Why Every Fleet Manager Needs Excellent Fleet Dispatch Software
Chances are, your vehicle fleet is already managed by some sort of software solution – but in too many cases, these are sub-optimal or outdated systems. Many operations still track everything manually in spreadsheets, for example, which is both time-consuming and prone to errors due to data entry mistakes.
However, there are now much better options available. A modern fleet dispatch software suite can overhaul everything about your fleet management, and for the better. Fleet dispatch software goes far beyond dispatch duties – it can become the central pillar of your entire fleet management workflow.
How Fleet Dispatch Solutions Make Fleets Run Better
1 – Tracking more than just vehicles on the road
Any up-to-date fleet will have some form of on-road vehicle tracking, usually via GPS, but you can do far more than that. Fleet dispatch software can handle basic tracking, of course, but it will capture data from throughout the journey, along with information about your drivers’ performance.
This is then instantly put into databases for tracking and analysis. You can keep tabs on your fleet’s overall health and performance month-by-month, year-by-year. This leads to improved maintenance, lowered costs, and better ROI on your vehicle purchases.
2 – Keeping drivers and assets safer
Right now, with so much turmoil in the professional driving industry, it’s more important than ever to keep your drivers safe and happy. Robust fleet tracking and reporting makes this simple! You can monitor drivers’ performance to ensure they’re driving in safe ways, and schedule coaching for those who need a refresher.
In addition, by tracking vehicles’ performance and maintenance records, you have a much better chance of catching small mechanical issues before they become big dangerous problems. Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to protect your drivers and assets while assuring drivers that you really are looking out for them.
3 – Streamline audits, compliance, reporting, licensing, etc
There’s no avoiding the mountain of bureaucracy that goes along with operating a professional fleet – and the penalties for messing up paperwork can be steep. You can be hit with fines, or potentially even lose licenses. Worse, the amount of effort needed to ensure compliance can be overwhelming – at least if you’re doing things by hand.
Today’s fleet dispatch software captures and stores accurate data that you need for your reports, putting the information right where you need it. In some cases, the data can even be sent to the authorities directly, greatly streamlining operations.
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How to Find the Best Fleet Dispatch Software for Your Needs
If you’re looking for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency in your fleet, the right fleet dispatch software can make all the difference!
Modern fleet software goes far beyond simply monitoring where your fleet is on the road. Fleet tracking and maintenance software can now put every piece of data you need in one place, accessible from any Internet-capable device. It can handle a huge array of tasks, including assigning drivers, managing schedules, optimizing routes, tracking costs, monitoring speed & time via GPS, and much more. In many cases, it can even be integrated into your other software solutions, such as your customer database or Enterprise Resource Planning system.
Either way, the right fleet dispatch software brings numerous benefits.
Why Invest in Fleet Dispatch Software
More than anything else, the reason to invest in fleet dispatch software is because of the immediate real cost savings. At a basic level, software can solve tricky computational challenges, such as optimizing routes and transport assignments. It can also monitor fuel costs, and alert you when drivers are behaving in ways that waste fuel.
There’s no limit to how complicated a situation can be. Today’s fleet management software solutions can handle complex multi-stop routes, balance driver availability, or even take into consideration factors such as individual drivers’ skill levels. In turn, this doesn’t simply lead to improved efficiency, it can help keep your drivers safe while they’re on the road!
Meanwhile, you’ll have robust and granular data-based insights into every aspect of your operation. You can compare key metrics, or dig deep into performance statistics to discover why, for example, one truck seems to be performing better than others.
Perhaps best of all, this leads to a better customer experience. There are many, many options in transportation today. Maintaining great CX is critical for companies who want to grow and maintain their customer base. Beyond improving your own operational efficiency, you can also provide services such as real-time monitoring and updates, so your customers can track their orders enroute.
