Dispatchers need nerves of steel: They have to quickly assimilate a host of details, coordinate the players and assign tasks. And they reap outsize gains from using smart tools in their work.
Many freight forwarding firms start scheduling last-mile deliveries before even receiving the items they are supposed to deliver. That gives dispatchers only a few hours to plan the trips. During that time, they have to:
- Draw up the drivers’ schedules
- Assign stops
- Prioritise scheduled deliveries
- Generate and distribute loading lists
If all last-mile deliveries are still handled in a paper-based process, dispatchers will also have to get all this work done at the distribution centre before the vehicles leave. However, mobile workflow management gives them more freedom and flexibility to get these mission-critical tasks done.
In a paper-based system, last-mile delivery scheduling assumes that all incoming shipments will arrive at the distribution centre on time. If they are delayed, the last-mile team will have to improvise. And if dispatchers don’t find out about a delay until a lorry has missed its scheduled arrival window, they will hardly be in a position to plan highly efficient, effective trips. If, however, they can track the real-time positions of all their vehicles and estimated times of arrival (ETAs) in a mobile workflow management solution, it will be easier to proactively modify the trips. And if the software also communicates with the transport management system (TMS), dispatchers can even update the loading lists on the fly. That means they will know what shipments and packages can be loaded at what time – long before it has to happen.
Dynamic loading lists
When you have to put everything on a paper list – from shipments and packages to the sequence of the stops – that leaves little time for preparation and makes last-minute changes a huge challenge. If, however, trip assignments are sent right to the drivers’ apps through a mobile workflow management solution, the trips can be updated even after the teams have started loading the lorries. A delayed shipment can be cut or an extra stop added at the very last minute. All the changes are dynamically sent to a mobile device over a wireless connection without the drivers and dispatchers even having to communicate.
Optimising vehicle routing
If dispatchers see vehicles and destination addresses in a live map, they can also instantly modify the order of stops through a mobile workflow management solution in order to produce an ideal route. The routing is dynamic as well. Actual traffic conditions, ETAs, unloading and waiting times can all be taken into account and scheduled for maximum efficiency. In addition, dispatchers can make better allowances for drivers’ driving and rest times: Drivers’ mobile apps automatically tell dispatchers how much driving time the drivers have left. The dispatchers can then optimise the route as well as any subsequent trips.
Juggle better digitally
Dispatchers have always kept numerous balls in the air simultaneously and ensured items are delivered on time. If they are supported by mobile workflow management, they can take action sooner and improve processes. That lowers their stress levels, satisfies customers and produces more successful deliveries.