The 3.5 million truckers in the U.S. travel 450 billion miles every year, delivering 11 billion tons of goods on their rigs. From filling the shelves of stores and providing the gas we use for driving to delivering construction materials that keep the economy growing, to providing us with those items we treat ourselves to online.
With so many areas of society reliant on speedy and prompt delivery, it takes complicated logistics to ensure the right load is in the right place at the right time. And that is why modern carriers use dispatch software for trucking.
This article explores what trucking dispatch software does, who uses it, and how it benefits the industry. It will also guide you on what to look out for when choosing the right software.
Trucking dispatch software provides a single platform on which to streamline the whole lifecycle of each transport operation. This includes understanding inventory capacity, scheduling jobs, and automating route plans. It looks after human factors such as working hours and payments. In addition, you can track each load and allow the customer to monitor its progress. The software also generates reports and bills customers on your behalf.
The right dispatch software solution takes much of the work out of the hands of people and automates your processes, so they are as efficient as possible. This saves time and money for the organization and ensures that your drivers are as productive as possible. This type of smart software provides the information you need to run a tight operation and reduce waste in the system.
Trucking dispatch software helps the following parties:
The trucking dispatch software solution smooths the communication between truckers and dispatch workers, helping make sure the information flow is clear and effective.
Easy task management
When a new task comes in, the software can analyze the details and requirements before assigning it to a driver who is available to take on the order. Rather than the dispatcher cross-referencing all the details, such as distance, time, vacation dates, and other factors, the software uses the relevant data to manage the task.
Higher revenue with more efficient orders
There is less human work involved in organizing orders, so there is as little downtime as possible, and space in the trucks is used as efficiently as possible. Trucking dispatch software reduces the work involved and increases the efficiency of your processes. With this in place, you cut waste and fulfill more orders, boosting revenue.
Better workplace & driving safety
Safety and health are the watchwords of the trucking industry, as the day-to-day of the trucker involves carrying large loads on the highways of America, often over very long distances.
Using truck dispatch software, you can ensure drivers have access to important safety information at all times. You can also monitor their movements to ensure they are abiding by the strict safety protocols over rest periods, driving limits, and so on.
Inspectors from the International Registration Plan (IRP), the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) often want to access data to ensure your trucks remain compliant with the various recording requirements of trucking companies.
With trucking dispatch software, you can keep accurate records of mileage and working hours that you can use to prove your adherence to the rules.
The software can also provide the drivers with all documents that they must read and sign to prove their compliance with your policies and procedures.
Routing and fuel optimization
You can find the quickest, shortest, and most efficient route for your trucks using dispatch software. This allows you to complete jobs in good time and fit more operations into the available time.
The software calculates the route, taking into account the stops needed for pick-ups. It can also estimate the time the job will take and how long stops should take, giving you an overview of the schedule of the task.
Some software can guide you on the best places to stop for fuel based on real-time price data to save you money.
Manage FTL and LTL dispatches
Some tasks will require an FTL (Full Truck Load), whilst others involve multiple LTLs (Less than Truckload) from a variety of customers. The right software will be able to handle both FTL and LTL, organizing the most efficient route between pick-ups. It will also be able to generate separate paperwork and tracking for different customers.
Accurate estimates and on-time invoices
With accurate rate estimates based on exact routes and distances, you can pay the drivers for their work and understand.
You can also issue accurate invoices to clients as soon as they request a delivery. This will be based on the type of load, the distance, and any special rates they have negotiated with your business. Your dispatcher doesn’t have to work this out on the phone; the software raises the cost and invoice automatically, ready to be confirmed and set to the client on acceptance of the job.
Track drivers in real-time with GPS
Understanding telematics from individual drivers is important for ensuring all workers are exhibiting the kind of behavior that you expect from them. By tracking drivers with GPS, you can monitor their speed, idling time, route, and more. This helps with compliance and designing efficient driving practices.
