What role does dispatching play in creating the best delivery system for your business?

In the past year, with the world grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a surge in the demand for faster and better deliveries. Many consumers have moved to online shopping and eCommerce stores to meet their shopping needs during the worldwide lockdown. While this opens up the potential for many businesses to expand their delivery system, it also means consumers demand a lot more from couriers and deliverers.

Think about it this way. Have you ever found yourself frustrated with a delayed delivery? If your package arrives late, does that put you off from buying from that store again? Can a bad or delayed delivery ruin your entire shopping experience, leaving you with a bitter taste in your mouth? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you can empathize and understand how your customers feel about delayed deliveries.

With dispatching made easy, using modern delivery systems, you can avoid leaving your customers feeling disappointed, dejected, and displeased.

What is dispatching or dispatch management?

Dispatch management is the organization of delivery schedules involving assigning work to drivers or deliverers, monitoring incoming and outgoing orders, and optimizing driver routes and stops. Getting the best out of your dispatching requires balancing your customer or order needs with the available equipment, resources, and employees.

Dispatchers are responsible for making sure orders go out to customers as needed. They’re also responsible for juggling resource capacity and capabilities, ensuring the right resources and workers meet the right jobs. This can be a role included in the work of delivery, transport, or route manager, or it can be an independent role depending on the needs and size of your business and delivery program.

Either way, this is dispatching or dispatch management. It is complex work with many challenges.

Common dispatching challenges

As you can imagine, managing an entire fleet, orders, and deliveries, and making sure customers get their deliveries on time, is difficult work, to say the least. It makes sense then that traditional or manual systems of dispatching have coincided with sizable errors and delivery delays.

With no digitized method of dispatch tracking and recording, dispatchers only have whiteboards and paper files to guide them on schedules. Needless to say, accidents happen, documents get lost, people accidentally smudge whiteboards, and a cup of coffee topples over onto a bunch of files. In addition to efficient, streamlined, and reliable systems, dispatchers also face other challenges.

Driver shortages

In the bulk tanker market, there are an estimated 63 000 truck driver jobs needing new drivers. By 2026, it is predicted that the global tanker trucking industry will need over 170 000 new drivers. These numbers point to an increasing and notable shortage in drivers on a global level. Internally, there are other factors that cause driver shortages, including high workload, driver exhaustion, and overworked drivers.

For your delivery system, driver shortages lead to poor efficiency, longer delivery times, more delays, and the inability to meet customer expectations and provide the best customer service.

Customer service

Modern-day customer expectations place a very high standard on delivery systems. Consumers want the best delivery options, including free delivery. It can be difficult for delivery businesses to keep up with these expectations and offer consistently on-the-ball service. Plus, buyers also expect excellent communication and connectivity, a variety of delivery options, and personalized experiences, as well.

Data visibility

Information and data access can result in communication breakdowns, incorrect and late dispatches, and other delays. There are many details and pieces of information to keep track of in order to make a successful delivery. To maintain the quality of service, you must monitor data and make sure information remains updated across channels so that there are no information bottlenecks.

Connectivity and communication

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Easing information access and data visibility has a direct impact on connectivity and communication. Poor communication with drivers can impact your business’s ability to adapt to changes and emergencies quickly. When there is an issue with a dispatch or delivery, not being able to communicate with drivers can cause unnecessary trip extensions.

Customer communication can also be a notable challenge to your organization. Good communication is one of the things that customers have a high expectation of.

Transportation costs

Fleet management requires an almost superpower ability to balance budgets and costs. The cost of transportation has a direct influence on the effectiveness of your deliveries and your dispatching. With vehicle costs and maintenance, fuel prices, labor fees, and other costs, transport costs present a substantial challenge to delivery companies and fleet managers.

9 reasons why you should modernize your dispatching process (or dispatch management)

Dispatching software or delivery management technology can help companies face the challenges above. Your dispatches are made easy when you utilize software solutions. Here are nine reasons to prove to you why modernizing your dispatching is the way to go.

1. Automation capabilities

Efficiency is an important thing to attain with your delivery system. Efficient dispatching is just as important and becomes more easily attainable with automation features. Many delivery or dispatching software solutions tend to have automation capabilities, cutting back your employees’ workload. You can automate vital transporting and delivery steps including routing and dispatching.

This removes a sizable challenge on managers’ to-do lists: dealing with the dispatch routing disjuncture. The software can automatically generate the best routes for each order which it provides to drivers. Track-POD’s delivery system also automatically allocates jobs to available drivers, notifying them immediately with route information and delivery details available to them.

2. Scheduling and trip planning

A good dispatch tracker can work hand-in-hand with your order management tool to schedule deliveries effectively. It takes into account the details of the order including the delivery date and allocates work to the right drivers and vehicles. These deliveries become even more efficient with route planning software that can include numerous stops in one trip. This way, drivers can make multiple deliveries in one trip resulting in efficient and timely deliveries.

