Running field services and logistics operations successfully translate to navigating various extraordinary challenges in your day-to-day tasks and using vehicle dispatch software can make a significant difference in such a situation.
For any logistics and supply chain organization, dispatching embodies the essence of delivery operations. A large part of exceptional customer service depends on all-in-one vehicle dispatch software to make sure that the right drivers get to the right job as efficiently as possible.
A dependable and accurate dispatch solution adds efficiency to job scheduling, helps your company operate smoothly, and puts dispatchers as well as customers on the same page, in real-time.
In this blog, we will explore various aspects of a vehicle dispatch system including the need for a vehicle dispatch system, its features, benefits, and the best ways to select one that suits your specific business needs.
What is vehicle dispatch software?
Vehicle dispatch software is one of the key tools that dispatchers and fleet managers rely on to ensure that their drivers are running efficient routes and offering the best customer service.
Today's intelligent multi-fleet vehicle routing and dispatch systems use advanced technology to incorporate multiple functionalities which help identify and dispatch the optimal route and driver for each delivery for the optimal choice of fleet and route, at optimal pricing.
You can leverage a vehicle routing and dispatch software for multiple things including -
- Optimizing your driver's schedule
- Improving customer experience
- Preparing for jobs in advance
- Connecting your office to the field
- Staying mobile and efficient
- Tracking metrics and total revenue
7 Must-Have Features In A Vehicle Dispatch System
Below are some of the key features of a robust vehicle dispatch software -
1. Automated Scheduling
In large businesses with a steady stream of deliveries and orders, automatic scheduling is key for the smooth running of its various systems. It takes care of operations such as receiving of orders, assigning the assignment to an available unit to dispatch, and keeping a track of the number of free and engaged vehicles at any given point in time.
The best vehicle dispatch systems come with colour-coded drag-and-drop scheduling that lets your dispatchers see at a glance which drivers or trucks are scheduled for what job. This allows your personnel to see their schedule on a mobile app and provide real-time updates back to the office on the job status.
This kind of drag-and-drop flexibility with automatic scheduling of changes, without having to manually move multiple pieces of information, allows you to streamline operations and makes it easy to adjust when a customer reschedules or a different driver needs to be assigned to a job.
Vehicle routing and dispatch systems also let you prioritize your drivers, so you can send them to the most profitable jobs and keep their schedules on the move, which means more completed jobs and better revenues.
2. Roster Management
A good vehicle dispatch software comes with comprehensive roster management and scheduling features that allow you to stay in complete charge of your fleet’s working time.
Specifically designed to support drivers and technicians responsible for roster management and shift patterns, it offers a range of easy-to-use daily administration and planning tools.
Further, this feature in a vehicle dispatch system also provides the desired level of control and accuracy required to ensure optimized shift patterns and rosters so that drivers and managing teams continue to deliver productivity and efficiency gains long into the future.
3. Access Through Any Mobile Device
To be able to function efficiently, dispatchers and drivers require both accessibility and consistent communication. Having a mobile app allows your dispatchers and drivers on-the-go access to information, including load details and routes so that they can communicate seamlessly and have easy check-ins with the managers.
In addition to this, a reliable two-way communication channel also allows your office staff to get in touch with drivers and inform them of travel routes, shipment alerts, or any kind of issues.
This kind of on-the-go mobile communication keeps drivers in complete charge of their trips, offering necessary route information while collecting and storing data about their progress automatically. The result is a significant reduction in manual work/chances of errors and instant visibility of data to managers.
4. Intelligent Invoicing & Billing
Invoicing and billing are some of the key concerns for any logistics company managing a big fleet of vehicles. A good vehicle dispatch software system resolves the issue with robust functionalities such as accurate billing of customers for asset usage. It also overviews general productivity, cost analysis, and revenue, allowing you to focus on more strategic tasks related to business operations instead of worrying about streamlining billing and invoicing.
Apart from this, you can also track and search transactions, monitor accounts receivables/ payable, easily analyze billing/profit-loss and upload fuel receipts or load bills directly into the system.
This kind of billing support offered by vehicle dispatch software helps with multiple time-consuming processes and allows you to easily manage transportation and other related costs for both business and customer-facing aspects of product delivery.
