Blog > Last mile delivery
Blog > Last mile delivery
26 September 2023 | 7 min read
Among the many transport software packages or TMS available on the market, some are promoted as dispatch software. What services can you expect from them, and is it in your interest to use one?
Because, like Mr Doe, you may already be using a dispatch tool without knowing it!
Summary of article:
The main objective of these IT solutions is to better assign the tasks to be carried out to the drivers and vehicles available. Dispatch software therefore belongs in the category of service provider or carrier TMSs.
This type of software is of particular interest to companies in the transport and Logistics sectors, as well as service providers for whom travelling to the customer’s site is an essential part of the service provided.
They are used in a wide range of industries. For example, these tools can be deployed to organise and optimise:
To reduce and optimise transport costs for users, this software centralises and processes huge quantities of data, usually in real time:
Some of this data is entered directly by users. Others come from third-party tools such as navigation applications (GPS), sales management tools or HR solutions to be connected to your dispatch software.
The tool then analyses this data using algorithms to compare all the scenarios, before providing the best possible solution in the form of schedules or route maps.
The tricky part is that not all transportation dispatch software is marketed as such! The term is not necessarily the first that potential customers think of… and therefore not the most commercially promising.
To make the right choice for your future truck dispatch software, it’s best to leave definitions and labels aside and look in detail at the functions offered by each of the solutions you are considering.
Depending on your business, this feature can take different forms:
In any case, bear in mind that good dispatch software should enable you to easily integrate your principals’ requests.
This is the must-have feature of all dispatch software! Once the customer requests have been integrated, the tool analyses the available data to plan every route to be completed by the workforce.
Now it only takes a few minutes for the software to generate and organise the routes and schedules that can sometimes take hours to draw!
As all these programs include a navigation application, they are also much easier to use for drivers, who no longer need to enter one address after another in Waze or Google Maps.
The route maps generated in this way must be available from any device: mobile, tablet, desktop computer, etc.
Most publishers also offer the option of exporting schedules to a shared diary tool: Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.
Although all transport management software can plan team itineraries, only a few, such as AntsRoute, really know how to optimise them.
So what’s the difference? In simple words, route planning consists of determining an acceptable solution based on the constraints entered.
Route optimisation is a much more complex operation, because it involves calculating which of the possible solutions is the best according to your objectives.
But this optimum varies depending on the business and the sector. For road carriers, the optimum solution is one that enables them to complete their deliveries with the minimum number of trucks on the shortest routes.
For healthcare professionals, on the other hand, the aim is to give priority to visiting patients who require the most urgent care, even if this means travelling a few extra miles.
This function, also known as geolocation or tracking, consists of monitoring each delivery in real time. Depending on the system chosen, the GPS can be integrated into either a mobile application or a dedicated device.
The real-time tracking of deliveries has changed not only the lives of team managers, but also those of customers! Where it used to take 3 or 4 calls to inform a worried customer, now a simple geotracking link received by email or text message is enough to track the driver’s arrival live on the map.
A few simple but very smart solutions have really helped to streamline communication between drivers, managers and consumers:
Some software packages, such as AntsRoute, also include additional functions to inform the customer of the estimated time of delivery (ETA), or to automate the sending of notifications if the driver is late.
Many small businesses still don’t use a CRM system, i.e. an IT solution specialising in customer relationship management. Although trucking dispatch software is not intended to replace them, some of them nevertheless have very useful functions for managing customers and building loyalty:
Do you already use a CRM system and are very satisfied with it? Then the best solution is to choose truck dispatch software that provides a direct connection between the 2 solutions for automated information exchange.
Each publisher usually offers several interconnection solutions to suit the requirements of users and their level of IT skills: API, custom-developed module, no-code connector, etc.
Delivery note, visit report, service report: depending on your business, the name given to reports varies. But one thing is certain: to increase team productivity and speed up the invoicing cycle, electronic management of these documents is a must!
Many transportation management software packages, such as AntsRoute, make it easy to generate customised reports, which are much more convenient to complete than a standard paper delivery note:
Dispatch software summarises all the data required for invoicing, which you then simply export to your usual accounting software:
Some publishers even offer an instant invoicing module. This type of software solution is particularly useful for companies that collect payments directly in the field, such as taxi companies, certain home repair businesses, etc.
In the transport sector, very few routes go exactly as planned: accidents, breakdowns, traffic jams, the absence of a customer or a driver, and so on.
To simplify the management of these multiple contingencies, it’s best to choose a solution that allows you to reassign operations or deliveries in real time!
Some transportation software solutions, such as AntsRoute, go even further by analysing the location of vehicles and the occupancy rate of each driver to determine the best possible solution.
Almost every trucking dispatch software now offers more or less readable dashboards for monitoring and controlling:
The most important thing to remember is to check that the information and data analysed is really relevant to making the right decisions.
Does the software solution you’re considering offer all the essential functions you need, while adapting perfectly to your business? Now’s the time to compare prices, and above all, to test it in real conditions, in the field!
To try AntsRoute for free and without obligation for 7 days, register here.