Depending how long you have been around the trucking industry, you may remember when dispatch records were recorded on paper by hand. Later, companies used computers and software such as Excel and QuickBooks that were more efficient than paper but still required data entry and time-consuming searches for records.
In recent years, dispatch technology has certainly advanced. Today, there are hundreds of dispatch management software vendors offering their services to the trucking industry. Many common software tools offer powerful, low-cost solutions that can greatly enhance a motor carrier’s operational efficiency and accounting practices to help maintain a reliable cash flow.
The ability to merge information across platforms is the cornerstone of dispatch management systems. As challenges in the trucking industry increase, embracing value-adding technology is more beneficial to your bottom line than ever before. If you are in the market for dispatch software, take the time to research your options and choose one that is likely to meet both your current and future needs.
With just a few key strokes, dispatch software can provide operational details of asset locations and delivery times, providing an efficient overview of your trucking operation. Expected delivery time features allow dispatchers to better plan current and expected loads that need to be moved as assets become available. In addition, route optimization tools are available for dispatch to share with drivers to help them find the best truck routes, considering congestion, construction, and even preferred truck stop locations. These systems can also enhance communication between dispatchers and drivers by automatically sending load information, pickup and delivery times, contact information, and driving directions.
Common software packages can merge most aspects of your trucking operation, including:
Tracking customers and accepting load information in one area and merging with other areas automatically.
Dispatching, including assigning each load to a driver, truck, and trailer.
Tracking receivables, including the date and amount you were paid for each load, and generating outstanding load or receivable reports.
Managing drivers, including assigning and exporting to payroll the driver’s pay, whether hourly, by the mile, or as a percentage of the load.
Tracking IFTA miles within each state and generating fuel tax reports.
Tracking total miles operated within each state for quarterly IRP reporting.
Addressing DOT compliance, including integrating with your ELD or GPS system and communicating both load and safety information.
Managing payables, including imports from and exports to financial management software.
You may not need all the features of higher-end software, particularly if you are a local or regional operation, but you should carefully evaluate capabilities before making your final purchasing decision.