Delivery giants across the board have one thing in common—that is, they know the crucial role of last mile logistics and have invested resources and time to develop top-notch logistics networks. These last mile companies know that their customers place a lot of value on a dependable, accurate delivery experience. And nowhere is this more true than in the construction and building supplies industry.
Construction is one of the major contributors to any economy, contributing around 13 percent or $11 trillion to the world's gross domestic product (GDP). However, construction has lagged behind other industries in the last 25 years when it comes to productivity gains largely because of the lack of investment in technological tools and solutions.
This lack of investment can result in low asset utilization rates and increased waste. It’s not uncommon to see pricey assets sitting idle and delivery plans filled with deadhead routes. or worse, empty. By relying on conventional, paper-based processes that are prone to human error, construction firms and their suppliers stand to lose out on the efficiency gains that have been seen recently in industries like retail and e-commerce.
By following the leads of businesses that have already undergone digital transformations in their delivery and logistics processes, construction supply businesses have the opportunity to enjoy significant efficiency gains, achieve higher customer retention and acquisition rates, and enjoy higher profit margins. The only challenge is finding the right software to jumpstart your transformation.
How Construction Dispatch Software Helps the Building Supplies Industry
Construction dispatch software is one of the tools that can automate the processes involved in last mile delivery of construction supplies and materials. Here's how this can help:
Eliminating inefficiencies to increase profit margins
The pervasive lack of visibility and technological tools can result in inefficient management. By relying on paper-based, manual processes, you effectively ensure that processes will be slow, disconnected, and prone to manual errors. Not only that, but you make it impossible to achieve visibility into deliveries once the truck has left the distribution center for the day—meaning that you can’t manage exceptions in real time.
Investing in last mile technology, particularly a construction material delivery app, can help firms increase their efficiency simply by replacing these manual processes with automated ones. Route planning, for example, can be automated and optimized to ensure that you’re not running your trucks half empty or scheduling routes that criss-cross one another unnecessarily. This also enables firms to match supply resources and orders more efficiently, enabling them to monitor progress against budgets and targets, so they can deliver projects within budget and on time.
The right solution also provides improved visibility into dispatching and scheduling, paving the way for better asset utilization and more effective tracking throughout the delivery process.
In the B2C world, businesses get to satisfy their customers when they deliver on the right day. In the construction industry, suppliers look good to their clients if they deliver supplies and materials within a short time frame so that job site schedules don’t have to be adjusted. On-time and accurate construction material delivery helps contractors deliver their own projects on time, adding real value and potentially eliminating costly waste throughout the process.
Increasing customer retention and acquisition rates
Much like with consumer industries, construction material suppliers must also invest in strong branding to retain their client base and to acquire new ones. A robust construction dispatch solution helps companies create a brand that exemplifies great customer delivery service.
Many construction firms’ last mile logistics processes produce missed opportunities and miscommunications. Construction materials producers and suppliers and their logistics partners that recognize the need to make the technological shift and act now will be in a better position to offer exceptional delivery services that will make them the go-to brand in the construction industry.
Here, advanced communication tools can ensure real-time information sharing and updates so all delivery stakeholders are kept abreast of the delivery status and latest updates. Likewise, real-time tracking of materials during their journey to the construction site so that contractors can manage their crews effectively can help optimize both material and labor costs.
By implementing dispatch software that offers this kind of functionality, companies create strong brands known for reliability and top-notch customer service. The result is increased customer satisfaction and a much higher likelihood of repeat business.
Keeping costs low
Real-time visibility and automation are crucial to keeping costs down.
For one thing, automated routing and scheduling enables construction suppliers to increase the number of deliveries they carry out in a given day. This obviously impacts delivery costs in a big way. At the same time, the best software enables you to leverage AI and machine learning to perfect your delivery ETAs—meaning that your deliveries always reach the jobsite at the right time for the customer. This can reduce costs even further by preventing disruptions over the course of a delivery run.
Dispatchers also get to enjoy time savings with the right software. Not only does automation cut down on time spent routing, it also speeds up the process of dispatching routes to drivers and collecting proof of delivery. By the same token, gaining full visibility into each building supplies delivery as it’s carried out makes it easier to manage returns and reduce wastage. Rather than having a distribution center full of undelivered items at the end of the day that you don’t know what to do with, you can keep a clear record of everything coming back to your DC and deal with it efficiently.
In the end, construction industry players shouldn’t view their industry as totally different from consumer industries—your clients also expect fast, reliable, and accurate deliveries, and it’s past time that construction firms started prioritizing customer service at least as much as B2C businesses.
Increasing fuel and materials costs, rising customer expectations, and narrowing margins present a risk for even the most efficient businesses. But with the right construction dispatch software, you can keep costs manageable, delight customers, and build a solid foundation for future business success.