5. Real-Time Automatic Alerts & Notifications
A robust vehicle dispatch software simplifies and automates fleet scheduling and resource tracking with real-time and automatic alerts/notifications. The software offers an up-to-date view of the day-to-day operations and is capable of instantly locating and tracking vehicles, drivers, assets, and equipment.
Apart from this, automated vehicle dispatch software also includes features such as vehicle routing and real-time GPS tracking functionality to give dispatchers continuously updated information about the accurate status of each consignment.
The data in the software is presented graphically in the form of tabular reports, maps and Gantt charts along with KPI reporting to enable strategic optimization of resources and detailed analysis of logistics tracking data in real-time.
6. Route Planning & Optimization
Vehicle dispatch software allows you to conduct route planning by automatically optimizing your routes into the most efficient order of stops. This kind of route planning helps reduce travel time for your drivers and saves plenty of fuel.
The feature allows you to do everything from creating a single route or several routes at once with maximum stops in maximum duration to optimizing these routes by the shortest or fastest way to balance the driver's workload.
7. End-To-End Fleet Tracking
A good vehicle dispatch system helps you manage end-to-end fleet tracking by monitoring the location and status of your drivers with GPS tracking and mapping features. The feature also aids in accurate traffic predictions and advanced routing to ensure the timeliness of freight.
Some of these solutions also feature capabilities such as custom route building, real-time updates, automatic task allocation, and real-time access to the traffic conditions to make it much easier to adapt and give the best routes to the drivers
Key Advantages of Deploying Vehicle Routing & Dispatch Software
Incorporating a vehicle dispatch system into your fleet can offer a host of benefits for everyone including your dispatchers, drivers, and customers. Some of these benefits are listed below -
- Flexibility as you grow your fleet size
The volatile nature of the service industry today requires businesses to be super flexible and always ready with a backup plan. Vehicle routing and dispatch software allow organizations to expand strategically while also helping managers pay attention to other important issues and adapt to constantly changing requirements.
Further vehicle dispatch software is highly customizable and can easily adjust with your fleet to suit your specific business needs. As the size of your business grows, vehicle dispatch software makes it super easy to ensure the same quality of ongoing customer service and driver efficiency.
- Adapt to changing market conditions
Right from last-minute work orders to bad traffic conditions, multiple things can change for drivers en route their deliveries. A powerful vehicle dispatch software allows dispatchers to update and change routes easily to proactively respond to changing conditions and keep drivers on time.
There are a few vehicle routing and dispatch solutions that also provide traffic and weather map overlays to help dispatchers reroute their drivers and avoid conditions that can slow them or impact their efficiency.
- Quick response time & zero delays
Leveraging vehicle dispatch software gives you the benefit of real-time data about the driver’s location to help dispatchers easily re-align tasks for quick and satisfactory deliveries without any delays. Further, in case the deliveries are late for pickup, the customers can be easily notified about delays in dispatch.
- Enhanced customer satisfaction
Delighting customers with exceptional service is important for fleets to not just retain current customers but also attract new customers. And for most fleets, improving customer satisfaction largely comes down to ensuring that drivers arrive at delivery locations on time.
Vehicle dispatch software allows your dispatchers to easily plan the fastest routes for drivers and update them regularly to avoid slowdowns from unexpected conditions such as bad weather to ensure that drivers consistently arrive on-time.
- Better productivity
With automated scheduling features of vehicle dispatch systems, you can save a great deal of time and effort that can be otherwise used for more productive tasks. Additionally, it also helps save managers hours of scheduling which can then be put into strategic business decisions leading to enhanced productivity and better response.
- Real-time information to customers
Real-time information offered by vehicle dispatch software allows retailers to offer better customer service and win over customer confidence in the long run. This kind of efficient communication and real-time information in the form of automated notifications (SMS or email) ensures that customers go back to a business often.
- User-friendly interface
The vehicle routing and dispatch software is designed with an easy-to-access and navigation-friendly user interface. Apart from this, you get the advantage of intuitive software that allows you to handle errors efficiently without needing any third-party software.
- End-to-end vehicle management
Vehicle dispatch software gives fleets a detailed insight into the end-to-end journey of a driver. Having such insights allows you to easily identify common problems on routes and allows updating and optimizing routes which in turn leads to decreased delivery and arrival times.
