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4 Actionable Tips to Optimize Your Dispatch Efficiency

4 Actionable Tips to Optimize Your Dispatch Efficiency
Featured image credit: svetikd/iStockphoto.com

In the cutthroat world of field service management, the key is getting more done with less. Imagine using 100 field employees to schedule 1,000 deliveries every day and ensuring on-time services with the highest level of customer satisfaction. Though most dispatch managers target this ideal business situation, executing an efficient dispatch process is a different ball game altogether.

There’s always a wide gap between what customers expect from your field workforce and what eventually gets delivered. Effective dispatch management improves the customer experience and work process efficiency and can help improve dispatching operations and mitigate some of the common challenges associated with fleet management. But what exactly is dispatch management? Let’s find out.

What Is Dispatch Management?

Dispatch management is about managing the processes involved in delivering goods to the customers on time.

Dispatch is one of three critical processes of any field service business; the other two processes being scheduling and client servicing. It requires sending out an employee to a customer location to deliver a package, provide a solution, or fix a problem. It is critical to delivering a pleasant customer experience and ensuring that the customer uses your business again.

When running a small business with only a few skilled workers, it might be easy to manage the dispatch process without using dispatching software. But, the old-school dispatch management systems are incapable of integrating data into the system, making sure that all assets are fully utilized, address small issues, and so on. This is where a strong decision-making process can come handy.

Also, the recent surge in online shopping in 2020 due to the pandemic has made business owners realize the need to opt for a dispatch system that can save them time and offers a high level of efficiency. This is because, with the ever-increasing customer expectations and growing demand for home deliveries, it has become more challenging than ever for a business to stay in control.

Ultimately, your business needs to invest in dispatch management software that allows you to create, alter, and delete the variables needed to optimize your dispatch process. An advanced dispatch management software solution can help you with the precise scheduling of your drivers and provide real-time information about the drivers on the road to manage them better.

So, if you, too, are looking to improve your dispatch process, follow the four tips below.

#1 Experience the Process First Hand

There is much more to dispatching than simply traveling from Point A to Point B and, if you are not involved, it might be impossible to understand all the balls in the air that a dispatcher or driver juggles daily. So, experiencing the daily routine and pain points of your dispatchers can be an excellent place to start. Such a realistic understanding will lead to a more planned dispatch process and will help both parties (the dispatcher and the employees working under the dispatcher, namely the drivers) stay on the same page.

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#2 Know Your Field Employees

We all tend to co-operate better with people with whom we have something in common, don’t we? So, as a manager, it’s essential to make an effort to get to know your dispatchers, drivers, and other field employees on a personal level. Sit with them over a cup of coffee and ask about their families, hobbies, and career aspirations and note everything down. Doing so will improve your working relationship and show your employees that you value them as people instead of just employees.

#3 Leverage Technology

Keeping customers updated about the delivery statuses of their packages is a critical component of dispatch management.

How do you normally update your customers about ETAs? Do you just phone the driver for an update? Calling your drivers often just to confirm their locations and ETAs will distract them and will be perceived as micromanagement.

So, if this is the way you’ve been doing things, you need to improve your process. Consider using a real-time GPS tracking software, which will help you track your drivers, see their accurate locations, and update your customers about ETAs at any time without unnecessarily phoning the drivers. An advanced route planner can even send ETAs directly to your customers and help you further increase dispatch efficiency.

In addition to communicating the ETAs with your customers, using a route optimizer also enables you to make last-minute changes to your existing routes to accommodate new customer requests. Such changes will even reflect on your field employees’ mobile device in real-time. If you are using a reputed delivery route planner with an advanced algorithm, it will also allow your field employees to collect proof of delivery from customers, thereby saving everyone the hassle of managing stacks of paper.  

#4 Optimize Routes

Managers also have to master the task of assigning a field employee to an urgent customer service request. Yet, sending a field employee from Location A to Location B is often not as simple as it sounds. For example, the route has to be cost-effective and so the manager must find the shortest and fastest one possible so that travel time is decreased. This is referred to as the vehicle routing problem and is a common problem faced by almost every dispatcher.

The best way to handle this problem is to rely on advanced artificial intelligence-powered route optimization software to create efficient routes and ensure seamless dispatch management. Such software will make your job easier (and routes more profitable) by pairing various customer locations in an area so that the final route reduces drive times while complying with the customers’ preferred time windows.

Conclusion

An effective dispatch process entails dealing closely with customers, building vital relationships, handling exceptions, and making customers happy. All of this must also be done while optimizing resource utilization and efficiency. This is why tools like route optimization software and computer-aided dispatch are used to reduce unproductive time as they build optimized routes and monitor field workers.

The tips discussed above are just the tip of the iceberg. Every field service business is different and, therefore, the strategies that they implement to boost their operations will be unique too. Yet, if you wish to gain an edge over your competitors, adopting the latest technology should be the first step to improving your dispatch process as it will help you enhance customer satisfaction, increase productivity, and reduce costs.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 34,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.