How to Meet Delivery Demands Amidst a Labor Shortage

Meeting the increased demand for delivery has become more difficult in the last year, with both retail and food and beverage industries experiencing a labor shortage. To fulfill customer orders and increase delivery efficiency, the ability to map out multiple locations for delivery drivers via route planning is a necessity in today’s world.

Stores and restaurants have offered delivery for quite a few years. That’s not a new trend in either industry. What is new, however, is the increased demand for delivery, which was boosted at a high rate of speed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for delivery required both industries to mass-hire delivery drivers and fulfillment staff overnight, or so it felt. In 2020, hiring new drivers wasn’t as great of a challenge as it is today nearly two years into the pandemic. With both industries finding it difficult to fulfill job vacancies both in and outside of their businesses, efficiency is more important than ever to meet the needs and expectations of customers.

Delivery Challenges as a Result of the Labor Shortage

The inability to fulfill and deliver orders on time, or in some cases, at all, is not only frustrating to the customer but the businesses as well. While the causes of the labor shortage vary, it is unknown just how long it will last. Restaurants, retail companies, and even businesses that provide third-party delivery services are all feeling the effects of this labor shortage.

In the food and beverage industry, restaurants are hiring for nearly every position needed to operate their businesses. From food preparation to delivery, there just aren’t enough workers to keep their businesses open. This is especially devastating to the food and beverage industry as it took one of the greatest hits during the pandemic lockdowns. Now that the lockdowns have lifted, there are no workers to keep them running.

In the retail industry, order fulfillment is hit or miss with dependence on the manufacturers that supply the products, parts, or materials that they sell. Delays and cancellations in deliveries are becoming more and more common due to the lack of workers to pick, pack, and deliver orders. Retail stores are often running on skeleton crews, with just one or two staff members working when there should be five times that number of people working.

Third-party delivery services like Uber and DoorDash are feeling the effects of the labor shortage, too. Their entire business is based on delivery and the number of delivery drivers is dwindling. As the number of drivers drops, revenue drops with it.

Overcoming Delivery Challenges

Efficiency needs to become one of your business’s primary focuses. At a time when you have a limited headcount, your business must make the most of your delivery driver’s time with efficient route planning.

Efficient route planning starts with a Directions API. If your business hasn’t looked into Directions APIs, now is the time. This API might just be the silver bullet your business needs to overcome the delivery challenges amidst the labor shortage.

A Directions API allows your business to create custom routes with route planning capabilities. Whether it’s going from point A to point B or adding points C and D in between, it will ensure your delivery drivers get orders to destinations in the most efficient way possible.

How a Directions API Increases Delivery Efficiency

Enable your delivery staff to deliver as many orders as possible while they’re working. Whether they’re delivering by vehicle, bicycle, or foot, you’ll be able to customize their routes based on speed and distance. Delivery routes can also be optimized with a Directions API by enabling you to map out multiple locations. Not only will this increase your delivery efficiency, it will also save your drivers time and save your company money.

A Directions API increases efficiency by providing:

  • Turn-by-turn directions from an origin point to a destination. This includes road shields, turn direction, street names, and static maneuver maps.
  • Calculation of the fastest or shortest driving, pedestrian, bicycle, or multimodal routes.
  • Customized routes by avoiding ferries, highways, and toll roads. You can also add a boundary in which to contain routing options and account for fuel-efficiency.
  • The most efficient (fastest or shortest) route between up to 25 locations.
  • Calculation of the time and distance from one location to a group of locations, or all locations in a group. A one-to-many route matrix can handle up to 100 locations, while an all-to-all request can handle up to 25 locations.
  • The ability to take days and times into consideration when plotting a route, including HOV-specific lanes, timed turn restrictions, and specific day-of-week closures.
  • The capability to request multiple potential routes between an origin and destination. You can even specify “acceptable time overages.”
  • Drag-a-route options to avoid unexpected traffic or road work, or to add additional locations on the fly.
  • Calculation of your drivers’ estimated fuel usage associated with a route.

Take a Deeper Dive

If you’re interested in learning more about how location-based technologies can help your business overcome the delivery challenges brought on by the labor shortage, contact a member of the MapQuest for Business team. You can also view the MapQuest for Business brochure, send us an email, visit the MapQuest for Business website, or give us a call at 800-827-7950.

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