3. Route optimization and route planning

Route optimization and route planning play an important part in your dispatching procedures. They ensure on-time deliveries as well as efficiency. With routing benefits, your dispatching software can help you meet customer needs and make smart trip decisions that save time and money. With shorter, faster, and safer routes, you guarantee driver efficiency, customer satisfaction, and cost reduction.

4. Delay Reduction

Planning and optimizing your routes also allow you to reduce delays and no-show deliveries. With a planned route made available to them, and the ability to access navigation instructions on a mobile platform, your delivery drivers are less likely to get lost or derailed on the road. GPS navigation features also act as delivery or dispatch tracking for managers and customers, who can monitor to see the delivery progress.

This is a good way to hold drivers accountable and prevent them from making unnecessary and personal stops on the way. It’s also useful for emergencies as the manager can ‘see’ if the driver is stuck or meets unexpected challenges along the way like traffic.

5. Communication

Dispatching and good delivery work together with excellent communication. In deliveries, there exists a delivery triangle: manager to the customer, customer to the driver, and driver to manager. Communication needs remain possible in all these directions and your dispatching software should make this a reality.

Track-POD’s delivery app enables these connectivity channels. When the system dispatches a job, the platform notifies the relevant driver that they have a new job, making sure they’re aware of all the job details. The app also makes the planned route available to the driver in advance so they can familiarize themselves with it. Notifications also go out to the customer confirming their delivery and providing relevant information and updates.

During the delivery, an in-app chat presents a space for constant communication between all three actors. Drivers can inform their managers if they meet any delays or issues along the way, or if they need roadside assistance. This enables managers to deal effectively and quickly with any arising challenges. Managers can also then communicate delays with customers.

On the other hand, drivers and customers can also communicate directly with one another. Drivers can inform customers about delays and customers can ask questions about the delivery progress, which is one of the key parts of building customer-centric practices.

6. Scalability

Working with manual dispatches and unautomated dispatch tracker systems means you have to spend a lot more hiring new employees as your business grows. Utilizing a good software solution reduces scaling costs and makes it easier to grow your business the way you want. The system can adapt easily to bigger or different delivery numbers as tasks are automated.

7. Cloud-based accessibility

Organization and data management are unavoidable and necessary aspects of deliveries. Dispatching made easy means data accessibility and visibility must be at their highest. What easier way is there to have data available to relevant employees at all times than a cloud-based database?

With cloud computing, you can keep all vital data in a central space making it easier to access from anywhere. It also makes it easier to store updated data. For example, drivers can upload their proof of delivery instantly. Customers can also receive automated copies of relevant documents like Proof of Delivery, delivery confirmation, and so on. This is safer and speedier than filing physical documents and manually sending out scanned or mailed copies.

8. Insights and analytics

To meet changing customer expectations, make the best systematic and financial decisions, and get an edge over your competitors, it’s important to rely on trip and delivery data. Use predictive analytics and insights from your software solution to assist you in getting the best out of your data.

What’s fantastic is that Track-POD’s solution is an automatic dispatch tracker, keeping GPS data, trip information, and more. It then automatically generates data reports that your business can use to guide better decision-making. Accurate data removes any uncertainty in your decisions and helps you develop an efficient system based on past data.

9. Customer service

All the benefits above help you provide the best customer service through dispatching. Deliveries can arrive faster and on time with good scheduling, route planning, and route optimization. Automation, data visibility, and insights contribute to the establishment of an efficient system that can offer customers the best. Finally, good communication channels meet customer expectations for the experience and allow you to keep them in the loop.

How to modernize your delivery system’s dispatching

These are four easy steps you can take to modernize your dispatching.

  • Hire a good dispatch manager or delivery manager. This is someone that can oversee the complex work of dispatching, multitask, and plan to face challenges head-on, and that is organized, assertive, and level-headed.

  • Make sure your system is customer-centric, placing customer needs first at all times. This is best done through open communication and efficient delivery. The modern customer is the center of good delivery.

  • Use dispatching software that has all the above features and benefits. You must also conduct constant research into technological improvements in logistics and other relevant industries. Technology is constantly evolving and you want to make sure you use the latest tech to keep your business running efficiently.

  • Train your employees on efficiency and the use of the software solution you select. Make sure that they understand all the relevant features so that the software doesn’t become a challenge instead of a tool of support.

That’s modern dispatching made easy!

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Dispatching is complicated work, involving a mix of different delivery elements. Getting it right needs you to put thought into how different delivery elements like the schedule and routing come together. While this may have been an overwhelming task in the past, today dispatching is made easy with smart software solutions.

Using a dispatching solution with dispatch tracker capabilities helps you boost efficiency, reduce costs, optimize your time, improve communication, and provide the best customer service. It’s the best thing that could happen to your delivery system.