5 Questions You Must Ask While Selecting a Vehicle Dispatch Software
There are different kinds and types of vehicle routing and dispatch management solutions available in the market today. When choosing a vehicle dispatch system to use, there are some key features you should look out for.
Here are the top 5 questions to ask when it comes to choosing the right vehicle dispatch system for your fleet -
1. What’s the pricing of the vehicle dispatch software?
Pricing is one of the key factors to consider when picking vehicle dispatch software. Whether you have a small fleet with no experience of vehicle dispatch systems or have larger operations, it's best to check the value for money and what value the software can offer.
If you are unsure about the pricing, it is best to go with a pay-as-you-grow pricing model that allows you to purchase capacity incrementally as it is needed. Unlike the traditional payment models that require you to pay for capacity upfront, even if most of it is unused, in pay-as-you-grow storage systems you need to pay for capacity in increments. As you use up all the capacity in your initial license, you can buy an additional license.
2. Can the vehicle dispatch software deliver on elastic demands?
Every field service growing business comes with certain challenges. Using manual methods for dispatch management marks it ever more challenging as managers struggle with managing more resources and personnel than anticipated.
A vehicle routing and dispatch software, on the contrary, allows you to grow and scale your delivery operations by onboarding drivers from the gig economy during the holiday season or peak business hours to make growth the second nature of your business. This also helps you to easily scale the size of your fleet, team size, area of operations, or the nature of services you provide.
3. Can the software positively impact my delivery experience?
In the logistics and supply chain industry, customer satisfaction relies heavily on ensuring a good delivery experience overall. This includes parameters such as ease of customer tracking, real-time delivery progress notifications, option to change delivery location and time and give quick feedback, efficient returns, and more. In most cases, customers are also understanding if your drivers are running behind, as long as they are informed of updated timelines.
The earlier you inform your customers of possible delivery changes, the more understanding and cooperating they are. However, if you don’t have any real-time insights into your drivers, it is not possible to offer customers accurate updates about their deliveries or service calls.
A robust vehicle routing and dispatch system with a live sharing feature allows you to share live ETA links with customers so that they can track delivery progress in real-time. It also allows them to receive automatic alerts in case the drivers’ route changes. These real-time insights help reduce the need to manually call and update customers, which eventually streamline back-office efficiency.
4. Can it make my deliveries profitable?
When multiple stops and routes in the fleet management are not processed in real-time, it serves no purpose. As fleet managers and drivers continuously try to deal with deliveries in real-time, the processing should take place fast.
Vehicle routing and dispatch scheduling software have become quite popular in recent times because of the ease and profitability it imparts in managing fleets. With easy-to-navigate and intuitive dashboards showcasing relevant information on one screen, it allows the fleet manager to plan better and optimize costs by reducing fuel consumption, eliminating manual dependencies, driving multi-drop deliveries, mitigating risks like theft, pilferage, damage and much more.
They can also coordinate the movement of the fleet across cities without much hassle using the robust live tracking feature.
5. How will the vehicle dispatch system help me gain greater control of my delivery fleet?
It is best to pick a vehicle dispatch software that offers full visibility into driver locations with features such as route optimization & tracking and dashboards for KPI benchmarking. This eliminates the need for office personnel to call drivers manually and identify their locations/delivery ETAs.
If you choose a vehicle routing and dispatch software that provides real-time GPS data for your vehicles, this visibility becomes even more accurate and precise. This frees up the back-office staff and allows them to shift their focus on more impactful work thus improving their efficiency manifolds.
A vehicle dispatch software is an excellent tool to simplify field service management by significantly reducing the manual effort that goes into handling a dispatch.
FarEye's vehicle dispatch system offers a robust singular platform from where you can do everything including scheduling, managing and deploying drivers and field technicians for various tasks. It is a cloud-based, web-and-mobile-optimized vehicle dispatch software specifically designed to enhance field operations such as scheduling tasks, dispatching drivers/technicians, customer complaints, managing resources, and invoicing effortlessly for field service businesses.
Whether you're a fleet manager or a small carrier, our vehicle dispatch system allows you to manage your dispatches, maintenance, reminders, expenses and trip sheets in one convenient location.