3PL Software: Case Study

A case study for any 3PL provider of delivery or third-party logistics to clients. We look at how route optimization and analytics software helps with efficiency and reporting.

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3PL Software


When third-party logistics (3PL) company, Deliver-it, approached us to be their delivery route planner they had just onboarded a new client who had presented them with a great opportunity. In order to accept the contract, Deliver-It faced a challenge. The new contract meant that owner, Barry Rabbitt, would need to increase his fleet and hire new drivers and become more efficient.

3PL Deliveries Solution

Deliver-It had received the data on where his drop-offs would be and the predicted volume and frequency of orders from the new client. They could then upload this data and optimize his routes and vehicle designation. In doing so, he was confidently able to guarantee that he could meet his customers demands and obligations.

Once the new contract started, Deliver-it were able to immediately begin using SmartRoutes' courier software. Each evening, their client would send over the order list, delivery addresses, and any specific dispatch notes pertaining to them. Previously, they would have had to manually plan which vans would take which items. Now, however, Barry simply needed to upload the data from his client to the SmartRoutes Desktop Route Planner. The planner did the work for him and at the click of a button, he was able to send all his routes directly to his drivers.

Initially, Barry had queried how receptive his drivers would be of the app. At SmartRoutes, we’ve worked hard to make our app completely user-friendly and intuitive. Not alone did drivers embrace the app, but they reported that it made their job easier. They could now see their routes the night before, keep track of any undeliverables and keep all their POD's securely.

Throughout the day, Barry was able to keep track of all his vans and drivers from his route planning dashboard. This visibility and oversight of his new drivers was critical and put his mind at ease. It also meant that he was able to give his client real-time ETA's updates on the deliveries.

The Goals

Integrating new client & existing customer/drop-off data to speed up onboarding

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Putting a system in place that would make multi-drop routing as efficient as possible, saving on time, money & resources

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Establishing a way of bulk distributing routes to drivers the night before

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Keeping real-time oversight of van locations throughout the day and track proof-of delivery

Key Features for Deliver-It

Route planning

Poor planning of last mile delivery can increase your overall logistical costs by 20-40% making your operations unprofitable. Poor planning leads to long time windows and missed deliveries  resulting in customer churn.  Using a delivery planning software solves this problem for you. Reduction in the administrative overhead of planning routes frees up your time.

Route optimization

Our route optimizing algorithm will reduce cost per delivery by at least 33% versus traditional planning and allow you to factor in complex variables like time windows, load balancing, zonal territories and even vehicle variables to avoid missed deliveries and deadlines. Vehicles leaving the depot fully loaded results in greater profitability.

Fleet tracking

Visualize your delivery fleet with a live map to manage and adjust routes in real-time. Be more efficient and take the guesswork out of delivery operations. Be less dependent on a driver’s local knowledge by implementing a data-driven model of fleet tracking.

Delivery driver app

Your drivers are your greatest asset and you need to give them great tools. Our delivery driver apps optimize and navigate their delivery route. It also allows them to capture proof of delivery and keeps them in constant contact with the depot through dispatch and driver notes. With driver turnover rates at 25% on average annually driver apps will help to retain staff and improve efficiency.

Delivery management

A total solution to delivery management is critical for all business types in order to control costs and protect the customer experience with you. Lack of investment in delivery management can result in 38% customer churn and spiralling delivery costs as a result particularly of missed deliveries that need to be repeated. Contactless delivery options also need to be considered to safeguard public health.

Delivery experience

Excel at the delivery experience for your customers keeping them in the loop with real-time notifications and a live package tracking portal. Cut out missed deliveries and unhappy customers with a simple to implement solution that anyone in your business can use. Increase customer return rates and control your costs on the most expensive section of your logistics journey.

Proof of delivery

Capture proof of delivery by e-signature, photo or barcode scan for total security and compliance. Automate email confirmation to customers or to the relevant ERP system.

Delivery notifications

Stay in constant contact with your customers over the last-mile with delivery notifications and updates by text or email. Automate the customer support requirements and provide certainty to customers. Reduce delivery windows and increase delivery hit rates to decrease cost per delivery and reduce customer churn.  

Territory management

Create zones of delivery and allow our AI to intelligently assign and manage work within this area. Route and territory optimization all in one.

Reporting capability

Become a data-driven delivery team with end-of-day reports on all aspects of your operation. Measure your success and improve your performance month on month.

