• DTS.USA
    5.320
    -0.013
    -0.2%
  • NTI.USA
    2.800
    0.000
    0%
  • NTID.USA
    2.760
    -0.100
    -3.5%
  • NTIDL.USA
    1.940
    -0.100
    -4.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.190
    0.010
    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,391.500
    -166.900
    -1.3%
  • DTS.USA
    5.320
    -0.013
    -0.2%
  • NTI.USA
    2.800
    0.000
    0%
  • NTID.USA
    2.760
    -0.100
    -3.5%
  • NTIDL.USA
    1.940
    -0.100
    -4.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.190
    0.010
    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,391.500
    -166.900
    -1.3%
Last-mile deliveryModern ShipperNewsRecent News

Viewpoint: The difference between routed and scheduled deliveries

Understanding the difference in delivery options is a key to last-mile delivery success

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FreightWaves or its affiliates.

Fast and high-quality product deliveries play an important role in enhancing the retail purchase experience. Whether you’re running an online store or a brick-and-mortar location, partnering with the right delivery provider is crucial.

With e-commerce giants like Amazon offering reliable same-day or next day delivery options, modern-day retailers must adapt their delivery strategies to beat the competition. Damaged products and delivery delays can drive off loyal customers. Additionally, it could take a toll on brand credibility and reputation. According to research, “unsatisfactory shipping options” drive 77% of consumers away from e-commerce purchases.

But when it comes to selecting delivery providers, things can get quickly overwhelming as certain terms that seem familiar, such as routing and scheduling, but are particularly nuanced, are thrown around. In fact, business owners and even logistics providers frequently interchange these terms.

However, it’s important to understand that there are striking differences between routed and scheduled deliveries. You must be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each technique before selecting a delivery option and provider. 

Scheduled delivery

Scheduling is the practice of assigning specific time windows and delivery professionals to each order. In other words, scheduling defines who will attend to different deliveries at what time.

A scheduled delivery provider considers various factors, such as the number of available vehicles and drivers. They may accept requests from different retailers and create delivery timelines based on vehicle and manpower availability, or the customer’s requested delivery date and time.

The main purpose of scheduling is to ensure your products reach customers at the right time, especially if the customer is in control of choosing when they want their delivery to arrive.

Routed delivery

Routing is the process of determining the most optimal delivery routes based on a pre-defined schedule. A routed delivery provider can use high-end route optimization software to determine precise delivery routes based on weather, traffic, and vehicle capacity constraints. The main goal of routed delivery is to minimize travel time and fuel costs. Also, it skyrockets the efficiency of delivery professionals.

Working with a routed delivery provider helps you reduce shipping costs while ensuring customer satisfaction. According to a case study by McKinsey, algorithmic route optimization helps logistics providers achieve a 16% increase in profits without compromising quality.

The power of combining routed and scheduled delivery

Both routing and scheduling use software-based algorithms to ensure timely deliveries. While routing focuses on optimizing travel time and cost-efficiency, scheduling ensures proper manpower utilization and increased customer control and satisfaction. Modern-day retailers should keep an eye out for delivery partners that combine the best of routed and scheduled deliveries. 

Harnessing the power of routing and scheduling offers the following benefits:

  • Enhanced customer experience

The end goal of routing and scheduling is to ensure your products reach customers on time. Both techniques minimize delivery delays while reducing fuel costs and manpower spending.

Moreover, route planning and scheduling software let customers track the delivery status and ETA. It improves transparency, helping you gain and retain customers’ trust while improving their experience.

A good option to ensure this benefit is always prioritized is to partner with a delivery provider that offers a unique capacity pool and utilizes a gig economy workforce—it becomes easier to modify routes if customers reschedule deliveries or a vehicle breaks down. Proper routing and scheduling with a partner ensure that your delivery requests aren’t impacted by cancellations or vehicle unavailability.

  • Increased efficiencies

With effective route planning and scheduling, delivery providers can cut various costs, including fuel and manpower. They help eliminate overspending due to unnecessarily longer routes and wasted empty miles. Increased efficiencies also mean trucks are spending less time on the road, which means less wear and tear and the less you spend on maintenance.  All these factors contribute to your company’s bottom line and help you generate more revenue.

  • Guaranteed scalability

With route planning and scheduling, your delivery provider is prepared to handle an ever-growing number of delivery requests. As your business grows and attracts new customers, orders increase, and scheduling and route optimization tools seamlessly accommodate more deliveries. Likewise, if your business experiences a seasonal surge in sales, routed and scheduled deliveries help you cater to growing customer demand.

In either case, it helps you take your business to greater heights without worrying about delivery delays.

Final takeaways

Encouraging customers to make a purchase isn’t enough. Modern retailers must prioritize order fulfillment to retain customers and drive repeat purchases. Delivery activities also play a key role in determining a customer’s post-purchase experience. 

Despite their differences, routing and scheduling ensure seamless product deliveries, and in fact, work best when they combined into a single last-mile program. They help optimize resource utilization and costs, which can translate into more revenue and happy customers.

About the author

Jay Sackos is a vice president at Dolly. Dolly provides nationwide same-day and scheduled delivery of items. It works with major retailers, small businesses and individuals to schedule and deliver purchased items.