If your fleet efficiency is nowhere near high, you may be thinking about outsourcing some of your management operations or taking matters into your own hands. Either way, this article on custom dispatch management software is for you.
Dispatch software is your solution to failed deliveries and underused mobile assets. Simply put, it allows you to dispatch trucks, plan schedules, and assign jobs to drivers as they are requested. It’s a time-saver that helps you adapt to whatever happens throughout the day to efficiently use your vehicles and reduce customer complaints.
At Acropolium, we strive to optimize your dispatch processes and save you from unhappy customers. This article is our way to help you get a handle on dispatch management software and the nuts and bolts of:
- Dispatch management software trends
- Benefits of using software for your dispatching operations
- Components and features of dispatch software
- The development guide
- Scalability hacks for a tailor-made dispatch system
With a bazillion logistics software projects under our belt, we’ve put everything we know about dispatch management into this article. We bet it will help your business take a turn for the better.
New dispatch management software development trends in 2021-2025
Dispatch software development continues to gather steam in the logistics industry, with new milestones looming on the horizon. Do not wall your business off from these trends:
- Real-time fleet visibility and job updates
- Predictive analytics
- Online payments
- IoT revolution
These milestones are tied to the most pressing issues disrupting the industry. For example, real-time tracking is a solution to ineffective job scheduling, one of the major causes of late deliveries and failed pickups. Because it’s impossible to adequately respond to new jobs unless you monitor your vehicles in real-time, this trend is now the cornerstone of dispatch management service software development.
Predictive analytics is here to take an ax to non-optimized processes. This trend signals an upsurge in AI systems. When powered by AI, analytics tools can tap into big data for demand forecasting, risk management, routing, and load optimization. If your assets are misused or underused, predictive analytics is slated to help you optimize them.
The transition to online payments is already in full swing. By minimizing cash-related contact during deliveries or taxi rides, you can protect your customers and drivers amid the pandemic. That’s why cash on delivery will take a backseat to online payments in 2021-2025.
It wouldn’t be a complete list of dispatch software trends without mentioning the Internet of Things. IoT presence is strongly felt in the logistics industry, but it only starts gaining momentum. As driver shortages are getting worse, IoT can become a solution to inconsistent driver performance. With smart IoT sensors connecting all assets across a fleet, your dispatchers will be able to monitor drivers more accurately to improve their productivity.
How can delivery dispatch management software boost your profits?
It doesn’t matter whether you oversee five delivery trucks or dozens of taxis. Dispatch management software opens the door to automated operations to maximize the productivity of any fleet, large or small. Here’s what it enables you to do to drive profitability.
With dispatch software, you always know which drivers are ready for new jobs or will soon become available. So when your customers send requests, you can find the nearest drivers (without having to call them!) and distribute tasks on the fly. Speeding up this process helps you get the job done faster and serve more customers per day.
Disruptive events happen, but you shouldn’t freak out about them. When your dispatchers use delivery dispatch management software, they can proactively respond to urgent requests, ever-changing time windows, or failed deliveries. As a result, your staff is provided with more effective ways of scheduling workloads once disruptive events occur, nipping costly issues in the bud.
Reduce fleet downtime
Vehicle breakdowns may cost you more than what you fork out for emergency roadside assistance and repairs. In most cases, they entail fleet downtime, lost jobs, and sidelined drivers who need to be paid anyway.
To prevent downtime-related expenditures, you can benefit from the advanced capabilities of dispatch software. Driver schedules aside, you can use it to plan vehicle maintenance schedules based on time, completed jobs, or mileage.
Keep your fuel expenses in check
Dispatch and trucking software goes beyond just sending vehicles and assigning jobs. It can also optimize your routes, especially if you transport cargo or make deliveries to the same locations day in, day out.
The result of optimized routes can be dramatic for your bottom line. That’s how you can get the job done with fewer miles covered and less fuel burned.
Win your customers’ hearts
Late deliveries are something that scares customers away and tarnishes your reputation. Fortunately, you can minimize them with dispatch management software. By mapping the best routes and scheduling pickups, you ensure your drivers serve your customers on time. This helps you avoid drawing the ire of them and increase your retention rate.
What dispatch management software features can provide you with this functionality?
The rule of thumb here is that you don’t want to fall for hundreds of no-value features. You’re better off including those your dispatchers can easily use to bring efficiency to your fleet operations.
With this in mind, the most valuable features of dispatch software boil down to real-time driver tracking, route optimization, dynamic scheduling, ETA calculations, and integrations. Look at each one in more detail.
Live driver tracking
Whether you provide field or transportation services, the last thing you want is to call every driver to get updates on their whereabouts. This just takes too much time.
Real-time GPS tracking ensures you have no “blind spots” when it comes to dispatching. It delivers up-to-the-minute data about vehicle locations and driver availability so that you have all the cards in front of you. You can use them to track when your trucks enter a certain area, whether they run behind schedule or not, and which drivers are the best fit for jobs.
Real-time delivery tracking is of little to no avail if your drivers take the longest routes. It’s in your best interest to plan them down to the last U-turn.
With a route optimization feature in your dispatch software, you can plan the most optimal routes as you assign jobs to your drivers. It allows you to get through any vehicle routing problem while factoring in traffic congestion, time windows, weather conditions, and other constraints.
If you have a large fleet, you need to optimize the flow of new jobs and how you sort them out. The failure to do so increases the risk of ending up with underused assets.
