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Who Needs Dispatching Software?

Okay, you’ve got a delivery or service order, you’ve got a fleet of trucks, and you’ve got a roster of drivers and technicians. How do you get the right driver for the job to reach the right customer at the right time?

dispatching softwareFor businesses with more than just one or two trucks, the typical answer is dispatching software. 

But dispatching software means different things to different people, and the options out there for businesses come in all different shapes and sizes—from solutions that are focused on sending individual technicians out to respond to customer calls to more complex logistics processes that come with serious delivery demands. 

All of the dispatching software options on the market present an alternative to doing things the old-fashioned way—i.e. dispatching drivers and technicians via phone call and tracking the results on paper. But not all of them address the challenge of digitization in the same way. 

In this post, we’ll go over some of the essentials of dispatching software so you can better understand how it fits into the distinct needs of your delivery and fulfillment ecosystem. 

What Is Dispatching Software?

At a high level, dispatching software can encompass anything that takes orders and assigns them to drivers or technicians. But most solutions go well beyond that, offering capabilities that cover the last mile to a greater or lesser extent. Here are some of the features that you might encounter as you look into dispatching software:

  • Digital dispatching: This one is pretty straightforward—users can take orders and dispatch them to the right people to get the job done on time. 
  • Driver/technician tracking: Some solutions give you the ability to track the job as it progresses in real time. This might include GPS tracking as well as status updates and other information being relayed back from the field.
  • Customer engagement: The same app that enables you to dispatch drivers may also help you communicate with customers. This way you can avoid phone calls for each step of the process. 
  • Customer service tools: In addition to communicating with customers, some tools enable you to engage with them directly via chat, view their order details, and manage exceptions on the fly
  • Route optimization: This is something that will often exist as its own standalone solution—or will be incorporated into a dispatching solution as an add-on—but it’s a foundational piece of the puzzle when it comes to effective last mile operations.
  • Proof of delivery: Many solutions will offer a driver mobile app that enables dispatchers to dispatch drivers and technicians. These mobile apps will often provide the ability to capture proof of delivery/service as well. 

This isn’t necessarily a comprehensive list of everything that might fall under the umbrella of dispatching software, but it should give a decent sense of what these solutions look like and what sorts of organizations might need to utilize them. 

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How Does Dispatching Software Slot into Your Last Mile Logistics Ecosystem

Given the wide range of functionality that dispatching systems can cover, it’s reasonable to wonder how exactly it fits in the typical last mile technology ecosystem. Is it better to have separate modules for different areas of the last mile (e.g. for route optimization versus proof of delivery), or does it make sense to centralize them within one platform that connects to your ERP and POS solutions?

Different businesses will give you different answers, but our perspective is that a single solution that tackles the entire last mile journey—from order received to routing and dispatching to customer communication and beyond—is the optimal choice if you want to decrease delivery costs and increase customer satisfaction. 

Here’s why:

A single platform can act as a single source of truth. Rather than fussing with connections and integrations to make sure you have the right info at the right time, you can centralize your data so the most up-to-date information is instantly available cross-functionally. 

The entire last mile journey is interconnected: Your plans need to translate into daily routes. Your customer communications need to reflect the ETAs and time windows that are produced in your routing engine. Your customer receipts can and should show the proof of delivery captured by your driver mobile app. When you can keep all those processes under the same roof, the synergies start to add up quickly. 

The last mile touches a huge number of roles and functions—all of which need to have a clear view of what each other function is doing. Having a single platform for the entire journey helps you ensure that sales has insight into delivery operations, customer service can see what’s happening on individual routes, and accounting can bill for precisely what happened on each delivery run.

What to Look for in Dispatching Software

If you’re in the market for dispatching software, there are few things you should seek out in order to make sure you’re getting the maximum value out of it. 

  • SaaS architecture: The era of on-premise software deployments for last mile logistics is coming to an end—and even Roadnet is ending support for its longstanding on-premise solution. And that’s not a bad thing. SaaS makes it much easier to be consistent about running the most up-to-date software across all your locations and it helps ensure that your software capabilities evolve over time. SaaS platforms also make it easier to scale by offering you more processing power as needed, rather than a fixed amount based on your on-site server capacity
  • AI and machine learning integration: AI has become more than a little bit of a buzzword in the past year or two. While you probably don’t want ChatGPT running your last mile operations, there are more narrow applications of AI that can help improve performance. For instance, with the right software you can leverage AI and machine learning to turn your historical delivery data into more accurate delivery ETAs for your routes. 
  • Easy to use and implement: Heavy, cumbersome applications that are difficult to implement and use have the potential to bog down your last mile processes—including something as fundamental as dispatching. Simply put, if it takes binders full of information for your teams to figure out how to adjust a route to meet their needs, your operations are going to be seriously hampered. That’s why ease-of-use is more than just nice to have—it’s mission critical.
  • Support for multiple roles and functions: It’s not just dispatchers who will need to get value out of your dispatching solution. Depending on what the software solution covers, it will also have to meet the needs of drivers, routers, managers, customer support staff, sales reps, and many others. You don’t want these functions to run in silos—which means your technology needs to intentionally support all of them. 

Ultimately, we’ve taken a pretty expansive view of dispatching software in this article. But there’s a good reason for that: delivery businesses thrive on connected processes, and silos are the enemy of connectivity. When you can avoid silos by finding a last mile dispatching platform that covers the entire journey, you can boost efficiency, decrease delivery costs, and keep your customers happy with consistent on-time deliveries. That’s why the right dispatching software can be so valuable.  

DispatchTrack offers the most powerful end-to-end suite of tools for last mile logistics operators. Dispatchers, drivers, customers and clients can access our app on any device to schedule, track, modify and verify your deliveries.

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