Led by the advent of modern Ecommerce, today’s customers have become used to several conveniences at their fingertips – literally, so!
An entire world of products and services delivered right at their doorstep, a plethora of options with regards to delivery windows, various convenient methods of payment, and the ability to track the progress of their parcels in real-time.
The last part i.e. customers wanting to track their shipments instantly has made ‘dispatch tracking’ extremely important.
It is through dispatch tracking that a seller or retailer is able to maintain control over numerous and complex background operations that need to be completed from start to finish.
Dispatch Tracking: what is it?
The process of allocating resources—such as people and vehicles—for handling the movement of goods efficiently is called ‘dispatch’. It forms the foundation of the overall delivery operation and is the first logistics stage.
Dispatch tracking software captures all information related to goods dispatch, movement, and delivery. This data can be accessed by stakeholders like Logistics Teams via cloud-based servers and data centers to monitor the entire operation and provide clients with real-time alerts and notifications.
Thus, complete visibility can be maintained for both, customer and delivery teams.
Lack of communication and harmony between dispatchers and drivers once the drivers hit the road is a problem that has plagued the logistics industry forever. With modern dispatch tracking systems, however, this problem has not only been successfully solved but has also now become a strong suit for sellers i.e. due to it, sellers are now able to service customers better by providing them with real-time updates. Furthermore, it optimizes processes and resource consumption.
One could say that dispatch tracking software is the ‘golden wand’ through which modern-day businesses are able to maintain a seamless logistics operation.
8 leading benefits of dispatch tracking.
Dispatch tracking can optimize delivery routes while providing complete visibility between key stakeholders such as customers, sellers, and logistics partners/ 3PLs to maintain effective and efficient delivery operations.
Let’s look at some leading benefits of dispatch tracking:
1. Post-dispatch problems: Dispatch tracking solves the post-dispatch problems faced by logistics operations of earlier generations. All parties i.e. sellers, buyers, and delivery teams, can stay updated on the live progress of their packages.
2. Visibility: By extension of the point above, dispatch tracking also provides complete visibility to all concerned stakeholders, including on-site teams, and logistics managers, and brings online all connected business processes and company assets. This also eliminates inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and duplication of effort.
3. End-2-End order tracking: the modern dispatch tracking software is a robust and comprehensive system, equipped with end-to-end solutions. It maintains a detailed, step-by-step record of all goods movements from the time that they leave the warehouse till they reach their end destination.
4. Data analytics: Picking up from the point above, dispatch tracking software is a fully-automated, data-driven technology. It deploys modern tools like AI and ML to mine vast amounts of data that it captures across the supply-chain process and enables Logistics Teams in making data-driven decisions.
5. Dynamic route-planning: Dispatch systems are fully automated and achieve dynamic route-planning and automated task-allocation with ease.
6. Faster deliveries: Well, we are in the age of same-day deliveries and 24-hour deliveries! And, we now see the emergence of “10-minute groceries”! Without the resources and tools of dispatch tracking software to effortlessly coordinate deliveries, this would’ve never been possible.
7. Digital documentation: Modern digital tools like ePOD (electronic-proof-of-delivery) are extremely handy – they maintain the required trail of documents without the threat of lost documents or malpractice, while reducing paperwork, and improving speed and efficiency.
8. Customer Satisfaction: After all has been said and done, the final metric for all businesses across all industries always boils down to the same one i.e. Customer Satisfaction. This is achieved by maintaining a holistic approach toward the business, and using dispatch software helps tremendously toward this. This includes reducing wastefulness (e.g. fuel consumption), improving profitability, promoting safe transport practices (etc.)
Dispatch Tracking: current trends
Post-pandemic, the number of orders has seen an exponential increase across all product categories, thereby increasing the demand for dispatch logistics. However, with the increased workload, comes increased pressure.
Let’s look at some trends:
1) Automation and technology: In addition to adopting increased automation, sophisticated software, and operating systems, 3PLs are also successfully experimenting with robots, electric vehicles, drones, and autonomous vehicles.
All this is geared towards increasing productivity, reducing operational costs, improving safety, reducing the ecological footprint, and achieving a better bottom line.
2) Predictive analytics: Dispatch logistics has rapidly evolved into a complex eco-system, with increasing demands to forecast supply-chain requirements, predict buyer behavior, and project demand-supply patterns. Modern data analytics is key here.
3) Contactless protocol: A seismic shift brought about by the pandemic was the ‘contactless model’ i.e. digital payments, minimized human interaction, ePOD, and contactless delivery options.
4) IoT: The use of IoT (e.g. devices, cloud technology) is now omnipresent in the logistics industry, right from warehouses and delivery vehicles, to coordination between clients, suppliers, and vendors, thus creating a much more efficient operation.
5) Reverse logistics: Order returns, replacements, and refunds are something that is embedded within the online business world—it will never ever go away completely, but companies can certainly manage it well enough to avoid burning a hole in their pockets. Using effective reverse-logistics systems is the order of the day.
Use cloud-based dispatch tracking software
If you are a stakeholder in the complex world of logistics, using cloud-based dispatch tracking software is a no-brainer! With rising customer expectations, rapidly increasing demands, and companies’ forever raising the bar in order to be one-up on competitors, it is a frenetic and high-stakes game.
Cloud-based systems provide easy access to global teams, thereby improving transparency, communication, accountability, and efficiency.
Also remember that while dispatch tracking is a very important part of the process, it still is only one part. Therefore, it is important that your dispatch tracking process (and, technology) merge seamlessly with the processes and technologies that are prevalent with other stakeholders of the supply chain and logistics eco-system. Adopting such methods will optimize the entire supply chain.
