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How Trucking Software Programs Can Leverage Data

There’s a lot of talk about the Amazon Effect and its impact on the delivery landscape. But on some level, consumers' expectations of e-commerce experiences have increased largely as a result of progress in technology. Shipping and delivery are important details to know for customers. Shoppers expect information on when their orders will arrive and what will happen when it's delivered. Customers also want visibility at every step of the way. Overall, last mile delivery must be an easy experience not just for the customers but for all delivery stakeholders.

trucking software programsIn the present economic climate, it’s more important than ever for fleets to deliver their orders to the right location at the right time. That said, last mile delivery has always proven to be a challenge. Studies have consistently found that the last mile accounts for a huge percentage of any given shipment, and the overall complexity of this leg of the supply chain can make efficiency seem impossible. 

These challenges aren’t just related to home delivery. High expectations can be found across the spectrum of deliveries, from retail fulfillment to consumers to distribution to business customers like restaurants, groceries stores, pharmacies, and contractors. Customers want to monitor their deliveries, to know when they will arrive, and to ensure that they are delivered on time—which requires delivery organizations to make sure they always have the right data in the right place at the right time.

What Information Do Routing Tools Require?

When it comes to routing, the more information you have, the better. Obviously, you need delivery addresses and service/delivery expectations (i.e. over-the-threshold vs installation vs white glove). But data from past deliveries is also crucial: if you don’t know how long it typically takes a technician to complete a particular job, you have no way of knowing how many jobs to schedule for a particular day. Likewise, if you don’t have granular data about traffic patterns in the delivery locations, it can be hard to predict travel times.

Ultimately, the output of your routing system needs to be precise and accurate. Drivers will need exact pick-up and drop-off locations as well as detailed turn-by-turn directions to ensure that they arrive at their destination on their first attempt. In this way, it’s possible to prevent wasted time and money by using more precise last-mile dynamic routing to increase fleet efficiency. With thin margins in this highly competitive sector, reducing inefficiency and optimizing resources is vital for success. As a result of greater precision, carriers can also provide more accurate arrival estimates, which not only allows them to optimize their schedules but also enables them to better manage and meet customer expectations. 

Expected times of arrival (ETAs) and time windows presented to customers should be as granular as possible. Route optimization allows fleet operators to optimize routes and schedules according to the timeframes specified by the customer and operate with confidence that your delivery teams can actually meet customer expectations. Here, your predictive data flows need to turn into real-time tracking of deliveries. As your system receives status updates from out in the field, you should be able to update your ETAs based on what’s actually happening in the field and push live information to customers. In this way, you can provide the kind of delivery experience that most consumers now demand.

After the delivery is done, your data’s job is far from over. The more information you’re able to collect throughout the delivery process—from status updates and GPS locations to photographic proof of delivery, customer signatures, and delivery survey responses—the more effectively you can create a complete audit trail of your delivery runs. This can help you speed up the process of paying your drivers and getting paid for your deliveries. It can also help you avoid false liability claims. More than that, it gives you critical insights into your overall delivery operations that you can then leverage into incremental improvements over time. 

last mile sustainability perspective

Finding the Right Trucking Software

Choosing the right trucking software program doesn’t have to be difficult. As a basic requirement, you should select software that can actually process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. To make that happen, you’ll want something that’s a true SaaS solution—i.e. software that has been specifically architected for multi-tenant cloud functionality. Ideally, your software would be able to leverage AI and machine learning as well in order to turn the data being collected and processed into powerful insights. 

Consider a trucking software program n that provides the driver with clear guidance on locations, turn-by-turn directions, and features for easily updating statuses throughout the delivery. The back office can ensure full operational consistency between the planning and execution stages by gathering this detailed information to track deliveries in real time. When back-office personnel have accurate information regarding ETAs and statuses, they can manage by exception to ensure that any deliveries that aren’t going according to plan can be gotten back on track. 

Another crucial piece of the puzzle is data integration with other systems. For instance, the ability to share data efficiently with ERP, point of sale, and other enterprise systems can have a big impact on how quickly you’re able to traverse the entire fulfillment process. When your final mile software can’t easily share data with other solutions, there’s the potential for data and process silos that can cause disruptions down the line. Even beyond that, there’s the possibility of missing out on potential efficiencies that arise from more holistic processes. Here, too, SaaS software can offer significant benefits. 

Using data insights and location intelligence to improve last-mile routing can have an enormous impact on drivers, fleets, and the entire logistics and trucking industry. By efficiently collecting data and turning it into insights at every stage of the process, you can increase on-time delivery rates, improve driver job satisfaction, and boost customer satisfaction to encourage repeat business. Simply put, the right trucking software can put valuable data to good use to ensure that fleets are more efficient on every trip. 

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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