Why your business needs route planning
4 reasons why MapQuest isn’t good enough anymore
MapQuest, Google Maps, and other mapping software were revolutionary when they came out. Using satellite information and GPS coordinates, they could (in most cases) tell you where you were and the best way to get where you were going.
What they couldn’t do was tell you the best, most efficient way to get from point A to point B while making stops at point C, D and E along the way. They couldn’t take address information from outside of their program and incorporate it into the route planning.
Recently, several app creators and entrepreneurs have stepped forward to fill the gap in usability and made driving direction apps and software that are compatible across multiple platforms. These apps can import data in text, Excel and other forms of cloud storage. These capabilities increase the versatility of apps designed for easy travel.
From humble beginnings
MapQuest went live on the internet in 1996 and was purchased by AOL in 2000. Until the release of Google Maps in 2004, it was the undisputed king of mapping software. Google Maps quickly knocked MapQuest off of its throne and by 2013 over 54 percent of smartphone users around the world have used it at least once.
The popularity of Google Maps makes it a natural base for apps designed to simplify finding the best routes. With its huge user base and inclusion in nearly all non-iPhone smartphones, it is familiar to most companies for driving directions.
Advantages of route planning apps
To get the most out of such apps for your business, you need to be able to do the following:
- Import contacts. Whether your company keeps its list of contacts on Excel or Text files, having a way to import them, preferably from cloud storage so that it can be done anywhere, is important.
- Save, update and reload routes. You want your course prediction software to last but, at the same time, you want to be able to update it when adding or subtracting stops. Knowing where your drivers are and how they are going to their next customer means increased efficiency for your drivers.
- Route Optimization. Depending on your company’s needs, having hundreds of addresses for a route is not out of the realm of possibility. Having an app that can find the most efficient routes based on time or distance is helpful for saving money through driver’s hours or fuel efficiency.
- Exporting and importing routes. For drivers that use Garmin or TomTom navigators being able to send them the route information in a form that works for their device can be important.
What your business needs
The next step for businesses is to determine the best route optimization app for their specific needs. Choosing a usable app that does what you need in the present while being upgradeable for future expansion is an important decision.
Businesses that depend on delivering products on a specific route have long relied on drivers to determine the most efficient and cost-effective way to get their goods to the market. Whether that was good or bad for the business is beside the point, now businesses have an alternative to subjective opinions on the best routes and can track and maintain contact with their drivers more easily.