You are working as field rep, visiting 5, 10, or more customers each day, and want to plan your routes? Read on to learn why Google Maps and many online multi-stop route-planners desperately fail at this task – and why you will succeed with a professional route-planner like portatour®.
- The wrong order: In Google Maps, you can add multiple stops to a route. But Google will not help you to find the optimal order with the shortest driving route. You have to do this yourself – which is stressful and time-consuming. Even 10 addresses can be sorted in 3,628,800 different ways, you will waste hours to find an optimized route.
- Route optimization, but only for a few addresses: If you search the web for route optimization software, you quickly find that most offer a maximum of 25 stops and fail beyond that. How many customers do you have to visit in your field sales, service or consulting job? Definitely more than 25, if you want to succeed! To visit 250 customers, you are faced with a choice of 10^492 possible routes (a big number with 492 zeros at the end. Finding the optimal route is thus more difficult than finding a single atom in the universe, there are only 10^82 atoms). portatour® can calculate optimized routes for up to 1,000 customers automatically, within seconds.
- You must drive night and day: Although conventional route optimizers bring addresses in the correct order, they do not take into account that your work day ends at 6pm, when you actually want to be home for dinner and not on the road on a long route. What good is an “optimized” route for 25 customers, if you can only visit 10 per day? A good route-planner like portatour® spreads your customer visits on multiple working days, keeps visits within your working hours, and optimizes departure and return times.
- You miss an appointment: Do you already have a fixed appointment with an important customer? Neither Google Maps nor other route-planners know your calendar. You either miss the important appointment – or you waste miles on the road. portatour® however considers your appointments and recurring appointments when optimizing your route.
- You face closed doors: An online route-planner suggests a route, you happily follow it and drive to the customer, only to find closed doors the exact time you arrive. You wasted miles and wasted time. A good route-planner like portatour® guides you to customers when they are open for business and cares to avoid lunch breaks and holidays.
- The wrong customers are scheduled: Should your poor-performing customers be visited as often as your cash-cows? Conventional planners treat all customers the same – each is “just an address”. Clever route-planners such as portatour® let you set customer priorities so that each customer is visited in exactly the right frequency.
- Visit frequencies are violated: Is it really your job to drudge through an Excel spreadsheet every day, fishing out customers that are ripe for a visit based on their planned visit frequency; then take these and look them up in Google Maps or a conventional route-planner to come up with a meaningful schedule for each day? portatour® takes this pain away by automatically picking exactly those customers ripe for a visit according to their call frequency and planning optimized daily routes to meet them.
- Customers are forgotten: Do Google Maps or other route-planning software remind you if you have forgotten to visit a customer for a longer time? No. Let alone, they do not automatically include a forgotten customer in your schedule in a mileage-optimized way. The danger is high to forget visiting a customer forever, and thereby losing him.
- Your clever plan falls apart when faced with harsh reality: What if things are not going according to plan? Who updates your plan, when you are stuck in a traffic jam, a visit drags on forever, or an appointment is cancelled? Do you have to start planning again from scratch for the rest of the day? Or do you stubbornly stick to the original plan, which is by now far from reality? portatour® gives you a dynamic route-planner, letting you – when things go wrong – update your plan anytime with the click of a button.
- Doesn’t work on your PC, Notebook, Tablet, and Smartphone: You found a great route planner, but it only works on your Windows-PC and requires a large screen resolution? Or it is only available as iOs App on your Smartphone? The best route-planner is available everywhere you need it: at home on your PC, on the road on your notebook and tablet, and on your smartphone while hurrying to the next customer. Your scheduled routes are available everywhere and are always up-to-date, without you having to enter your data twice on every device.
It is apparent by looking at these 10 problems: if you are a professional field rep, you need a professional multi-stop route-planning tool. Free software like Google Maps, or cheap multi-stop route-planners waste your time and leave you alone when faced with above problems. The worse: you are caught in a hidden cost trap, wasting your time with manual planning and driving too many miles, while you actually could be visiting customers. Time is money, as you know.
Don’t waste your time and money but chose a professional route-planner that is worth it: the dynamic route-planner portatour® solves above problems. Start visiting more customers and driving less miles now!