet route optimization include:

  • Enhanced efficiency
  • Fewer fuel costs
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Increased number of daily jobs
  • Less overworking
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Scaled planning resources


Enhanced efficiency

Determining a route for a single truck takes an incredible amount of time and resources, and only becomes exponentially challenging as your business grows. That's where route technology comes into play because it can consider other factors you can't calculate, such as load capacity and time windows. Without the efficiency of route optimization, you run the risk of inflating operational costs, wasting fuel and wages, and owning too many vehicles.

Reaching destinations in less time gives you and your drivers the opportunity to accomplish more throughout the day. You can allocate extra time to maintaining your assets or picking up more delivery jobs. Route optimization strategies also help drivers understand the benefits of utilizing the time they have and where they can make improvements.

Reduced fuel costs

The less time your crew spends trying to find the best route means lower fuel costs and more saved money your company can put toward other assets. When drivers accomplish more in less time using less fuel, you can also increase the number of deliveries you make each day.

Improved customer satisfaction

Making deliveries on time is crucial and can boost customer satisfaction rates. But customer retention goes a long way when deliveries are consistent and efficient, giving people more of a reason to leave positive reviews and spread positive comments via word-of-mouth. Having a trustworthy reputation in-person and online, along with brand loyalty, is crucial to the success and growth of your business.

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