However, to see all those benefits, you need the right fleet dispatch software. Here are some of the most important features to look for:
Six Critical Features in Any Fleet Management Software Package
1 – Multi-stage route planning
Any cell phone can do basic GPS mapping calculations these days. Professional software must do more to be worth the investment. It should be able to handle multi-stage routes and driver assignments, along with factors such as vehicle capacity and delivery windows. Ideally, it should be able to optimize multiple shipments across multiple jobs, allowing you to optimize at the macro level as well as micro.
2 – Realtime tracking and ETAs
Being able to track vehicles in progress is bare-minimum functionality. To make the most of real-time tracking, this information should also be made available to customers, so they have accurate ETAs on their shipments. This prevents failed deliveries, while also ensuring your customers have all the information, they need to make their own business decisions. This is what keeps customers loyal, year after year!
3 – Robust metrics tracking and reporting
Which aspects of delivery are most important for your business needs? Maybe it’s fuel consumption, or legal compliance, or minimizing job completion time. No matter the situation, you need fleet management software that can work around your needs and provide reporting that enables you to meet your own goals. “It reports what it reports” just isn’t good enough these days.
4 – Robust multi-system integration
The days of individual applications handling individual tasks are going away – and good riddance. You shouldn’t have to log into a half-dozen different applications to get your job done. The best fleet dispatch software solutions can integrate directly into your ERP, CRM, and more, pulling in data and allowing for even more complicated reporting on a wide variety of data. You should have all the data you need in one place!
5 – Unlimited scalability
A software investment shouldn’t only solve your problems today. It should solve them for years to come, and that means scalability. Whether you have one vehicle, or one thousand, a great fleet management software package can grow alongside your operation.
6 – Ease of use
Finally, any modern software package must be easy for workers to use. Training is a drag and takes workers away from the jobs they’re supposed to be doing. Good fleet dispatch software is designed to be almost instantly usable, with minimal retraining, while still offering the power and depth to compete in today’s highly competitive transportation market.
Fleet Dispatch Software from VLC
If you need better fleet dispatch and management software, Vehicle Licensing Consultants (VLC) has what you need. VLC specializes in making it easy for fleet operators to manage their business while reducing costs. Click here to learn more about our fleet dispatch software solutions.
The Most Important Criteria When Choosing Fleet Dispatch Software
Your fleet dispatch software is at the heart of your trucking operation – and it’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate whether it’s time to upgrade. New features and options are added to dispatch software every year, making them increasingly useful for reducing costs and improving efficiency.
If it seems like your current fleet dispatch software isn’t doing its job as well as it should, here are some key considerations when looking at an upgrade.
Four Features You Want in A New Fleet Dispatch Software Package
1 – End to end vehicle and cargo tracking
Your dispatch software shouldn’t only track vehicles on the road. It should be able to collect and analyze data for the entire job, from start to finish. This would include loading and unloading times, tracking paperwork, and analyzing the driver’s overall efficiency on the road. These metrics give you a wealth of information for intelligently optimizing your operations.
2 – Scalability
Older software packages often struggle to scale upwards as your fleet grows. This is one of the most common reasons people upgrade their software systems. You should look for a software package that will be able to grow alongside your business, potentially capable of managing hundreds or thousands of vehicles, for the best long-term returns on your investment.
3 – Better paperwork/bureaucratic processing
You should be spending as little time as possible doing paperwork and navigating red tape. The best dispatch software packages integrate features that streamline – or even entirely automate – reporting and other bureaucratic necessities. This can greatly reduce the amount of time you and your staff spend on paperwork, allowing you to focus on more important matters.
4 – Faster adaptation to changing circumstances
Nothing is ever guaranteed on the road. If there’s a big traffic jam in front of your driver, would you be able to spot it and re-route them before they become trapped? If a dangerous storm is coming, can you route them around its expected path? Good software systems include monitoring of on-road conditions and can be set up to alert you to potential problems before they cause delays.
