Routing, Scheduling and Route Optimization – what’s the difference?


by Andrew Bell

Birds eye view of trucks on the roadRouting, scheduling and route optimization are three separate logistics processes that are essential to creating reliable and cost effective delivery or collection routes.

Understanding how ‘route optimization’ differs from the processes of routing and scheduling has allowed our customers to significantly reduce their fuel bills and unlock savings of 10 – 30%. In addition to cutting their costs, Truckstops has also enabled them to either decrease their vehicle fleet while delivering the same amount or deliver more stock with the same volume of vehicles.

  • ROUTING is the process of mapping out the unique ways that one or more vehicles will take while they deliver or collect stock from each of their stop points. This involves considering the sequence of stops, and the ways that will be taken by each vehicle to successfully achieve this outcome.
  • SCHEDULING is the process of calculating and assigning an arrival time for each stop, with drivers being assigned shifts that adhere to working hours.
  • ROUTE OPTIMIZATION follows these steps and is the process of analysing the projected routes and refining them to be more efficient. This can be achieved by taking a range of factors into account such as vehicle type, type of stock, road restrictions etc.


Undertaking these three essential processes without a software solution is a painstaking and time consuming process. Firstly, a supply chain manager would have to undertake routing, mapping out every single vehicle stop before deciding the sequence that the organisation’s mobile assets would service these points.

Then these points would have to be scheduled, meaning the manager would need to calculate how long it takes to visit every stop. The manager would have to consider a number of factors such as distance travelled, traffic conditions, and the likelihood of disruption to these routes to project precisely when each stop could be serviced.

Next, these routes would need to be optimized, with every single route needing to be revised to find cheaper, faster and more efficient alternatives based on a range of contextual factors.

Finally, every optimised route would need to be distributed to each driver quickly and in an intuitive format. This entire process would take many hours, and even then could not guarantee the most cost-effective and reliable routing.

Ultimately the processes of routing, scheduling and route optimization require a solution like Truckstops to save time, sweat mobile assets more effectively and unlock real value. Once you input your data, Truckstops capably undertakes all three of these tasks on behalf of your organisation.

Truckstops handles multi-drop and multi-depot tasks incorporating time windows, driver’s hours, overtime rates, unload rates and many other variables to reduce costs, save time and improve customer service. Contact us to discuss your logistics requirements or book a demonstration.