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6 Minute Read

DispatchTrack vs Roadnet: What’s the Right Choice?

If you’re a last mile logistics operator, a successful day starts and ends with your tech platform. Good tech is the oil that keeps your ops running smoothly. The right technology is easy to use, incorporates all of the capabilities you need, is available to associates across the organization and keeps everyone—sales, planners, warehouse, dispatchers, drivers, and customers—in sync and informed.

sales-merchandisingTwo popular last mile platforms are DispatchTrack and Roadnet. Like a Tesla and a Toyota, while they may appear to be similar at first glance—both can be used to route deliveries—a look under the hood reveals big differences that have a big impact on operations.

Future Perfect

While both Roadnet and DispatchTrack have decades-long track records and many installations, they have differed fundamentally from the start. Roadnet was designed as an on-premise solution, with software installed on servers owned, operated, and maintained by each customer. DispatchTrack was born as a fully SaaS-based solution. It lives in the cloud and is maintained by DispatchTrack engineers.

For Roadnet customers, security patches, updates, and troubleshooting are their responsibility, necessitating a robust IT team. DispatchTrack customers download a mobile app for their drivers, and everything else is done in the cloud, so everyone is always on the most up-to-date version. Updates, security, and maintenance are all handled by DispatchTrack.

So is on-premise or cloud-based better?

Roadnet itself has endorsed the cloud: Roadnet is directing new customers and trying to migrate existing ones to Roadnet Anywhere, its version of a cloud service. However, RoadnetAnywhere is receiving a less than stellar reception: Reviewers say it has fewer features than the on-premise version they left behind. 

Because it has always been cloud-based, DispatchTrack regularly rolls out upgrades and new capabilities to all of its users seamlessly. As your business environment changes, DispatchTrack adapts to meet new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. There’s never a patch for you to make or an update to install; that’s all done for you, so your team can focus on the important things.

The Features You Need, All in One Place

Roadnet added capabilities by acquiring pieces of software from other companies.These were presented to users as add-on modules, often accessed separately.

DispatchTrack is a single platform. All of its features are available from a single interface, so there’s no need to switch from screen to screen. Also, your data is housed in a single repository so it’s instantly available for any of your DispatchTrack tasks, from planning, route optimization, daily execution, and proof of delivery to automated and customizable customer communications, customer reviews, reporting, and operational analysis. Data moves seamlessly through the process without the handoff failures that can occur when data has to be moved from module to module.

Simplicity Rules

Your business is dynamic. Customers, routes, equipment, and road conditions all change. People come and go. Your solution should be simple enough that new users can learn it quickly and planners don’t have to rely on institutional knowledge that only exists in one person's head. 

So how do Roadnet and DispatchTrack stack up? 

Do an online search for Roadnet training and you’ll see plenty of courses—from basic to advanced—offered by Roadnet and third-party companies. Now do the same search for DispatchTrack: No third-party courses. Why? Because DispatchTrack is so simple to use that anyone in your organization—sales, planner, loader, dispatcher, driver—can learn the basics in a few hours at most. Training is part of your implementation process, and there’s support available 24/7/365.

Success Starts With a Good Plan

While Roadnet and DispatchTrack each offer strategic planning capabilities, the way they implement it is very different.

In DispatchTrack, planning and daily execution are fully integrated —and they operate at the speed of SaaS. With the scalability of powerful cloud servers, creating or changing a strategic plan can be done in minutes, not hours or days, so you’re more likely to update your plans more often to keep up with changing business realities.

The plans aren’t just lists of idealized stops, either; DispatchTrack creates them with daily execution in mind. When you make changes to a plan, the daily executions are updated too. You can maintain multiple plans and switch between them instantly. You might have a weather delay plan, one for holidays, and others for special occasions or business conditions like a distribution center opening or closing.

DispatchTrack’s planning extends even further, with cost-to-deliver planning, what-if simulations, and flexible daily planning. Moving stops from route to route, either one time or permanently, is as easy as clicking and dragging.

Ensuring Execution

No plan is effective if it can’t be executed. By using AI and ML algorithms, DispatchTrack produces ETAs that are 98% accurate, so customers know when their delivery is coming and drivers aren’t frustrated by impossible deadlines. Proof of delivery via the mobile app is robust. When a route is dispatched to a driver, it arrives on their mobile device together with the stop sequence, turn-by-turn directions and manifest. Drivers can scan items onto and off of their trucks, take photos of the delivery and the delivery location to document pre-existing damage, make notes, and verify with a customer signature—all of this includes time and location stamps and is available to dispatchers and managers instantaneously.

Critical Communications

All customers, whether B2B or consumers, expect to be able to track their deliveries and exchange messages with you. Both platforms provide live online tracking of deliveries but, while some messaging is included in Roadnet Anywhere, DispatchTrack takes it much further:

  • Driver and sales apps to keep all parts of your operation up to date and in sync
  • Schedule confirmation messages
  • Messages inviting customers to self-schedule their deliveries
  • Reminder messages before and throughout the day of delivery
  • Real-time delivery alerts, including route start and one stop away, with live ETAs
  • Customizable message templates for different product or delivery types
  • Customer feedback surveys
  • Instant messaging with customers on the day of delivery

The automated notifications minimize back office work and can be configured to your desired cadence. 

Cost Reporting for Optimization

Another advantage of DispatchTrack’s single-platform approach is that all of your data—from order in to satisfaction survey—is in one database where it can be analyzed, patterns recognized and solutions formulated. This allows you to track key KPIs throughout the entire process with standard pre-formatted reports and custom reports you design. DispatchTrack also enables users to see projected delivery costs per stop and per route at the planning stage. 

Ease of Installation

One common comment from Roadnet customers is about the difficulty of installing it and training users, which delays full implementation. It could be months before you see any benefits. DispatchTrack can be implemented in weeks, not months and you start seeing returns on your investment quickly. Even the largest enterprises with hundreds of routes and thousands of trucks can be up and running quickly: Ferguson Enterprises implemented DispatchTrack at 1,100 locations in 90 days. 

DispatchTrack vs. Roadnet: Choose Wisely

Before making a decision about your tech stack, bring your operational heads together and define objectives and critical capabilities. While every operation has its unique needs and challenges, ease of install, comprehensive integration from order in to done and delivered in a single platform, robust planning, accurate ETAs, a SaaS platform, and automated communications should be on that list.

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