The discussion in delivery circles always seems to come back to last mile delivery. To get the last mile right, it’s essential to get dispatch right - the step immediately before the last mile. But what is dispatch and what is a delivery dispatch system (DDS)? Let’s review and see how dispatch is the key to delivery.
A product has been ordered. It has been packaged, labeled, invoiced, and it is nearly ready to be shipped. Before it can make its way to a customer’s front door, the package must be assigned to a route, a vehicle, and a driver. This is delivery dispatch.
Another way to think about it is to consider a taxi dispatcher (think of Danny DeVito’s character Louie De Palma, on Taxi). The dispatcher receives a call that a cab is needed and assigns a cab/cabbie to the caller’s location.
Why Use a Delivery Dispatch System (DDS)?
These days few companies manually dispatch vehicles/routes to deliver packages. Customer demands have grown, and delays in shipping can cost a company business. Just how much? A PWC study found that for U.S. customers, “even when people love a company or product, 59% will walk away after several bad experiences, 17% after just one bad experience.”
To meet expectations and deal with complex logistics, many companies that have a large fleet use a DDS. The software can help dispatchers optimize their fleet so deliveries happen more quickly and vehicles take optimal routes.
Key Elements of a Reliable DDS Solution
Because of the logistics involved with dispatch as well as the time required to set up an efficient system, it’s clear why many companies opt for a DDS. It’s important that company management be clear on a software’s capabilities when determining if a program is a good fit
Automated software helps with client relations and interactions. “For deliveries scheduled on specific dates, the system can send an automated message to customers to schedule their exact delivery windows,” notes Intelligent Delivery Management Platform FarEye. Further, “… the software can use past preferences and other data to pick optimal delivery windows and schedule dispatches accordingly.”
By focusing on communicating with customers, there’s a greater chance of meeting customer expectations. Keeping past customer preferences in mind and acting on them is sure to impress, and encourage loyalty.
A DDS enables a dispatcher to get the most out of a fleet. Optimizing a fleet involves order batching so a vehicle’s space is used well. It also involves optimizing a vehicle’s route based on current conditions.
“Optimized route planning paves the way for more efficient delivery operations, as the software uses different sources and platforms to generate the optimized routes, factoring in weather, road, and other traffic conditions,” according to DispatchTrack, a mobile app that incorporates telematics and robust proof-of-delivery functions.
Optimized route planning also helps with customer service because it enables tracking. Customers can receive delivery-time estimations, rather than being left in the dark waiting and wondering when they need to be home or can continue with a project at their business. The tracking also is visible to dispatchers, which helps them manage the fleet. For example, a company is aware if a vehicle is delayed and can adapt by reaching out to impacted customers and working with an outside fleet provider, as needed.
Whether it’s scaling up operations or managing multiple fleets, a DDS is a valuable asset for a company as it grows. Again, the more variables involved in dispatching, the more complex the process, and the greater the need for a DDS.
Regarding managing multiple fleets, FarEye notes, “… it is necessary to have an automated dispatch software that can take decisions based on unique considerations like time to delivery, driver costs and skill, vehicle volume and capacity, and other advanced requirements like regulatory compliance.”
In addition, a DDS can and should be compatible with other software a company uses.
Streamlined Dispatching for Construction Suppliers
Curri, a construction-supply delivery and logistics service, has a nationwide network of vehicles available for dispatch, whether a company needs occasional hotshot delivery or a regular scheduled route. With vehicles of all sizes available for dispatch across the country, Curri can help any building materials supplier meet its customers’ demands. Interested? Try Curri for yourself!