Conclusion: As is evident, using modern tools and technologies like last mile delivery software for key processes like dispatch tracking forms the base for operational success.
From the above portion, the importance of dispatch tracking in logistics is quite evident. However, without using robust dispatch tracking software toward this end, you will not be able to achieve your objectives.
Therefore, let’s look at the essential features of dispatch software:
Dispatch tracking software: essential features for success.
Well, it should be pretty clear at this point that there has never been a more important time to implement a robust dispatch tracking software!
The modern-day demands on delivery networks have never been higher, the global competition never more, and the demands of today’s customers never greater!
To add to this, there are various elements that make the task even more challenging as an everyday operation. Once you factor in Same-day demand, delivery costs, fuel consumption, demand fluctuations, labor attrition (to name some), you are looking at a massive operation of some complexity.
Therefore, it becomes imperative for businesses to play smart about how they manage their dispatch. Enter, an efficient dispatch tracking software.
The correct dispatch software will empower Logistics Teams in optimizing order delivery, reducing service speed, minimizing fuel consumption, managing resources, and finally, the overall customer experience.
Dispatch software: why do companies need it?
With increasing competition and technology diffusion, the final metric in a successful business is Customer Satisfaction. Your customers expect speed, economies, and transparency.
With today’s modern technology like cloud software, mobile gadgets, and advanced data analytics, Logistics Teams can take customer service to an entirely new level of efficiency.
Remember, however, that all this has to be achieved at an operating cost that allows Logistics companies to function profitably, otherwise they’d just run themselves out of business! The new norms of delivery logistics such as Same-day shipping, last-mile delivery, on-demand services (etc.) are extremely expensive and require razor-sharp focus to manage. Using dispatch software is a large part of this answer.
What are some problems with dispatching software today?
Given below are some common shortcomings encountered:
- Excessive tech stacks used that are inefficient and outdated
- Can’t be accessed by mobile/handheld devices
Top 7 features to look for in dispatch software:
1. Automation: Improved Customer Satisfaction results in reduced inbound customer calls. The modern dispatch software is a fully automated, highly sophisticated system that uses various tech tools like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning (etc.) for scheduling deliveries.
Dispatch software is constantly balancing out numerous elements like scheduling, dispatching, weighing myriad factors like the type of delivery (including special services like White-Glove delivery), delivery windows, fleet-vehicle and driver availability, type of cargo, type of route, road quality, tolls, bridge timings, traffic and weather patterns – the list is endless – come up with the optimum solution! Without the benefits of automation, this would be nigh impossible!
2. Customer-clustering for customized offerings: Logistics companies service a wide array of clients. Naturally, clients have various objectives, and KPIs.
Some are just starting out, while others are scaling rapidly, and even others are already operating at a massive scale. Each has its unique set of requirements and dispatch software bunches together critical-operating-tasks of clients to come up with customized offerings, price bundles, and SLAs based on such clustering.
Typical ‘clustering’ of customer requirements are around:
- Vehicle size, weight capacity, type
- Type of cargo; transit time required by cargo
- Maximum-minimum time that inventory can stay in the warehouse
- Driver skills and salaries; Technician skills and charges
- Related logistics in delivery completion e.g. returns, contactless payments
3. Route-Optimization: Quite simply, the more orders that logistics companies can deliver on a single run, the more efficient their operations likely are. Just like customer-clustering above is done by using common elements, so is route-optimization done based on numerous variables including distance to be covered, delivery windows available along that route, and customized order needs (e.g. high value, fragile, only cash, doorstep delivery). An intelligent dispatch software considers all this, and more, in coming up with the optimal route. It will also look to do order-batching whenever possible i.e. club orders with the same delivery windows located in near proximity, thus further reducing the cost of delivery.
4. APIs, Integrations: Dispatching software operates within a complex supply-chain network and works in tandem with innumerable stakeholders that function within that eco-system. Therefore, dispatch software must be flexible enough to integrate with the systems of all the stakeholders it works with e.g. client MIS, TMS, and Order Management System(TMS).
5. Maintaining visibility: Modern, intelligent dispatch software works seamlessly within a highly connected and transparent eco-system, where all stakeholders work in sync with one another. Each (stakeholder) team must be aware of when and how they fit into the delivery network.
Similarly, customers also want to know where their parcels are, the progress made, and any updates (e.g. delays) or changes that may need to be communicated. The built-in GPS system ensures that both, Logistics Managers as well as the customers, can track the movement of the fleet vehicles and parcels in real-time. The drivers are also able to communicate with their central teams as well as clients in real-time. Additionally, reverse logistics also kicks in if the parcel is rejected.
Unless all such order-delivery variables are handled by an automated and intelligent dispatch tracking software, you can only imagine the difficulty in achieving this efficiently.
6. Powerful Data-Analytics: By now, you must have surely realized the importance of one important factor in dispatch tracking and dispatch software – data!
Clearly, all the vast capabilities and tools that dispatch tracking software can so wonderfully achieve are based on data. Therefore, its ability to crunch data, analyze it, and use it to achieve its objectives becomes paramount for its success.
7. Agility: Along with an expanding delivery operation, your delivery needs will expand as well. As mentioned earlier, you will serve more clients, of increasingly different sizes and requirements.
Dispatch software that has the ability to stay agile and flexible – such as using crowd-sourced deliveries, and part-time drivers with their own vehicles – will stand you in good stead as you power through the gears of growth.
Conclusion: As is evident, dispatch tracking powered by the use of robust tech tools like last mile delivery software is a crucial part of the overall dispatch tracking operation.