The accelerated eCommerce growth from the last few years has led to an increased demand for more rapid and convenient delivery options than ever before. In fact, over 50% of retailers and shippers already offer same day delivery, and that number is expected to grow to 65% by the end of 2019. Rates of online delivery for grocery, white glove and oversized deliveries – all of which require large, often specialized vehicles – are rising as well. There’s never been a more critical time to implement the right dispatch software for your business.
Want to offer convenience? Start with flexible dispatching
Convenience is a quickly-rising customer satisfaction metric, covering the entire transaction and product experience. For many types of deliveries – from frozen goods that require specialized delivery requirements, to giant pieces of furniture and electronics – the ability to deliver conveniently is dependent on sending the right vehicle to perform that particular delivery, as well as delivering quickly, and at the right time for the consumer.
Dispatch delivery is both complex and key to your success, given the expenses involved. Two-day shipping costs almost twice as much operationally as five-day shipping; however, in an era of next-day delivery, it’s going to become a necessity for logistics providers and shippers if they want to be competitive.
Optimized dispatching can cut down on some of the costs of faster delivery by reducing delivery mileage and inefficient truck rolls. Estimated costs for a truck roll start at $150 and go as high as $500. Optimizing your dispatching operations can keep the costs of offering faster, more convenient delivery options down.
Optimizing dispatch processes can be difficult – but it doesn’t have to be. The right dispatching software can provide the enhanced flexibility companies need to enable the delivery experiences that shippers and their customers expect, while remaining cost-effective.
We’ve talked with leading global enterprises about their top dispatching challenges. Here are the top features to look for when shopping for dispatch software:
9 features to look for in dispatch software
No logistics software exists in a vacuum, and your dispatch software should be no exception. Dispatch technology in particular exists within an ecosystem of highly specific variables – from inventory to orders, as well as driver, fleet and vehicle availability – so it’s worthwhile to check potential systems for how the software integrates with your existing OMS (Order Management System), TMS and other operational systems.
2. Delivery Variables
Dispatching is complex, and the growing variety of services and delivery models are making it even more time-consuming than ever. Look for dispatch software that takes all the different factors relevant to your needs into consideration: truck capacity, driver costs, customer locations, travel time, time on site, driver skills, and delivery promise times, among others.
Across industries, people are starting to face the reality that machines can help them do most things better. Good automated dispatch systems save time and free up human dispatchers to handle exceptions. It should also increase a company’s delivery flexibility and customization, allowing for real-time rerouting and other changes that happen when drivers are already en route. Dig in to the automation functionality of any prospective software platform to find out exactly what its capabilities are.
4. Real-time data and alerts
Let’s face it, exceptions happen. Dispatchers need visibility into their resources, from driver and fleet availability to understanding where trucks are when requests on existing routes come in.
Dispatchers with visibility into resource availability can create more efficient routes that ensure faster deliveries and more on-time deliveries, as well as potentially creating room for more orders per route. All of that can only be accomplished only through a tight loop of accurate real-time data, live alerts, and the resulting decisions made by dispatchers.
Live alerts must be extremely rapid, accurate, and sent to the right people over the correct channels. These alerts act as a ‘decision hub’ for zero-hour delivery facts on the ground, and should include notifications on delivery status, driver ratings, average time-to-delivery, missed deliveries, and everything else relevant to crucial dispatcher decision making. For example, platforms that include predictive capabilities on top of dispatching can alert both drivers and customers when a delay in delivery is predicted.
5. Dispatcher Onboarding
Even the most advanced logistics platform on earth is worthless if it can’t be easily taught to and incorporated by your teams. Onboarding is no less important than the nitty-gritty platform-specific suggestions above. It’s crucial to establish ease of teachability for dispatchers learning how to use the software, and to get a feel for how intuitive its use will be for all the various team members who interact with the platform.
6. Digital Proof of Delivery (POD)
Obtaining POD efficiently and securely confirms that customers have received their items – and it can come into play with exchanges, disputes, or other issues down the line. A POD system worth its salt will allow for the customized application of many different digital delivery acknowledgment formats, and should be considered essential to any delivery software package under consideration.
7. Robustness and Agility
As your delivery services expand, so will your dispatching needs. You may engage additional contractors or external fleets, expand to crowdsourcing, or even use more internal drivers; you may work with trucks but then expand to other vehicles. The same goes for geographic reach, and dozens of variables.
Make sure to choose a dispatch software that grows with your needs and provides fast, efficient dispatching, whether you have a fleet of 50 vehicles or 5,000.
Dispatch software is just a small piece in the puzzle. Connecting, digitizing, automating and optimizing the entire delivery process will set market leaders apart from market donors in the era where, to shippers, customer experience is king.
When looking for the best dispatch software, make sure you’re addressing the root causes of inefficiencies across your delivery flows, so you can deploy flexible, rapid solutions across your entire delivery operation.