s grocery and homeware retailers respond to a levelling-out of demand, many are evaluating their dispatch management practices. They now have the proactive capacity to design their supply chains (versus the past year of costly reactive service).
Whether they’re dispatching consignments from owned distribution centre to final-mile suppliers—or have returned to transferring stock between stores—modern retailers and merchandisers know dispatch automation can offer choice, stabilise costs year-round, and bring realistic timeframes.
Retailers who’ve taken on dispatch management software let their platform handle complex logistics, and unpredictable waves of deliveries and collections, in real time.
Taking that into consideration, let’s look at the top 5 in-demand features of dispatch management software. Choosing a provider that reflects these will leave you to focus on growing your business and beat customer expectations.
OFFER A CHOICE OF DELIVERY AND PICKUP TIMES TO SUIT EVERYONE
It’s important to recognise the power that on-demand gained this past year, be it B2B or B2C! However, offering the expected flexibility to customers at the purchasing window must not come at any cost. Only software that provides scheduling optimised in real-time has this capability.
What does that mean? It means you can feasibly offer ad-hoc, same day, next day, and/or individual on-demand delivery slots. Your routes are planned with real-time traffic data and street-level speed profiles. The software won’t just fill the next ‘blank space’
and puts the power in the customer’s hands.
ANYONE CAN TRACK THE PROGRESS OF A DELIVERY
Tracking a dispatch has almost become its own game. Sure, your customer has chosen their own appointment/delivery slot, but what if your driver’s running late? Or sick that day? Or early? Retailers and merchandisers achieve high customer scores with automated client notifications. Emails, texts, push notifications; even drivers themselves can notify recipients of any changes as they happen, (so long as you’ve selected software with these features baked-in).
TRACK AND TRACE STOCK AND MERCHANDISE
Retailers need to know what they’re holding, especially in the grocery and healthcare sectors. Demand software that provides a real-time mobile app for drivers so they know what they have loaded. Apps should include features like route scheduling, re-routing, delivery success or failure status, returns, reporting and even e-Signatures.
TIP: A purpose-built mobile app can assist your scheduling software to predict how long a similar dispatch will take next time, and if a return stock-up visit to a depot would work better.
PROMOTE A BETTER TASK BALANCE TO DISPATCH TEAMS – AND DRIVERS
Your dispatch (and delivery teams) are a key customer touch point, especially for eCommerce businesses. The dispatch management process may be the first time a customer has interacted with a human at your organisation! These are moments spent with your brand so it’s imperative that employees aren’t too tired or stressed to perform well.
How would this work? In practice your dispatch management software should include boundaries for a better work/life balance. Look for software that reflects the way you want to run your business—such as lowered travel time, longer break time, fewer early mornings/late nights, and automated route planning.
ORGANISE, REPORT, OPTIMISE IN THE CLOUD
Finally, an automated and connected cloud-based dispatch management software will help head office teams provide faster, more accurate, and more transparent reporting. Historically most logistics departments and operators would identify a specific cost/weakness (fuel, wages, CO2 production). Dispatch KPIs for the retail sector regularly focus on success (such as drops per hour/route/driver punctuality) to reinforce margin management.
With access to integrated cloud processing now easier than ever, so is analysis and optimisation of the full picture, in real-time.
Integrating data between CRM and ERP systems make the building of quality dashboards and real-time planning far easier. Plus, with no additional space or effort required for hosting, a cloud-based dispatch solution grows to meet the needs of your business.
All of these retailer-demanded features, and more, are available with the workflow and digital transformation features of DISPATCH NOW >