We in the logistics industry know that nothing matters more to customers than timely deliveries. Therefore, it’s important to know all delivery driver GPS options available and to be using tools that help you coordinate the most efficient deliveries possible.
Today we’re running through one of the most important, yet easily forgotten, aspects of the delivery process — GPS, and putting the three most common GPS and mapping solutions head to head, so you can find what’s right for your business.
Let’s get started…
Why is GPS Important?
What’s tricky about coordinating outbound deliveries is that drivers most likely
have never been to the delivery location (or locations) before. And, it’s even more unlikely that a driver will know the quickest route from one destination to another if they’re doing multiple deliveries on the same day.
Whilst a few decades ago the solution might have been for a manager to sit down with a physical map, in the modern day GPS has become a crucial part of the delivery process.
GPS saves logistics businesses crucial time during the delivery process, allowing drivers to navigate the roads more efficiently and follow routing with ease.
What’s more, modern GPS systems are only getting more sophisticated. Many are able to tell drivers which routes are experiencing more traffic, or road works - or are able to suggest alternative routes when a driver makes a wrong turn. These new capabilities are making GPS technology even more invaluable to the delivery process: helping businesses to maximise their efficiency and deliver on customer expectations.
1. Google Maps / Apple Maps / Bing Maps
There are a variety of free mapping and GPS services available on the app
store, many of which provide a convenient solution for small businesses.
Pros of Free Mapping Apps
With a price tag of literally $0, there’s nothing to lose when trying out a free mapping app. This accessible price point also means that free mapping apps are perfect for very small businesses and startups who are only doing a few deliveries a day.
Most phones come with some kind of GPS app already downloaded and ready to go, meaning that there’s minimal set up time required to get out on the road: perfect for new businesses or doing an unplanned delivery.
Cons of Free Mapping Apps
Most free mapping apps only allow a limited number of stops per trip, meaning that they aren’t great for businesses that are doing more than 5-10 deliveries per day.
Manual Data Entry
Free mapping apps don’t offer sophisticated, integrated systems through which to manage your business. This means that they require the manual entry of locations, and routing isn’t able to be shared between devices. This can take up excess time and introduces potential for human error.
Data Sharing Limitations
Free apps, by nature of not being designed for professional use, often don’t have the capabilities a logistics company needs. Namely, there’s often no way to communicate with customers and share delivery progress. This can lead to issues with increased rates of failed deliveries, and customer complaints.
2. Paid Mapping Apps
If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated than what google
maps has to offer, then there are a range of paid mapping solutions available.
Pros of Paid Mapping Apps
Paid routing and GPS software is designed for businesses, and offers a more powerful range of features. This software allows drivers to communicate with management, route sharing, and communication with customers — making it ideal for businesses operating on a medium scale.
Many paid mapping softwares also come with route optimisation capabilities, allowing businesses to plan and execute routes more efficiently — ultimately leading to lower overheads and happier customers.
Cons of Paid Mapping Apps
Paid mapping apps don’t offer the same level of integrations as other delivery systems. This can lead to data management issues due to transfer between platforms, or administrative headaches caused by chasing up lost paperwork.
Not All Inclusive
Whilst paid mapping software provides a range of features useful for managing the delivery process, it’s still not an all-inclusive solution. This can create issues with communication between different branches of a business.
3. Transport Management Systems
A TMS is different to the other two options we’ve discussed because it isn’t purely focused on mapping. Instead, a TMS is a holistic solution with a range of features designed to centralise all of your transportation management needs.
We’d recommend a TMS for the majority of logistics businesses, because we don’t think any business wants to waste time on endless admin and data transfers, or risk giving customers service that falls short of the gold standard.
Pros of a TMS
One and Done
A TMS takes a holistic approach to GPS and routing by offering it as part of an integrated system: meaning faster and easier coordination between different areas of your business, and less time spent on data transfer.
Smart Data Management
Use a TMS to understand and measure important metrics from the delivery process, such as fuel consumption.
With features such as text alerts, track and trace, instant messaging, and a customer portal — a TMS enables the highest degree of communication both within your business and between you and your customers.
Cons of a TMS
Unfortunately, a powerful TMS service isn’t going to be free. Whilst many offer
reasonable rates that account for the size of your operation — if you’re just getting started then a free app will probably be the way to go.
Make Navigation Simple
Accurate and fuss free routing is key to being able to maximise your delivery efficiency over time. If you’re looking for a freight manager, courier, or transport enterprise looking for a TMS with the power to manage routing, communication, and much more — look no further than TransVirtual.