One way to respond to new jobs swiftly is to leverage dynamic scheduling. It’s an automated way to rearrange driver schedules as your customers submit service requests throughout the day. This feature can kick your fleet operations into high gear, especially if you offer emergency field services or same-day deliveries.
Plus, you can rely on dynamic scheduling to create vehicle maintenance plans. Your software can algorithmically determine the best time for inspections to prevent breakdowns.
Without real-time ETAs, you’re in the dark about whether your trucks run ahead or behind schedule. And so are your customers.
Coupled with automated ETA calculations, your dispatch software keeps you posted on how your fleet performs and whether rescheduling is needed. You can also base your decisions on real-time ETAs to provide order updates in a customer portal or send late-delivery alerts to your drivers. No doubt about it, this is a win-win scenario for all stakeholders.
Your dispatch solution needs to be able to access data from your fleet management system (FMS) and third-party software or TMS. When you have such an integrated solution, you can extend its basic functionality with advanced features like:
- Fleet analytics, including dangerous driving metrics based on speeding, swerving, and other driver behaviors
- VIN lookup to have vehicle capacity data at hand when distributing jobs
- Easier payments for your customers and partners (when integrated into a payment platform)
- Proof of delivery and barcode recognition
- The order outsourcing option to streamline interactions with third-party logistics (3PL) management companies, couriers, and other fleets
Integrations make your dispatch software a complete solution. You need them to extend its functionality and maintain a smooth data flow across all systems.
Dispatch management software development: Components and steps
You don’t have to be a senior software engineer to come to grips with dispatch software. It’s as simple as a two-component system that includes the frontend for interactions and an onboard device.
The frontend of dispatch software is usually a web-based interface or an app, where you can access all those features and do the dispatching.
An onboard device is placed in every vehicle in your fleet to gather data and deliver insights into your interface. It can either be a GPS tracker or some advanced telematics system.
If you’re looking to develop dispatch management software, you need to put these two parts together or have someone do this for you. The process is similar to building a house, so here’s how you commence it.
1. Pour the foundation by planning everything down to the last detail
Set clear expectations as to what you want your dispatch software to be capable of. This also involves planning your project timelines and budget. Factor in the size of your fleet, how many jobs you receive per day, and what systems you need your dispatch solution to be paired with.
2. Find a contractor
Just like you’d hire a contractor for building your house, you may want to find a vendor to create dispatch management software for your business. Established vendors like Acropolium have an extensive set of “construction equipment” for any project, which allows them to go ahead with your plan.
3. Erect the walls with an MVP
The day you get an MVP may be a watershed moment for your dispatching processes. After your vendor designs and develops it, you can leverage your software’s basic features like assigning jobs and planning schedules.
4. Frame and roof it with feedback-based development
This is when your dispatch software is getting mature. Based on your feedback, your vendor touches it up and adds advanced functionality like real-time driver tracking while integrating your dispatch solution into your FMS.
5. Carry out a final inspection
Your dispatch software is almost ready. But before you can put it into service, your vendor tests everything they’ve packed into it, including the code and design. Once all imperfections are eliminated, you’re all set to dispatch your vehicles using your new software.
How to get a ready-to-scale custom dispatch management system?
Scalability is something you should home in on from the get-go. That’s because a scalable dispatch system is resistant to failures as your business reaches new milestones. Let’s put it into some context. Imagine that you’re growing your fleet, hiring more drivers, or adding sophisticated tracking functionality to your system. With scalable software, you can avoid having it redesigned from the ground up. It can adapt to any changes associated with your business growth with no downtime or unplanned expenses.
Whether you’re expanding your fleet right now or think you may want to do so someday, make sure your vendor creates scalable custom dispatch management software for you. Let whoever you outsource it to know your short-term and long-term goals so that they can:
- Advise you on the right cloud solution for your dispatch software to scale up and out
- Build a tech stack and software architecture that allows for scalability
- Keep the code ready for potential changes later on
- Use the best scalability practices for third-party integrations and data collection
Achieving scalability may seem like a tall order, but it shouldn’t make your head spin. The real question is whether your vendor can develop such an agile system for your business needs. At Acropolium, we can do that.
The track record of Acropolium
When you think of Acropolium, you think of custom software. This is what we’ve been creating since 2003 for enterprises, mid-market firms, and startups. Among these businesses are a number of those that dispatch dozens of trucks every single day.
It’d take a few thousand more words to list all solutions we’ve developed for fleet managers. In a nutshell, our track record includes various types of scheduling and dispatching software for field service providers, trucking companies, restaurants, grocers, carriers, retailers, and more.
At Acropolium, we’re devoted fans of real-time tracking technology. It’s at the heart of most of the custom dispatch solutions we’ve built to provide businesses like yours with excellent visibility over their fleets. We’re also dedicated to agile software that can be integrated into your FMS and scale on the spot.
The bottom line
Today, as driver shortages and high costs hamper logistics businesses, the need for cost-effective fleet operations is paramount. Dispatch management software is a way to respond to it.
Dispatch software helps reduce underused mobile assets and stay on top of things when managing a large or small fleet. It turns your dispatchers into conductors who orchestrate jobs, driver schedules, and even routes.
Custom dispatch software can come with virtually any feature. But there are five pillars: live driver tracking, route planning, dynamic scheduling, ETAs, and integrations.
To get custom dispatch software, you can either dust off your development skills or have it created in five easy steps with Acropolium. Drop us a line, and we’ll inform you of the cost of dispatch management software development and guide you further.