Multi-depot management

Scale your organization and reflect the scope of your logistics team with SmartRoutes multi-depot management. Create a network of SmartRoutes accounts to manage large distributed organizations with Super Admin role permissions and regional depot managers depending on requirements.

Customer mapping software

A customer map that acts like a visual CRM SmartRoutes can get your maintenance, delivery or sales teams out in the field. See at a glance who needs a visit or what order needs to be fulfilled and meet that need for your customers.

Customer Quote
"My whole company is now using SmartRoutes in some capacity, and the support they’ve received from their team has been exceptional. It’s made life easier for everyone and made my operations more efficient across the board"

- Barry Rabbit, Owner

Results from 3PL Software roll-out

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hours per year saved on driver & admin time

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saved on fuel based on existing routes over 1st year

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less miles traveled in the first year

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tonnes of emissions prevented from entering the atmosphere over first year


The outcome of our project with Deliver-It surpassed all expectations. Driven by necessity to accept a new contract originally, the resulting impact on the business was much more widespread than anticipated.

Bench-marking off existing contracts and operations, Deliver-It estimated that they required 1 less van than they would have with their existing manual routing process. Fuel costs alone we reduced by at least €100 per week as a result.

To read more case studies about how we have helped a multitude of clients on various industries, you can check them out here.

If you’d like to learn more about how SmartRoutes multi-drop route planner can help you to optimize your courier app and delivery operations, feel free to get in touch using the contact form below:

Some signs you might need to look again at your 3PL provider

Our 3PL provider falls behind during sales peaks

Are you losing customers due to missed and late orders? Does your 3PL fall behind during peak sales periods? Is your inventory processed fast enough? These are just a few symptoms of greater fulfillment inefficiencies.

What to ask your provider:

  1. What is your promised timeline for completing deliveries?
  2. What are your procedures for route planning and optimization?
  3. Can you provide the full visibility into delivery routes for us and for our end customers?
  4. What processes do you have in place to ensure delivery experience is good for customers?
  5. What are your integrated proof of delivery systems and reporting structures to remain accountable to us, your clients?

We have no visibility and control over our operational data

Data trapped in silos is a sure-fire way to slow down your fulfillment and cause problems. Do you have to send an email to change an order? You’ve sent an email to your provider with an address change. Hours later, they write back telling you the order has already shipped. If your 3PL has to go into their order system to make changes to an order, you and your customers are losing out. Your 3PL should be providing transparent, real-time access to your operational data.

Our brand [and bottom-line] is taking a hit because of poor delivery operations

Customer expectations for a satisfying post-click experience are ratcheting up every year as brand interactions become more digital and include numerous touchpoints. You can’t leave the critical order delivery experience to chance. Missed or late deliveries, the wrong product, or lack of customer communications about delivery timing or back-orders are all fodder for consumer complaints on social media. If your 3PL or the parcel carrier is off their game, you may be one of the last to know it until it’s too late. You may have already lost a customer who is eager to tell everyone about it by word of mouth and social media.

Missed deliveries and the need to redeliver has an average cost of $17 per redelivery in last mile operations. This can stack up very quickly if deliveries are being missed on every route and can negatively impact the functioning of subsequent routes. Creating a seamless system of time-window certainty and establishing the options in the event that the end-customer is not able to accept the delivery is critical to ensuring this does not become a drag on operations and bottom-line. It is critical that your 3PL provider has a process in place for this.

Seeking better eCommerce fulfillment

As an online merchant, you need to keep up with your end customer’s fluid expectations for a seamless customer experience. Your 3PL can’t leave your brand in the dust. Brand reputation, loss of customers and lost opportunity—not to mention revenues—are all at stake if your ecommerce fulfillment processes are less than perfect.

Transparency, visibility and smart use of automation technologies are the baseline requirements of modern fulfillment. If your fulfillment provider has lackluster results, you may need to seek out a provider that specializes in direct-to-customer fulfillment and can handle today’s expanding expectations for a seamless customer experience.

Customer service is the cornerstone of customer experience

According to a 2018 survey by Microsoft in the U.S. and international markets, 95% of 5,000 consumers polled said customer service is a leading indicator of their brand loyalty.

Today’s consumers expect to receive customer service across multiple channels and on any device. No longer just an important option for millennials, social channels are fast becoming a standard for all demographics.

Blaming the messenger: a bad delivery experience can kill brand loyalty.

Convey’s annual survey in 2018 to more than 1,500 shoppers about delivery experiences found:

• 84% are unlikely to shop with a brand again after a poor delivery experience

• 98% of shoppers say that delivery impacts their brand loyalty