How Delivery Planning Can Grow Your Business in 2020
Delivery planning is the practice of planning out routes and logistics to deliver products. Companies that deliver products such as pizzas, flowers, and water all use delivery planning to get their products into the hands of customers.
The four factors of successful delivery planning
There are four factors you should consider when assessing your delivery operations. A well-executed delivery plan will excel in each of the following areas:
This one may be the most obvious, but its importance cannot be overstated. Your delivery plan must enable you to get products to your customers on time or within the promised delivery window. This is vital for customer satisfaction and retention and positive reviews.
A great delivery-planning process should keep your transportation costs low but your earning potential high by sending your delivery team on the most efficient routes. If your gas costs are very high, or your drivers continually have to return to a depot to reload, or a significant number of your orders are unable to be dropped off because the customer isn’t home at the right time, your process is probably inefficient. As we will explain below, route-planning software can help with this.
Effective delivery planning should help you reach maximum capacity without overloading your drivers or requiring them to work overtime. Top-notch last-mile delivery plans take into account the dimensions and weight capacity of each vehicle in a fleet as well as the number of deliveries each driver makes in a given shift to evenly distribute the load and give businesses the most bang for their buck.
You’ll know you have a great delivery planning process when everyone in your delivery fleet (including your route planner) has a balanced workload, and no one on your team is feeling burned out. In fact, an excellent delivery-planning system will even allow your manager or route planner to spend more time on strategy.
Are delivery planning and route planning the same?
Delivery planning and route planning are not the same thing, though the terms are often used interchangeably and sometimes even called “delivery route planning.” It can be confusing because delivery and route planning are frequently used together, but, at their core, they accomplish different objectives.
Route planning is the practice of mapping out routes and can include routes for deliveries and pickups, as well as for service or maintenance appointments. Delivery planning focuses solely on getting products to customers.
Why Is Delivery Planning So Important?
If you want to be competitive, you need to be able to deliver — literally, because more and more purchases are happening online. This year, Americans are expected to spend $23,991 million on online food delivery, and that number is anticipated to grow at an annual rate of 5.1% over the next four years. Globally, retail e-commerce sales amounted to $3.53 trillion U.S. dollars in 2019, and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022.
Buyers want everything from food to cleaning products delivered to their doors, and they will pay extra if you can get their order to them fast enough. 41% of shoppers say they are willing to pay more for same-day delivery.
On the flip side, 25% of shoppers expect deliveries to arrive within two days, so not only do you need to be able to deliver, but you absolutely must do it well. Thirteen percent of retail consumers say they will never order from a retailer again if their delivery is late.
Bottom line: If you don’t have a good delivery plan in place, you won’t be able to exceed or even meet the expectations of your customers, and you could lose them — permanently.