So much work goes into manual dispatch scheduling! That’s why finding software that takes this off your hands is a big win and is therefore essential. Here is what to consider when looking at the right software for you.
The UX of trucking dispatch software is all important. If it is difficult to manage, your dispatchers will not use it to its full potential, and you will miss out on many of the benefits. The software should be designed to make life much more simple for users, so make sure you look for a solution that is intuitive to get the best value for your money.
Ensure that the platform you choose works for the specific issues you encounter in your specific business. A generic piece of software that doesn’t meet all your requirements will not offer the full benefit you need.
Many industries require dispatch capabilities, but make sure yours is designed for trucking dispatch operations. Otherwise, it will not provide the required functionality.
A cloud-based program stops a trucking business from being constrained by where and when you can use the software. Dispatchers can utilize the platform whilst working remotely and have access to up-to-the-minute information at all times.
Because the trucking world runs at all times of the day and night, seven days a week, this accessibility is essential to ensure the smooth running of your company. You can get real-time tracking field reports on computers or mobile devices in the cloud to keep you up to date with what each driver and load is up to.
You also keep your trucking business data in the cloud, meaning it doesn’t take up space on your servers, and you always have a backup no matter what happens to your internal IT system.
When implementing any new system, there will always be snags or times when you just can’t get your head around the intricacies of the platform. This is when great customer service comes into its own. You need to know there is always someone there, ready to help. Otherwise, you could find yourself frustrated with a piece of software that is not doing what it promises. If your software provider aims for customer satisfaction, you should have a fruitful relationship with them.
The program should let drivers know where they will be heading and what they need with them. It assigns tasks and equipment based on who and what is available at any given time to complete a task.
This can be a time-consuming process for an individual member of staff to handle, so having software that understands the parameters around what is possible and calculates the most efficient use of your resources is key.
The cash flow through your business is the heart of your operation, and your trucking dispatch software should help with this. It can calculate invoices based on the requirements of the client, bill them when the job is completed, and then work out what fee the driver should receive, considering the exact work they have done.
This process helps you understand exactly what is coming in and going out for each task and helps you understand how efficient your jobs are.
Fuel management has never been more important than it is now. The ideal software would help you understand the route that would use the least possible fuel and guide you to the locations where fuel prices are cheapest en route to a drop-off. Coupled with a great fuel card, this helps you drive your costs down.
Being able to integrate with other software and hardware that you use on a regular basis is beneficial. For example, the ability to work with your accounting software of choice means that you can seamlessly connect them and benefit from the features of both programs.
The cost of trucking dispatch software can vary. You could pay a few hundred dollars, but you could also pay a few thousand dollars. Some companies let you buy the software outright, and many run a subscription model.
Obviously, the more you spend, the more features you get. You need to balance the functionality you need with your budget to find the option and price tier that suits your needs.
When you cannot find a solution that suits both your needs and your budget, you should look into developing custom software. This requires expertise but can leave you with a product that does exactly what you want without unnecessary features that you pay for but do not use.
You should find a developer that you trust and work with them to develop the ideal product to create operational efficiency.
A TMS is a transport management system or transportation management software. This is part of the trucking dispatch software and helps you to plan how to move goods from pick-up to delivery in the most efficient way possible. It gives you an overview of which vehicles are available and then where they are and how they are being driven whilst out and about.
Dispatchers take orders from customers and then assign drivers best placed to carry out deliveries on time. They advise on routes and check logs to ensure compliance with both company and legal requirements.
Truck companies certainly need bookkeepers to stay on top of the incomings and outgoings. Individual truckers might need to use a bookkeeper if they have trouble staying on top of their earnings and fuel expenses.
Dispatch software for trucking companies and freight brokers can revolutionize the way your business runs. With an investment in the right software for you, you can run a more efficient, compliant, and successful operation. Look out for software packages that solve the problems you have or which can reduce the manual work required to make sure trucks use space wisely and find the best and most efficient routes to their destinations.