Deck Out Your Route Planning with the New Google Routing API + Eco-Friendly Options

Deck Out Your Route Planning With The New Google Routing API + Eco-Friendly Options

Fleet managers … raise your hands!

How many fleet managers do we have in the audience today? It’s great to have you all here! To make the most of your time as you skim through this article, we’ll skip the chatter and cut to the chase.

Woman at a fleet planning computer console in the 1990s

Do you spend every morning manually mapping out routes for your drivers?

  • Do you find yourself hampered by the Google Maps limit of ten addresses when assembling directions?
  • Is your paper & pen method a little bit stuck somewhere around the 1980’s?
  • Do you know the route planning process could be simpler but you don’t have the spare time to revamp what’s been somewhat working?

We can provide a smoother path to route planning

xample of multi-stop planning with Google Maps software

We can implement Google’s updated Routes API into your Claris FileMaker solution – or build a custom routing software solution for you – to restore time in your day, raise the efficiency and accuracy of your efforts, and send your crews on their way with a spring in their step and a smooth path to follow.

Google has combined their previous Directions and Distance Matrix APIs into a single service offering a tool which, in their words, “enables you to provide more informative and flexible routes for your users, and improve ETA accuracy.” Efficient routes are no longer a mystery or pleasant surprise. They can be the standard practice for your fleet operations.

The Google Maps platform overall provides an impressive range of mapping capabilities – rich geospatial data, real-time route optimization, local area customization, advanced markers, and the proverbial “so much more”. It’s almost limitless.

The platform provides an interactive pricing tool to help estimate monthly costs, which scale to fit your needs. There is a monthly usage credit which equates to 28,500 map loads per month at no charge, and the API doesn’t have commitments, termination fees, or usage limits. We can assist with working through the pricing tool to focus in on the options that will be best for your delivery routes.

Example of sliders in Google Route API pricing tool

The experience of a recent client could be yours!

Mobile screen capture from Google Maps

One of our clients uses their fleet of ten trucks to pick up medical waste from various offices and laboratories within their community. Their drivers make around fifty stops every day, and the client wanted to eliminate the laborious, manual scheduling process their drivers had to go through each morning. They wanted something that was informed, accurate, and mostly automated for their fleet management process.

We integrated the Google Route API into their FileMaker solution, so that each driver now reviews the list of customer addresses, chooses the ones to visit that day, and then is shown an automatically  generated map.

The drivers print out their directions, or can send those directions to their mobile device with the click of a button. Then it’s on to providing rapid, high quality service to their customers. 

The drivers maintain the ability to adjust their order of stops if something makes more sense to the human eye. And the mapping can also be programmed to incorporate things like travel advisories and road conditions, in order to maintain the best route.  

Move toward sustainability with an eco-friendly routing option

Icon representing eco-friendly with two green leaves and the word Eco

Google’s recent addition of eco-friendly routing has added even more flexibility and purpose to the mapping process.

Planners can make sustainable driving choices through estimates of fuel consumption data, based on engine and fuel types, with just a few filtering options. Their drivers are still able to see the default routes, alongside more fuel-efficient ones, to choose the best path for their needs as their day progresses.

Looking for optimized routes with a more tailored fit?

Off-the-shelf route planning software certainly exists, but in the end our client decided to go with a custom Google integration due to its tight integration with their existing FileMaker solution. Ultimately, they determined the more complex subscription services such as Fleetio or Cal/Amp were not needed and would be more costly long-term. Learn more about how to choose between off-the-shelf and custom software in our recent blog article

Having us incorporate the Google Route API into their database was the exact solution they were looking for and it has increased their overall efficiency and staff satisfaction.

After a couple of months of programming and testing, our client is now enjoying a multitude of benefits through the Google Route API. They have eliminated the bulk of the manual entry of addresses. They have reduced extended drive times due to unintentionally taking a circuitous route, or having to double back. (Google’s address validation tool can also help prevent those types of wasted wandering.)

Two delivery drivers unloading boxes from the back of a delivery van

As a company, our client values having an at-a-glance overview of where each of their drivers will be throughout the day, and also in comparison to each other. They are also benefiting from being able to increase customer satisfaction due to their more efficient routing approach.

Route optimization for you and your drivers doesn’t need to be complicated, or years away

Adding the Google Route API to your own FileMaker solution will bring noticeable benefits to your company and staff, as described above. If you don’t currently have a FileMaker solution, we’ll be delighted to introduce you to the simplicity and ease of the platform. 

Improving the workflow for you and your drivers doesn’t need to be complicated, and the nature of FileMaker and the Google API allows functionality to improve and grow as your company grows.

It also doesn’t need to take forever. Most API integrations can be completed in a few weeks to a couple of months, after which your staff will be enjoying the best routes possible along with smoother, more predictable days. (Although traffic jams, construction, and weather are, unfortunately, out of our hands.)

Drop us a note or schedule a free consultation to review your routing software needs

Contact us today to get started on bumping up your operational efficiency. If you’re hesitant, schedule a free consultation so we can walk through your questions and put your mind at ease. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can have improved processes in place to help your route management and delivery operations keep pace with the speed of business.

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