Vehicle Licensing Consultants (VLC) Makes Fleet Management Easier
VLC specializes in hardware and software combinations that make life easier for fleet managers. Our highly scalable solutions can monitor your vehicles’ on-road performance in highly granular detail, providing the data and tools needed to substantially reduce costs and improve efficiency. Click here to contact us and learn more.
What Are the Most Important Features in Fleet Dispatch Software?
Fleet dispatch software is nothing new in the world of trucking – but the state of the art keeps advancing. That software package from a decade ago might be functional, but it’s lacking many of the innovations that have arrived in recent years. Numerous features are now available which can substantially improve the efficiency and productivity of your operation, making it easy to see a huge return on your upgrade investment.
If it’s been a few years since you last looked into fleet dispatch software options and features, here are just a few recent innovations that could bring big returns!
Six Must-Have Features in Modern Fleet Dispatch Software
1 – Cloud-based anywhere access
For decades, fleet software was tied to individual computers, or even to centralized servers within a building. That was fine at the time since there weren’t other options. Today, however, you need fleet software that can be accessed from anywhere, and from any device. That’s why nearly all modern dispatch software solutions are cloud-based, with interfaces that adapt depending on the device accessing them.
That way you and your drivers have complete access to information from anywhere, without ever needing to ‘phone home’ to someone sitting at a specific computer.
2 – Smart route optimization and order batching
Route optimization has come a long way since the days of in-cab GPS units. Today’s dispatch software can optimize routes based on a huge number of factors, from basic “shortest route” routing to more complicated schemes based on fuel usage or avoiding certain traffic situations such as making too many left turns.
On top of that, routing software can now optimize across numerous potential routes at the same time – such as taking large orders and finding the optimal way to batch them and get them all to their destination in the shortest possible time.
3 – AI-driven automated scheduling
When a customer comes in with a rush job or pays extra for “48-hour” delivery or similar services, a lot of moving parts need to come together in a very short period. AI-driven systems can take much of this burden off human dispatchers. They can monitor stock levels, know the locations of all nearby drivers and other transportation options, and start optimizing for a fast delivery almost instantly.
This can be especially critical in ‘white glove’ situations where the customer is expecting the shipment to be delivered directly to their door. These systems can make smart decisions about how to reduce the extra costs involved while seeing the delivery completed.
4 – Full integrations with other database systems
Do you still need to access multiple systems to get your job done? For example, many companies still have separate Customer Relationship Management (CRM), driver management, stocking, and dispatch/routing software. This can make day-to-day operations a real hassle.
Today’s fleet dispatch software can tie all these software functions and databases together into a single application. This makes management easier, but it also makes life better for your clients and customers as well – such as having instant access to a customer’s shipping history at the same time your arrangement for shipments.
5 – Deep real-time visibility
Sure, you can probably track where all your vehicles are at all times, but modern software options can go much further than that. You can track vehicles’ locations, speed, fuel consumption, or even monitor their adherence to rules of the road. Likewise, you can monitor stocking in real-time, as well as keeping up with other logistical issues that crop up during deliveries.
A great fleet dispatch software package gives you more real-time oversight of your entire operation than ever before – and usually all in the same application window.
This can also extend to real-time alerts. You can set up custom alerts to notify you of virtually any situation you want, allowing you to respond more quickly than if you were having to track all the variables yourself.
6 – Data analytics
The data generated during each run doesn’t simply vanish – it goes into databases for storage and analysis. In many cases, this is where the true benefit of software upgrades can come from. You can analyze performance across numerous variables instantly, making it easier to judge everything from the driving record of individual drivers, to how effectively your warehouses are managing their stock.
Over time, this data can be leveraged to make extremely accurate future forecasts based on past history. These can make budgeting and hiring decisions far easier, for example, by giving you a solid data-based foundation for making choices.
Upgrade Your Operations With VLC
For almost thirty years, Vehicle Licensing Consultants have been leaders in the fleet management industry. We have thousands of satisfied customers who’ve benefited from our consulting and software options. If you want to quickly increase productivity in your fleet operations, click here to learn more.